Concordia University Ann Arbor’s 2021 summer bucket list

People play frisbee.
People play frisbee. (Courtesy: Concordia University Ann Arbor)

ANN ARBOR – It’s been a long year. Last summer, we came out with a Summer bucket list for you to enjoy in the midst of the pandemic.

That list is still great. Since we all have different needs and comfort levels, you can get inspired from last year’s list or check out our new one for this summer. Our 2021 Summer bucket list includes 8 ideas to help you embrace the summer after a stressful year-and-a-half.

Here are eight ideas for your 2021 Summer bucket list.

#8 Road Trip!

The COVID-19 pandemic caused many of us to postpone our plans. This obviously includes vacations. Many Americans feel safe flying, but there is something nostalgic and fun about getting in a car and hitting the road. It’s a great way to disconnect from grind of everyday life and be present in the moment. If you get the opportunity to take a road trip, it can be a great way to get to know even your friends and family on a deeper level.

You don’t necessarily need to break the bank to take a road trip. Finding a small town, state park, or entertainment venue within a few hours can be enough to scratch the travel itch.

#7 Stay local

This is the exact opposite of a road trip. Instead of packing up and hitting the road, choosing to explore your own city or area could be just the adventure you need. The blog Wanderlust Calls suggests doing all of the touristy stuff. Sure, it might feel a little corny, but you’ll get to experience your city the way visitors do.

If you’re hoping for more of a vacation vibe, you could book a hotel or rental. But, if that’s not your thing, you can explore the local restaurants. Many cities have a foodie scene, but don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never heard of.

#6 Schedule a museum trip

As institutions begin to open up again, consider escaping the summer heat by visiting a museum. Major metropolitan areas often have a good assortment of museums. Some cities offer a broader experience, such as Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. But, don’t miss out on some of the smaller museums that might focus on a more specific field or culture. Museums USA is a museum directory that allows you to search by state and city for museums close to you.

#5 Catch a baseball game

Baseball is often thought of as America’s pastime. It’s okay if you don’t like sports or baseball, specifically. Going to a baseball game can be bigger than just the game itself. Catching a game is an opportunity to gather with others, tailgate, and support your local team. Professional games are often held in bigger cities, which can add to the experience. You can support local business owners while you cheer on your team.

However, you don’t have to go to an MLB game to appreciate America’s pastime. Playing catch with a one or two other people is way underrated. Even playing whiffle ball in the backyard or at a local park will help you unwind. You probably could crush a Little Tykes ball across your little cousin’s backyard…and it will be fun.

#4 Spend quality time with loved ones

Our world has been through a lot over the past year-and-a-half. For many of us, this year has simplified our plans for both the better and the worse. Many of us had to avoid seeing loved ones due to the pandemic. If you can gather safely, summer is a great time to catch up with family and friends that you’ve missed. If you and your crew like to chat, check out these conversation starters that are perfect for lounging at the beach or road-tripping.

Quality time differs from person to person and depends on the relationship. Being intentional with your quality time can help you strengthen your bonds with your loved ones. After a tumultuous year, it can take some time to find the right rhythm when it comes to socializing and quality time with your people. Be gracious to yourself and those around you.

#3 Read a book

This is such a cliché recommendation. But, reading strengthens the complex neurological networks in your brain. Healthline posted a blog about this back in 2019. Not only is reading healthy for your brain, reading can help you grow in empathy. Even if you like to read fiction, getting to know and understand the characters present in the stories you read can translate to real life.

#2 Connect with your church

If you’re connected to a worship community and you feel safe returning, summer is a great time to reconnect with your faith family. Getting back into the routine of in-person worship can be great in summer. You can build in traditions of going to a park or playground afterwards with your family. Even going for a walk or making a habit of catching up with other churchgoers over coffee afterwards is a healthy way to stay connected to your community.

You may have learned the song in Sunday school that ends with the lyric: “The Church is the people.” It’s true. We are the Church together. Not being able to gather for a while was hard, but necessary. As humans, we crave community with God and with each other. If you can safely gather together with your church, take advantage of the laidback summer weekend vibe and dig in.

#1 Try a new outdoor activity

After a year of being socially distanced, gathering together for cookouts and group events can feel awkward and tiring because we’re out of practice. This is why trying a new outdoor activity could be helpful. Joining a rec league for ultimate Frisbee or Spikeball, or learning how to boulder gives you the chance to be social and outside at the same time.

Have a fun, yet restful summer!