When it comes to travel, one thing I strongly believe is that travel can happen anywhere. I’ve stated before that travel does not have to be limited to exotic trips that cross time zones, since travel really is a state of mind. It is possible to “travel” within one’s city, state, or region; to be a tourist and take in the sights that we usually take for granted.
I’m quite fortunate in the hometown travel arena. I was born and raised in Chicago and that’s where I still live. Sure, it’s a typical big city with big-city problems, but it also is one of the most culturally diverse American urban areas. In a Twitter travel chat the other night, I mentioned that when exploring Chicago’s range of cultures, it’s like taking a mini trip around the world! Chicago also boasts world class museums, exceptional theater productions, and a pretty awesome lakefront. What does this mean for my family and me, and why do I think hometown travel is so great?
I don’t have to travel very far to expose my daughter to different cultures, customs, and cuisines. That’s nice and easy on the pocketbook, and it allows us to see and do more in a shorter period of time.
Hometown travel can act as a dry run for future away-from-home travels. Load up the diaper bag with the necessities, throw in some toys and snacks, and see how long it lasts while you’re away from the house. Take public transportation to see how the little one reacts to buses and trains. Get an idea of how the stroller handles different types of pavement and terrain. If something goes horribly wrong, you’re a lot closer to home.
We get an idea of what we’d like to see more of. Really enjoyed the schnitzel at that German restaurant? Got a kick out of the band playing traditional German music and had fun dancing along? Why not start thinking about that trip to Germany!
We can be spontaneous. We don’t have to decide weeks or months in advance on an itinerary. It’s easy to put together a weekend of outdoor activities, the arts, and dining – all at the last minute.
I realize I’m luckier than others, since Chicago does have so many options, but I bet there are really cool things to see and do in your hometowns. What are some of your favorites?