Travelling big distances to far off places is something many of us dream of doing and end up doing at least a handful of times in our lives. It’s the ultimate goal of a traveller – to see the world. But what about their own backyards?
One of the best ways to prepare for bigger, longer journeys out in our great big world is to begin at home, travelling in our very own country. It’s an important part of a traveller’s history to understand the place they start, the place they come from. The history, culture, and people that are our own are so often easy to overlook and under-appreciate because we know they will always be there. Many of us don’t bother exploring our own country because we don’t find it as exciting as the unknown that we can find away from home.
But our backyards have a lot to offer. They give the easiest travel experience we could imagine, often being short distances in our own cultures and languages. Even if we travel to cities we’ve never visited before, the fact that we’re exploring in our own nation makes the journey a much simpler one.
By taking the time to travel around our own country, we’re able to get accustomed to the rhythm of being on the move. We can get used to the effort that travel takes out of us while still feeling comfortable with the adventure. The fact that we’re travelling in a country full of our own people and culture take the pressure off of travelling as the language barrier and cultural quirks that exist elsewhere aren’t anything to worry about at home. We can get used to what it means to travel without the stress that can often be associated.
Besides the ease of travel, exploring our own countries give us a sense of appreciation of where we come from. It teaches us lessons about what role our country has had in the grand scheme of world politics. It also teaches us about the history of our people, our culture, and the evolution or both into the modern age. Understanding where we come from plays a key part in where we are going and, for travellers, it is a great way to connect with our motivations for exploring.
The appreciation that is formed from travelling in our own backyard is priceless. We appreciate not only what it means to travel, but we can also appreciate what it means to represent our countries as world travellers. We are able to be more positive, more knowledgeable, and more complete ambassadors of our own nations in the countries that we pass through. We know what is worth seeing, worth talking about, and worth sharing with other prospective fellow travellers, as well as what to be wary of. We are also more aware of what our country does well and what it can improve on when compared with other countries. Knowing our own home makes getting to know other nations a much more productive endeavour.
The truth is it’s hard to recognize what to look for in the places you visit in countries far away if you barely know your own. It’s difficult to understand what the subtle differences are and it’s more of an effort to adjust to a journey if you’ve never completed one at home.
Travelling in one’s own country offers experiences and knowledge that are otherwise much more of a struggle to come by. It is one of the easiest, most effective things a green traveller can do to understand the dynamics of a journey and it provides invaluable memories and an intense affection for the place we come from before we go out into the vast world. It is an important part of a traveller’s formation and is one that shouldn’t be taken for granted or easily overlooked.
Written by: Sonia Motisca