While some people envy those hopping around Europe, touring Asia, or soaking up the sun on the exoxotice beaches of Bali, I sort of envy the complete opposite vibe of all that. Granted, I want to visit more outside the United States in the future, and a luxurious Mediterranean cruise sounds lovely once in a while. However, those destinations are not that pressing because even though I’ve traveled to a good portion of the United States, there is still so much to this big ol’ country I have yet to explore. And really, I have always thought it silly to visit all the other countries (unless an inexpensive or rare opportunity presents itself) before first getting to know your own country.
The hubs and I have a few surrounding areas we want to visit while living in the Pacific Northwest, and we are slowly knocking those off our list. And lately, my dream vacation has just been a good old fashioned road trip. Specifically, there’s something to be said for a classic American cross country road trip. Even though we basically did that on our move out to Seattle from Columbus, Ohio, I am excited to do a different route on our move to the New England area in the near future.
So, what are the advantages for us Americans to travel around our own backyard?
Perspective & Knowledge~
By traveling around and essentially being a tourist in your own city, state, and country, you can gain a new appreciation for your home. I have lived in several different cities in the United States, and it amazes me how many people I come across, born and raised, living in those cities, who do not know of a certain activity or place that I mention. Get out there and explore your own home, people! Find a new favorite restaurant. Find a new activity. Find a ‘new to you’ little hidden spot. And then when you have family and friends visiting, you will actually have a list of things and places for them to do and see in your own hometown.
As for the rest of the country…the United States is big, y’all. There are so many places to explore! Big cities, small quaint towns, mountains, forests, beaches, deserts. The culture and history are so different throughout the United States, and sometimes even within a state. It’s so fascinating! And, it’s definitely interesting to meet different people across the U.S. We are a very diverse country, and there are quite a few characters out there!
Cost & Time~
Let’s be honest. Travel can be expensive, and not all of us have the funds or the time to spare for something that is deemed nonessential. So, don’t be bummed you can’t afford a trip to Europe or Asia or whatnot. Do a day trip to some nearby place. Do an extended weekend to the nearest big city. Or get away from it all and unplug out in the forest, mountains, or on the beach. Last October, the husband and I rented a cabin out in the woods of Mt. Hood. We snuggled by the fire with our pups, drank wine, and listened to records while it rained the entire weekend. It was bliss and a much needed break. The beauty of doing these mini vacations is that you may be able to splurge for a couple or so a year instead of just doing one big vacation a year or even less often. And how that may be more beneficial brings me to…
I think we all know that buzz…that excitement leading up to a vacation. Most people usually find the planning aspect of a vacation just as a fun as the vacation itself. I know I do! So, if you do more mini vacations throughout the year that are geographically closer to your home and probably less expensive than just one longer, epic vacation a year, you will most likely have a sunnier and more zen-like outlook on life. “People are likely to derive more happiness from two or more short breaks spread throughout the year, rather than having just a single longer vacation once a year.”
If you do more traveling in your own area, you could go solo, with your partner or family, or with your friends. Taking cost, time, and location into consideration definitely allows for more feasibility to travel with family or friends if you wish. Or if you need some alone time with your honey, a mini vacay with its shorter time away from home makes it easier to pawn off your little ones at grandma’s house, find someone willing to look after your home if that’s a concern, or enlist a trustworthy caretaker for your pets and/or save money on boarding. There are so many options when you think closer to home.
Live In The Moment~
Essentially, exploration should be a part of your everyday life. Not necessarily meaning you should travel every damn day, but that you should have your eyes, ears…all your senses open to your surroundings. Try a different route home from work. Try that new café on your lunch break. Make a point to do a day trip (or even just a half-day) once a month or so. Living your day to day life with a travel mentality will help you to be more present in the moment. And, being more present will give you a greater appreciation for your little piece of this beautiful country.