Summer might just be the best time to be a tourist in your home town, region or country. There’s perhaps no better place to do it than South Africa at the moment!
But I am not in South Africa, and yesterday I awoke with a burning desire to travel. I had no plans for the day, but knew that I desperately needed to venture outside of my ordinary environment and experience something new. My summer vacation doesn’t begin for six more weeks, and I just couldn’t take the wait anymore.
So I decided to purchase a daily transit pass, good for all the buses and trains in my city and the surrounding areas. My plan was to visit Helsingborg in the morning, a seaside city in southern Sweden, go for lunch in Kristianstad, then head to Ystad in the afternoon and be home by dusk. Travelling by train, the entire trip would cover a few hundred kilometres.
While I didn’t meet all my objectives (I never made it to Ystad), the day was an overwhelming success, enjoyable from the minute I set out.
I saw parks that I didn’t know existed, took pictures of things I had never before paid attention to. I found a great coffee shop in Helsingborg, a town I had never before set foot in. I took half an hour to get a haircut from a drop in salon (for some reason, I always enjoy getting haircuts while travelling). I enjoyed a timeout in a nice park with a good book, and sampled fresh fruits in a local farmers market. In my busy day to day life, I never seem to have the opportunity to enjoy conversations with strangers or shopkeepers, but yesterday they were plentiful. When I returned home to Malmö during the evening, I saw my community with fresh eyes. My own city and neighbourhood looked different to me yesterday, and who doesn’t need a fresh perspective every once in a while?
Travelling is a state of mind really. My journeys of yesterday cost just a few dollars, yet it feels like I’ve just returned from a vacation. The joys of travelling are available to all us, and often exist just outside our front door.