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Why traveling locally is good for the soul

Apr. 19, 2017
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Scrolling through Instagram, it’s so easy to get “travel envy” when viewing pictures posted by friends and celebrities on lavish trips. Paris. Spain. Belgium. The Caribbean.

But for those on a budget, or those in need of a break on short notice, finding local spots in your area can still give you the opportunity to make great memories with those you love--or even just spend quality time with yourself. Though I’ve spent my whole life in Southern California, I have only recently begun discovering the beautiful gems surrounding me—San Clemente, Crestline, Big Bear, Joshua Tree, Lake Jennings, Sequoia National Park—all within a two hour drive! 

Last summer, I was encouraged to get out more to combat my depression, and I noticed that it did lift my mood. Exploring new places made me feel excited and adventurous, and it boosted my self esteem. Being around nature inspired me to write more, which put me in the position to set more personal goals with a larger body of work. And on top of all that, I was more active--a real feat  for someone who struggles as much as I do with committing to the gym. Switching it up on hikes and beach walks made me feel proud of myself.

According to Matador Network, the world’s largest independent travel publisher, traveling produces even more benefits to your health:

  1. Travel exposes you to different environments, which create stronger antibodies and boost your immune system significantly
  2. Travel lowers stress levels
  3. Travel improves your brain health
  4. Travel will decrease your risk of heart disease
  5. Travel has healing properties
  6. Travel will let you live longer

Even a day trip can help you feel more alive. Recently, I took my little sister and black lab out for a drive to Lake Gregory. I was frustrated that I spent two hours staring at my computer and getting absolutely nowhere on a piece of creative writing, so we grabbed Sir’s leash and a six dollar footlong from Subway and spent an hour snapping photos and enjoying being: being in the moment, being alive, being us. Large bodies of water always seem to put my mind at ease--and in addition to being relaxing the trip was also productive, as I got a strong start on a poem that had been on my heart.

So the next time you’re feeling down or overwhelmed or want to take a trip with your friends for the summer, travel locally. Open up a map and find places nearby that you’ve never been before. Be sure to have a few bucks for gas money or train fare, depending where you are, and food and water for snacks on the road. And go. Venture forth and explore the places around you.

To get you started on planning your next trip, we’ve compiled a few resources below:

  • AirBnb—a great vacation rental with tons of options that allows you to select your location, dates, and filter a price that matches your budget. In my experience, I found great rentals for under $100 a night, including service and cleaning fees. Similar to the price of a hotel except you’ll have access to an entire house.
  • HomeAway—another vacation rental I’ve used recently, which has additional cheap options when AirBnB is booked. Owners are given a 24 hour notice to approve your request so keep that in mind when you’re trying to book something last minute.
  • ReserveAmerica—The reservation site for California national parks that allows you to make reservations for campgrounds and cabins. Check your state’s website for something similar. 
  • Boutique Homes—If you love designer homes like I do, try this site! A tad bit more expensive, but if you value aesthetics, it’s definitely worth it!

Share highlights of your local travel adventures below, or tag #adolescent and share images of your journey with us!