“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
There are numerous misconceptions about traveling these days. The thought of traveling can be daunting depending on the season of life one currently is in. After all, if you have several little ones in tow you might think twice before embarking on international travel. One’s budget might impose travel constraints. Maybe current travel restrictions or the recent media circulation of airlines removing paying passengers from planes has you less excited. My family is staying close to home this summer as our teenager has various summer commitments allowing us only a week of family togetherness. The idea of traveling when everyone else does isn’t very appealing either considering the lines are longer, the prices are more expensive and the weather tends to be hotter. For various reasons, staying close to home can be an attractive option.
Early in our marriage, while living in the Washington DC area, our weekends provided for lots of new adventures as we visited monuments and museums, rode bikes along the numerous trails, and visited nearby points of interest. Living on a small budget, we sought activities that were cost effective or free. I was flabbergasted when I’d share about our weekend adventures with locals and they would remark that they had never done such and such. Having had the opportunity to stay in Portland for two summers, we would make the most of our weekends taking in the local sights via walking tours, sightseeing buses, or driving to areas close by such as the beach, vineyards, and mountains.
Why is it that we can live in the same place for over a decade and never explore what’s right under our noses?
Let’s admit it, we probably have spent more time exploring places far away from home than we have in our hometowns. This is common. People tend to put off local exploration assuming they will eventually get around to it but life gets in the way. There are bound to be places around us we haven’t explored or activities we haven’t tried. So, lets purpose this summer to be local explorers and tourists in our hometown. Some call this a staycation.
- Don’t know where to begin? Of course you do it’s just a click away, the Internet offers a bazillion ideas. Some possible searches might include: Things to do around (your place of interest), Top 10 Thing to do in (your place of interest), 10 best places to eat (your place of interest) —Visit tripadvisor and click on things to do.
- Plan for FUN!!! Set a reasonable and realistic budget for your at home adventure.
- Seek input from all family members and incorporate something from everyone participating.
- Subscribe to local monthly magazine(s). I receive Austin Monthly plus subscribe to their website as they curate the best of what our city has to offer from culture to cuisine. FYI, a local magazine makes a great welcome gift for newcomers.
- Search and sign up for local city deals through TravelZoo, Groupon, and LivingSocial. You can save up to 70% on hotels, events, food & drinks and things to do. When I knew we would be spending previous summers in Portland, I purchased many fun excursions including places to eat and things to do.
- Download a traveling app as many are available to guide you to awesome places around any town. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut going to the same places. Use this opportunity to explore new places. Musement helps travelers get the best from destinations by providing a great choice of local tours and attractions. likeAlocal is a city guide of sorts. See Mashable’s 5 apps for exploring a new city like a local, Instagram offers suggestions on various locations by simply tapping on the search icon from the front screen, open the Places tab, to browse through most popular and recent photos people are posting at a certain location.
- Document your adventures by taking lots of photos.
- Incorporate what you enjoy most to the discovery process. Personally, we explore new cities by searching for third wave coffee shops or walking trails. Our search for the best coffee and trails makes exploring more exciting.
- Go camping in your backyard or search for best places close to home as most kids love being outdoors.
- Visit the local convention and visitors bureau for maps, discounts, and other helpful suggestions.
- Consider booking a hotel, if finances allow, as the point of a staycation is to feel as if you got away and makes it easier to see all the urban sights if you live out in the ‘burbs.
- Catch the summer blockbuster movies or rent those you might have missed.
- Take a nap. This is a great time for R&R 😉
- Be adventurous. Do something you’ve never done.
- Book a city tour to experience your hometown with new eyes. Consider a Segway, bus, bike, or walking tour.
- Make day trips to local tourist sites close to home.
- Tour local museums and galleries.
- Leave work where it belongs. Avoid contact with colleagues plus resolve not to conquer the to-do list while at home.
- Unplug from electronics and step away from the computer.
- Purposefully engage with one another by being fully present.
Do you have other strategies for getting away from it all in your own home? I would love to hear!
Cherie Werner is a mother to three daughters. She is passionate about spiritual growth, her husband & family. She loves to learn, and believes that the key to true success in relationships is loving others authentically. Cherie is keen on encouraging women in their roles as wives and mothers. It is her desire to help women become aware of the legacy that they want to leave behind by living intentional lives. Writing and speaking are ways for her to share what she has learned on her life journey. She serves on the Advisory boards for Elisa Pulliam’s More to Be and Sally Clarkson’s, Wholehearted & Mom Heart Ministries. Visit Cherie at http://thewerners.org/.