DO THINGS WHERE YOU LIVE! I bet you there is are a handful of totally unique things to see or do right where you live that you had no idea was there. No one ever takes the time to really explore the places they live and get to know all of the unique secrets it has to share with you. Take for example the featured photo. Kind of gross but visually interesting and certainly unique, this alley is absolutely plastered in gum and its hiding right under Pikes Market in Seattle. There were probably 15 people walking through this kind of communal art project but thousands walking just 20 feet away utterly unaware that it was here to see. This article is to share a few tips on how to be a more advantageous local tourist and get the most out of your home!
1. Stay in a hotel where you live.
There are hotel, motels, and now Air BnB’s just about anywhere in the world you want to stay. GO STAY IN ONE! So this may not seem super frugal but read on. You can find places super cheap to stay just about anywhere. Air BnB runs the full spectrum but hotels can be a little bit trickier. I recommend the Hotel Tonight app for finding cheap rooms after 12pm. Try it out just once be a tourist where you live. If you live in a the City stay in a different part, if your in the country go one town over. Just give yourself a chance to stay somewhere you don’t have to clean. I promise you it will pay you dividends in relaxation and take you one baby step out of your comfort zone.
2. Leave the car behind.
Now that you are not staying at home it’s time to get out and walk or bike or skateboard, you get the idea. Google “best things to do near me” and just pick something. If you are more adventurous and would like to REALLY know some secrets about where you live see if it’s on Atlas Obscura (https://www.atlasobscura.com/) this is the most amazing website that will teach you things about where you live you never knew. Then park the car and leave it there for the day. Just walk, the more you walk the more you will see and the more you will experience. It’s really hard to check out that shop/ restaurant/ park/ etc from the drivers seat of your car.
3. Eat small and often
Try all of the things! You have carte blanche to eat whatever you want when your Wandering. Try some spider rolls from the sushi place, some panang curry from the Thai place, try something from the bakery and from that weird place! Order small dishes and split or just eat half. Another option is to order off the lunch or appetizer menu for smaller portions. Think about this like an evolved version of Sunday sampling at Costco. If you enjoy alcohol try sitting at a couple different bars and ask if they have anything local or special on tap. Then ask if they can recommend any unique spots to grab a drink. Fun fact most bar tenders know the coolest places to drink outside of where they work.
4. Own a camera and mute your phone.
This one might be a little painful for some but honestly you can have a muted phone for 8-10 hours. Just leave it on vibrate (I dare you to leave it at home!). Does work pay you enough to eat into your free time? Give your self the freedom of being unreachable for a few hours. Now for the camera part. This is a delayed gratification move. When you take pictures on your phone, you see them, you might share/ post them, and that’s it when do you go back and look at photos you took on your phone. Have an actual camera of some kind and use it to take all of your photos. Get creative and try doing some wacky angles or silly faces. Take photos of the things you like and want to remember. Then at the end of the day pull those photos up on your computer and review them. Maybe take a glance through the tutorial section here on the website and then share your favorite of those photos. This gives you the opportunity to relive your adventure after having it. You can delay this a couple days if you like, as a photographer I usually try to wait a week before looking at photos. But my aim is to have a more un-biased eye when I review them. Definitely download your photos every night but if you can wait till after your trip to really review them you will be surprised at how much fun it can be.
5. Read the Signs, Displays and Placards.
This may seem like a duh thing but one of the greatest sources of unique information available to us is the most overlooked. There are historical facts and interesting info signs EVERYWHERE you go. The Parks Service and historical societies do an excellent job of making information about local sites plentiful. Every state has a historical sight and state park and less than half of states do not have national parks. If you think you live somewhere where nothing has ever happened or you just cannot find anything I would challenge you to go to your local library and ask for historical events/ sites/ locations in your area and be pleasantly surprised with what you dig up. If you really want to impress your friends with a piece of knowledge they don’t know read that little green sign outside the court house or by the river you have all walked past a million times.