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Posted by travel lifestylist Susan Michelle on Jun 24, 2007, 00:01

If summer is the prime travel time in this country, the 4th of July holiday is the peak of it all. America's Independence Day seems to be the call to battle for most Americans to declare their own independence mid-year--independence from work, snow, obligation, from everything that's the “norm.” For those souls brave enough to venture away from home for the holiday, the battles they face will be many-fold: battles on the road, battles at airport security, battles for hotel rooms, boat dockspace, restaurant reservations, good weather, a decent 6-pack from the store, and, ultimately, their own sanity.

As I write this, there are already throngs of screaming kids, wire-thin patienced-parents, hopeful grandparents, and sweaty couples traversing our sky and roadways en route to a place they hope will refresh and restore them, giving them the strength to survive another six months of house projects, yelling bosses, endless bills, and obligations to needy friends and family. It is fitting that this holiday is celebrated with explosions--a great symbol of our collective exploding consciousness upon the sky of stress, and the subsequent, celebratory sigh of relief we let out that carries us through the two months left of heat and humidity which we can't stand when we're in the middle of, but can't help but long for when buried under 2' of snow and a 20 below wind chill.

This 4th of July, why not do something different, kindred countrymen? Take a sojourn without the additional stress of packing, standing in line, and driving the freeways of America. Instead, celebrate by exploring the place you hold dearest to your heart: the city you've made your home. Forget the obligatory BBQ with acquaintances you don't really care about anyway. Light your normal weekend “to do” list on fire with a bottle rocket. Step outside of your comfort zone of lethargy. And finally do some of those things your profile says you love--even if you have to do them alone.

Put on your best outfit, go to the swankiest bar in town, and have a happy hour margarita with the cute bartender there. Pig out at a Sunday brunch dim sum. Dig out your “artist” glasses and hit that fabulous exhibit you've heard about, or all of gallery row, for that matter. Take a walk in the woods with no worries about having to get back in time for something specific. Read a book in the park. Write postcards to your family. Get a massage. Pack a picnic lunch. Just go, and do the things that you always talk about wanting to do here, but never seem to find the time for. Have an adventure…right in your own backyard.

Because that's what travel is really about: adventure and exploration, wherever you are. Traveling is a lifestyle, not a place. And isn't that what the fight for our country's independence was for? The right to the lifestyle we choose? That and a great margarita at home--now, that says “God Bless America!”

About the Author: A former Hollywood producer and now 2nd-generation travel professional, Susan Michelle travels the planet as the “face” of the fashion-forward Compass travel lifestyle brand. For more articles, tips, and hot spots from Susan, and community with fellow Cosmopolitan Travelers, visit Or write her direct at

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