I’ve been reading Tim Ferriss’s new book, The 4 Hour Workweek, and have been intrigued by his concept of escaping your job and becoming a world traveler. Tim relates many amazing adventures all over the world, from Argentina to Berlin, and many unique places in between. The cool thing is the price. Many of his escapes cost less than staying home and you live like a king, with luxurious surroundings and gourmet food.
While I would like to escape for 6 months or a year, my current reality is a long weekend once a month. Taking Tim’s lead, I ask the question… what exciting places can we go over a three day weekend that will allow us to escape reality and enjoy beautiful surroundings and amazing food?
To make a three day weekend work, our destination needs to be reasonably close to home. We don’t want to spend it driving for hours on end. Over the past few years my wife and I have had some amazing adventures within a few hours of our house. We live in the Southern California area, so there is a lot to see and do, but I think these ideas will work for many locations.
Here are two exciting escapes we have taken that didn’t cost a fortune, provide wonderful surroundings and have amazing food.
Number One: The Great Taco Adventure. This is a lot of fun. Grab a local magazine or find a citywalk website that lists the best cuisine in a nearby city, such as the best burgers, steaks, tacos, etc. Find three different restaurants that sound interesting and plan a day trip to each one.
My wife, daughter, and I did this a few years back. We called it the Great Taco Adventure as we headed off to experience the best Taco’s in Southern California. We had read reviews that readers of Sunset Magazine had written in and we picked three restaurants within two hours of home.
Our adventure started with Yucatan cuisine in Mentone, California on the first day. We had incredible Lamb Tacos at a little place called Casa Maya. The decor was straight out of South America and the hospitality was great.
Day two had us in Downtown Riverside with authentic street tacos. Riverside is a great town to explore and the food in this restaurant was very tasty. The restaurant looked like a large box, but the service and hospitality was anything but ordinary.
Day three took us to a sidewalk surf shack in Point Loma, outside of San Diego. The owner of this small restaurant wore a one-off Hawaiian shirt and had a personality to match. His cook named Maria made some of the best tacos and enchiladas I have ever tasted. This place just oozed personality and just sitting and watching the locals was worth the drive.
Three days and three interesting adventures. We met people from different cultures, ate amazing food, and sat in some of the most varied surroundings imaginable… all within two hours of home.
Number Two: Bed & Breakfast Wonderland. Imagine an 1890’s Victorian home, with each room inhabited by a different character from Alice in Wonderland. You walk through the door to find the smell of blueberry scones baking in the oven and a carafe of wine on the veranda. You are soon talking with people from all over the country. There is a professor from a college in New York, a real estate developer from Las Vegas, and honeymooner’s from San Francisco.
After an afternoon of small talk you take a short walk down State street to find a little restaurant named Downeys. You already have reservations and spend the evening enjoying grilled duck, exotic vegetables, and a fresh raspberry-white chocolate Mille Feuille.
As you walk back to your room, the eclectic nightlife of Santa Barbara draws you in. The soft sounds of smooth jazz are soon replaced with the strong beat of a Caribbean quartet. As you walk further you notice the flowering Jacaranda trees in bloom and the sun dropping over an incredible skyline.
This is the first of three wonderful days in this coastal paradise. You spend time at the pier and white sand beach and finish up your trio of days at a small bistro named Louie’s. You accommodation’s at the Cheshire Cat B&B and all the dining and afternoon amenities were less than $450. What felt like an exotic foreign destination was less than three hours from home.
As you can see, you don’t have to travel around the world to find adventure. Sometimes it’s right in your own backyard. Why not pull out a local map, find a theme, and start an adventure. Take a Friday or Monday off, escape the 9-5 and get lost in a nearby wonderland. You’ll be glad you did!