I’ve learned too many lessons from returning home and readjusting to my new home in the US of A. Most valuable of them all has been to embrace local travel as an absolutely okay way to get around and explore the world. It’s easy and can start with a short walk outside the front door or by giving time in one’s own community, volunteering to help those in need. Local travelers also save carbon by minimizing time in airplanes and by traveling shorter distances. By doing all the above, you’ll realize that a local travel life is still filled with discovery and that it might just save the world at the same time.
Discover Local Travel and Save the World
The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land. – G.K. Chesterton
What is Local Travel?
Time, money and fortune enable many folks to go on long trips to far-flung places throughout the globe. If you travel locally, it’s possible to find similarly beautiful yet previously ignored things and that lie close and around the corner. I stumble onto wonderful sights all the time, including this artist who was painting pear blossoms blooming in our apartment complex in Durham. When I’m not walking around my digs, Christina and I are driving around touching spots on the map that’s hanging on our wall. Do you have a map of your surroundings? We make highlights on ours and have done so in every place we’ve lived so far!
Local Travel is Easy
How does one get started when traveling locally? It should be so obvious that the question looks and sounds ridiculous as you read it to your inner monologue or packed arena! Hey, one can dream. Anyway, walking around is one of my favorite ways to travel and it’s also the easiest for those who are willing and able. Consider yourself leveled-up if you can handle a skateboard or have access to a bike-sharing system because your local travel capabilities just picked up the pace. One of my favorite things about life in Korea was the ease of renting a bicycle. I wish the US would get on board because renting a bike could be the beginning of an exciting local travel day.
Glamorous Local Travel
I get the notion that nearby neighborhoods or city parks sound boring so if you must, pack the car with some friends, snacks, and coffee for a drive to somewhere far enough away to call for a road trip or day trip. You don’t have to pack much for a day trip and if you’re lucky enough to live in a place like North Carolina, then you have tons of places to visit nearby! Even if you don’t have this type of awesomeness at your doorstep, I bet there’s a fun festival or event nearby that’s worth seeing. Maybe it’s going on in a far-flung corner of your city, state, or country and that’s why humans invented the road trip.
Travel Locally and Give back
Amazing people have volunteered here and abroad, and that’s why I reached out to my friend Amelia (from Pretty in the Queen City) for help after interviewing her. Within an instant, she showed me tons of places to volunteer in my town even. Amelia amazed me with the quickness that she found them but I remembered that she’s quite experienced in giving back. I’m so fortunate to have met her during our voluntourism-inspired cruise with Fathom. Whether or not you’ve traveled and volunteered, have you ever thought about doing something like this in your own community? If not, you should check out local opportunities through sites like Volunteer Match, word of mouth via friends, or at your local town, city, or county offices.
Save the World through Local Travel
If walking and volunteering aren’t enough to convince one about the wonders of local travel, how about the carbon cost of air travel? Trust me. I’ve taken my fair share of plane rides and have a daily commute on a clogged highway. I know too many people in the world who don’t have time to reach Cambodia by bicycle. Now, I don’t want to discourage anyone from seeing Angkor Wat or other places to visit in that wonderful country. I understand your wish to travel the world via planes, trains, and automobiles but think about just how much energy can be saved by sacrificing a vacation or two (if you’ve got them to spare, of course) through some local travel.
Things may change as airline technology moves toward a friendly footprint but for now, travel locally at least part of the time and you’ll be doing the planet a favor. It’s not boring and easy to step outside and explore something new. “Fun”, “selfless”, and “planet-conscious” are words that should come up when thinking about a simple walk or short drive to a nearby town or city. Think about that as you’re out for a walk after reading this and be sure to spread the idea of local travel to everyone you know. And…go!
Are you ready to discover a whole new world and travel locally? Share your latest #LocalTravel adventures and join us on Instagram, Twitter, or everywhere else you can remind people that there’s something to staying within reach of our homes. Don’t forget to let us know what you think about local travel in the comments section below:)