Tag Archives: tourism

I wrote off an entire area as “not for me” but I was wrong

“Why would you want to travel to ___?!?” (Fill in the blank with any place you wouldn’t wouldn’t want to go on vacation.)

“What are you going to do there, anyway, besides ___, ___, and ___?” (Fill in those blanks with the activities that place is stereotypically well-known for, and that don’t interest you.)

I love traveling, and I really want to go as many places as possible, but sometimes it’s simply because I enjoy traveling anywhere, not that I’m particularly looking forward to going to that specific place. It’s hard to get excited about a place that you think has nothing for you.

I have several places like this, but recently I’ve had to change my mind about one of them.

Until a few months ago, I thought the only reasons to go to Western Montana (apart from visiting family) were Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park (which I thought only had skiing), and hunting/fishing. Since I’ve already been to Yellowstone (wouldn’t mind going again, though, but it’s not as high priority as somewhere I’ve never been), only go fishing when other people are going, and don’t have a great desire to try hunting or skiing, none of these made this area really appealing as a travel destination.

Then I went to a travel industry event with representatives from Western Montana’s Glacier Country, Missoula, Whitefish, and Kalispell and found out that my assumptions were very wrong.

Although pleasantly surprising, it was a bit uncomfortable to admit that I’d written off a really interesting place because I’d gone only on these assumptions and hadn’t really looked into it.

(Of course, if I’d really been planning to go, I’d have looked into it a bit more then, but sometimes it’s hard to look for things you don’t expect to find, so I’m sure my searching wouldn’t have turned up as big of a list.)

Now I have a real list of things to do when I go to Western Montana.

In addition to my first guess about Yellowstone, Glacier NP, and hunting/skiing, the area’s also known for beautiful natural landscapes, Native American history and culture, local food/drink/foodie experiences, biking trails, music and nightlife, museums and art, historical buildings, lakes and beaches, and bucket-list worthy events.

Here’s my current list of things I’d be interested in doing in the area (bucket list style):

Click to read more

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“Center of the Universe”: 50+ ways to spend a weekend in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle

troll

Fremont Troll under the bridge – Photo Credit: Sue via Flickr, Used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

The self-proclaimed “Center of the Universe,” the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle is a great place to spend some time, whether you’re just visiting or exploring the city you live in. There’s enough going on that you could even make a weekend trip for this neighborhood alone.

Fremont is known for its eclectic, artsy feel and its many festivals and events. It’s located north of downtown, and is easily accessible by public transportation, car, or walking, so there’s no excuse not to stop by.

There’s a ton of interesting things to see and places to visit in this neighborhood, so I’m sure I overlooked something. Several people helped me with this list, and you can be one of them: if you think of something that I’ve left off and should include in the next round, leave a note in the comments!

Who and what’s included:
I came up with a list of places I recommend checking out (indicated by an asterisk). Then I contacted several of those places and asked anyone working there if they had additional recommendations (you’ll see their ideas in each category below). These are the businesses I talked with:

  • Jill at Ophelia’s Books
  • Danielle at Fainting Goat Gelato
  • Lauren at Portage Bay Goods
  • Nancy who owns Hotel Hotel Hostel
  • Hal who owns the Teeny Tiny Guesthouse
  • Josh at Uneeda Burger

Our recommendations include food and drink, services and shopping, activities and sightseeing, and accommodations. (Click to jump to your favorite section or read them all!)

Note: If I didn’t put an asterisk next to the recommendation, it doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s probably just that I haven’t been there yet to personally recommend it. There’s so much to see and do that I haven’t been to all of these!

See the list!

Can’t wait until the next big trip? Here’s how to avoid wasting the waiting time

Whether you’re counting down to a trip you’ve already planned, or just wishing you had a chance to go anywhere-but-here, it’s easy to overlook the things that are happening right now.

If we do that, however, we’re missing our life! Life isn’t made of only the big exciting trips and boring periods of waiting. It’s made of moments, big and small, that happen every day (even when it doesn’t feel like it).

The time will pass whether or not you enjoy what you’re doing – here are some ideas to make it count!

Be a tourist in your current town

Not only will this give you a chance to get out, do something fun and different, and help you appreciate where you are right now, it will give you ideas of things to do on your big trip too. When I recently played tourist in Seattle (the city I live in), I went on an architecture walking tour of a neighborhood where I’d never been before. It was super fun and interesting, and makes me realize I’d like to go on tours like that in other cities too.

Have a friend plan your day

No matter where you live, if someone else plans your day for you, you’ll likely do things you wouldn’t normally do, or do them in a way you wouldn’t normally do them. This can be great for creativity and help you enjoy new things about life.

Learn something related to your trip

If you have a trip on the calendar, or if you’re dreaming of one, you can bring a little of that adventure from the future into the present. Learn a language that will be useful for you to know, take a cooking class of cuisine from that area, or go to a seminar on topics like budgeting for travel, personal safety, or some other travel-related skill.

Adventure in your mind

“Reading is like travel, allowing you to exit your own life for a bit, and to come back with a renewed, even inspired, perspective.” –Laurie A. Helgoe

Read a book set in the place you want to go, or with a character doing the things you want to be doing. It’s not the same as being there or doing it yourself, but like so many readers will tell you, it’s nice to get away even in your mind. Who knows? Maybe it will even give you ideas of what to do for the real thing.

Hang out with friends (new and old)

One of the most interesting parts of travelling is that you get to meet a bunch of new and interesting people. One of the worst parts about travelling is that you can’t hang out with your friends at home. Take this time to spend time with the people you’ll be leaving behind, and capture the excitement of meeting new people by attending Meetups or other events in your area.

Enjoy the wait

When I travel, I often rush to do a lot of things every day, more than I might normally try to do (especially if I’m trying to make the most of a limited amount of time). This can be tiring, so it’s nice sometimes to just relax, appreciate being bored, and get rested so I can fully enjoy my upcoming plans.

*Got your own tips? How do you make sure you’re not wasting the waiting time?*