Zooey Deschanel loves to travel, but the 38-year-old actress and singer doesn't need to spend a lot to enjoy the place she's visiting. In fact, her No. 1 travel activity is absolutely free: Go on a walk.
"That's actually my favorite thing to do when I travel, is just go and wander around and get the lay of the land," she told CNBC Make it at the launch of Capital One's The Purpose Project in New York City.
Exploring on foot allows Deschanel to discover hidden places she wouldn't find in a guidebook, and to stumble upon local restaurants she might not have noticed otherwise. Sometimes, it's simply a chance to soak up the beauty of the location she's visiting. "Even the facades of the buildings are different," she says. "I love to take in the architecture and the way people live."
"Just taking a walk really gives you an experience of a place that if you're just in a car the whole time you're not going to get," she says.
For Deschanel, travel is about experiencing new things and creating memories, which doesn't have to cost a lot. Growing up in California, she enjoyed taking road trips across the state. "There's so many amazing things to see there," she says. "There are so many national parks, there are amazing cities, there are beautiful beaches, mountains, snow, there's everything. California road trips, for me, have been a really great experience."
Road trips are a tradition she's continued with her own family, she says. A recent vacation that stands out involved driving up the California coast to Monterey and Santa Barbara with her 6-month-old daughter.
Even exploring a new place in your own city can be memorable: Though she lives in L.A., "it's such a big city that even just going to the other side of L.A. to a restaurant that you might not necessarily go to, that's also creating a meaningful moment," she says. "Although it's not technically travel, it's really rewarding."
Wherever you are, she says, "if you can just step outside your comfort zone, you can really find a lot of those great experiences."
As part of her partnership with Capital One's The Purpose Project, Deschanel aims to inspire everyone to find a way to explore new places, regardless of whether that means flying across the world or driving across town. "If every person took a trip this year that they might not have taken, they'll probably find their life is more inspiring and more enriched," she says.
So take a walk, she urges: "It's free. It's beautiful. And it's so enriching, you can really take in a place that way."
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