Every time I return home from visiting another country I am forever changed in a way that I could not have imagined before packing my suitcase. Travelers constantly yearn for the opportunity to let go and completely immerse themselves into another culture. But, what if profound change can happen even at home?
If time or money constraints have you staring at pictures of beautiful locales on your computer instead of sitting on an international flight, then you are in luck. You don’t have to leave your country to see the world. Traveling domestically can be a global adventure.
Have you thought of traveling to Minneapolis to immerse yourself into a different culture? No, you say. Well, think again. The Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in Minneapolis next to the University of Minnesota is home to the largest Somali community in the United States. Stroll around the neighborhood and you will find Afro Deli and Café, a neighborhood restaurant focusing on the fusion of African, Mediterranean, and American food. Go further into Little Mogadishu and you will stumble upon Karmel Mall, a shopping center full of products you will find nowhere else in the city. If you want to feel even more connected to the Somali community, check out Starbucks. Yes, you read that correctly. The neighborhood Starbucks is the social center of the Somali community staying open late especially during Ramadan.
International adventures can occur throughout the United States in large and small places if you know where to look. With numerous travel blogs to choose from, information is easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Once off the beaten path destinations are now firmly on the path. You no longer need to depend on the cheesy brochures in your hotel lobby to know what to do. You can have exciting global adventures and avoid traveling like a tourist while staying closer to home.
Different cultures are essential to the soul of a city. Can you really understand Los Angeles by staring at the Hollywood sign? Check out El Pueblo de Los Angeles the historic center of the Mexican community instead. Are you really experiencing Chicago if you skip Chinatown or St. Paul if you do not stroll around the Hmong market? When you avoid the cultures that make up the social fabric of a city you are missing out.
International Adventures at Home is a new series on Globe to Go focused on exploring cultures in cities around the United States. Check back for guides on cites throughout the country to start your international adventure.