5 Ways to Experience the Benefits of Travelling Without Leaving Town

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

- Marcel Proust

TravellingNote: This guest post was written by Lea Woodward. She runs Project Woodward with her husband whilst they travel the world permanently as Location Independent Professionals (LIPs).

Do you spend most of the year looking forward to that 2 week holiday you’ve booked in August? Or just daydreaming about what it would be like to waltz around the world, exploring the exotic destinations you see on TV?

Let’s start by exploring the reasons why many people like to travel:

  • To broaden your horizons.
  • To provide some excitement and an escape from the hum drum of ‘ordinary’ life.
  • To see the world beyond your four corners.
  • To recharge your batteries.
  • To challenge yourself.
  • To meet interesting and like-minded people.
  • To experience new cultures and lifestyles.
  • To have some fun.
  • This advice comes from having spent the past 12 months travelling to and living in Panama, Buenos Aires, Toronto, Grenada, Dubai and now South Africa. Sounds like a dream lifestyle right? Yes in some respects you’d be right; but on the other hand it has its challenges.

    What I have learned along the way however, is that many of the things we came looking for on our journey, we could have found right on our doorstep.

    Here’s 5 ways you can experience the benefits of travelling without leaving town:

    1. Start a new hobby.

    Travelling helps us escape the hum drum of normal life. Starting a new hobby — something that you’re passionate about — has a similar effect. It helps you engage with other like-minded people, encourages you to learn a new skill and challenges you — depending upon the hobby — both physically and mentally.

    The next step after reading this, is to find an activity you’re passionate about and pursue it. Even if it’s on your own, just get to it and try it.

    2. Explore new cultures in your home town.

    Many of us live in multi-cultural cities or towns. We don’t even have to leave our home town to experience a new culture.

    There are a number of simple things you can try this week that will help you learn about other cultures around the world. These include:

  • Go out for a meal to sample a new cuisine you’ve never tried.
  • Visit and shop at immigrant-owned stores, get chatting to the owners and you’ll be surprised how much you can learn.
  • Make a point to make friends with foreigners and expats in your home town. As someone who has lived overseas several times in my life, it is one of the most rewarding experiences to be accepted by and make friends with locals in a strange place; you could be that ‘local’.
  • 3. Be a ‘local’ tourist.

    Unless you live in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere, many of us live near several tourist attractions that we’ve never actually been to. Sure, whenever we have guests we’re happy to send them off on the tourist trail but often we’ve never actually done it ourselves. Make a list of all the (tourist) places in your area that you’ve always “meant to visit”, and go visit them!

    4. Learn a language.

    One of the joys (and challenges) of travel abroad is the opportunity to speak to locals in their own language and get a real sense of a place. Unfortunately language barriers often stand in our way.

    In most towns and cities there are evening language classes you can attend and there is nothing to whet the appetite more for a place, than learning to speak the lingo. If classes aren’t an option, then try one of the popular self-paced learning courses.

    5. Get interactive online.

    Blogs, websites, forums — now more than ever, it is possible to find out about a place without even visiting it. It’s even possible to use Google Earth to travel to somewhere halfway across the world without leaving your living room.

    Whilst this sort of voyeurism is no substitute for visiting a place and interacting directly with locals, the advent of global forums and the world wide web makes it even easier to connect with people all around the world and learn about their language, culture and country without leaving your home.

    The thing about travel is that it often frees us of our inhibitions; it makes us more willing to try things we otherwise wouldn’t. The truth is, many of these benefits and feelings can be had on your doorstep — if you really want them that much.

    The trick is to open your eyes, drop your inhibitions and go out and find them.

    If you liked this article, please bookmark it on del.icio.us or vote for it on Digg. Thank you!

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    17 Comments

    • Hey there – Great guest post! Really wonderful concept…I wrote something similar the other day on my blog – What Being a Tourist Can Teach You About Life
      I envy this guest bloggers lifestyle. Definitely what I’d like to be doing one day. Technology certainly makes it easier and easier. All ofthese things are great ideas but there’s really no replacement for getting out there and seeing the world. Nothing is more invigorating!

    • etavitom says:

      thanks for the wisdom. i love having the adventure-type feeling all the time and this is a good way to keep it. all the best, brad

    • stephanerd says:

      As one who doesn’t often have the time or money for travel, I really enjoyed this post. As I was mentioning it on my own blog, I realized I couldn’t think of a thing in my hometown — large as it is — that I’d want to visit. Time to do some research, I suppose. In the meantime, I’d better take another crack at teaching myself the mandolin or learning to crochet. Sometimes I worry that my life revolves too much around my work.

    • Lea says:

      Hello all,

      Thank you for your positive comments – I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

      @Chrissy – you’re right, there is nothing more invigorating than getting out and about and seeing the world – I definitely should have done more of it closer to home though – didn’t need to come halfway round the world!!!

      @evitatom – that “adventure-type” feeling is very exciting but sometimes exhausting, don’t you find?

      @stephanerd – I’m the same – but because I love what I do and it doesn’t feel like work, I justify it to myself – which isn’t always a good thing. If there’s nothing in your hometown you want to see….how about the one next to you??

    • tracy ho says:

      Inspiring post , need to do something now,

      All the best ,

      Tracy Ho
      wisdomgettingloaded

    • I like the idea of being a “local tourist”, as there’s some places around here that I’ve never been to, but always have wanted to see. :P

    • Jerome says:

      So we can actually save money and still enjoy our life by changing our perspective, having strong imagination and maintaining strong creative thinking. Rarely leaving our town will greatly cut off transportation cost.

    • Alex Liu says:

      This is an awesome post. This post is really about a new “eye” instead of a new landscape!

      I like this post very much.

      I get to attend a course a year ago and still practicing changing a new “eye” everyday. I’m surprised by the impact it gives to my life (or else I wouldn’t practice that long). I agree to this wonderful post and the benefits that can be experience without traveling overseas.

      I have learned 6 languages and 2 is on the way. It’s fun and it gives me a whole new experience by observing how other people arrange their grammar and express their experience through words.

    • Great Post. You are so right. Most people don’t know there own town as well as places they visit on holidays. By becoming a tourist in your local area you can learn and enjoy your surroundings better.

      I try to celebrate the best of what my area has to offer: surfing, mountain biking, good restaurants, sailing, camping, vineyards, parks, galleries and theater.

      Mixing up activities with different sporting and social groups also keeps things fresh and new each week.

    • I think a lot of people should definitely try out becoming a local tourist. There’s always a lot of beautiful things to see except that we don’t really notice them. We tend to take things for granted. Even the local market might provide a bit of inspiration. Bringing a camera along can also help us see things from a different perspective.

    • Will says:

      I think when people go on vacation it forces them to be proactive, you would feel horrible wasting all that money and just sitting in your hotel watching television. So you go out, participate in activities or explore the city.

      As you’ve pointed out you can do those exact same things where you live, and it can be a new adventure whenever you are up for it, it’s just about getting into that mind set of being curious and adventerous.

    • Kaled Asmri says:

      Hey… Lea, great post.

      It’s strange thing that I meet people sometimes & they tell me about new places inside my city — but I have never visited before… and rarely, haven’t heard of. What a shame :)

      But Lea, don’t ya think that NOTHING could really replace the enjoyment of traveling? maybe these tips would help to break the daily routine…

      By the way, the LIPs is completely new to me… I’m checking your blog now:
      http://locationindependent.com/blog/

      Nice.

    • Tim says:

      Hello,

      Thanks for the nice article. An interesting perspective.

      As I was reading the list of reasons about why people travel, it suddenly hit me what the core reason is for why people like to travel so much:

      * To escape myself *

      When I look at the list of reasons, very much hidden beneath all of them is the wish to escape my own interior discontentment.

      Ironic, isn’t it? I want to escape myself, and then set out to travel the world, never realizing that no matter where I go, my discontented self is going to be right there with me (I might not know it at first because the onslaught of new impressions drives away my awareness of this discontentment, but eventually it always reappears.). Definitely explains that weird experience where we finally get to our favorite vacation spot that we’ve planned for all year, then after a day or two, can’t wait to get back home!

      Thanks again!

      Tim

    • Great Post – thank you so much.

      You know, in many respects though, being a tourist at home takes more self-control, determination & fortitude than would initially appear.

      Why? Because so many of us work from home … and I don’t know about you, but I can hardly go to the grocery store without thinking about what I need to do next as soon as I get home.

      That’s why I NEED to get away … away from my home office, and in a completely new environment. I always have my biggest breakthroughs in those moments, under the palm trees, where I wouldn’t dare expose my laptop to the sand.

      And I choose to think about too what message I’m sending to the Universe if I make a conscious choice to “save money” and have my vacation in my home town. That’s a really fast way to cut off financial flow … tell yourself and Source that you can’t afford to get away, and thereby create your reality.

      Not to get too “woo-woo”, but do you know what I mean?

      Thank you for this post – it really got me thinking.

      Warmly,
      Erin.

      Erin Thoms Melnick
      Modern & Millions
      http://www.crosscountrytour.com

    • Great tips on how to beat the hum-drum!

      I’ve been recommending to clients for years that they join a sporting club or start an exercise program. That might be as simple as a walk to end the end of the street, buying a skipping rope or doing one pushup. Anything that’ll get your heart rate up and raise a sweat.

      Exercise is one of the best forms of escapism!

    • osman says:

      thanks for the wisdom. i love having the adventure-type feeling all the time and this is a good way to keep it. all the best, brad

    • kadavy says:

      One way that I would “escape,” when I was living in Nebraska was to go to thrift stores and estate sales. One of the exciting things about traveling is seeing things that you’ve never seen before (escape the ordinary), and the randomness of the inventory of thrift stores certainly provided this. One neat thing about estate sales is seeing how other people live(d) (experience [unfamiliar] lifestyles).

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