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I’m Tammy Strobel. Welcome to my digital home!

I’m an author, photographer, and cat lover.

Hope you have a nice stay!

A Simple Guide to Exploring Your Backyard

 "People say you have to travel to see the world. Sometimes I think that if you just stay in one place and keep your eyes open, you're going to see just about all that you can handle." ~Paul Auster, Smoke

Traditionally, vagabonding requires taking an extensive break from your "normal" life. However, you don't have to travel the world to experience an adventure. There are plenty of opportunities right in your backyard.

Last weekend one of my best friends came up to visit and I took her on a number of tiny adventures in Portland. We went on a walking tour of the city, checked out various art galleries, hiked in the park, enjoyed the happy hour scene, and more! It was fun to reconnect with one of my girlfriends and get to know Portland a little better.

Exploring Portland by foot made me realize that I don't have to travel the world to experience a little adventure. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot to be said for traveling extensively. It can change your perspective. However, going on an adventure at home can be just as fun.

If you love exploring, then this post is for you.

Let's get going with a few tips:

1. Slow down.

It's so easy get caught up in the rush of everyday life. So slow down and notice your surroundings. Be mindful of the small details in your own neighborhood.

2. Do all your errands by bike.

Riding a bike is fun and a lot faster than walking or running. You'll be able to cover more ground and can stop along the way to check out local cafes, parks or other city attractions.

3. Walk or run in the early mornings.

Walking or running in the early mornings is a great way to see your city in a new light. The streets are quiet and it's amazing what you'll notice when you're out and about. Every time I go for a walk or run I notice something different in my neighborhood.

4. Take small weekend trips.

Now that Logan is done with his Ph.D. we've been exploring Oregon. We took a lot of bike camping trips this summer, went to the Oregon coast, and by the time you read this post we will be exploring Mt. Hood.

And we're even thinking about taking a few winter bike camping adventures. Camping is inexpensive and a perfect way to reconnect with nature.

5. Explore your local farmer's market.

Attending local markets is a great way to get to know farmers in your community. Plus, buying and cooking new food can be an adventure. If you're feeling adventurous you can plan a field trip to a local farm in your community.

6. Get your volunteer groove on.

Sometimes the best way to explore your neighborhood is by volunteering. When I moved up to Portland, I only knew a few people and realized I needed to get plugged into a volunteer network. I found the perfect home at Living Yoga. I've met amazing new friends through this organization and have gotten to know the yoga community in town.

So if you're not volunteering, consider setting aside a few hours a week to do so. Or sign up for a monthly volunteer day with your family.

7. Try a new restaurant.

I love eating! It's one of my favorite activities. :) Breaking bread with good friends and family members is one of the greatest joys in life.

As I've said before, simple living isn't about austerity. I still spend money, I just try to do so mindfully. When I do spend my cash, I treat myself to small pleasures (like trying out new restaurants).

8. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new.

It's easy to get stuck in everyday routines. So it's incredibly important to try new activities and add diversity to your routine. For example, there are always fun and unique bike related events in Portland. When I first arrived in town I tried to attend as many as possible. One of the most memorable rides was an Art By Bike event. A group of cyclists rode to different art galleries in the city. It was crazy fun and I met a few new friends too.

So sign up for a community event calendar and attend different events. You'll be amazed by all the interesting people you meet.

9. Go with the flow.

Planning has it's place. But, sometimes it's nice to go with the flow by taking opportunities as they arise. Incorporate extra time and flexibility in your schedule to explore so you don't have to rush.

Remember, there's no need to rush. Be mindful, observe your surroundings, and have fun!

"Think of mindfulness as 'hanging out, happily.' Don't expect a radically altered mind state - unless felling happy and relaxed is radical for you. Happy and relaxed probably will happen...But having an agenda adds unnecessary and unrealistic complexity to what should be simple." ~Sylvia Boorstein


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