10 Ways To Expand Your Life While Stuck In Middle America


1. Read, a lot. Reading is a sure fire way to mentally transport yourself somewhere else. The time invested in each book is equivalent to the time spent in that world, so you’re basically getting a vacay without having to move a muscle. The best part? You’re wordy vacations aren’t limited by reality. If you want to go to space, then gosh darn it, you can! If you want to be part of a quirky, magical community in London, you can do that too. If, for whatever reason, you want to be part of a gladiatorial game in a futuristic America, then stock up on some mental fighting tricks and survival techniques, and go for it. You may even learn something valuable as you’re traipsing between pages.

2. Take some artistic liberty from Edward Hopper and begin to appreciate just what makes America, America. There really is something beautiful about the combination of wide open spaces and urbanity that is singular to the middle places of the ‘States. Something is magical about the empty street and stark midday sun, and the group of late night party-goers sitting alone in a dwarfing café. It’s all about how you look at it.

3. Remember that people from all over the world want to visit where you currently live. Start looking at your world with the eyes of a tourist. (But leave the fanny pack in your grandpa’s attic.)

4. Make friends with that person who you recognize but don’t talk to. You know who I’m talking about. In fact, you’re probably within 500 square feet of them. It’s that guy who is always at your favorite coffee shop when you are, but who seems too engrossed in his computer to talk to. It’s that sweet old man who looks like he has some stories under his belt who’s always buying digestive cookies at the supermarket on Saturday mornings. Go and talk to them. There is nothing stopping you from expanding your connections where it matters most (Hint: it’s where you live). For once, take advice from Jessica Simpson: “Life is definitely always about expanding.” So go and expand your world with someone else. People are little galaxies within themselves and what’s holding you back from being a space explorer? That’s right. Nothing.

5. Get involved in the places you go most. Volunteering may be the best way to invest in what matters to you, and you’re helping people while you’re doing it.

6. Talk to some of the homeless people living in your town. These people are some of the most interesting beings you will ever meet and they will most definitely expand your perspective.

7. Even if you’re not planning on traveling soon, act like you are. This even includes making hypothetical travel plans to the places you’ve always wanted to go. Do your research, it may come in handy someday when you’re circling the globe. Pinterest in great for this.

8. The internet makes stationary travel super easy, but don’t get sucked into wishing you were somewhere else instead of learning to appreciate where you are now. While the occasional break from reality is refreshing, spend most of your time investing in the present.

9. Make use of the nature around you, and spend as much time outside as possible. Get in touch with your inner granola and take a walk around the park, hike, or ski. Do whatever your area offers by way of outdoor activities. You’ll probably meet people with similar interests on the trails and experience something new in a familiar place.

10. Give lots of hugs. 

image – Nebraska