Local travel is probably more important than international exploring. Here’s why.
If you’re following LBP on social media, you’ve probably noticed a project underway with Autostraddle. The GET OUT THERE local travel challenge is a new miniseries that encourages you and all your gal pals to explore your surrounding communities.
But I wanted to take a moment to explain why I think local travel is so important.
This isn’t the first time I’ve focused on the being a tourist in your own city. I’ve featured local travelers before in the Local Nomad blog series here on LBP.
So, why this emphasis on exploring what’s around you? This is a backpacking blog, right?? Shouldn’t my focus be on international travel? NO! And let me tell you why…
1. Local travel is way, way, way cheaper than going abroad.
Duh, right? I’m NOT saying that you shouldn’t explore the world. Obviously, there is something really magical about being able to do that. HOWEVER, there are all these blogs and articles out there about quitting your job to jet-set around the globe. I’m glad this worked for these people, but I have to say, in general, that’s not going to give you the carefree travel experience you’re craving. There are very few (privileged) people who can drop their job and see the world.
Save your pennies (for your bigger trip?) and still be an explorer by adventuring around you.
2. Local travel can satiate your desire for adventure.
You know that feeling when you’re tired of your hometown? When you romanticize late night romps in the woods or car rides through forests with a window down and wind in your hair? When you just want to be anywhere other than there?
Let me tell you: small town, big town, that feeling happens. Sometimes we experience ruts with the places in our lives, which is similar to the moments of doubt we experience with the people we love. And there are times, much like in relationships, when we should move on to perpetuate self growth.
But leaving isn’t always an option and being down and resentful of the place that you’re from is only going to hurt you. While it might seem counterintuitive, sometimes the best option is to invest yourself more in a place (or a person). Supersede your ill-feelings for a moment and climb a mountain you never explored, camp at a site you’ve never been to, learn about the wildlife and nature around you.
Think about it as an experiment in your happiness. Don’t put any pressure on the outcome. Just see if exploring what’s around you strengthens your connection to the place. You might find there are things you can love about your hometown that you never noticed before.
3. Break the stereotypical image of a traveler.
I honestly think that the travel industry right now is aiming to target millennial women. Have you heard the statistic that solo female travel boards have increased 350% on Pinterest since 2014? I think it’s amazing that women are inspiring themselves to explore more and to shed this idea that it’s unsafe for women to travel alone in the world.
But here’s my problem: when women want to spend money to do something, marketers and advertisers also take up the cause. Women these days will be bombarded with images and content that display happy, spiritually fulfilled women who have taken ethnically diverse lovers on sandy remote beaches. And there’s nothing wrong with this fantasy!!
But because so many of us are just making Pinterest boards and undoubtably sighing away over the adventure we wish we were having, I’m going to take a moment to stop and say: BREAK THIS STEREOTYPE. You do not have to go abroad to have adventure. You can be the woman with an adventurous streak and laughter in her eyes. It just takes a little planning and action.
4. You control the local narrative.
When you make it your mission to explore your hometown, you are crafting your own narrative about the place. This is so important when it comes to cultural memory, which is the way a collective group of people recollect a certain event or place. You tell the stories that you’ve made to your friends – this inspires them to GET OUT THERE and explore their town, too. Maybe you talk about your city on a trip abroad and a foreigner falls in love with the way you’ve crafted your tale. There are boundless reasons why investing in local travel will enrich your life.
On top of this, purchasing local and supporting your hometown independent stores and shops is a great way to give back to your community. By doing these, you might even become friends with local shopkeepers or restauranteurs. Maybe you’ll meet another townie with a thirst for local adventure just like you! BOOM a new friend or love interest.
Either way, you efforts to explore you city become apart of the local narrative. Which is worth a lot when you think about it.
Feeling inspired? Check out these resources below to get you out and about:
Or make your own!
You can create your own photo scavenger hunt! Make a list of photos you’d like to take and then set yourself out on a challenge to take them all. For an added bonus, use a disposable camera to be surprised by the outcome when you’re done. You could even make a scrapbook to keep the memories.