How To Feel Like You Got Away From The City When You Can’t

June 1, 2018  |  
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As someone who lives in a big city—right in the center of it, from which getting to the outside of it takes at least 45 minutes in no traffic (and there is never no traffic) I understand that itch to get out of the metropolitan area. I also understand the panic that comes when you cannot scratch that itch. But sometimes, getting truly out of the city would require paying for a hotel room and a lot of gas. Sometimes, I just don’t have the time it would take to truly leave the cosmopolitan area. If I’m going to make the two to four-hour drive to some of the surrounding nature-heavy destinations, I’d like to be able to dedicate at least 36 hours to being there. But often, my schedule just won’t allow that. So, how do I feel that I get out of the city (so I don’t go insane) when I can’t actually get out of the city? I go to some of these places instead.

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Visit salt rock caves

Many large cities are picking up on the fact that those seeking a retreat love salt rock caves. When you visit these, you’ll instantly feel like you’re far from the city and deep in the Himalayan Mountains. Himalayan salt rocks can increase serotonin in the brain, making them deeply relaxing.

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Turn your room into an oasis

You can always turn your own room into an oasis by adding photos of nature, adding aromatic essential oils that smell like pine or the ocean, painting the walls a calming color like blue, and getting sound and light-blocking curtains.

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Take a spa day

There are probably several lovely day spas in your city that offer total escape from the bustling sidewalks. They have soundproof walls, soothing music, Jacuzzis, saunas, and even quiet rooms where you’re just meant to meditate, nap, and relax.

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Visit botanical gardens

You don’t need to go far to feel immersed in nature. If you live in a major city, then you can probably visit a botanical garden. Within these walls, you won’t even know that traffic is whizzing by on the other side.

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Visit a library

Hey, at least it will be quiet! Perhaps especially so since people are more into reading on their tablets these days. The smell of old books and those long hallways, full of shelves of classic stories you can get lost in, will take you far, far away from your troubles.

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Find a friend with a roof

Find a friend with a rooftop hangout area. If you can’t, then find a tall hotel with a rooftop bar. If you can’t leave the city, at least you can rise above it (literally) and see beyond it.

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Find a tearoom

Tearooms take great pains to make sure their establishments are quiet and serene. And they’re typically decorated to look like they’re in a different era and even country.

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Visit a meditation center

Meditation centers are, naturally, designed to be very quiet and peaceful places. Many offer package deals so you can enjoy daily or weekly group meditations, in a wonderfully soothing environment, for little money.

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Visit a Japanese garden

If you can find a Japanese garden (perhaps in a history museum), go there. They are specifically set up to create an inner sense of calm.

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Bring nature indoors

Add plants inside of your home, along with a miniature Zen sand garden, and a sound machine that plays noises from the rain forest or beach.

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Just walk

Sometimes, the reason being in the city feels so stifling is because we don’t really enjoy it. We’re just in our cars or on the metro, going to and from the same places, always in a rush. So take a day to be on foot all day. You might encounter charming little places you didn’t know were there.

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Find a hotel with an isolated pool

Many hotels will allow non-guests to use the pool for a small fee (typically $20 to $30). If you can find one with a truly isolated pool—some have them on the roof, or in the very center, indoors—you’ll experience a total escape.

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Visit a historic place of worship

Most churches, temples, and other places of worship can be very tranquil places. It couldn’t hurt to visit a gorgeous, historical one while you’re at it so you can travel back in time and feel the energy of centuries of spiritual gurus around you.

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Find the inner sanctum of a museum

If your city has a massive museum, featuring several structures, then in the very center of that mini-city you should find the inner sanctum. This is just the most inner point of the museum, where you won’t be able to hear or see the city anymore. And, since it’s a museum, visitors are asked to be quiet.

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Get on a lake (even a fake one)

While you may be an hour’s drive from a proper lake, some of your city parks may have fake lakes where you can rent kayaks or paddle boats. Just go sit out on the center of the water with a book.

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