Bringing the Wanderlust Home

By: Mike Argyle

As big as it is, there is always somewhere new to travel to in this world. The great thing about traveling is it allows you to get away from the familiar and experience the exotic, if only for a short time. While there are many reasons to travel, it can be easy to get caught up in the destination and forget, unless you’re a wandering vagabond (and in that case you’re not really traveling), about the most important place of all: home.

Eventually you will return from whence you came and that can be anticlimactic or even depressing for many people. For anyone who has ever worked or studied abroad for an extended period of time knows how to set up mini and large adventures – after all, unless you’re there against your will you are there first and foremost to travel. So why can’t you do that once you’re back home too?

It’s not hard to do. If you live in a big country like Canada or a relatively small country like Belgium, chances are there are places you haven’t been to. You have the benefit of knowing the laws, language and for the most part, the culture, so you don’t have to worry about committing a seriousfaux pas, but you aren ’t a local so you can enjoy being a tourist. Get out a tourist guide and see what places are recommended – you may be surprised what is right in your backyard and worth checking out. Hike a trail just like the ones you sought out while in New Zealand. Sample the cuisine at a local farmer’s market like you did last summer in Barcelona. Cheer for the professional or amateur sports team you haven’t attended before with the same enthusiasm you did during your first sumo tournament in Japan. Your home country can be just as exciting as your adopted one.

Make a list of five things you want to do this year in your home country. One should be an afternoon or nighttime outing, one that takes up half of a day, one day trip, one weekend getaway and finally, one week-long adventure. The variation will teach you don’t always need to spend a lot or go very far to find something fun to do and you definitely don’t need a passport. While in a different nation, make some foreign friends and see what they think of your country – what do they want to see? Have you been there? If you are living abroad, you might find you’ve been to more of the famous places than most locals. When you return from abroad, check out those places you haven’t been to yet so the same can’t be said of you.

After all, the best place to start seeing the world isn’t too far from home.

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Written by Ross French