Lately, I’ve been getting a fair number of emails that talk about how the person doesn’t have the money to enjoy travel – even if they have enough for airfare. Here are a few ideas to let you know what I think of that idea – some of you who have been reading here for a decade or more may remember that this site began as a companion to my book Rough Living: Tips and Tales of a Vagabond – All I can say is that if I can do it, you can do it. (This by the way, was the book that put the Vago in front of Chris Damitio)
Entertainment, Recreation, and Leisure
You’ve got all the time in the world. What do you want to do with it? So what if you don’t have any money….here are a few suggestions….
Every city I’ve been to has parks. Parks are wonderful. Sit in a park. Play sports in the park. Read in the park. The park is a place where you are allowed to be without having to pay anything. Except in China where you have to pay to go in the parks. Respect the parks. If you can’t think of anything else to do, pick garbage up from around the park.
All you need to run is a pair of shoes. You don’t need $100 Nikes. You can use $5 shoes or shoes you find in the garbage. Tennis is free in most US parks. A racket will run you a couple of bucks at the thrift store and you can bounce the ball on the wall all day long. There are Frisbee golf courses all over the Northwest; swimming is free if you have a river, lake, or ocean.All over the world, people are stoked when a foreigner wants to play soccer (football). Hiking costs you nothing.
Not only that, but sports make you feel good. They make your body strong. They make your life longer.
I’m still not a big fan of watching sports. I can take it or leave it but there are plenty of places you can watch sports too.
Most cities offer free or cheap classes in all kinds of things. You can get a class in first aid, in CPR, researching your genealogy, language, yoga, tai chi or anything under the sun. Do a bit of research.. Go to a university or library and ask about classes.
If Ben Franklin were alive I would write him a heartfelt thank you letter for creating the world’s first public library. The public library is your gateway to your future. You can study a new career, take classes, watch videos, attend meetings, use the internet, or find out about anything. Ask the research librarian about anything you want to find out and she will love helping you. Be sure to say thanks. If you are in a country without libraries – why not make it your mission to start one?
There are free concerts in cafes, city centers, malls, parks, and shopping centers. Weddings and births often have free music. Pick up a local paper and read the events section or ask someone where you can hear music – better yet, just wander around until you hear music and let your ears lead you there.
I never liked malls before going to the Philippines. Think about it though. They are free. They have neat stuff you can play with. Sometimes they have concerts. You can people watch to your hearts content in the mall. You can even escape the heat or cold in the mall. Malls are fun. Malls, souqs, flea markets, shopping centers and anywhere else people gather things to sell. You don’t have to buy anything.
Most cities have cheap theatres. In Honolulu it costs you about a buck to watch a movie. In Portland you can watch art films for a couple of bucks and drink beer while you’re doing it. In Fez, Morocco you can see a film for about $2. There are even fifty cent theatres where you can watch second run films in some cities. While it may not be free, a movie can be a cheap option for air conditioning, heat or to relieve your boredom. Go see a movie – especially in another language.
Visit some folks you haven’t seen in a while. Make some new friends. Sit in the park and chat with a stranger.
Reading can give you ideas. It can whisk you away to another time and place. It can allow you to discover yourself or live the life of someone else. There are too many people who don’t take the time to read a book because they are working too much, watching too much TV, and wasting their lives on worthless trash. Want to find something to read? Go to an expat cafe or hostel.
Learning on your own
Just because you can’t afford to go to college doesn’t mean you can’t get an education. Watch Good Will Hunting if you want to be inspired. Use the library. Learn a language, learn about astronomy, biology, medicine, law, or math.
Scientists say that when people stop learning the dendrites in their brains begin to shrivel up. Autopsies have revealed that Alzheimer’s patients have the most shriveled dendrites.
Learn or die.