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When you grow older, you start to think of how you fit into this wide, diverse world. You constantly asked yourself, “What my purpose in life?” or “How am I different from everyone else; what makes me stand apart?” When I first started travel blogging, I struggled with this question. Of course there are other travel bloggers uncovering hidden gems around the world. At first, I struggled to be unique and let my quirky personality stand out, from the other “hidden gem” bloggers. Now, I’ve found my niche and what I’m about. I stand out because I’m able to immerse myself and tell the stories of locals, which is what travel bloggers often miss.
Like other travel bloggers, I’m drawn towards the unknown and want to understand other cultures and what they celebrate. Yet, we sometimes neglect to examine our own communities and why they are unique in their own right. This is one of the biggest sins committed by travelers.
We lack love for our own communities
We’re engrossed, or frankly, obsessed, in achieving “the numbers” and checking off bucket lists to-dos that we aren’t in the present. It often feels like we travel “for the ‘gram,” which is a question I hate getting asked. Instead of traveling to learn and grow, getting attention online from friends and strangers is fueling travel. In our digital-obsessed society, our social value and self worth is determine by the number of likes our travel photos get instead of sharing our experiences while abroad, even those that are hard to hear.
This cycles back to travelers not appreciating our homes and celebrating them. Similarly, to not being satisfied if our vacation posts are not liked or loved enough on social media, we’re not satisfied with our daily exposure to the wonders around us. In short, we take everything for granted.
It requires a certain mindset to appreciate the little things and not compare ourselves to others who live a more glamorous lifestyle. It’s easy to look at a famous YouTuber, idolize them and lust after their lives. Our minds are consumed by envy. What takes courage is noting our current reality and being satisfied with it.
Real talk: as a travel blogger, I take roughly three international trips a year. Compared to the average person, that’s may be significantly more, but that’s the lifestyle I choose. In contrast, it’s easy for me to envy other travel bloggers or digital nomads who do not have a home base or live on the road and be jealous that they travel more than me. I could let that envy consume me and make me miserable of my current situation, but I won’t.
I love having a comfortable bed and a couch to call my own. Owning pots and pans and being able to host a wine night with my girlfriends, brings me joy. I adore my dinky two-bedroom apartment and becoming friends with my next door neighbors. I get a sense of adventure every time I take out my bike and wheel to the nearest park. It’s these little things that make me appreciate the place that I call home and where I hope one day to establish roots.
Why it’s important
It’s imperative that we acknowledge that we all have different lifestyles and that there is no “ideal” way to live. Rather, there’s multiple ways to be happy, you just need to find what caters to you.
Forget the hype and stay mindful and grounded when surfing online. Yes, it might be fun to live in a new country each month, but there are harsh realities that come with that as well. You’ll never have a bed to permanently call your own or become a local or a neighborhood eatery. Instead of addressing the reality of each situation, we force on the negatives of our current situations and over-glamorize fantasy scenarios. Because, who are we kidding, anything is better than what we already have.
We’ll always be unsatisfied unless we change how we think about travel and what home really means.
Doing my part
I specifically call the state of Minnesota (United States) home. You may have heard me from time and time ago ramble on about Minnesota’s beauty and what little quirks my home state has to offer, but these are just short snippets in my usual complaining monologue. I often refer to my home state in disdain when more than 25 inches of snow falls at a time, the mosquitos eat me to bits, or for a myriad of other stupid excuses.
But that’s all about to change.
Part of my job description, now, will be to explore my own home and city and find hidden gems. Remaining rooted and embracing my reality will be a struggle, but I’m determined to try. With that said, I’ll be posted my more Minnesota content in the near future and educate others about my home.