making an adventure out of staying close to home.


Zuma Beach, Malibu, California. April 2014.

This is going to be short this week. Most of what we’ve covered in this blog so far has had to do with traveling far and wide and, generally, for a good chunk of time, but this week we’re sticking closer to home.

Because I don’t think I’ve said, I live in the valley of Los Angeles county, California, about an hour outside of the actual city. This past week, I was off of work and able to really take advantage; get out of the house and away from my computer (a real struggle sometimes).

So, it’s time to head out. Locally. Oh, and of course, don’t forget your camera. Even close to home, your travel isn’t quite complete without a few tourist shots.

The point of a “Staycation” (a truly undervalued kind of vacation, if I do say so myself) is to break out of your usual routines and explore the areas that are close enough that you never actually go out and explore them, while saving you time and money as you don’t have to actually go very far. Basically, it’s taking the time to be a tourist in your own backyard. I doesn’t even have to be very far; an hour away or a days ride, as long as you get away from your life for a little bit, that’s all that matters.

But, what to do?

I live in Southern California but, honestly, theme parks like Disneyland aren’t touristy for me; they are simply one more thing to do in my area whenever I can, despite how family and friends from out of town tend to flock to these locations as touristy must-dos.

Instead, this break, my dad and I did half-day trips wandering the actual city parts of Los Angeles’ (and surrounding areas’) destinations rather than the artificial worlds created in theme parks.

One of the days we went hiking in Malibu for a few hours (saw some waterfalls) and spent the rest of the day at the beach. Going out to local areas like beaches and doing activities like hikes make you get away from your house and work and all the people you are constantly surrounded by. For me, this is a time when I turn my phone on airplane mode to really get away from life for a few days. Generally, these don’t cost you much except maybe parking, food and sunscreen; unless you pull an overnight and then motels are pretty cheap.

Another day, we went on a self guided walking tour through the city based on the movie “500 Days of Summer.” These kind of tours are easy enough to find (great ones are done through city conservancies and can be found through them) for many kinds of topics—movie, historic, music, ect.—and for pretty much any city you may travel to. Self guided equals actual free tours minus the cost of getting to your location, parking and basic daily needs and are generally pretty easy to navigate distance wise since it is expected that you walk from one site to the next. The fun part of these kinds of tours (and doing them close to where you actually live) is that most people would only consider doing them in areas they don’t live in or when they are guiding people from out of town so many people you know haven’t done them. I have lived near the city my whole life but, because of that exact fact, there are tons of places that I have only visited recently because riding the metro 40 minutes (another thing I rarely do as a LA valley dweller) or driving for an hour is never something I do just to go see the sites.

To get out but not alone or with the people you see everyday, there are ton of group meet ups (through sites like meetup) posted all over the web. These help you get out and meet people from your own greater or super local communities to learn or experience new things in your area.

Then there are the basics. Hit local monuments and landmarks. Go to museums and art galleries your usual life never leaves time to see. New parts of old cities are being found every day; keep your ear to the ground and visit unearthed history. Just go out and explore because if you don’t the tourist we usually come to resent as those people slowing down traffic or simply those feeding our local economy will come to cherish and know more about our homes than we do.

You should never feel too cool to be a tourist, even if you are within an hour of home,

Until next time,

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.


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