I think you're right, Gavin. It's hard to make your best art when you're not working with something personal... the effects of impersonal art are often cold and lacking in that certain magic that makes a piece special. How can you expect someone to have a connection with your work if you don't? There are many ways to accomplish this, even on the road. For me, I've found photographing Campbell's Farm, where I've lived continually for my 29 years, to be challenging yet most productive. For example:
These two images were taken of nearly the exact same spot, about 50 yards behind my home with about the same focal length lens. To work a place fully you must photograph it over time not only for the sake of changes in the subject but, more importantly, for the sake of changes in yourself.
All the best. Shawn