You probably see stickers in storefront windows all over your town: think local, act global. Or however that goes. But there really is some important truth there.
My family and I have spent a lot of time traveling—not just around the world, but throughout the U.S., too. We’ve driven up and down the east and west coasts, immersing ourselves in the myriad cuisines, subtle cultural differences, varied landscapes, and sometimes comical accents and word choices. There is no one way to live in America, and it’s a joy to experience.
Which is why, as I’m settled in to my favorite local juice shop a mile from my house typing these words, I’m more convinced than ever that local matters. There’s something special about supporting a café, a shop, a service where the owners are literal neighbors and your money goes literally to your community. Sounds cliché, but it’s true—buying local really, truly does matter.
And what’s more—buying and living local supports our unique cultures. What’s New Orleans without sugar-shocked beignets? How would San Diego be San Diego without hole-in-the-wall surf shops? What’s fun about an Austin devoid of live indie music, Torchy’s Tacos, and a thousand other food trailers?
Even if the bulk of your days involve buying groceries, going to work, changing diapers, cooking dinner, cleaning out the garage, taking kids to karate, or grabbing coffee with a friend—you can do so much through your everyday actions by going local, even just a bit.
Buy some of your groceries from your farmer’s market or a local indie grocer. Buy baby stuff from a small boutique (which yes, means you buy less, because it might be more expensive—but I’d count that a positive thing, usually). Eat your dinner outside, then go on an evening walk to enjoy your neighborhood.
Sell your unwanted stuff via Craigslist or a local Facebook swap group. Support the mom-n-pop karate teachers and Little League coaches in your area by cheering on the teams and signing up for snack duty. And head to a local coffee shop to buy your beans and cup.
Keep your local culture and climate alive with your dollars and your presence. I love all the unique pockets of people around the world—would be a shame to see them fade away.