Why travel at home is more important than ever
Author: Emma Higgins | February 6th 2017
Travelling in your own country is deep at the heart of what GKM is all about. When we decided to start spending an entire year in one destination at a time, we began at home, on the British Isles. Whenever we go back to the UK we still plan trips to places unknown and always make time to find great adventure.
There is something organic about exploring your native land. It stirs up a proud sense of belonging like nothing else on the planet can.
We will always preach travel at home, but we feel the urge to do so now more than ever. The world feels more turbulent than many of us can remember it being in our lifetimes. Uncertainty looms ahead, and the progress we’ve made as humans over the last two, three, four decades or more is being chipped away at an unnerving rate.
With Brexit and the inauguration of Donald Trump, we feel disjointed. We feel unheard. We feel alienated. We feel pain for the many people who are unheard and alienated to an even greater, unimaginable degree.
However, we will resist (like many of you reading this, we’re sure). That can, and will, come in many shapes are forms – marches, protests, petitions – but one way we urge you to resist is to get to know your own country in greater depth. Being informed about and involved with the people around you is one of the greatest weapons you can equip yourself with at this time.
The western world’s current political climate is designed to drive a wedge between communities. To enforce and develop their outrageous policies, the likes of Trump want us to look differently at our neighbours. They want us to question the people we share our space with. They want us to think twice about accepting other people’s way of life. This suspicious, surveillance, fear-mongering culture feeds their agenda – and one of the best ways to tackle it on a regular basis is to turn around, and do the exact opposite.
Refuse to fuel this increasingly dangerous us-and-them mentality by getting to know your neighbours intimately, and rejoicing in the things that make you different. Travel to the other end of your country to discover how people from alternate backgrounds experience your shared land. Tell other people about your experiences to promote this greater understanding of each other and spread a message of human empathy and connection.
Talk to people, and try to understand them. If we meet someone who lives an entirely opposing lifestyle to ours, we must consider it a golden opportunity to resist. This is the moment we can do what they don’t want us to do – grow more loving, more accepting, and refuse to turn people away because of our differences.
For the people we meet who perhaps support the policies we feel strongly opposed to, this is another chance to communicate. Tell them about your experiences around your country, and the people you’ve met. If we can strike even a tiny resonating chord that helps them too connect with the people around them, it’s progress.
We could (and should) do this around the world on our travels, of course. Understanding more about the rest of the planet is also important. But for when you can’t get away, for when you need an everyday act of resistance as a traveller – a global citizen – get to know the people you share your space with. Be united with them and embrace them.
The revolution starts here, and now. Just outside your front door.
For more travel at home inspiration, read these posts:
Also, listen to our podcast series, the Every-Day Explorer Podcast