Winding paths through woodland, unexplored land, overgrown and rich with wildlife. Long grassy lanes, stretching through fields and farmland, hot and dusty in the summer. Coastal cliffs, the thrilling cold whipping through the mountains, the tides loud and impending below. The city backstreets, alleys with cobblestones and old walls, canal paths with sleeping ducks, lamp lit streets in the dark, winding their way through the quiet clamour of the urban night.
When we think of travel we think of faraway places, planes jetting off into blue skies, car journeys on long motorways, ferries and cruise liners drifting off into huge expanses of sea. We don’t often think of local travel, the exploration available just beyond our doorstep. No transport required, just a short walk to somewhere we didn’t know existed, or somewhere we didn’t think could be worth exploring.
In the city, there’s always something new to explore. Chances are, even if you’ve lived in a city for some time, there’s a wealth of places which you’re yet to visit. It’s not about only hitting the tourist spots- though some local tourism can be a great way to get to know your city better- it’s also about the streets where nobody goes, the back alleys with dumpsters and basement businesses, the small local businesses hidden away behind the bustle of large corporate fronts.
In rural and suburban areas, it can seem quiet, and difficult to find new places to go- especially if you’ve lived in the area for a number of years- you might feel that you’ve explored it all. The thing about rural areas is that they’re changing all the time. With each season, one hiking trail might be completely different during each time of the year- what starts out as sparse trees and an unforgiving, muddy path, becomes green and overgrown, filled with bird calls in the summer.
Any map application is a good place to start, if you’re lost for places to go. It’s not about finding the most well-known, exciting place on the map. It’s about finding places you’ve not yet explored, places within your reach which you might otherwise never explore. It’s about reimagining your local space as though you had travelled there, stepping out of your front door as though it was a perfectly crafted hotel, and walking to the nearest unfamiliar place.
What local places have you explored? Where will you go next?
Featured image: Annie Spratt via Unsplash.