It’s time to Vacation..Locally

The Issue…

The other day I overheard a conversation between an older couple at local coffee shop, Reve Coffee Roasters. The woman was arguing with her husband about the lack of quality time and vacation they’d taken in the past few years. The husband, visibly flustered replied “Where’s this money gunna come from honey!?” “You know how expensive travel is nowadays, hell I’m not even retired and I’m almost 65.” The woman froze, paralyzed with disbelief she quietly replied, “But we used to make the most of what we had, money or not we always found a way to make ordinary life more interesting more eventful.” The husband let out a long “grufff” in reply, a clear signal to end the conversation. The woman looked down, ashamed of her failed attempt at rebuilding a lost connection with her significant other. I looked down just as quickly with pressured relief. I was eavesdropping, and most people consider that to be a little rude…

Think Time…

For the next few hours I pondered relentlessly about what the woman had said at the end of that conversation, “We used to make the most of what we had, money or not we always found a way to make ordinary life more interesting more eventful.” It got me thinking back to all the times I’d told friends, family, even my own girlfriend I couldn’t come along because of prior time restraints or funds. This mindset left me in a perpetual state of doubt in my ability to balance school and work while finding quality time for friends and family. Paired with an ever flowing social media storm raining photos and videos of friends traveling and doing expensive things in exotic places. It left me not even knowing what to do with myself on my days off. I was hopeless…

Please Explain…

We are made to think that of the 20-something days of vacation we on average get every year, 95% of has to be spent in lavish fashion filled with endless #foodporn pics and #travelmore photos. That if we don’t achieve this societal standard our vacation will be forgotten, laughed at by our peers at its simplicity. It almost appears as if miles traveled in a trip directly correlates to the level of ego satisfaction upon return to normal life. Well I’ve got news for you, 1.) You will feel really good when you get back 2.) This feeling will end quickly once you realize you’ve used up 95% of your vacation time and it’s only March.

I Have A Solution…

Travel LOCALLY. Yes, it’s that simple, straight-to-the-point and cost friendly. I understand how this could seem exceptionally lame at first thought. But let the idea simmer and stew in your brain, you’ll soon begin to realize the proposition isn’t as sinful as it sounds. Besides cost effectiveness, spending vacation at home can turn into quite the thrilling experience if you open yourself up to the possibilities. I’d like you to imagine yourself as a newcomer to the place you live, unknown to anyone, unaware of what the city has to offer. You need to rekindle that burning curiosity that pushed you to enter those old shops filled with antiques from times past. That curiosity that compelled you to try that corner restaurant that smells like diabetes in a box…..just cuz. In my case, I moved from New Orleans to Lafayette, LA about 5 years ago to attend the University of UL at Lafayette. During the first couple years I was obsessed with being in the “know”, about current events happening in my newly adopted city. It actually was an insanely fun period, one that exposed me to those special “secret” things every town has to offer. However, over time I became numb to the countless waves of happenings, instead looking to my phone as an escape to another country or locale. Living Vicariously through others. It wasn’t until that day spent eavesdropping at a local coffee shop that I realized my priorities were seriously misaligned.

Just Do IT…

Screw you Nike. But your slogan is brilliant, it’s really that simple to get started on a local vacation of your own. Spend a few weeks beforehand checking calendars and flyers for local upcoming events. Plan each day during your vacation, (I recommend 4 days to start) as if you were planning a special outing with your boyfriend or girlfriend, friend or family member. Ask around, talk to art galleries, talk to business owners, find out when and where to go so you can just be YOU. I promise you’ll be astonished at the sheer number of experiences you’ve been missing out on since your leave of interest first began. Our communities have so much to offer and you can truly make a difference by giving your time to support the smaller things in life….Vacation Locally. Go to Festival International this year. Share your Local Travels with Freetown Press!

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Originally published at freetownpress.wordpress.com on March 16, 2016.