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16 Ways To Be Interesting… To Yourself

by Tony · 3 comments

El Chalten

A common thing we hear from people who learn about our travels is that they envy us and wish they could do what we are doing.

This sentiment always gives me two thoughts:

    1. “It really isn’t that hard. All you have to do is leave your job and travel for a year with no fixed plans for when you return.” Now, I’m obviously being a little flip as we did have to work at saving money and budgeting our trip. But the biggest obstacle in doing what we did was just deciding to do it. Having the guts (stupidity, balls, ignorance… pick whatever word fits your opinion of us) to choose ourselves and trust in our ability to craft a path forward that is a little less traditional.
    2. They are not really envious of our travels. Yes it sounds cool… but what they really want is to find themselves excited about something new –

      To find themselves (who they are and what they do) interesting.

Traveling for a year was what excited us and gave us the drive to try new things. But we totally get that it isn’t for everyone.

You shouldn’t travel to find yourself, to become better, or to be interesting. Most people finish their travels the same person they were when they started.

Travel doesn't change you

Travel doesn’t change who you are… just where.

What can change you for the better is getting outside of your comfort zone and doing something new, meeting new people, being frightened, and getting uncomfortable. Travel can do these things, but so can lots of other options that don’t drag you around the world.

A large part of what travel did for us can be achieved without leaving your own city.

Travel is amazing and we loved every second of it. But if you’re just looking to get excited and be interesting, there are lots of ways to do that while keeping your job and staying in your home country.

Don’t worry about being interesting to others. The key to being happy is just to find yourself interesting.

Be interesting

Here is a just a starting list of the things you could try in your home city to experience new things. You might not like all of them, but they will help you cultivate new passions, meet new friends, and find yourself more interesting than you ever thought possible.

  1. Start a new hobby every month and find communities of people to share it with.
  2. Learn a new language. There are tons of free ways to learn languages online and there are clubs in every city for people to practice.
  3. Begin a side project that has potential to earn money.
  4. Begin a side project that is ridiculous and just amuses you. Don’t worry about making extra money… just have fun with it.
  5. Email 5 people you admire (friends, family, famous people) a week and tell them why. This will strengthen current bonds and create whole new ones.
  6. Take a cooking class and cook a few new meals per week.
  7. If you are seriously interested in travel, join a meetup of people who have traveled or who are about to depart. Its a great way to scratch that travel itch without ever spending a dime!
  8. Join an intramural sports league in your city with friends or by yourself. You will make plenty of friends when the dodgeballs start to fly, the volleyball’s get spiked, and the softballs get tossed.
  9. Signup for a half or full marathon today. Then figure out how you are going to get ready for it. Nothing gives you more confidence or a better feeling than being in shape and accomplishing a goal.
  10. Join a book club. For the literature… sure. Or for the chance to hang with new people, drink some wine, eat good food, and bond over a shared topic.
  11. Start new traditions with friends: Potluck dinners, trying new restaurant every month, or watch an entire TV series together a few episodes at a time.
  12. Buy season tickets to something… anything (opera, minor league sports team, cheap local pro team). Its a great chance to experience something new and open yourself up to a whole new group of people.
  13. Be a tourist in your own city. You know how you only ever see the touristy stuff when people visit you? Why not make a weekend around the idea of seeing your city like you were visiting it? Go to the top of the tallest building, tour that museum that gets rave reviews, and see the must-see’s!
  14. Create list of things you’ve always wanted to try and start checking them off when you have free time on the weekends. These can get crazy, so go wild. For me, I have always had an itch to learn how to properly care for and shoot a gun. Maybe I should schedule some range time?
  15. Volunteer. Be a mentor to a child, work at a food pantry, or help out at a fund raising fun-run.
  16. Choose one way to improve yourself every month. The key is to pick one thing so as not to overwhelm your will power. These can be simple or complex, but the key is to dedicate one entire month to it. Things to try: Read 50 pages of a book per night, floss every morning and night, nap 45 minutes every day, write 1 blog post per day, run… this can really be anything that you think might make you better for the long term.

Now with all of this advice, I’m not saying other people don’t already find you interesting. But we don’t care about what other people think, right? The key question is: “Do you find yourself interesting.”

What are things you have done to expand who you are and your passions? What are some other ways to challenge yourself? Please share in the comments!

About Tony
Quit his job to try actually following his dreams for once... and is currently loving it. He is working hard to to make this life-style permanent by writing about his adventures and brainstorming money making opportunities with his partner-in-crime, Meg.

photo by: martinak15
Megan Rockwood June 25, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I loved this article! I will definitely be trying most if not all of these this summer. In fact, I am in a language group right now, which is a great way to really meet new people and experience new things. I’m learning French and practicing it through “alliancefrancais”, a great and friendly group of people who speak French. If you’re interested in learning French, then alliancefrancais is relatively widespread and a great way to do it. They give you information on where to find classes, where to find French movies, and even French recipes! They also have convenient meeting locations where you sit and speak French, even if you barely know French, listening and immersing yourself in it is incredibly beneficial.

Tony June 25, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Great tip, Megan!

Language groups can be a great way to meet people and learn a language. It has been one of those things I have always wanted to try, but just haven’t gotten around to it. Plus, I love the idea of diving into the culture behind a language (through movies and food) as it probably makes learning way more fun and happen faster.

Au revoir!

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