In most travel shows on television these days, they are going to major cities or massive cultural centers around the country, not like Appleton, Wisconsin, for instance. The hosts visit some of the biggest attractions that the U.S. has to offer...places that everyone knows about and has seen before on TV if not in person. Extravagant vacations that cost a lot of money are great, but it's not something that most people can do often. Sometimes you just have to get away from your everyday routine, but that doesn't mean you have to go far from home for that much needed escape. Many a time, all it takes is a round of sangrias and margaritas with friends at your favorite watering hole. Not a big enough escape for you? Pick a place you've never been to before. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new and exciting.
Instead of going to eat at any number of massively franchised restaurant chains, try going to that place that you always drive by and say to yourself that "someday you're going to check that place out." Don't be frightened off by their signs or online menus that talk about their "fusion cuisine." All they're trying to say is that they like to do mash-ups with food and not music. No, they don't just serve "mashed" dishes. They're taking the great things about multiple culinary styles and combining them to create something new and exciting for your taste buds. Fusion cuisine is great because it's still familiar, but different enough that it can really make for some memorable dining experiences. My personal favorite type of cuisine is Latin fusion dining. There's just something about it that stands out for me. It's exotic to a point, but also hearty and filling with so many dynamic flavor profiles that it can be truly hard in deciding what to order.
Don't be afraid of going somewhere new just because you're worried about your gluten sensitivity or allergy. There are plenty of gluten free restaurants in Appleton. Not to mention that pretty much every place that I've been to lately makes sure to point out their gluten free items on their menu if not having a completely separate menu for such things.
I seem to have gone off on a little rant about food, though I would have to say that trying a new place to eat is probably the quickest and easiest way to escape for a bit. You also shouldn't overlook any museums close to you. I believe that you shouldn't ever be able to say that you've never been to the museum/s in the town you live in. They're a great way to get educated on local history and get a little culture while you're at it. Speaking of culture, if you want a major dose of it, just go to your local performing arts theater.
Tim Hiller is a freelance writer that enjoys taking long strolls off the beaten path to discover new types of fusion cuisine, education, and cultural venues. http://www.osorioslatinfusion.com