It’s easy to get trapped in a permanent state of “wanderlust” these days. Pinterest boards are covered with bucket lists, bucket lists are overrun with items like “backpacking across Europe” and “attend a luau in Hawaii,” and the internet is overwhelmed with stunning images of places that are not our own. With a looming sense of infinity beyond our hometown city limits, it only makes sense to want to pack up the RV and travel until you run out of either money or energy.
But wanderlust can often be a side effect of the fast-paced world we live in, where we feel restless and uncomfortable until we’ve stamped our passport with as many countries as we can manage. And while I am as big of a fan of sprawling across the white sands of an exotic beach or hiking amidst waterfalls and towering oak trees as the next person, I have decided that the hours of my summer will be best spent in the city that I know best.
They say that traveling can be powerful because it makes you expand your horizons. While I won’t contest that, I believe that a “staycation” can be just as-if not, more so-powerful. Spending extra time reflecting on ourselves and our home also allows us to view our daily lives from a new perspective. We spend so much time seeking the unfamiliar that our own supposedly familiar home becomes the stranger.
Making the most out of a staycation means waking up but not getting up right away, taking note of the texture of your sheets and the cracks in your ceiling. It means walking slowly down your street and re-remembering the pattern of trees that line your block. It means visiting the café you’ve never been to just five minutes from home, eating at the oddball restaurant that doesn’t have enough Yelp reviews, and swinging at the playground that you forgot even existed.
But more importantly, embarking on a staycation entails a willingness to discover-or rediscover-the parts of your life that fade into the background when the times get chaotic. This summer, I am choosing not to go out, not to vacation to all the places I’ve never been to. Instead, I plan on learning a little bit more about the place I ignore seventy-five percent of the year. After all, it’d be wrong to assume that I know everything there is to know here.