The best way to get out of your state is to get into it.

Growing up in a small town in the Midwest, no one could wait until the day we all graduated and got as far away as we could when we headed off to college. It’s funny how for most people that desire fades after you’re away for awhile. Even though I live in a new city, I look forward to the weekend getaways to my hometown. I see it with fresh eyes and have begun to explore what I used to overlook.

This point of view isn’t the same for everyone. A dear friend of mine moved to the big city for college and fell in love. We’re all happy that he found a wonderland to call home, but on his infrequent visits he brings nothing but bad vibes with him…In his eyes, his city is just so amazing that he can’t (or won’t try to) see the beauty in his hometown. Although he is happy to stay in the city forever, I can’t help but feel that his visits would be more enjoyable for everyone if he could learn to see the good in such a familiar place.

I have noticed and experienced these same feelings as the wanderlust trend has taken over social media. I personally know over twenty students in eleven different countries just this summer, and it feels impossible not to be jealous of them as I scroll through my Instagram feed.

“There” always looks better than “here.”

However it may seem, beauty and nature are wherever you make them. A wonderful friend of mine recently invited me on a hike in Indiana’s Turkey Run State Park. As we navigated crevices and creeks, she mused, “This is amazing…It doesn’t even feel like we’re in Indiana!” For those of you pining to get out of the boring Midwest, I have something to share with you.

“There” always seems better than “here.” “There” has exciting things to explore, breath-taking landscapes, and unparalleled views. We dream of all the magic we could find if we could “just get out of (insert state/city).” What I have learned is that the best way to “get out” is to get in. Really get in. Go somewhere new and try something you haven’t done before. Adventure is in your own backyard if you stop imagining it somewhere else and start looking for it around you.

That’s where the #LiveLocal movement begins. It starts with a weekend trip to a nature preserve. It starts with acting like a tourist in your own town, discovering and supporting a neighborhood store or restaurant. Adventure isn’t out there–it’s right here! Getting into your state/city will help you appreciate what’s around you and enjoy yourself without needing an expensive plane ticket.

And I hope someday you get to your “there.” I’m sure it will be amazing when you do. But for now, soak in the “here.” I promise you’ll be happy that you did.

#LiveLocal. Adventure is in your own backyard.

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