How to Be a Traveler in Your Hometown
Given the choice between a new car and a chance to travel I’m picking travel every time. I also don’t think I’m alone, especially among my millennial peers. I’m a huge believer in the power that traveling (mindfully, but that’s a different topic) has to open our eyes and minds. Traveling has made me a more curious, compassionate, flexible and straight up smarter person.
But why do we love traveling so much?
Traveling gives us a chance to escape our identities
In my personal experience, travel has been a massive catalyst of change. In fact, traveling was a big part of my eating disorder recovery. Why? It showed me what life could be outside of my small routine. It helped me live outside myself inside of feeling trapped in my body.
When I travel I feel like a pair of eyes. There’s so much to experience and soak in, it just isn’t about me anymore. I’m far less concerned about what I look like. Instead I’m interested in seeing, smelling, tasting everything around me.
Time feels richer when you travel
I also believe that time becomes much richer as we travel. In our normal routines, our brain goes on autopilot for most of our days. We’re not making new connections because we’re seeing everything we see every day. When you’re grooving in a routine, days whip by without any distinct change or growth because there’s little environmental discomfort to challenge our minds.
In contrast, when we travel our days feel long and rich. We come home feeling both like we’ve never left and also that we’ve been gone for so long. We feel so much growth in travel because our brains are absorbing so much new information.
If you’ve got the budget and time, I think travel is one of the best investments you can make in your own growth. I’m not going to pretend it’s easy, cheap or accessible for everyone, which is why I was inspired to write this post. I believe everyone deserves to experience the benefits of traveling and I don’t think you have to spend a ton of money or vacation days to do it.
Here’s the deal: we don’t need to spend tons of money to experience the benefits of travel
I’ve been wanting to write this post since coming back from London. It was a truly unique and wonderful experience. I learned so much about myself because of all the things I mentioned. I didn’t have to “be Georgie,” instead I could just “be.” Days felt richer because so much was new.
However I realized that I didn’t need to keep being “away” to experience all the benefits of being away. I could practice so many of the traveling rituals that help us expand and grow as people without needing vacation days and frequent flyer miles.
When I got back to Nantucket, which I will admit is a pretty uniquely beautiful and special home base, suddenly I felt like I was still on my vacation. Yes, I was working every day, but something felt different.
Never before had every corner looked so beautiful and interesting. I also kept up my habit of walking, exploring downtown (even if I’d walked the streets hundreds of times) and it felt new and exciting. I noticed the way the light hit the trees. I got excited to try new dishes at my favorite restaurants. The 14 x 3 mile island where I’ve lived most of my life feels new and exciting.
It’s so easy to fall into routines. Our brains are designed to crave them. They make life easier. They’re important. All this is true and we also have the power to break routines. We can choose to remind ourselves we live somewhere for a reason.
Growth and new experiences aren’t just for traditional travelers. You can embody a spirit of travel no matter where you are.
I put together some tips that have helped me appreciate where I grew up in a whole new way.
Tips for being a traveler in your hometown
1.) Bring a camera
Something about looking through a lens can seriously help open your eyes to big and small moments of beauty. I swear, since practicing more photography (outside food) I’ve appreciated so many more little moments than before.
2.) Take the long way home
With longer summer days why not take the long-cut? Is there a backroad you haven’t taken in years? Go for it.
3.) Go for walks
Nothing gets me more inspired and energized than a nice long walk. Whether it’s a downtown area, your favorite park, that spot you’ve been meaning to go but keep forgetting, yeah go take a walk there.
4.) Find new favorites
This is something I totally struggle with because once I find a coffee shop or sandwich join I love, that’s all I want. However, just switching up where you get breakfast or lunch can help make your day a little more unique.
5.) Say “yes”
For me, summer is the season of “hey, why not?” The longer nights and warmer temps making going out less treacherous. I promise Netflix will be there for you this winter.
6.) Host your friends
Probably the best way to feel like a traveler in your hometown is to have friends come visit. Being around people who see your home with fresh eyes can totally open yours to new experiences. Visitors can totally energize how you feel about home.
Tell me what you think!
- When was the last time you played tourist in your hometown? What did you do?