All this week on the blog I’m hosting a Travel Takeover to help you blow away those winter blues. Today’s post comes from one of the very first travel bloggers I ever came across, the lovely Katie of Stories My Suitcase Could Tell. Katie has had some super exciting travel adventures, so I was pretty chuffed that she wanted to take part in the Travel Takeover.
I love international travel. Scratch that, I thrive on it. I love being surrounded by the unfamiliar, by different sights and sounds and tastes that awaken my curiosity and fill me with excitement. I’ve loved it since the age of 12, when we went on our first family holiday, to Turkey. The rest, as they say, is history.
But foreign holidays are not always possible (not even for travel bloggers!).
Sometimes we can’t afford a big trip abroad, or are studiously saving for one. Sometimes there are other life priorities that have to come first. Sometimes our far flung adventures are all booked and planned, but they’re still six months away.
Even as a travel blogger I know what that waiting game is like. After moving to the US in 2014, I wasn’t legally allowed to leave the country for nearly a year. Even the thought of it drove me a little crazy: how on earth was I going to cope with being stuck in one place for a whole year?! I hadn’t done that since the age of 12, and that first trip to Turkey.
The answer was local travel.
What do I mean by local travel? Well, travel doesn’t always have to be long-term or far-flung. Travel can be a weekend break to the nearest town, a night in a new hotel in your own neighbourhood, or a day trip into the countryside. I truly believe that a quick break from your everyday routine can be enough to refresh your perspective.
Since moving to New York I’ve treated the many unique neighbourhoods as new places to explore: eating at Chinese food stalls in Queens, visiting ‘secret’ islands in the Bronx, checking out coffee shops in Brooklyn, or little-known museums and libraries in the heart of Manhattan. I’ve escaped to the seaside for a long weekend, and have popped down to Philadelphia – just two hours away – for a day trip.
But even when I was based in the Outer Hebrides, a place I’d lived in my entire life, I found there was always something new to experience if I just looked at my home through the eyes of an outsider. I went on solo road trips to villages I’d never been to before, and rediscovered childhood favourites that had fallen off my radar.
I even enjoyed a five-star ‘holiday at home’ on the Isle of Harris, where my husband and I checked into an incredible luxury self-catering lodge for a few days, doing nothing but eating, drinking, playing board games by the open fire, and going for walks on wild beaches.
When we travel, to other countries and other continents, we have our eyes wide open and our senses attuned to everything – the sights, the sounds, the smells – and I think it’s a good idea to apply that approach to daily life too.
If you can’t make that trip to Thailand this year, or your summer city break in Paris seems like lightyears away, look at travel a little differently. Shift your focus closer to home. After all, if travel is about getting out there and experiencing everything the world has to offer, why not do the same in your own backyard?