In primary school, when kids are asked what do they want to do when they grow up, there is always a recurrent answer: “I want to travel around the world”. Most of them associate that answer with the idea of being on holiday playing with friends, going on adventures or just getting to know new places. As we grow up the perspective starts to change. The world turns out to be bigger than we thought; holidays do not feel infinite anymore; obligations and responsibilities try to invade our personal space and we realize that to travel around the world we also need funds. The fact is, distance is not necessarily the only thing that defines whether we have traveled or not.
This might sound like a silly question but do you really know the place you live in?
No matter if you live in the city you where born, or if you are currently in an exchange or living abroad, the land where you stand is already a destination. You don’t need to travel thousands of kilometers to find yourself in an unknown location and to feel the excitement of exploring. Travelling is about moving from one place to another but sometimes we forget that we can also travel short distances. The city we live in is the place where we spend most of our time, which in theory would make it the place we should know better. However our busy lives quite often intervene limiting us to a set of predefined places and we end up doing constant round trips between home and university/work and touring around the same supermarket, club or coffee shop we like.
There is nothing wrong with going to the same places because you know they are good but if you are the kind of person that likes to uncover the little secret spots not everybody gets to see you should go beyond. Every now and then is good to look around us and explore what we have right outside the door. Getting to know a place in depth is not an easy task, especially the one we live in because we take it for granted but time flies and you don’t want visitors to know more about the city than you.
Where to start?
Do some research: whether it is in a tourist office or on Google, try to find the tourist attractions that your city has to offer and chose according to you own taste. Each city provides activities that vary from going to the theater or visiting a museum to hiking, biking or visiting a park. Your wanderlust is the limit. Go beyond the urban area on your research, you will be surprised by how many beautiful sites surround your city. One-day getaways to places that are 1 or 2 hours away are the perfect escapade to relax and experience something new. Do not think too much, just move.
Walk, bike or drive around without a specific destination and discover the nooks of your neighborhood. Take a moment to visit those places you always saw through the window but where too busy or lazy to visit. Do not take the usual streets you cross every day and try to go to different coffee shops or restaurants. You will be surprised with the diversity that is waiting for you out there.
If possible try to go up. Most of the cities have that one place where you can have an amazing view of the whole city, most of the times a mountain or a building. Looking at your city from above always produces a feeling of astonishment cause when you are occupied in the daily tasks you don’t realize how colossal and extensive the area is. Take your time to enjoy the view and feed your adventurous spirit. Exploit the fact that you have 365 days to explore the place where you live, instead of just being an outsider.
By: Laura Duque