“There’s no place like home”
We’re all aware of the above quote, but how many genuinely believe the sentiment it represents? There is another equally well-known, and relevant saying “familiarity breeds contempt”. Hopefully not many are contemptuous of their surroundings, but it’s true that we become blasé, even indifferent to what is familiar.
People are naturally curious, we have an inquisitive nature, it is in our DNA to explore. The exotic tempts us, the unknown, and this is the very ethos of travel, chasing the horizon, to discover distant, destinations, and cultures. It can lead us to ignore a place we should all be keen to explore; home. The truth is, we’re probably not as familiar with our surroundings as we should be.
“The grass is always greener ……”
Some call the exotic, distant places that you, and I crave home, and yet, they are equally tempted by what is beyond their horizon. They may reside on isolated atolls in the middle of oceans, that are the very definition of a remote paradise. A few inhabit mountain retreats, where their nearest neighbour maybe several hours drive away, and pollution is just a word in the dictionary. Perhaps they live in a small fishing village, where everybody knows one another, and care about the welfare of their community, or have no fixed abode, genuine nomads, a lifestyle perceived as inherently romantic.
Many of these people however, would happily swap their surroundings, wishing to live in our overcrowded, polluted, uncaring, and insular cities. It really does seem that “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”. It’s a matter of perception; one person’s idyllic destination is another’s scramble to survive.
We often cannot see what is right under our noses, oblivious to our surroundings, familiarity blinding us to the many blessings. We fail to see the beauty around us, the fascinating cultures on our doorstep, places of interest within easy reach of our living room.
“Home is where the heart is”
Few have adequately explored their home town, let alone country. Appreciating our locality can possibly make us better travellers. It’s likely most have fulfilled a form of traveller apprenticeship, visiting attractions both close to home, and further afield as children. Young people are especially inquisitive, despite an often short attention span. Any new experience becomes exciting, their imagination fuelling an intense interest in a situation which to adults probably appears mundane.
There are many skills we probably learned, but have since allowed to lapse. Returning to exploring our immediate surroundings may rekindle these. Rediscovering our home range will improve research skills, while fully using all our senses when stepping outside will hone our skills of observation.
“Staycation; the art of home exploration”
Going out with a fresh perspective will almost certainly provide many surprises, unexpected attractions, encounters with fascinating cultures, and breath-taking beauty that we were totally unaware of. The appeal of travel isn’t about distance, or passport stamps, it’s about experiences.
Staycation is a modern term, coined to describe a holiday close to home. It’s already become clichéd, possibly even looked down upon as a poor substitute for real travel. However, the world’s most underrated place still has plenty to offer inquisitive explorers.