Right now I’m sitting in my hotel room overlooking the beach and I couldn’t feel farther from home. I’m in the beach town of Montanita, Ecuador. It is a hippie town, a popular beach destination for gringos and foreigners alike and, well, there is no mistaking this place for home. For me, home is full of mountains, glaciers, and rednecks. There is certainly no ocean anywhere within a stone’s throw.
This week one of our contributors drove home (please excuse to completely intentional pun) an important point through her words reminding us that you don’t need to travel around the world to explore our planet.
I think this is probably something that those of us who travel a lot start to learn, and it is perhaps the most important lesson we are given by travelling afar. Quite often we know less about our own hometown than we do about places we visit around the world.
Sure, it’s much easier to explore somewhere that’s on the other side of the globe than it is to check out your own backyard. Our backyards aren’t exotic, nor do they regularly hold great stories that we can brag to all our friends about, and we certainly won’t often be found posting pictures of our backyards to facebook with smiley faces shouting out to the world: “check out where I am!!!!”
However, that doesn’t mean that destinations close to home don’t offer us all the same privileges that international travel does. In fact, one could say it offers us a little bit more. Exploring home puts us in touch with OUR roots, OUR culture, and OUR history. People often go around the world hoping to “find themselves,” but what better place is there to understand who you are then looking at your roots? I’m not sure there is a more personal experience than learning about your own background.
It isn’t a shock that world travellers know more about other cultures and histories than their own. Personally, if you were to quiz me about Canadian history I’d likely fail miserably; but I can tell you every little detail of the conquest of Latin America. It’s not uncommon at all. As such, I’d like to challenge you to explore your home, if you’re there at the moment, a little bit. And I’d like to try to challenge yourself to try to gain a “travel” experience at home. Go out in your hometown with your camera, visit the museums and parks, and act a little bit like a tourist in your hometown.
Who says you need to travel to exotic locations to experience travel?
Anyways, I’m in South America for about a month longer before heading to Canada for the holidays. I have to say, after spending basically two and a half years away from where I grew up, I can’t wait to explore the place I used to call home.
Stay safe and never stop exploring, no matter where you are.
Your editor in chief,
Brendan van Son