Do you reserve your explorations for the 1-2 weeks per year you actually leave town? Consider changing that mindset to regularly see new things in your own backyard.
No, I’m not talking about an I’m-broke-so-I-can’t-go-anywhere staycation. I’m talking about cultivating the curious attitude from your travels into your daily life.
People will travel halfway around the world to see a culture that is likely living in an area of their own city.
Have you been to your Chinatown/International District? Eaten at the local Indian restaurant? Gone to a Columbus Day parade or seen a traveling dance troupe from another country?
You can observe customs, dress, food and language without leaving your own zip code.
Festivals can provide a great education about a culture or place. And don’t forget foreign film festivals; they can show you the more creative side of a culture.
How can you become more of an explorer in your own backyard?
- Get a list of the festivals in your area and pick the ones that sound most interesting to you. You can find most of them by googling “your city” + festival + calendar. If you have an event center or fairground, check their websites for upcoming events.
- Read up on the people or place before you go so you can better appreciate what you see.
- Eat the food. Even if you don’t think you’ll like it. You get a better appreciation for people when you share the food they eat.
- Take pictures if you want (with permission), but don’t become too obsessed with it. Immerse yourself in the experience.
- Talk to people you don’t know. Pretend you are on the road and want to find out more. Most people are thrilled to answer questions about their heritage or homeland.
One of my favorites quotes is “to be interesting, you have to be interested.” Cultivate your curiosity and live like you are on a trip every day and you’ll learn about the world without ever leaving home.