With New Year’s coming up, it’s about time to start setting some goals for yourself to bring into 2020. Ideally, we’d all love to aspire for more travelling, vacations, and experiences for ourselves in the new year. Exploring new places and cultures is one of the greatest human experiences we can give ourselves as it teaches us about the many people, places, and things that make our world so big and beautiful. However, a major set back that always seems to get in the way of just picking up and travelling across the world is money. Who can afford to travel from country to country whenever they please besides the super elite? This year, instead of struggling to save up for five days in a foreign country, learn about the world by staying right where you are.
The concept of going on a “staycation” has grown immensely in popularity mainly because so many people are discovering the actual possibilities that come from local travel. When we explore the many nooks and crannies of our community we find that there are aspects of our local culture that we never could’ve imagined.
First and foremost, make a list of all the known attractions that your town has access to. This can include activities you’ve done before, places you’ve already visited, etc. Either way, it’s good to make a visual for yourself of all the things that you know you are capable of participating in. When you run out of ideas yourself, check your town’s Facebook page/website/any resource that’s made for town leisure for additional ideas. Now you have a fully formed list of possible parks, museums, historic sites, restaurants, etc. that you can try.
Look through your list and prioritize based on desire. When going into this, you need to have an open mind. Your list is obviously going to include things you’ve always known about, but may have never done because you just never deemed it necessary for yourself. Now’s your chance to break out of that closed-minded way of thinking and experience some things that you may end up really enjoying!
One of the greatest staycation activities you can do is try out new eateries. Food is a universal language amongst everyone, so make a group chat and invite some friends to that restaurant that’s a few towns over that you’ve always known about, but never had a reason to go to. What’s great about staycations is that money that would have been spent on travel fares, hotel rooms, etc. can be spent in bulk on local activities.
A major reason people love to travel is to learn about different ways of life. When going on a “staycation” you don’t really have a lot of room for educating yourself on new ways of life when you’re just staying in the same place you’ve always lived. However, utilizing educational resources, such as museums, libraries, educational centers, plant arboretums, etc., can give you just as much cultural information as actual travel.
While going to the library and checking out a book on Europe is nowhere near as good as actual Europe, you can still make a staycation day out of it. Check out a few books on the history of a European city, go to the grocery store and get some traditional food items from that city and have yourself a picnic in which you learn all about this new way of life. It may not be Paris, but it sure beats staying home and binging your favorite show for the third time in a row.
While nothing actually beats going to a foreign country with white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, why sit at home and keep fantasizing when you can be utilizing the world around you. There are new things and places to discover everywhere we look.
So go to a new local coffee shop instead of Dunkin’ like you do every morning. Change up your daily jogging route, go paint a landscape in a park you haven’t been to in five years, and end the day going out to dinner at that new Mexican place followed by a movie, which I’m sure you haven’t gone out to see in quite some time. You don’t need extravagant hotel rooms and room service to experience life when it’s right outside your door.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.