Wanderlust: Minimalist Friendly Vacation Ideas

The minimalist idea of amassing experiences instead of things helps pare down possessions and say just say no to new things that catch your eye, but the idea is no help when it comes to wanderlust. We take a family vacation once a year, or two long weekends each year. But man, how I want to go everywhere all at once! We’ve caught the travel bug and spend all together too many hours sharing ideas about where to go next.

This year we’ve narrowed our options. Any vacation can be minimalist friendly but some places are designed with consumption in mind. Disney vacations, for example, focus on the act of consumption. So Mickey is out of the question. All theme parks are about consumption, to one degree or another, so they’re out too. With the big name attractions off the list it was easier to find these five minimalist friendly vacations.

vacay

  • The ocean. Whichever one is closest to you is your best option. There are no lines, there’s no paid parking, no overpriced souvenir shops with glitter and glitz. What you will find though, is miles of beaches for combing, waves for riding, and tide pools for exploring.
  • The Rocky Mountains. Hiking! Camping! Beautiful vistas! Sunsets! Campfires! Skiing! Snow or awesome quartz rocks and lush green grass.  Are you getting the picture?
  • Rt. 66. Depending on where you live this can be a day trip or you can go the full length of the mother road. Find and photograph the rusty vehicles before they melt away. Drive with the windows down and lrt you hand ride the wind. Let your permit carrying 15 yr old try the straight-aways. Swear off all fast food chains. This becomes more challenging and fun as the trip goes on.
  • Underground. Looking for a bargain? Explore the cutthroat, underground markets of the nearest big city. Kidding… Caving is a lot more fun than it sounds, especially in the summer. There are three types of caves: explored, semi-explored, and wild. Having visited some explored caves the semi-explored ones sound like fun, but I think we’ll leave the wild ones be. There’s a fungus sweeping from cave system to cave system across Central and North America. By traveling from cave to cave, explorers are spreading White Nose Fungus and bats are dying. Bats eat bugs, mostly moths and mosquitoes. Less bats = more mosquitoes! Nooooooo!
  • The desert. “Go West young person!” If you have not yet, please do, go camping in the desert. Aim for spring or fall: winter nights are too cold and summer days are like visiting hell, not kidding. The abundance of wildlife in the fall is astounding. If you can see it in the fall, after a good rain, you’ll see all the flowers too. It’s just so beautiful.

So there you have it! A quick list of minimalist friendly and inexpensive vacation ideas. Until next time, Happy Travels!

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Home from Vacation

louisiana

This year we went to Louisiana for vacation; beautiful state, great people. In March the weather is nice but the mosquitoes are not. The Atchafalaya basin is overwhelming, like an alien landscape straight out of a science fiction novel.

atchafalaya

We were lucky enough to visit two families on our trip. In Baton Rouge we met our first internet friends who treated to a dinner at Chimes, a local eatery with regional delicacies. The restaurant has a lively atmosphere that our conversation matched. We ordered, gumbo, etouffee, a shrimp poboy, and the spiciest pepper-jack, jalapeno, bacon-burger ever. Fat and happy, we nibbled on sweet and flavorful, peppered French fries.

We also visited New Orleans; the garden district is in bloom, the warehouse district’s museums are interesting, and Bourbon Street is loud and stinky. We went just after lunch, at about two o’clock in the afternoon, and saw a number of other families with teenagers in tow. Honestly though, I can’t image how anyone could enjoy the noise and filth of that street at 2am.

While on Grand Isle we battled through the swarms of mosquitoes to get to the beach and practice some beachcombing. We arrived a few hours after low tide, but still had plenty of beach to search. The tide was coming in with the marine layer and the water was choppy. It started raining as we left. Not wanting to leave the Isle we stopped at a local mom and pop diner called Yum! with a great stuffed crab recipe. The locals came and went with their to-go orders as the rain washed over the tin awnings.

In Sunset, (just north of Lafayette) we visited with our second family of internet friends, and spent more than an hour just talking. Our new friends sent us on our way with three handmade, backyard welded, lawn ornaments; a puppy, a tall lawn flower, and a railroad spiked mosquito. They are sure to sneak into a garden picture sooner or later.

Maintaining our healthy(ish) locavore diet is always tricky when we leave the comfort of home. Luckily, our Cajun friends in Sunset are locavores too! We stopped at a roadside vegetable stand and bought some goodies. Two homemade jars of black bean salsa, two commercial jars of local, raw, all natural Louisiana honey, and a homemade jar of Muscadine jelly with a basket of free strawberries thrown in to sweeten the deal. Mon cher, let me tell you somethin’, this is the stuff!  The honey and jelly are rich and earthy, you can taste the nutrients in every bite.

farmer stand

So this year we learned how to maintain locavore status on vacation. Step one: Ask the locals. Step two: Stop at farmer’s stalls on the side of the road. Step three: Local fast food chains count if you don’t mind some simple heresy.