“Love where you’re from, before you love other places”
You know how we hear the saying, “Love yourself before you love someone else?” It’s true in relationships, but I believe it can be true when we travel. The curiosity in us always sparks our desire to get out of our comfort zone and to just drive, fly or walk to wherever we want to go that we think is different and exciting. But I declare to take a step back from dreaming big and to really explore the place we are in before we can grasp into the unknown.
Take it from me, I was born in California from a small town and have lived here for nineteen years of my existence. I’ve never been to the beaches here, I’ve never been to Disneyland and I’ve never been to the museums in LA that people hype over the most as they share their memories on social media. That’s when I decided to make this year the time where I can travel around my home state because I felt like I was missing out on what was in front of me. When I thought of traveling, I had a cliché mindset of saving money to book a ticket to Europe or New York and discover what they have to offer. Not giving my state of California a chance would be like skipping the opportunity right at your door and taking a huge leap to another opportunity that could take a while to achieve. So I spent the year and my summer going on a journey in California and even though I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, I loved every moment of it.
I went to Disneyland for the first time, and my friend, who came with me, made a joke and told me “Today, I’ll be your tour guide around the park and take you to as many rides we can get into.” I laughed because it was true. I did feel like I was tourist, but I was excited to see what the day of adventure held for me.
To Do List: Take a photo in front of the castle? Check. Take a photo in front of the Ferris wheel? Check. Buy Mickey ears? Check. Meet Jason Earles from Hannah Montana? Check. (That was luck, too.) Watch the the fireworks at night? Check.
Next thing on my list was going on a wine tour around San Diego. Although I was under age, the tour guide invited me to enjoy the snacks instead and the views across the vineyards as he drove us around every winery and vineyard. The mountains were so green and beautiful. The grape vines were so miraculous that I had to take a photo of everything, especially of how scenic it was with the blue sky above us and the sun shining down. I didn’t know my state was home to so many beautiful vineyards where their wine is locally grown and made.
From the desert to Santa Monica, I made it there for the first time. Standing right in front of the ocean made me realize that a girl from a small town in California can easily discover what is new around her. I fell in love with the beach, the pier, the sunset, the sand, the Ferris wheel, the wind, and even the car rides there. It was a perfect day for a small town tourist.
What held me back was distance and time. But eventually those two factors will come together.
Upon coming back from my travels, I was content with falling in love where I am from. I know I did not explore every single part of California, but I do know that whatever my state has to offer, it will definitely be on my bucket list. Don’t let the small town vibe ruin your outlook on traveling local. Start small because you’ll never know what you will discover. You may dislike and complain where you are now, but go further out within your area and you’ll feel like the tourist that you are.
Number one traveling tip: A camera will be your best friend. Aim. Snap. Save.
Author: Della Mangangey
Author Bio: I am 19 years old and a college student attending California State University San Bernardino. I always try to find time to travel but on my down time, I love to read, write, and make bracelets that sends a message towards sustainability in the fashion community.
Career Goal: Make the fast fashion industry lean towards sustainable and ethical practices.
Link to social media or website: Instagram @littledella97