While it’s no secret that we love packing our bags and heading out of town to explore – be it for one night or two weeks – we also make sure to explore our local area during the days we are at home. Part of the draw of the Pacific Northwest for us, outside of the obvious job opportunities and family connections, is that it is simply a great place to live with a lot of things to do and see without having to hop in the car or on a plane to go visit somewhere else.
This past Saturday, my husband’s godfather was in town again for the weekend, and the four of us, plus our roommate, made the three mile walk down the hill through some lovely back road neighborhood streets to one of our local breweries. It was a beautiful sunny day in the low seventies and we took our time on the walk, stopping at a park for our son to play a while on our way down.
By the time we reached the brewery, it was closing in on dinnertime, so we ordered tacos from the food truck and hung out at one of the tables outside the brewery for a couple of hours. We invited our neighbors down, and they stopped by for a bit before heading out for a date in the evening, and we all just had a lovely time, trying some awesome new beers, enjoying the sunshine, and generally having a relaxing afternoon.
Breweries tend to be great frugal hang out spots because they usually have reasonably priced beer, good places to hang out for a while (oftentimes toys for the kids), and more often than not, they don’t sell their own food so you can either bring your own with you or order from a food truck when available. This trip, we purposefully decided to go the food truck route, and the tacos were awesome.
Since food trucks are considerably cheaper than a sit down restaurant, and the beer at a brewery is cheaper as well, so for almost four hours of entertainment, we spent just $40. Not free, but pretty dang frugal compared to how quickly you can spend $40 elsewhere.
We had originally planned on taking the bus back home since we live at the very stop of a long, steep hill, but the transit schedule was shortened recently and the buses stopped running at 7PM. We weren’t ready to head home that early, so we decided to walk back home when we were ready, which ended up being close to 9PM. The kiddo decided he wanted to run home, so we actually “jogged” the first three quarters of a mile home, past where we crossed the bridge over the slough right as the sun was setting.
From there, we continued up the road until we were able to access the trails that enter the state park near our house, and picked huckleberries to snack on while we made our way up the hill. We got home a little after 10PM, tired and happy from a long day (and somehow the little guy stayed up and happy for all of it).
Why Local Adventures Matter – And Why You Should Take Them Often
We may not have gone on a big weekend adventure this time around like we so often do, but we work on finding time in every week to go out and do something fun around town. A large positive of my reduced work schedule is that I am able to fit in our regular appointments and household chores into week days most of the time, which leaves our weekends to have little adventures instead of spending our time running around to the grocery store, the pet store, doing laundry, and all the normal things that usually get pushed to the weekend when both partners are at work during the week.
We are a good decade or more from being financially independent, and have no plans to ever fully retire, but that doesn’t mean we want to wait to enjoy our regular weeks while we’re in the stage of life of work and a young child. We are intentional about how we spend our days and our weekends, and they most often look like this past one, either at home or away. We may not have big chunks of time for vacation very often, but all we need is a few hours in the evening to have a great time.
Too many times I read about people putting off making their every day good while focusing on some day reaching FI, but I don’t want to put my life on hold in the meantime. We’ll spend a little more money, take a whole bunch more adventures, and reach financial independence a little bit later, but a week doesn’t go by without doing something a little special, and that’s worth a whole lot more to us than a magic number.
If you want to read more about a family that has really taken this idea to heart, head over to Adventure Rich, where Mrs. AR really goes into detail about how they’ve taken advantage of adjusting their life in the present without waiting for that elusive number that lets them know they are financially independent.