We’ve been taking it semi-slow for the past week and a half, hanging out in Washington, DC, the city that we lived in about eight years ago. It’s been interesting to see the change and development that has occurred in the area since we left eight years ago.
The city has grown. When we first moved to the DC area in 2008, DC had a population of about 568,000 people, and the surrounding metropolitan area had a population of roughly 5.6 million people. Now, the city is estimated to have 6.1 million people in the metropolitan area and about 600,000 within the city limits.
Change and development is evident in DC, as the city tries to tackle the influx of people continuing to move into the area. Neighborhoods that were once run down ten years ago have been upgraded, and the up and coming spots from when we were here before are now coveted (and pricey!) locations.
Travelers have a role in all this change and development too. Next to the federal government, tourism is the second largest industry in the city. The mass of people coming in to visit the city, and their willingness to pay more has definitely contributed to rising costs.
But when I consider all this change and development, in cities like DC and other tourist-filled cities around the world, I feel like there’s still hope. Travel doesn’t have to make a negative impact, it can also be a force for good.
As I continue on this travel journey, I’ve realized travel is important, not just for the traveler but also for the destination. Change and development doesn’t always have to be for the worse. Tourism can stimulate an economy and bring attention to destinations that would have otherwise been cast aside.
In Washington, DC, change and development has included the creation of new monuments and museums like the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Both of these are key parts of America’s history, and important for visitors to know about.
Families can make a positive impact, too, when they travel. They can aim to make their travel more ethical and sustainable. Travelers can choose options that support local businesses rather than chains. We can choose to do activities that promote the culture and history of a place, rather than just purely for entertainment.
This week we are continuing on to other cities on the East Coast. It’s been great to be in DC, but we’re excited to explore a few more places on this side of the country, before we make our way back to the West Cost, and then Mexico.
Thank you for following along!
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