Guest Post #3: ​Only Rule is…There are NO Rules

Editor's Note: Natalie has been a good friend of mine since art class, the summer of 2015. She's a Yogi, gymnast and free spirit and is generally a joy to be around. Apparently she used to pick fights, but I could never imagine the sweet girl of today doing that, although I could see a glimmer of it back in last June.

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“What do you want to do today?”

“I haven’t a clue…”

“Perfect.”

If you know me you know I have a boyfriend, or even if you don’t, you know now because I just told you. You’re welcome.

Seriously though, my boyfriend is like my best friend, and we obviously love hanging out with each other.  Sitting at home watching television gets boring though.  During school, sitting around and doing homework together is quite productive, but boring.  Cooking together is exciting at first, but gets boring.  And of course being a poor college student, going out and doing anything exciting is so fun, but expensive.  Money is such an issue and the lack of it literally can keep you locked in your house for days.  My bf and I are very active people so let me clarify…we hate sitting around for long periods of time.

“Have you ever been to Red Bank?” my bf’s mother asked me.

“No, where’s that?” I responded.

She tells her son, “You should take her to Red Bank!” and so it began.

Originally, my bf’s mother suggested Red Bank because of a coffee place that was there.  She knew I loved coffee and she believed the coffee from there was amazing (which it was—if you’re interesting it’s called Rook).  So that was our first stop.  After I got my coffee we really had nowhere else to go and no desire to spend money, so we just walked.

We passed by restaurants and stores and people; we commented on all the names of the restaurants, pet some dogs that their owners were walking, and browsed random stores.  It was really nice to first of all, just get and move. And it was also just really nice to spend time with a best friend and boyfriend, talking about anything that comes up as we explore the changing scenery.

Now to be honest, a little money was spent because of course we had to drive to the town, which is why our next town was my home town.  We can’t avoid a little driving because my bf doesn’t live near me sadly, so next time he visited me, there was no extra driving. We walked around my home town, and it worked out well because I knew where the parks were, where specific stores were, and where the cheapest places to eat were.  To keep it interesting for me I went into stores I’ve never been to and walked around areas I’ve only driven past.

The next town was because it was close to my home town, and I had heard good things about it.  It was almost the same size as my town, which is moderately large, but of course I didn’t know the area so can you guess what happened? If not I’ll just tell you. We got a little lost, which made it all the more fun.  We once again got to enjoy each other’s company while exploring an area with new and/or unique stores and restaurants, and on top of that we got to test ourselves a little as we found our way back to the car at the end of the day.

Do you see a pattern forming? Town after town we explored, tried new restaurants, met a few people and dogs, and got a lot of cool pictures! Believe it or not a lot of towns have nice architecture and parks to make the area look nice or in some cases serve as a memorial for something.  Some towns had more fancy stores to window shop in, some had more parks, some had more cheap stores that we could buy silly things, and some had unique restaurants with food that was fun to try for the first time (we went to Inspiration Roll for sushi burritos—super fun and delicious).  We went to one or two places with boardwalks and even though we didn’t pay to get on the beach, the view was still amazing and the area was so inviting.

You’d never notice the nice little things hiding in the most random places in towns you just drive through without a care.  It really serves well to stop and smell the flowers. Or stop for yoga pictures in a park. Whatever suits your fancy or peach or something.  So really just pick anywhere new and explore! No rules, no complications.  You never know what you’ll find and the only thing you’ll ever need to pay for is a little gas and, depending on the place and the time, parking for a few hours.  AND if exploring blindly is too scary, I have done the same thing with my family and simply picked one place we wanted to go in a new town, and explore before or after going to that place.  By the way, walking is great exercise. Just saying ☺

Ideas for towns?  I went to Red Bank, Summit, Westfield, Morristown, New Brunswick, Middletown, Fords in Woodbridge, Asbury Park, and of course Wildwood and Cape May.