For years, when I thought of going off on big adventures, I thought of cross-country road trips; long, boring flights that I would regret booking until I arrived at my destination; and hiking over trails that might actually challenge my endurance.
However, my Jamaican passport, a Third World salary, and the limited vacation time from the 9-5 slave-job that paid it, limited any possibility of that ever happening.
Leaving the Island Life Behind
After a great deal of planning, however, I was able to go off on a smaller scale adventure that began in Jamaica and then branched off into the US, where I had more than enough friends and family spread out to host me, while I flitted from one location to the next.
Then, after two weeks of bouncing between family and friends in Pennsylvania and New York, another friend of mine asked me how my trip to New York had been.
I told him New York had been fun enough, but I was relieved to return to Atlanta (which has been my home away from home for roughly a dozen years), as nothing could compare to it.
He then agreed that there was nothing like home. He was on a cross-country road trip back home, himself. But then he lamented that my adventuring was over. My immediate response without thought was:
Distance doesn’t make an adventure.
But I never realised how true that was until I said it.
Luck or Perseverance?
People are always telling me, “Oh, you’re so lucky you get to go out and do all that,” or they say, “I can’t do those things. It costs too much.”
But the truth is, sometimes all it costs to go adventuring is a little research and a car ride. There are a lot of free beaches, free trails, and free attractions in your area – or close enough. You just have to find it.
Running off 1000 miles away to another continent doesn’t create an adventure. It’s just a different location; a new location where most people waste their time lounging by the pool and taking selfies, anyway.
Your Home is Someone’s Vacation Spot
Always remember that wherever you adventure to, there are people living and making a life there, every day; and somewhere, right now, there is someone dying to come to your city, your state, your country. Find out why.
You see, the truth is, you will never know any area as well as you know your own. Take advantage of that. You won’t need travel guides to tell you what seasons and months are best for heading outdoors to sail or hike or swim. You won’t need money to book any flights. You might not even need to book a room, anywhere.
Some of the best and cheapest adventures you can go on could be right down the street from your house – or maybe several streets away. You won’t know until you go looking for them, and actually commit to doing it.
So to prove the point, I’m sharing pictures of adventures I’ve had over the past three years – all of which occurred on my tiny island and within the Atlanta area.
Beach Day in Negril, Jamaica – Swimming, Snorkeling
Beach Day in Falmouth, Jamaica – Swimming, Kitesurfing, Paddleboarding
Volunteering in Falmouth, Jamaica
Beach Day in Montego Bay, Jamaica (my hometown) – Swimming, Snorkeling, Yachting
Volunteering in Montego Bay, Jamaica
Weekend Trip to Portland, Jamaica – Surfing, Swimming, Sightseeing
Hiking in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Labour Day Urban Exploration at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Labour Day Urban Exploration at Pemberton Place (Coca Cola) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Graffiti at Little 5 Points in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Originally published September 8, 2015 on Alexis Chateau.