It's been one heck of a summer, hasn't it? Between vacations and jet-setting off to visit new places near and far to those sweltering, lush nights that seem to last forever... something about the hottest season of the year beckons us to create grand adventures for ourselves. But with Labor Day bringing this exciting season to a close, it's normally around this time that a sense of normalcy and coziness comes knocking on our front doors again. Fall nesting season is coming and with the return of more time at home, it's certainly time to start celebrating the joys of living local.
Let's be real for a moment. We can really get ourselves sucked into a serious wanderlust hole, especially online. Images of sweeping landscapes, dreamy, weathered architecture and free-spirited girls dressed impeccably pensively staring out into the wild (you know the cliche) are over-saturating our screens. Double taps and heart eyes emojis galore! I've been there, you've been there, we've all been there. And we begin to think that those images are the definition of adventure.
We start to believe that we need to escape to another country and live in a refurbished RV in order to explore. We start to credit these unrealistic, far off adventures as the only solution to our wanderlusts. And listen, these beautiful moments have great importance. (Just listen to our minisodes from our travels this summer!) Seeing a different side of the world and experiencing cultures and colors and smells and sights unlike those that surround us is meaningful and life changing. But I'm ready to embrace a change of heart. And I'm hoping you're with me on this.
Let's stop the ideology that adventure has to happen in these lush, fabulous moments. Let's live and love local.
1. MAKING ROOTS
If you've been following what we've been up to on Instagram, you know that we recently moved to our favorite little city in Pennsylvania. After finally settling into our new place in Lancaster, it's finally starting to sink in that we have an incredible opportunity to make roots in this arts-centered town. Just the idea of being able to develop great memories in this place has me giddy inside. And although the appeal of living nomadically gets me allllllll the time, there's no denying that it's difficult to create roots in the short amount of time you have between hopping different destinations.
Making deep memories in a place is meaningful for both yourself and the community. Creating a sense of belonging in a place comes from the amount of time we spend in it making memories, maintaining and sparking friendships and embracing our towns as our true, long-term homes.
2. SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESSES
Is there anything better than a mom and Pop shop, where the owner shouts your name when you enter the door? I think not! When living and loving local, we're able to support the livelihoods of the families who own the adorable shops that bring business into the area. We're able to give them a vacation, or support their daughter's mission trip, or even just help them when the building's rent. When we shop small over corporate, we're not only able to feel good about where our money goes, but we can also see it as an investment in our towns and cities.
I'm challenging myself to shop at least once a week at a local store (whether that's the family-run market on our block, a retail store in town or buying goods by a local craftsman) instead of a larger corporation. I find myself buying at Target all the time, when I could be spending an extra dollar or two to support the livelihood of one of my neighbors and reviving the commerce in town. Keeping this bigger picture in mind really drives me to think more locally when shopping!
3. BIG IMPRESSIONS & LARGE OPPORTUNITY
Living local means you are given the chance to make real impact. Let's face it, by being a bigger fish in a smaller pond you have the possibility to make a bigger, and more positive impression on your area. Is there a need not being met? Is there a movement you'd like started? A community building activity or club you'd like to lead? Guess what... the opportunity is yours to seize. We have the great gift of opportunity by living small and loving being a local. We're able to create a sense of ownership of our area and we can be proud of our accomplishments to make it the amazing, positive place we can home.
4. A CHANCE TO EXERCISE YOUR IMAGINATION
I'm going to state the obvious here. Living in a large, metropolitan city is fascinating. There's a thrill around every corner and the tourist destinations are obvious. They're probably already spelled out for you on a quick Google search. So here's the fun part about living local. We're able to find the REAL gems. Not the obvious ones.
Finding the hidden gems in our very familiar area requires some imagination... there's no denying that. But isn't that the fun part?! There really isn't a better feeling than finding something unknown in a place that feels so ordinary. I know I'm addicted to the feeling. (I might even consider it my hobby to make you addicted to this feeling too!) So, take on the role of guide and research! What is the area's best pastry shop, best pizza shop, cutest bookstore or secondhand shop? It's a joy ride to do the sleuthing.
5. WE MAKE MR. ROGERS PROUD
Won't you be my neighbor? But seriously. It's a treat to feel like you have a sense of purpose in a place. We're able to know our neighbors and help local causes. We're able to be a part of the neighborhood's history and see the ebbs and flows of the area... they all happen. We can witness and know the details of the seasonal changes, which trees bloom beautiful in the spring and which parks are the most alive on a hot summer's day. We're able to spread the good around and celebrate being a great neighbor.
So, to all you small town explorers and local adventurer's... let's LOVE local and live it fully. Let's love that stuff. Let's celebrate it and each other in our efforts to living local. With autumn's grand entrance just around the corner, let's nest into the season and nest into our towns with an exciting take on exploring our areas. What sort of local adventures do you have in store?