Often when we think about traveling, most of us have this misconception that we need to step out of the country for it to be considered traveling. As a result, we tend to neglect the beauty that our own country has to offer. Think of the first time you arrive at a new destination and the thoughts that surge through your head upon arrival to this foreign place. Do you look around in awe and tell yourself that you are going to explore every nook and cranny just to ensure that you soak up everything the place has to offer? Now try to bring that perspective when you walk along the local streets of your city.
Another alternative is to visit the main attractions that tourists come to your country for. Instead of postponing your travel plans with the excuse that these attractions will always be there, just go ahead and do it. Unexpected incidents and events occur all the time so there is no better time than now.
There are many ways you can approach this idea and turn it into a reality. Weekend staycations are gradually becoming more common as it is the perfect trip to plan for those who have hectic work or study schedules on the weekdays. Not only can they escape the hustle and bustle of the chaotic city life, they can also recharge their battery by relaxing on a hammock by the beach or immerse themselves in the activities that the place has to offer.
While there are a minority of people who choose to have staycations in their own area, most prefer to have a change in scenery by traveling to another city. It all depends on the type of getaway that you have in mind. In the case of Malaysia, a few popular destinations for weekend staycations are Port Dickson, Penang, and Malacca.
With a variety of accommodation and food options to choose from, it makes planning easier as you can customise your trip based on your budget and personal preference. In addition to that, you do not have to worry about visa issues, currency exchange and language barriers.
Explore Your Own City
If staycations are not your thing, you can discover just as much, if not more, by wandering around your own city. To start off, consider going to places that you used to frequent as a child and relive those childhood memories. Compare and contrast how certain buildings or roads have changed over the years. This experience is ideal for university students like us who are away from home. Therefore, take advantage of the time when you are back home to catch up on these changes.
Amble around your neighbourhood with friends, family or just yourself and revisit the environment that you grew up in. Undoubtedly, there will not be the feeling of astonishment like when you first stumble upon a new place. However, it is the feeling of nostalgia and the process of reconnecting yourself to where you came from; that in itself is definitely an experience that you will never get when you travel overseas.
Another way you can learn more about your city is to bring a friend that has never been to your city and offer to be their tour guide. Through this experience, you will gain a deeper understanding of your area since you might accidentally discover places or things you have never encountered previously during the journey.
Therefore, I encourage everyone to travel and be a tourist in your own country. There is nothing wrong with traveling abroad but try to keep your choices open by opting to travel locally. As a tourist in your own country, you are less burdened in terms of finance and time.
If the travel bug inside of you is itching to travel soon and yet you have no idea where to go, look no further than your own country. Sometimes, the greatest destinations are right in front of you.
The most important factor is the perspective and mindset during your journey. Bon voyage!
By Stella Eng Chia Yin