One summer I visited a good friend of mine down in San Clemente, a beach town along the California shore in Orange County. It’s a calm relaxing place that you would find in any travel magazine. Roads curve gently along homes set in hills rolling down to meet sandy beaches and vibrant blue waters. It was during a time I had decided to take an extended vacation and savor the simple joys of life, reconnect with friends and find ways to travel more.
I wouldn’t say that the concept of travel came upon me suddenly. Traveling becomes part of your life when you have family spread across three continents. But I felt like I needed to do a bit more traveling and explore new places. It turns out that I did not have to go far.
One thing I remember from chatting with my friend along the boardwalk that day was how this wonderful beach is so easily accessible. It’s within a two hour drive from the Inland Empire. If you don’t want to drive you can take the Metrolink or the Amtrak train since each have a stop right along the beach. (Although I haven’t taken the train here yet.) It’s an easy weekend vacation right under my nose.
What else was I missing? While I am longing to see the beaches of Jamaica or the hills of Tuscany am I missing the “Venice” or “Paris” right in front of me? One thing I have learned from the few travels I’ve had is that what the traveler sees as amazing the local sees as ordinary. People criss-cross all over the globe to get the incredible experiences of the local. We are amazed by the food of locals and the markets of locals. We even are excited to sit in the middle of rush hour traffic as the locals commute to work just to have that experience!
Don’t get me wrong. I like international travel. But can I have that same sense of adventure when travel doesn’t require a passport? I think so. This challenge to myself comes at a good time since my vacation hours are a currently a little low. So while my passport is tucked away I will make the most of traveling here among the locals.