“How often I found
where I should be going
only by setting out for somewhere else.”
R. Buckminster Fuller, American Inventor
(Died 1983 – 87 years young)
What if I told you that you could explore new, interesting, and exciting place right where you live? Most of us never look nearby for travel dreams and as a result, miss out on some really wonderful opportunities.
It may be that you have lived somewhere all your life and you take a lot of it for granted. It may be that you are just not looking close to home because you are spending your time looking at another state or another country.
Taking another look near your own home, looking with an open mind and at all opportunities, even those you may not be attracted to immediately, may open opportunities that you never dreamed of, but will enjoy a great deal.
For over 20 years I have lived in the same town. I know it well. However, in the last few years, after my children left home and I retired, I began to get out and just go places. As a result, I have rediscovered my town and the towns/cities in the surrounding area.
Let me share with you some of my own experiences. Perhaps they will help you to rediscover your backyard:
1. There is a medium size town thirty minutes south of where I live. From the day I moved here there were things I wanted to see and visit there, but life took over and I never made it - until now. Recently I parked my car and took a walk downtown.
a. The old downtown of this town is charming, beautiful, and bustling. I visited the old hardware store downtown and loved it. The old creaky wood floors, the tall ceilings with the plaster cornices and crown moulding, the shelves packed full of merchandise including a red-flyer tricycle and wagon brought back memories of my childhood.
b. The old downtown is full of interesting and unique shops that I never even noticed before until I just took a walk on the downtown sidewalks. It is also an historically preserved town. Loved just walking and looking.
c. I also discovered that in the old train depot they have a rotating art display. Every few months they change the theme or the artist and it is fascinating. I missed this wonderful exhibit all these years because I failed to get out of my car and walk the streets.
d. To finish up my day, I had a cup of really good coffee at the HeBrews Coffee Shop. It was a small little coffee shop with creaky wood floors and red brick walls. On the wall was a sign that say spelled out H-E-B-R-E-W-S with photographs. Under the sign was this Bible verse:
"Let brotherly love continue.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers:
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."
Hebrews 13:1 -2 KJV
2. My own home town is small, charming, and alive. Recently I parked my car at the bottom of the hill at the end of the town and walked the four roads that meet at the square in the center of town. I drive through this town all the time doing business but I don't remember the last time I actually just walked the streets of downtown. This was a good trip!
a. Besides some of the best restaurants there are two wonderful bakeries. Each does their own specialties.....one is donuts and pastries and the other is cakes, cupcakes, pies, etc. I had never visited them until now.
b We also have several privately owned boutiques that offer a variety of items. Some are quite unique and others are more vintage. All of the shops have something of interest and that I had never experienced before.
c. I also discovered that the local quilt shop that I had only been in a couple of times has an alterations person that resides in the back of the store. I have already taken a couple of pairs of my husband's jeans to be shortened to her. Had I not walked the town, I might have never found her.
d. There are couple of beautiful church buildings downtown, our community college, and a beautiful little park with pecan trees.
These are just two examples of my recent rediscoveries of local travel. I can't wait to explore the other towns nearby and see what I have missed.
The point is this, you can sit at home and wait for that wonderful day when you may get to travel to Europe or Asia....and take a chance of not ever get to go anywhere or you can head to your downtown area or a nearby town and explore what is close to you.
Look at it with new eyes. Take your camera and look for unusual photographic shots. Take a notebook with you and write short paragraphs or short stories taking place in some of the places you see. Make it unique day just for you to enjoy. Have coffee at a different place, eat lunch at a place you have never visited, or just walk and look.
Here are some suggestions as to variations of this idea - traveling your local area:
1. Make it a theme outing: For example only participate in things that fit a certain theme such as visiting Italy, visiting Mexico, a music outing, an unusual drink day out, etc.
a. Italy Visit - dress as you would if your were visiting Italy. Research Italy and find out what the food is like, the clothing, the pastries, etc., then go for that. Eat pasta, eat Gelato, wear a stylish scarf and sunglasses, maybe a hat.
b. Mexico Visit - shop the boutiques and look for things Mexican. What did you find? Have lunch in a Mexican restaurant and eat something you have never eaten before. Listen to Mexican music as you walk the streets of your town.
c. Music Outing - load your ipod or phone with various types of music. As you walk, listen closely to the lyrics, immerse yourself in music. Visit the local music store, what kind of instruments do they sell? Can you place an instrument? When you have lunch, listen to the music they play, is it classical, modern, pop or something else? Think about it while you are out, What songs touch your heart
d. Collection Day – Whatever you're collecting, make it a day to seek that item out. Go to boutiques, resale shops, gift shops, etc.,
2. Make it an artist or creative outing: What hobbies do you enjoy? Are you a quilter? A painter? A knitter? Gardening? Whatever you enjoy doing make a day of exploration of that activity.
a. Movie Fanatic Day - Plan a double feature on a day when your movie theater has reduced ticket prices. Every Tuesday, my theater offers $5 movies with $2 drinks and $2 popcorn. Making it a double feature is easy to do,
b. Quilter's Day Out - research and locate a quilt show. Study the quilts, make notes, photograph if desired, and then plan a quilt. Shop for fabric at the show or a local quilt shop. Study patterns at your local quilt shop.
c. Gardeners Green Day - visit all the gardens and parks in your area. Study and learn the names of the plants and flowers. Lots of large cities and some small towns have either a botanical garden or public garden in a park that you can visit and walk through. Learn the flower and plant names.
3. Make it a scavenger hunt trip: What kind of things do you collect? Stamps? Books? Lace? Ducks? Make a list ahead of time and go to a town and try to locate these things. Purchase them at a good price or just take a photograph and collect those.
a. List all the items that you would like to have but haven't had time to shop for. For example: a pink headscarf with yellow flowers; a spatula with a short handle; a brown rustic flower pot for re-potting a plant; a dolphin bookmark; a crystal cake plate; and anything that you would like to have. Make a long list and get as many items as you can in a specific time frame.
b. List all kinds of fruit. Go to various stores, farmer's markets, CSA farms, etc. And locate one of each kind of fruit. Bring it home and make a fruit salad
c. Pick an inexpensive small item and seek to find as many of the as you can. For example: blue tea cups; thimbles; etc.
or be on a yacht in the Mediterranean
to have happiness.
I can find it in the little things,
like looking out into my backyard and seeing deer in the fields.”
Queen Latifah, (47)
There are many options for a local outing. Plan to visit your own town and walk the streets, visit a nearby town, or visit a town that you make a day trip out of. Many times we live near places
that people from hundreds of miles away come to for vacation and we may take for granted.
Get out and explore!
Meet new people!
Enjoy your own world!
Have you seen every thing in your local area? Are there any places you haven't been near your own home? Have you ever considered traveling locally? A day trip? A mini-vacation? Share your experiences, tips, ideas, and thoughts.