How to Be “Microtravelers”

Let’s share small scenes and small stories from small trips near home until we can resume explorations farther afield.

by Valentine J. Brkich


ROAM is a travel magazine. We write stories about amazing travel adventures. Unfortunately, right now is not a good time for travel.

These are strange times, indeed. With the coronavirus pandemic, travel has been practically shut down around the globe. Right now it’s not safe to be on a plane, on a train, on a bus…heck, pretty much anywhere but inside your house. And for those of us with the wanderlust, these are difficult times to endure.

But all is not doom and gloom! Just because you can’t get out and explore the world, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a “microtraveler”  and share small scenes and small stories from small trips near your home.

See the winner of ROAM’s Microtraveler Photo Contest!

Our March 2020 contest showcased Instagram shots from around the world. 

Here in the charming, small town of Beaver, right in the heart of Western PA, I regularly go out for walks around my yard and my town. And even though we’ve been asked to social distance and stay home whenever possible, I still always try to get out for my daily stroll, which, on Instagram (@smalltowndad), I lovingly refer to as “Walkin’ around The Beav.”

It’s on these leisurely walks when I try to capture the beauty of my town through photography. Whenever something catches my eye, I pull out my iPhone and snap a photo. I figure I’ve walked around The Beav a few hundred times or so now, so it’s not always easy finding something new to photograph. But that’s what I love about it: the challenge.

So many of us live our lives ignoring all the beauty around us. We’re just so busy. (Well, at least we used to be.) Now, with everything being cancelled or postponed to a later date, we are finding ourselves with more time than we know what to do with. I see this as a blessing. Sure, maybe now’s not the time to book that cruise to Mexico. But it’s the perfect time to do a little micro-traveling and discover all the beauty we take for granted in our normal, hectic, day-to-day lives.

Whether you live in the city or the suburbs, in a small town or the countryside, take advantage of this time to get out and pay attention to all the things you never noticed before. If you live in a house, start with your own yard. Look for the beauty in your landscaping. Look for the little architectural details of your house. Try to look at everything with fresh eyes and find the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Take a long walk and pay attention to all the other homes. What unique features can you find on the house or in the yard? I’ve photographed old coal chute doors, fairy gardens, frosted-glass windows, gargoyle downspouts, etc. You’ll be surprised what you see when you just take the time to look. (Just be sure not to trespass or infringe on your neighbors’ privacy).

Look for the natural or manmade beauty. And by beauty, it doesn’t have to be a rose garden, for example. Beauty, after all, is in the eyes of the beholder. One of my favorite pictures is one I took of a telephone pole on the corner of my street that’s impaled with hundreds of rusty old nails and tacks, remnants of long-gone yard sale signs. That’s the kind of picture that tells a story—the story of your unique place in this world.

Hopefully it won’t be long before it’s safe to hop on a plane again and journey to some exotic locale. But until then, try to make the most of it and do a little micro-traveling in our own neck of the woods. (Again, just be sure to be responsible about it.)

Get out there and show us your little slice of the world! Post your photos on Instagram using the hashtag #microtravelers. And be sure to tag us @ROAMFamilyTravel.


by Valentine J. Brkich, March 2020

ROAM Contributing Editor   

Hailing from the charming town of Beaver, Pa., Val and his wife enjoy discovering other small towns and dragging their two young children along for the ride (sometimes literally). Read his blog SmallTownDad.com and follow him on Twitter @valentinebrkich.

© ROAM Family Travel 2020 – All rights reserved

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