Travel doesn’t always have to be far
Summertime is heavy with the hum of travel. Everyone I’ve spoken to recently has plans to go somewhere and asks where I’ll be traveling. I do love to travel, and have gotten to do quite a bit in recent years. For instance, a year ago, I went to Amsterdam and Belgium; my first and only trip to Europe so far, and it was an amazing experience.
My husband, lucky dog, goes to Amsterdam every February for work, and I finally got to come along. His flight and hotel were paid for by the company, which reduced the expense quite a bit. I hope to do more of that now that our kids are older. Grand trips like that are wonderful experiences, but not always so affordable. We are busy saving for the next one, and in the meantime, taking advantage of local adventure to satisfy our craving to wander.
In Colorado, with the majestic Rocky Mountains in our backyard, there are endless possibilities to explore. The US is an expansive country that provides opportunities to explore locally no matter what region you call home. The last two summers, we have been concentrating on our own state, with the exception of visiting Moab, Utah, the exquisite desert landscape bordering Colorado to the west. In any direction, the terrain changes unbelievably, offering plenty of variety.
So, if you can’t afford that trip to Paris or Italy just yet, keep saving and don’t despair. Take a long weekend trip or cash in the vacation you’ve got saved up. Get online and research drive-able (is that a word?) destinations nearby. History, science, delicious food and stunning landscapes full of adventure are right in your backyard. If you’re trying to do it on the cheap, Airbnb instead of hotels and bring along a cooler for drinks or simple meals rather than eating every meal out.
A few shorter trips are often more enjoyable than a single long one. You get to see more, do more and begin more rested. It can also be more affordable, or, at least easier to save up for – What seems more possible – saving $11,000 for Fiji or $1500 for Santa Fe? I actually researched Fiji one night when in an intense mood for an island getaway. The average cost for a week to Fiji is truly $11,000! That might seem okay to some, but I nearly choked on my sip of boxed wine.
Since 2008, we have lived in the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and the Southwest. As I write, we are solidly in a mountain state. I understand that driving to the California coast from Indiana may be a stretch. I encourage you to open up a map and brainstorm about what is within an 8-hour drive south, west, east, or north of you. Doing this is so much fun!
Sometimes it turns up places like Kansas, and uh, could there be anything there I want to see? I give you Exhibit A. We actually drove through this area on our first cross-country move from Ohio. It was absolutely beautiful and I have always wanted to go back. Distance from my house: 8 hours.
Not into prairies or birding? How about a trip to what has been called the best and most preserved old west town, Cody, Wyoming? Distance from my house: 7 hours.
Cowboys not your thang? Maybe the magic of the desert in nearby Utah is what you need. Distance from my house: 6 hours.
How about a weekend getaway sitting by a mesquite fire in a 200-year-old adobe casita with a belly full of green chili? I am living proof that it’s nearly impossible to eat yourself to death, though I made a valiant effort in this town. Santa Fe is just a little over 6 hours from me.
Wow, I sound like one of those corny travel commercials, like visit Wyoming or visit Mississippi. Have you seen those? My point here is that there is so much to see, and it’s not that far from your door.
I know there are quite a few that travel the world extensively by creative means, like teaching, working remotely, or being self-employed. If you are one of them, that is wonderful and I’m seriously jealous! For others, like myself, that flexibility is not yet in reach. Until then, adventure in your own backyard. If you dream of something more, work toward it earnestly, but don’t put off having smaller, fulfilling experiences along the way.