It’s summertime again. You can tell by the fact that your steering wheel has melted in the parking lot and it is time to do what all clever birds do at this time of the year and look for somewhere a little further from the sun to spend some time.
After your hands have healed from the steering wheel burn, you take the time to look through all the usual destinations, the beaches, the resorts, and have a feeling of déjà vu that you just can’t shake; everything seems familiar, like you’ve been there before, and places are starting to look a little too similar to each other.
You almost contemplate staying home this year. It’s almost not worth it, going through the trouble of being searched at the airport again (“randomly selected”, of course) to have the same overpriced food and visit the same places you’ve seen before, and take the same selfies with the same backgrounds. Maybe you can just recycle last year’s vacation photos onto your timeline and instead relax on the couch and watch TV. And that’s OK. Maybe it’s time to put some money into your saving account instead. It is a siren song of laziness that is difficult to argue against.
If, however, you do finally succumb to the call of the road, try to think a little bit out of the box; don’t stay within the usual groove that you have carved out for yourself over the years. Pause, take a breath and think about stepping out to a whole different world. There are places out there that have much to offer; they have scenes of natural and manmade beauty, they have natural wonders that will leave you breathless (and not because you had to walk 12 kilometers to get there), not to mention a variety of tasty and hearty dishes. They also have a plethora of different activities that you can engage in instead of the usual throwing a frisbee on the beach and hitting sunbathers exercise that some people engage in every year (yes we all see you and no we don’t care about your tan).
“But I am not a seasoned traveler,” you protest, “and I have two kids to drag along. You can’t expect me to hike through the jungle and explore unmapped territories to look at a tree. I need at least three bathrooms within any 20 meter radius, and a hotel room no further than a short ride away.” To this, I say relax. It’s fine. Most people who live in destination spots have wizened up to the idea that if they provide better services, more people will come and bring their wallets with them. That is why you will find hotels, hostels, and rooms nearly everywhere that you can expect to visit. Not only that, but in this increasingly interconnected world, even the most remote accommodations have probably been reviewed, which means that you will be able to know beforehand what you can expect from any given place.
When we say go out and explore today, we mean broaden your search terms on Google and Tripadvisor, not gather your things in a sack, go on a wooden boat and develop scurvy. Most of us tend to stick to a few spots that we rotate our vacations on. We get used to a particular spot or two and gradually become more attached to them, and they become familiar and comfortable.
When you look a little farther than you are used to however, and turn your eyes towards different direction, you will begin a journey along a path that you otherwise would have been blind to. Travel can be enriching to the mind and the spirit. You can visit waterfalls inside valleys, or ancient cities right on the sea, or even hidden lakes, and virgin beaches. You can visit monuments to man’s ingenuity. Nothing is farther than a plane ticket away.
While it is not an entirely terrible idea to lounge back on the beach, sipping on a cool refreshing drink while lazily contemplating never going back to the office again, every once in a while it is important to take a journey to the unfamiliar, and explore some place that you would never have thought you would visit. Take a walk off the beaten path, it doesn’t have to be by far, and maybe you’ll find something that will make you genuinely smile.