The antidote to being a foreigner in your town is doing precisely that: being a tourist in your own city. You should have the same enthusiasm over visiting new places as exploring every corner of your own familiar environment. You’d be surprised by how much you don’t know about the roads that you pass by every day.
Try it once in a while. You will be guaranteed to be blessed with fresh eyes after every adventure. At the same time, this is one of the cheapest ways you can travel and have a cultural immersion. If you are excited to try this, here are ways you can do it.:
1. Decide if This Is an Alone Thing
You can do the whole adventure alone or with a friend. Although to make sure that you are not waiting on anyone else’s decision and availability, you’d want to go alone. All you need for this is yourself.
Or you can also invite a friend to join you in this adventure, but you do the exploring separately. After the whole thing, you have someone you can talk to about the entire experience.
If you like taking pictures or drawing sketches, you can take your camera or sketchbook. If you want to make a vlog of the whole thing, you can do so. Just take anything with you that can help you document the whole journey.
2. Plan the Adventure or Do It Freestyle
The decision will depend on whatever you feel like doing. Planning allows you to have a set itinerary, while freestyle gives you a sense of freedom. Here’s how you can go about either route:
If you are the type of person to plan their every move, then go ahead. Research about all the interesting places in your town. Make a list and arrange them by categories.
You can base your categories on the places’ proximity or a theme. An example of a theme is historical places. With this, you can look for all the historical sites ever recorded in your city. Once you have a list of all the places, set a schedule.
Other examples of themes you can use to guide your adventure are theme parks, abandoned places, tourist spots, underrated city spots, and more.
If you decide to explore the city according to tourist spots, it’s also an interesting take. Usually, locals are not interested in going to places usually marketed to tourists. Who knows, you might meet a few new friends along the way. You also get to see what draws tourists into your city. You can also get to know your city by attending the local events.
Food is also an interesting way to get to know any place. Go on a food adventure. Explore all the decades-old restaurants as well as new hip cafes.
You cannot possibly explore the whole town in just a few days. Spread out all the places you like to visit according to your availability.
If you decide to do it freestyle, just walk, bike, or drive around the city. You can also use different modes of transportation that you rarely use. You will likely pass by some spots you have never seen before. Find places that seem interesting to you.
Do whatever you want. You can pack some snacks and have a mini picnic. Talk to the people you meet along the way. Share stories with strangers. Watch local movies and play with kids in a playground.
3. Find Some Practical Use to the Insights You’ve Gained
Exploring your own town is a whole new experience. You will learn so much not just about your city but also about yourself and some other things. You can even pick up some practical lessons from your journey.
For example, you will learn what style of architecture most houses in your town use. You can also see how roads can be improved. Or how some areas can use a park or two. You can find some use for all this information whether you are just a regular citizen, a student, or someone who has a business related to construction management.
You will also see some problems your city has, whether in transportation, the lack of housing, or the lack of proper road signs. Knowing the whole town can help business people develop better marketing strategies or better ways to do business. Regular citizens get to understand which parts of the city can use some improvement.
This just proves that exploring your own city isn’t just to appreciate the place. There are useful insights you can get from the whole experience.
Don’t be a stranger to your own town. Go out there and explore the place you were born to gain a deeper understanding of where it’s been and where you’re headed.