Now, perhaps more than ever, I’m finding myself longing for fantastical escapes. I could spend a minute or two detailing what has brought myself and many of you (I’m sure) to this point, but we are faced with it everyday. And rather than shine more light on the beast lurking in our backyard, I want to share 5 ways to physically and mentally escape from the mayhem infecting our current situation. Thank you so much for spending a few minutes with me today and I really hope you take something away from this list.
Let’s get started!
1. Read Fantasy
Many of you already do this. My advice is do it more. And when you’re done with a novel, assign a few tasks to yourself. Write down the characters you found most compelling and make a list of questions you would ask the author about them. Maybe ask a friend of yours to read the same book and once he/she is through with it, make a 10 question quiz for each other. Many fantasy books come with maps printed either at the beginning or the end of the story. Study those maps. Think of other stories that may have taken place in that world. Using your own head canon in conjunction with the established world the author has made can be a lot of fun. At the bottom of this page, I will link to a few independent authors whose fiction work I enjoy very much. I believe you will as well!
2. Create Create Create
One thing that has always bothered me is hearing someone say “I’m just not creative.” That’s nonsense. You are. You are far more creative than you realize or give yourself credit for. It’s faulty thinking to assume creativity is limited to the arts. You apply a level of creativity in your life every single day. If you didn’t, you would never be able to solve any of your own problems. My task for you is to explore a new avenue of creativity. Draw something, even if you’re not a great illustrator. Pick up an instrument, even if you don’t have the most keen ear for music. Build something out of wood, even if you have to watch a thousand YouTube tutorials to get it done. The point is to achieved a feeling of accomplishment. Something that would otherwise not exist, does now because you gave it life. Trust me when I say that that feeling can become very intoxicating. Go make something!
3. Play Video Games
While I do suggest a good novel as your first course of exploring a new world, video games are not without their own avenue of splendor. Whether it’s a game you’ve played before and know to what degree you will escape or it’s a game you haven’t tried yet, video games have the power to transport you in a way that is unique. From climbing the snowy mountains of Skyrim, to slaying a skyscraper sized beast in Shadow of the Colossus, games give you a sense of what it would be like to wield a power beyond our worldly comprehension. While it is safe to monitor your intake of this pass-time and not let too many hours fall off of the clock without moving your body, a quick trip to a far away digital land can be a very fun and exhilarating experience!
4. Start a Podcast
This one is tricky because while it is a very fun way to escape, you need to manage your expectations and start this adventure for the right reasons. Starting a podcast, in recent years has become very easy and very accessible. There are thrivingly successful shows that are recorded on cellphones. The audio isn’t great but the content is golden. If you’re wanting to start your own, understand that the market is completely saturated and you have decent odds that no one outside of you and your close friends will listen to it. That’s also the beauty of it! Think of your podcast as an audio journal. A recorded audio history of your life. Maybe one day your kids will be able to listen to it and learn things about you they didn’t know. It can be a sort of time capsule of your experiences. If you approach it that way, the motivation becomes less about others and more about personal preservation. And also, learning audio production is a useful skill that will surprisingly transfer to many other disciplines.
5. Hike….A Lot!
It doesn’t matter if you live rurally and have quick access to woodland areas or you live in a more metropolitan area, you can find hiking spots. My brother lives in the middle of Chicago, Illinois. He is only an hour to an hour and a half away from a state park with forests and hiking trails. The United States frontier is still very much intact and is waiting for you to explore it! The sounds of nature play like a gorgeous sonata that you never hear the same one twice. Every trip into the mountains is completely unique and teaches you something different about yourself. You don’t need to string up a tent and live there to experience the beauty of it. While camping is always an option, I’ve found that a lengthy hike is more purposeful as it has a conclusion that is in sight, and there for, makes you embrace the moment in a more meaningful way. Hikes are also very enjoyable if you have children. Watching your kids experience the natural world with such youthful glee is something that a parent will cherish forever. Find a way to make those memories. If you live near a forest, explore it, if you don’t, plan a trip to your nearest park and get outside!
The book links mentioned in #1.