Not every place may suit all your needs. There are times when people flee their places for one of their “Side Places.” These are places usually different from their home place (ideally, their Place Match) and meet the needs their current place does not meet. Be it sun, surf, quiet, mountains, different culture, adventure, etc.
In a new place-centric reality, this world of tourism and Side Places is also changing. I often say that the #1 customer for any tourism campaign is its residents. If your residents don’t see themselves and its place in your campaign, you’ve already gone off the rails in creating an authentic campaign, which is key today to making it effective.
But travelers are looking for more place experience. From the popularity of real home lodging services like Airbnb to the reviewing of places as destinations (beyond attractions, restaurants and hotels) on travel sites, experiencing the place like a resident is the most highly sought travel experience these days.
So it’s okay if you have one Side Place (or more). This could be a place you see every vacation, because that’s what vacation means to you. Alternatively, maybe vacation is an excuse to try someplace new. That’s okay, too. No one place will likely fulfill all of your needs forever, and a Side Place doesn’t mean you’ll leave your place. Or maybe it does.
Maybe. Just maybe you’ll stay in your place for vacation. Maybe you are still dating your place to discover if you’re in your Place Match and vacation gives you some time to explore. Maybe you’ve recently married your Place Match and are still in your honeymoon phase. Or maybe budgets or work schedules are tight and a staycation is all that is in the cards. Perfectly fine, as well. Hopefully your place will provide wonderful opportunities for you to discover your place so your bond grows deeper.
But if you have a Side Place (for whatever reason), don’t panic. It may feel like you are cheating on your place but there may be very good reasons for this Side Place, so let me help you navigate your split loyalty:
- Some places cannot fulfill all of your needs. You can’t make a beach or mountain appear where there just isn’t one. So maybe you need a glimpse of something else to still appreciate what you have at home without bitterness.
- We all need an escape. Side Places are often an escape. Nothing serious. Just an opportunity for a change of scenery and not a reflection of how you feel about your place.
- But be mindful of your thoughts and feelings. When you arrive at your Side Place, do you feel more “at home” than at your actual home? Do you dread going back to your place, or do you miss it with longing, ready to go home? (Mind you, we are talking about how you feel about your place, not going back to work, daily routines, etc.)
- If you are traveling to a Side Places because you are thinking of jumping ship, remember you never decide on vacation to make the move. Instead, in addition traveling to those places, perhaps subscribe to the local paper, get to know the leadership and learn about the issues of the place that will be your reality when you are a resident.
- Place Matches can change over time. It is unlikely one place will be your Place Match across your lifespan. So when it is time to move on, have the courage to move on to your next best match. Nothing does more to diminish your own quality of life than being “stuck in place” (like feeling stuck in any relationship) so make sure you act in your own best interest as much as possible to live your best life.