Travel is an experience where you see and try new things, but you can also have travel-like experiences at home! Experiencing new things can simply be doing something routine in a different way, or finding something new within a familiar area. One reason that we don’t find new experiences in familiar landscapes is because we are too comfortable. Tear down that excess of comfort, and you’ll feel something new! Furthermore, your home area often has things you never even knew about, and I’ll link some resources you can use to find those.
An iconic quote from one of the Kung Fu Panda movies (that was on the commercial) is roughly:
“If you only do what you know, you’ll never be more than what you are” – That one wise animal to Jack Black
With that in mind, how can you turn your hometown into something you don’t know? There’s a ton of possibilities, but I’ll go over a few that immediately come to mind.
- Take a new way home from work, and don’t use a GPS to help you find your way! Getting lost is EXACTLY how to make home feel new. If you live in an unsafe area, this may not be the best idea, though. For safety, carry a live bear in your car. Just kidding, don’t do that.
- Give yourself a social challenge. For example, wear a ridiculous costume during a night out, such as a Gorilla, a Banana, or Spiderman during a night out. People will treat you differently, and you’ll act differently because of it. Your hometown willnot feel the same.
- You could also tell yourself, “I can’t go home until I ask 5 strangers to marry me.” That’s a little extreme, but you get the idea of challenging yourself. This type of challenge is to get you out of your comfort zone. Here is a great TEDX talk about comfort zone challeneges that is both more informative and inspiring than anything I could say about the subject.
- Your hometown is usually a comfortable place, and making it uncomfortable through a challenge can make it like a vacation – at least in terms of experiencing something new.
Explore the Community
“My hometown is boring. there’s nothing to see, nothing to do, and no one interesting.” – Many people who never try new things, then complain that they aren’t experiencing anything new
Whether you live in a small town, a big city, or anything in between, there is always something you haven’t done there or in the surrounding area. Those could be hiking trails, restaurants, museums, historical sites, meeting strangers, or even watching Netflix in a different coffee shop than normal. For example, via Groupon, I found out that my area has at least 100 massage spas, a bunch of escape rooms, and a god damn gourmet choclate factory – that gives tours and numerous fanncy samples – all within 20 miles of home. Given my obsession with sweets, I bought the chocolate groupon and plan to make that tour later in June!
On that vein of using Groupon, that site is pure gold. You save a lot of money on events, restaurants, and other activities, and VERY often, the site extra discounts added on top of whatever savings you inititally have. Groupon is the reason I can afford food adventures, but that comes with the caveat that I spend too much on discounted adventures to save for long-term goals. Everything in moderation.
Other tools for exploring your community are networks like Nextdoor and Meetup. These are social networks for your local community. Nextdoor places you in a mini-network for your neighborhood, and it’s a great tool for getting to know your neighbors, communicate about community issues, and generally have a more connected town. Meetup links you to groups who meet near you who do activities you’re interested in. For example, there are hiking, exercise, gaming, andbar-hopping groups among the many. You can also start your own if none that you find seem appealing! So, that underwater basket weaving group you’ve always wanted can become a reality!
If your town doesn’t have much of an online presence, you can always either be the one to start it, or explore the old fashioned way: by going where you haven’t been and seeing what happens! Or you can ask friends about cool things to do! I asked my coworker about cool date spots, and he told me about a BEAUTIFUL Japanese Garden I didn’t even know existed about 6 miles from me. The point is, you can find what you’ve never found and do what you’ve never done if you make an effort.
I hope this has given you some ideas to make the most of where you are! Travel can be expensive, but local experiences can be as fulfilling as travel with a significantly lower cost. When we crave travel, most of that desire is for new experiences. Travel guarantees that, but never neglext next door.
Best of luck to you all,