How to Be a Tourist in Your Hometown
Travel has always been a part of my life. Some of my favorite childhood memories are from family trips. We ate croissants in bed in our Paris hotel. We watched the fog roll in on Cannon Beach in Oregon. We marveled at castles in the German countryside. I was comfortable staying in hotels and sitting in airports for hours. I was extremely lucky to have parents who loved to travel. I was also lucky that they could afford to take my brother and me along for the ride. Now my life is a little more complicated. As a teacher, travelling can be tough. My days off are prime time for family vacations and this means places tend to be more crowded and pricier. That's forced me to be more creative with the idea of travel. We don't always take big vacations (though we're always saving and planning). Sometimes travel looks more like adventures around our hometown.
Adventures to me are little trips, new restaurants, and hidden gems. Travel at its heart is getting out of your comfort zone, creating new experiences, and learning how big (and small) the world is. It's totally possible to have similar eye-opening, transforming experiences in your own hometown by having adventures whenever you can.
Stay on top of up-and-coming restaurants, shops, and experiences through social media.
In the age of the internet, information is at your fingertips. Find and follow people and accounts that are in your town or city or in your state. On instagram a quick hashtag your town/state search will show you what people are up to near you. My favorite always is Twitter. Whether it's links to restaurant reviews or weekend activity round-ups, Twitter is constantly updated with information about places near and far. Pinterest is a great resource too. Want to know more? Amanda of Chasing My Sunshine did a great post series of how to use social media to plan your trip.
Learn to say "yes".
The first thing you must learn in order to have amazing experiences is to say "yes". I've found it's easier to say yes when you're travelling to somewhere new. When everything is out of the ordinary and you don't know what to expect, saying yes is easy. You would think it's just as easy to say yes to new things in familiar places but it's actually much harder. At home, you feel like you know everything already. You're so sure of which places are good and which are not worth it. But if you say yes to something new-is in your hometown, you might be surprised. Try that "boring" restaurant or visit that "old" park. You can have amazing, new experiences at old, familiar places.
Expand your radius.
Sure, your hometown is a great place to start your adventures but consider expanding your travel radius. A dozen or so miles away there may be something amazing just begging to be discovered. If you're in a city, a quick internet search of "day trips from ______" is a good start. If you're in the suburbs or a more rural locale, search for things to do in towns next door. Or if you're an even more adventurous type, get in the car and drive; you never know what you might find!
Walk around; keep your eyes open.
Public transportation and cars are great, efficient ways to get around your town. However, if you can, try to walk to wherever you need to go. You'll catch things you might have missed otherwise. Another thing to help you feel like a tourist in your town? Keep your eyes open! Put the phone down and check out what's going on around you. You might be surprised at what you missed.
Even though summer vacation is over, you don't have to stop having adventures. Get out and explore your hometown and everything else around you. You'll be surprised with what you find. Find a great local place in your town and want to share it? Post it to Twitter or Instagram with #localloveblossoms and share it with us! Can't wait to see what you find!