06 April 2010

Urban Hiking on the Homefront

I am captivated by wanderlust, there's no doubt about it. You, in all likelihood know just as well as I do what a blessing and a curse it is to be a wanderluster. I'm not in too much debt after college, and to keep it that way, I only travel when I've got all the cash I need for the trip saved up just for that purpose. So what will us grounded travelers do, feeling trapped by the sedentary life, choked by the sessile feeling of simply being in one place too long?

Urban Hiking is what I call the thing most of us do when we travel. We explore urban landscapes on foot, all day, days on end, til we simply can take no more. When I cannot travel, but feel the overwhelming need to wander, I go for an urban hike, in my home town. I am from Portland, so urban hiking is easy. I strap on my Chacos and backpack and hit the streets. I recommend seeking out neighborhoods unfamiliar yet interesting. Look up some tips on the web, or use twitter to find events or pub crawls downtown. I know what you're thinking, but trust me, it's really not lame. I've lived in Portland for 25 years and there are countless places I've never seen but should.

Act like you do when you're away: carry a map, ask strangers for directions. Bring your camera and take some photos. Walk into an unfamiliar cafe and grab a pastry. Eat street food. Be as unbiased as you can, and you will get a lot out of your adventure without ever leaving town.

If this is still completely uninteresting to you, I have one final suggestion which may help quench your wanderlust: host a couchsurfer and urban hike with them!

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