My actual backyard is a different story. I love it. Here's a picture:
I wake up to this view every morning and I'm incredibly grateful. I don't want to camp in it though and like any born traveller, no matter how nice a place is, eventually I get restless and need to get out.
We tried recently. Three times. None of them holidays as such, rather they were trips out of Auckland for work or family commitments. There was a lot of rain involved. Splashy windscreen wipers and bleak, cold, winter landscapes. Once or twice we came upon interludes of sunshine, bright green hillsides and misty blue valleys, most notably along the back road from Paparoa in the Kaipara to State Highway 1 near Whangarei, which felt like a gift. But taken overall, not enough to leave home for.
Then we tried for the near backyard, places within forty five minutes drive of our actual backyard. Something magical happened. Here's another picture:
It is entirely dependent on where your live, of course. Forty five minutes from home could find you stranded in the 'burbs somewhere. Living on the outskirts of Auckland in the foothills of the Waitakere Ranges gives us a definite advantage.
There are other pluses to near backyard travel, mostly relating to weather. You can pick your moment. If it's a rare blue sky day without vicious sou'westerlies and we've got nothing to do that can't be deferred, then our near backyard can't be beaten. We don't feel obliged to venture onto the squally open road and sit holed up in a motel room that doesn't live up to the booking.com photos, just because we've pre-arranged a trip.
Which brings me to perhaps the biggest advantage of near backyard travel. Sleeping in your own bed. Personally, I never sleep well the first night in a new place. However clean and comfortable and charming it may be, the sheets smell different and the beds often lose-your-mate huge. If I'm going to lie awake all night I want to at least hear the sound of geckos chirping or lions roaring. In other words, I want to be somewhere exotic and foreign. Backyards, by their very nature, aren't that.
I'm confident that backyard travel will come into its own in summer - which feels like a long way away right now. In the meantime we're doing recces, seeking out places we know we'll enjoy when we're able to hang about on beaches and camp. We've found a few gems that we missed in the pre-covid world in our dash to Go Places. Here's another picture:
Roll on Summer.