I was editing an article, here, about a small local village in Maine – Greenville Maine – when the thought occurred to me that among the many reasons I travel and the values I bring with me when I travel is a desire to support local economies. This is especially true during the time of the pandemic, when many travel and tourism related businesses have suffered substantial drops in visitors and income.
Whether we realize or not, our adventures can be of long term benefit and consequence not only to ourselves but to others whom we pass along the way, especially when we choose not to fly past but to slow down and make experiencing the many local cultures of the USA or other nations part of our adventure. Each town or city we pass through is not just “another town”. Very often that town grew up based on local factors, such as the presence of mining or logging opportunities, access to a nearby stream or river that influenced the town as a trading hub or a mill town.
Where better to have a direct impoact thatn pause to stop and spend your time and “travel money” at a locally owned and operated business?
I’d like to suggest that when given a choice between a local mom and pop convenience store or a big chain, a local “hole in the wall” diner or a familiar “brand” and all the other economic decisions you make that you choose to lean into – to tilt towards – allocating your travel money deliberately to the locals . . selling locally made goods.
I can tell you that, many a time – almost universally – when looking for a place to stop and eat, just by judging by the number of local cars parked outside or by the clean and tidy appearance of a small business (a/k/a pride of ownership) I have enjoyed many a good meal, a welcome experience and many educational conversations with locals, moments that made the journey richer.
Richer, by simply slowing down to take a second look and deciding to venture the stop in one of the many small towns and villages that dot the American landscape.
Get off the interstate. At least for an hour or two. You will be paid back for the “time lost” (it never is) flying down the highway.