We were only two hours from the Grand Canyon when we made a roadside pit stop. While talking with the store owner, we found out they had never been to the Grand Canyon.
“What? But How? You live right here!”
I’ve wondered before: do people who live on the beach wake up amazed by the view every morning? To some degree, I’ve found the answer to be yes, when I’ve asked. Even my perspective changed when I moved to a place I found beautiful — I still appreciate it, 5 years later. Yet, familiarity often causes us to lose our wonder.
Sometimes, when something is so readily available, we always count on tomorrow to be the day we might finally visit it. We’ll never make the time. Because we’re too busy living our regular lives right where we are. We save the wonder for another place.
A while after that Grand Canyon trip, someone told me they were traveling to west Texas (toward my hometown). I laughed.
“Seriously? There’s absolutely nothing to see out there!”
The person seemed shocked, telling me how much they loved the west Texas landscape and the vast open skies.
It took me a few more years to make the connection between these two experiences — a connection that seems obvious now, writing them out side by side. Yet, I still struggle to understand and grasp maintaining a travel mindset toward places I’ve seen over and over again.
Now that I live in a place I love, I do treat it more like a tourist: I check out all the sites and the beautiful spots. But I’ve also gone back to west Texas, I’ve driven hours to visit places I once lived so close to. I’ve photographed sites I once found boring.
Because although I am myself when I travel, I am also someone else. I am someone wide-eyed and amazed by everything around me. I take pictures of every park and interesting storefront. I take a book and read in the park. But when I’m home, I’m checking Facebook on my phone. I’m staying inside and turning on the television. Because I believed the world away to be better than the one right outside.
I’ve had to change my mindset. I have to open my eyes to where I already am.
Not being able to see what’s around you — not being able to have an open-eyed perspective for the world — will inhibit your travels. When you create only one version of beauty (one far away), you’ll never understand all the world has to offer.
When I thought beautiful beaches only existed within the confines of white sands and palm trees, I nearly missed the ethereal beauty of the beaches on Vis, Croatia. I nearly missed the warm stones rattling beneath my feet (and yes, bruising my toes) and the smell of ripe olive trees nearby.
When I thought beautiful landscapes only existed in mountain ranges, I completely missed the beauty of the desert-like land I grew up in. Yet, there are other deserts I’d love to visit one day. How can I choose one over the other? Simply being foreign does not make it more beautiful. Being unique does.
Because it’s all unique. Every last corner is its own. And it should be loved that way. Whether I woke up there, or traveled 32 hours to get there. Wherever you go, someone is waking up there. Wherever you live, someone is visiting. It’s all connected.
Head to the historical sites, try all the foods your area is known for. Visit all the tourist traps, and take photos.
Wherever you are, it’s all part of this beautiful world.
This post is part of the Travel Mindset series. We’re covering topics like how to travel right where you are, appreciating cultures, creating an empowered mindset, and more. Subscribe here to keep up with the series, and tweet Latitude to ask any questions or mention any topics you hope to see covered!