'Tis the season to cook in your backyard and sleep under the stars. With temperatures lingering in the triple digits, summer certainly arrived with a bang this year, and some of us are already wondering how we're going to make it until September. But heat is just one of the things that makes summer stand out from its sister seasons.
Summer is a great time to practice unplugging from the daily stresses of a technologically-saturated life. Remember what it's like to sit on a porch swing and chat with your friends in person? When's the last time you took a hike or roasted a marshmallow, or took your kids on a road trip?
The glorious feel of summer is the perfect excuse to reconnect with yourself and the community in which you live. Summer adventures don't have to be expensive or time-consuming to plan. In fact, switching your focus from buying to sharing can help create an affordable, sustainable, summer experience that you'll be talking about all year long.
There are lots of ways to make this the summer of sharing, but here are four of our favorites. Be sure to share your own ideas below in a comment!
1. Play In The Dirt
Image via hoyasmeg/Flickr
Gardening, even the balcony-container kind, is a great way to get out of the house this summer. If you don't have a garden of your own, look around the neighborhood for others that may need some help. Contact a local farm or CSA to see if they're looking for volunteers. Check with your local government to see if there are community gardens that need weeding or watering. In most cases, people will be excited to have an extra set of hands, and they'll compensate you with some of the harvest. If you've suffered from a black thumb in the past, this can be a great way to gain valuable gardening knowledge for free.
2. Get Festive
Image via fotologic/Flickr
Summer is the season of festivals. Dedicated to everything from strawberries to jam bands, these gatherings are a great way to disrupt your normal routine, meet new friends, and gain appreciation for cultures different from your own. Shareable's Cat Johnson recently published a roundup of some of the world’s best all-in, you-are-the-party festivals for those seeking individual and collective activation on a massive scale. If you're looking for something a little closer to home, Festivals.com is an easy-to-search database full of fun events from California to Maine. And there's no rule that you can't throw your own festival if nothing's planned in your area.
3. Hang Out With Strangers
Image courtesy of Tripping.com
Sometimes humans need a change of scenery. If your life mostly consists of sleep, work, couch, it's time to break out of the rut and meet some new places and faces. Traveling is great, but it can be costly if executed in the traditional style. By releasing our inhibitions about "strangers" we can access an entirely new set of travel possibilities. Instead of flying or driving to your favorite destination, think about sharing a ride with others going your way. Once you're there, use services like Airbnb or Couchsurfing to crash with the locals, share a car instead of taking a taxi, and use experience-based marketplaces to book an adventure with someone you've never met!
4. Rock Your Block
Image via Art Institute of Portland/Flickr
If you've got kids, pets, or a job that makes weekend-getaways difficult, you might feel like vacations are just a fantasy you can't afford. But who says fun times only happen when you're far from home? By pooling the responsibilities, costs, and clean up with friends and neighbors, it's possible to create an exotic destinations right in your own backyard. Plan a themed block party, group bike ride, neighborhood barbeque, or rent out the city pool. Every participant can bring a dish and/or a game to play, so everyone contributes to the fun!