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:
Travel exposes you to different environments, which create stronger antibodies and boost your immune system significantly
Travel lowers stress levels
Travel improves your brain health
Travel will decrease your risk of heart disease
Travel has healing properties
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:
Share highlights of your local travel adventures below, or tag #adolescent and share images of your journey with us!