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Why close domestic travel is more important now than ever

This year of staying in has likely given us a stronger desire to travel than ever before. Being home within the same four walls only invigorated the urge people had to visit something new, unfamiliar, exotic. Seeing the kitchen counter or the driveway just doesn’t hit the same… but that doesn’t mean all close domestic travel is mundane.

Somehow, being restricted to an environment we thought we knew inside out, perhaps let us realize how little we knew after all.

The streets you never saw

Granted, this doesn’t sound all that exciting. But COVID walks became a thing, right?

Instead of sitting down for coffee, you grabbed it to go and walked for hours with the friend you were meeting. You turned corners you never knew existed. Worked out outside on the piers by the Hudson in New York or your local park.

And in LA, hiked up Runyon Canyon more times than you would have dared to bet.

We came to cherish the simple things more than we ever did, and realized privilege was in places where we might have seen none before.

Close domestic travel became a new way to explore, uncurling back the layers of places we thought we knew as well as the back of our hand.

In spite of the excitement from travel reopening that’s something too precious to let go of.

Flying, flying

Naturally, if you can, go visit the family members you haven’t seen in months. Go on the honeymoon that was canceled or the trip you had been saving for. Most people have an insatiable desire to travel, and that is a good thing. We should want to learn more about the world.

Hopefully, those will turn out even more meaningful, because as essential as travel is for culture and knowledge of our world, the immediacy and limitless access society has grown accustomed to is something that had yet to be put in perspective.

It’s difficult to realize just how many planes were in the sky on a regular basis in previous times. Opening your local flight radar when there were supposedly “no planes” going anywhere was scary. There were still so many.

Travel but make close and domestic

This isn’t a call to stop flying or discovering the world if you are lucky to.

But simply one to acknowledge that regardless of restrictions this “travel bug” never left us. We were just able to satisfy it with less for a while and appreciate the beautiful things that lie around us. From road trips to train rides, our eyes may have opened a little along with our minds.

To be overly general: New Yorkers took to Sag Harbour or The Hamptons. Even day trips to Coney Island, or picnics in Central Park peaked in their appeal and hopefully will continue to be a thing. Drives to Vermont to be surrounded by nature, or to Big Sur from LA for some peace and quiet.

It took a minute, but I took the opportunity to visit places I had never been in my home country. Places I honestly wouldn’t have particularly thought of as “vacation” destinations prior to this year. I’m not saying it replaces it.

Considering the past year as “hard times” is an understatement for most, and a desire to travel is the first thing on many people’s wishlists. But when you come back, it might be worth keeping your eyes open, because we tend to miss what’s right there in front of us.