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How A Trip Abroad Helped Me Explore My Own Backyard

And what a big backyard it was

By: Eric Murdock + Save to a List

Stay with me, this is a great travel lesson to consider. 

I treated myself to a trip down to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. I spent 3 weeks down there, and while it was one of the most incredible experiences that I have had to date... it was also the most costly.

I already know what you're thinking, of course going to a host country for the World Cup is going to be expensive, but I did it as well as anyone could have on a budget. I stayed with a friend the entire time, I budgeted everyday, and I bought my flight way before ticket prices inflated. But in the end you can only do so much.

All of the costs that are associated with traveling abroad: plane tickets, rail passes, buses, taxis, eating out, drinks, losing your luggage, spontaneous adventures, a street artists terrible sketch of Indiana Jones, all of those usual things that go into having a proper adventure... they are all unavoidable (more or less). 

After a huge dent in my bank account, I returned to the US with a newfound consideration on the cost of travel. I realized I just paid an arm and a leg... and a foot, and maybe even a few fingers, to fly 10,000 miles across the globe, when I could have just as easily (if not more) hopped in my car and explored the thousands of miles of unseen mountain roads, desert highways, and coastal cliffs. I started tallying up the things I hadn't yet seen or done in my home country: Big Sur & Highway 1, Havasu Falls, Glacier National, Olympic, Death Valley, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Denali, Canyon Lands, Arches, Zion,  all of the PNW, and the list goes on....

Fast forward 2 (and a half) years later, and not only had I knocked every single one of those destinations off that list, but because of how cheap it was to travel, I was able to continue to add more and more to the list. This continued until there was nothing to it but to add Canada into the mix as well. Before I knew it, and honestly I still can hardly believe it, I managed to account for the greater Western half of North America. Beyond this, I managed to do it all for damn near the price of my plane ticket to Brazil. 

The best part about traveling in your home country, America in my case, is that you speak the language, you don't have to get a new cell plan for when sh*t hits the fan, there's free wifi everywhere, you don't have to perform astrophysics in your head to convert currency, you drive on the right side of the road, you use MPH, there's camping everywhere, and best of all - your mode of transportation is sitting right there in your driveway. 

So I guess what my lesson to you is, before you plan your next trip abroad, take a step back and contemplate just how much of your own backyard you have actually seen. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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