If you suffer from wanderlust like me, many days follow a similar theme: looking out the window itching to see or do something new. To scratch that itch, we usually turn to long-distance travel. If not that, maybe a day-trip adventure or weekend getaway.
But given the demands of home, work, school, or other financial commitments, that’s not always possible. The good news is, you don’t have to travel to travel. By learning how to travel even when you can’t leave your city gives you the ability to accomplish almost (if not equally) as much as physical travel. In other words, mental travel can be more meaningful than physical travel.
Feel-good wisdom aside, sometimes you still want to physically get away when time, funds, or energy might not allow. For that I recommend you do as the tourists do. You don’t want to wear socks with sandals, overpay for food, or treat locals like they’re your doormat. But you should be researching noteworthy attractions as if you were new to the area.
For example, you can search on TripAdvisor, Google, or other online resources for the top-rated “things to do” in your own home town. A quick look will likely reveal things you didn’t even know about or ones you still hadn’t gotten to. Checking what local tourism agencies are pitching or highlighting is another great way to see your town and its people in a new light.
Doing so in my case has lead to discovering new hiking trails, snow tubing, a top-rated zipline and snowmobiling park that’s teeming with out-of-towners, or even just reminding me of some of my favorite local outings that I haven’t seen in awhile. In my case, searching almost always leads to inspiration.
To be fair, I realize that I live in one of the nation’s more adventurous cities, states, and regions—the great American West. But I’ve tried this with much smaller Southern and Midwest towns and still came away learning something new. That said, if this still fails in your case, you could widen your scope to a 20-mile driving radius from your town. I’d be shocked if doing that didn’t lead to some sort of new discovery.
After all, seeking out new experiences is the very definition of being adventurous. Sometimes we wrongly associate “exotic” with adventurous. Even if you think you live in a two-star town with “nothing to do,” you might surprise yourself if you look for different ways to experience it. Better yet, while approaching your hometown like a tourist, you may even “win” an unexpected memory worth writing, um … home about.
Image: Bruce Szalwinski, CC-BY
Off the Grid columnist Blake Snow writes epic stories for fancy publications and Fortune 500 companies. Follow him on Twitter.