We travel around the world to experience strange culture and beauty. Interestingly, as of late, I’ve been fortunate enough to notice it in my local surroundings. Peterborough and Wilton, New Hampshire; Stonington, Maine. Even the small cities around are beautifully rich in culture and history. One has to look more closely in order to see past the mask of familiarity. In so doing, one may find that their home is in something comparable to an environment or culture they long to see and experience. Music sometimes reminds me of this. A relatively privileged quality of life enables me to notice this. When I have a moment to muse while admiring nature – whether actually being in it or merely from a window of a vehicle or a building – I’m reminded of this. It’s here. The grass is allegedly always greener on the other side. I prefer the expression: life is what you make it.
We travel all around the world to experience things with fresh eyes, but it might not be an unreasonable exercise to lift the veil and see what is here with an intention of newness. This of course requires more than a nod at a blog post, or a slight recognition of truth. Insight into the beauty of one’s local surroundings may even be a product of exposure to other places. It’s worth mentioning too that the more one travels, the more one begins to notice that most places are alike – they all echo the same sounds, only they look a little different. Cultivating deeper appreciation for the world immediately around us allows for deeper enjoyment of travel for the sake of the exposure it affords, rather than merely seeking to escape self-imposed mundanity. Seneca wrote about this idea of trying to escape via travel. He resolved in stating that it’s not effective. If one is restless and discontent with their everyday life, traveling isn’t a satisfactory cure.
“Though you may cross vast spaces of sea… your faults will follow you whithersoever you travel.”
It’s simple enough: Take the time to get to know the area where you live and work. Find things about it that you long to experience elsewhere. Rest your focus there rather than on the inconsistencies and disagreeable aspects. The local harvest and fresh, daily cooking associated with Parisian lifestyle attract me, but realistically, a similar abundance is available in my local region. The lifestyle, the allure of the seemingly esoteric is what truly appeals to me. May we decide to live the lives that we want to live. We don’t need to be halfway around the world for that.