As we get deeper into the term, it's easy to feel stuck in this bubble of assignments and midterms. For me, the temptation to hop on the next plane headed far away from here is overwhelmingly powerful.
For those of you who love to always be on the go and ready for the next adventure, you’re probably getting a bit restless.
Personally, the only thing that stops me from taking off is: a) lack of funds and b) lack of time between my midterms and commitments.
Hang in there because I have some ideas for you to refresh your mind (and they’re all free!).
Here are 5 fun ways to satisfy your inner explorer:
1. Explore the Vancouver Public Library
Your classic “get lost in a book” advice. The process is pretty simple—pick up a book that looks interesting, read it until you get bored, and repeat.
The downtown location has 9 floors (plus a new rooftop garden) which means you could definitely make a day out of this. If you’re a temporary resident of Vancouver, or don’t have a library card, you can get a wifi access card from the front desk.
2. Get lost in Vancouver
Yes, I know it’s too cold outside. So put on every sweater you own and get cozy—it’s time to be a tourist in your own city. Or explore more of Vancouver if you’re new!
Check out this illustrated map from a local artist of her favourite neighbourhoods in the city.
3. Plan a trip to one of your bucket list destinations (without actually committing)
If you don’t have the time to leave your room, take a mental break by planning a trip. Whenever I am stuck to my desk and stressed about studying, I like to compare flight prices and vacation deals.
Imagining all the places I can go without actually committing gets me excited and also in a research mindset that helps me delve back into my papers. Make sure to save your research—just in case you actually plan on going down the road!
4. Volunteer at an event that interests you
Volunteering at one-time events is a great way to get exclusive background access. You’ll get to attend for free, meet other cool people, and sometimes there’s free food to thank you for helping out.
I volunteered to do sign-ins at a conference where a Japanese politician discussed contemporary politics between Canada and Japan. The organizers were generous in giving us food, I heard interesting perspectives from other volunteers on the topic, and after my shift I got to personally meet the politician as well!
5. Enjoy a “spa” getaway at the UBC Aquatic Centre
Your UBCcard gives you free, unlimited access to the Aquatic Centre’s sauna and steam room (plus drop-in swimming). It's conveniently located next to the bus loop and the UBC Life Building so you can go between classes.
I recommend alternating between the steam room and sauna to really freshen up your skin—but make sure to drink plenty of water.
Bonus: Actually leave Vancouver and go to the Island
Okay, so this one isn’t free, but totally worth it if you have a day off. If you pack a lunch and have $39 ($34 round trip and $5 cash for a transit day pass) then I highly recommend taking the ferry to Swartz Bay.
Get up early to make the most of this trip. You can catch a bus to the terminal from Bridgeport station, and boats leave frequently between the 2 ports. On the island, you can take any bus which will bring you to Victoria—check out the parliament building, walk along the docks, and take in the west coast vibes.
Just make sure you know when the last ferry is or you’ll be stuck there!
These are just some starters to get you out and exploring—regardless of your budget or how much time you have. Get creative and see your surroundings from a different perspective.
This time, you can’t use “being broke” as an excuse—get out there and explore!