Sometimes I wonder why travelers from all over the world would want to visit The Netherlands. We are a small and remarkably flat country with large expanses of lakes, rivers, and canals. What’s so special about The Netherlands? Why should I travel in my own country?
We often prioritize traveling abroad over traveling in our own country. Probably it’s because most of us romanticize other countries when it comes to going on vacations. Next to that, we might think that we can visit our countries anytime as they will always be there.
As countries begin to emerge from local lockdowns, we all feel more the urge to get back out into the world. Instead of longing for the good old days traveling everywhere without restrictions, now is a great time to explore our own countries during this pandemic. Not only will you feed your wanderlust and get to reconnect with your own country’s history, culture, and nature, you will also support the local businesses.
Traveling and exploring your own country is beautiful and worthy. In this article I discuss 10 reasons to travel in your own country during this pandemic. I hope I can convince you to start traveling in your own country while we wait for the world to revive itself from this pandemic.
1. It opens your mind to the taken for granted
Traveling in your own country will make you realize that there is so much more to see than you once thought. One of the most profound things I learned from traveling in my own country is how much I took the Dutch culture and nature for granted. I usually do not look at my own culture with fascination like other travelers do. Take for example the lovely Dutch Christmas traditions, Prinsjesdag, crazy cycling habits, funny Dutch expressions, and delicious Dutch foods. Not even to mention the beautiful national parks, breathtaking castles, and impressive cities we have…. All these examples made me realize how diverse and beautiful The Netherlands actually is.
Just because you live somewhere doesn’t mean you know what the whole country has to offer. Traveling in your own country will give you the chance to (re)discover and learn so much more about the heritage, history, and nature of your country.
This summer I explored a restored fort, hidden under the earth, five stories high, and almost located in my backyard. Several times I’ve seen the fort, but never took the time to really explore it. My god, what a great experience it was.
I also traveled to the southern part of the Netherlands with my partner and explored the province of Limburg. We planned to travel through Limburg for about 3 days, but finally spent 2 weeks in the beautiful province. From eating Dutch pie in Arcen, cycling in the Maasduinen National Park to sleeping like a royalty in Tegelen, it was an amazing experience.
When the lockdown is over, try and go travel in your own country and you might be surprised at how beautiful your country really is and how much you missed out on when you took your own country for granted.
2. It makes it easier to connect with people
One of the pleasures of traveling is meeting new people along the way. Usually, when we travel, there is often a language barrier that hinders our ability to connect with one another in a meaningful way. When you travel in your own country, it’s much easier to connect as you speak the same language and have the same background. You even might make new friends and build a relationship that could continue for years to come.
3. It gives you a chance to get back to your roots
Traveling in your own country will give you a chance to get back to your roots and rediscover the history of your country. Even though I’m not that interested in Dutch history, I gave myself a reason to go out and to visit some Dutch museums during the lockdown. I also read some history online and got to experience some of the places in a different way. Every place has its history and cultures. It made history more relatable as I was able to see some of the places mentioned on the internet with my own eyes.
4. It can help you let loose a little
If you find planning trips abroad stressful, this is your chance to let loose a little and start getting used to stress-free planning. Opposed to a trip to another country, traveling in your own country can pose fewer challenges. For example, you won’t have to worry about your passport or the currency, will likely know the language and will be more aware of cultural norms and changes than you would be if you were traveling overseas. You will probably get around easier and have a much more relaxed experience. Without much planning required, you can give yourself some room to be flexible and have more time to enjoy your trip. All you have to do is just start traveling in your own country!
5. It lets you explore from outside of your bubble
Your country is probably in lockdown and so you spend most of your time at home, completely isolated from what is happening all around. When you start traveling in your own country, you will see the reality of the world around you as it actually is outside your bubble. Travel opens your mind in surprising ways, the good and the bad, and that’s what makes traveling outside of your bubble so important.
6. It helps support the local’s economy
The pandemic of covid19 hit hard for the tourism industry. Traveling in your own country is a great way to help ramp up the local’s tourism economy which will undoubtedly need all the help it can get. Supporting the locals is one of the few things travelers like us can do to help the world.
7. It gives you a chance to catch up
If you have friends and family up and down the country, you can use your long weekends or mini-breaks to spend some time with them and explore the area where they live. Perhaps you can even stay with them and almost enjoy a trip for free. If you don’t stay with them, it is an excellent opportunity to catch up and have some fun!
8. It gives you the ability to travel around your busy schedule
In today’s busy world, many of us don’t have enough time or ability to take a long time off work and travel worldwide. If you travel in your own country, you can easily plan the vacation that fits your work schedule. You can go around your busy schedule at the weekend and have a refreshing vacation in your own country.
9. It helps you save money
Traveling in your own country is often cheaper than when you have to pay for a trip abroad. The expensive round trip ticket costs, visa costs, the vaccination costs, and many more. Traveling abroad is somehow more costly than local travel.
10. It reduces your carbon footprint
Dependent on how large your country is and how far you are planning on traveling, you can completely alleviate the need to travel by plane. Your travels will have much less of an impact on the environment if you travel by public transportation to reach your destination. You’ll also make more of the actual journey, being able to admire scenery, rather than clouds, out of the window.
I hope this article inspires you to start traveling in your own country more and help restart the local economy in your own way. There is a lot waiting for you to explore out there in your own country. It might even be right in your backyard. Stay safe!