The Birth of Mini-Adventures and 10 Ways to Be a Tourist in Your Hometown
Ever felt like you’d love to be out on the road, experiencing the world, but just can’t pick up and go right now? You peruse your friends Instagram accounts with awe and envy all at once. Well, we’ve got some good news for you!
If you are reading this, you’re here on planet earth, at least I think… 🙂 —and that means wherever you are, the world is at your fingertips.
How to “Travel” in Your Own Backyard
Last week we discussed why travel is the best education and I hope those of you who joined us for the How to Live and Work Anywhere in the World Q&A got some practical tips out of it. You can access the recording here.
But I know that we all have a million different things going on and some of you (at least in this moment!), aren’t gonna pick up and head across the pond.
So, the good news is that you can still get the benefits of “travel” without ever leaving your hometown. Because as I shared last week, the growth that happens when you travel simply comes from:
- Stepping outside of your comfort zone
- Creating space to dream
- Experiencing something new
- Meeting new people
- Getting creative
- Gaining new perspectives, and:
- Showing yourself that you are capable of much more than you think.
Because we are all about taking steps so small that you cannot fail, today we want to provide you with some practical ways to experience and explore without having to get away—as we know that is where some of you are right now…
10 Ways to be a Tourist in Your Hometown
1. Pick up the Travel Guide to Your City and Start Checking Things Off the List
What have you always wanted to do that is right in your backyard? Go do it! Most tourists who come to San Francisco go to Alcatraz, and while I have been, it’s been a while. So I could easily skip the normal Saturday routine and become a tourist for a day.
With Trip Advisor and other online websites, this option is available for most places these days, even small towns. Or you could even challenge yourself to make a visit to surrounding areas!
2. Seek Out Free Activities in Your Town
Most of the cities I have visited around the world have free walking tours which are super cool. 1. Because they are free. 2. Because you learn a lot. 3. You usually meet pretty cool people.
What free activities take place in your hometown that you have never done? Local tourist information centers and online tourist websites usually have great suggestions and if you have little ones, often public places like libraries, museums, zoos, aquariums, parks and markets are fantastic fun (and often free or low cost) for all the family! I’m sure there are more than you think.
Added bonus: you will probably meet visitors coming to your town so you can provide them some local’s insight!
3. Wander Until Things Get Interesting
I first heard this mantra from Rolf Potts, author of Vagabonding, and have adopted it into my life since then—not only when I am on the road, but even when I am at home.
For example, I used to always visit the farmer’s market on Sundays and would purposely take a different way home each time. Currently, I am staying in a different neighborhood that is new for me, so when I walk to the coffee shop I work from, I take a different street every time which allows me to gaze at all the cool SF houses.
Get out and wander—because you never know what you might find, what you might dream up, or better yet, who you might meet.
4. Walk or Take Public Transport Instead of Drive
San Francisco is a very walkable city so I walk most places, but I also love to do what I call Urban Hikes, which goes something like this:
Have a destination in mind—for me it is usually centered around food (shocking!). So I walk there, then pick the next destination and walk there. For example, my first stop might be a coffee shop I’ve heard about, then a bagel shop, then maybe a bakery for something sweet…
I walk from one point to the next, which allows me to see a whole different side of SF. I end up wandering streets I’ve never been on, taking routes that are new and getting in a little exercise along the way!
Alternatively, taking public transport can be super fun (especially for kids)—jump on a ferry and go a direction you usually don’t, climb aboard a city sights tour bus and sit up top like a tourist, take a normal bus and sit back and relax or hire a bicycle and take the bike paths.
Not only do kids love taking public transport, it makes us adults slow down, too—win/win!
5. Seek Out Local Festivals, Sporting Events or Exhibitions
There is usually a lot going on in our local areas that we are oblivious too. Search out local festivals (e.g., music, arts & craft, wine, food, sports, yoga, etc.) and events. Join big (or small) sporting events, showcases or exhibitions.
Often times you can sign up for alerts with your local Council or event companies to say in the loop. You can also visit sites like Event Brite or Meetup.com to find out what’s going on in your hometown.
6. Be a Tour Guide for Someone Else
I was lucky enough to get to spend some quality time with our Live Your Legend Local host, Matias, in Salta, Argentina last year. Not only does he have an incredible transformation story, but he and his amazing partner, Lu, happen to be unbelievable people at their core.
There are some things that make it challenging to travel and Matias shared with us that while he can’t travel out of Argentina as much as he’d like, he feels like he travels when he welcomes people into his city and shows them around. What an outlook!
Matias and Lu are wise enough to realize that when you interact with others, you get to see the world through their eyes—so they love to play “tour guide” when people come to their home town.
I’m still dreaming about the alfajores (a dulce de leche cookie) they exposed us to…
7. Try a New Activity
Don’t normally bike? Give it a shot. Don’t normally swim in the ocean? Dip in. Try a new restaurant. Go to a different park. Pack a picnic instead of going out to lunch.
The point here is to get yourself to do things differently than you normally do them, because that’s how you expand and grow.
What do you see that others are doing around you that you have never tried? Give it a shot!
8. Sign Up for a Local Scavenger Hunt!
Ever wanted to participate in your own version of The Amazing Race? Many local towns and cities have companies that run scavenger or treasure hunts for a small fee. Team up with a friend or a group and get ready to be taken on a journey throughout your city or town.
Don’t have a local company? Get super creative and create your own private event for your friends!
9. Make a Bucket List and Commit to a Schedule
Make a bucket list of the things you want to do in your town or area and commit to doing it every week or month. Remember, as Tony Robbins says, “If you talk about it, it’s a dream, if you envision it, it’s possible, but if you schedule it, it’s real.”
Pick a few items, get them on the calendar and maybe even invite friends along so you stay accountable (and boost the fun factor)!
10. Ask a Friend
Know someone who has visited your town? Reverse the roles and ask them what their favorite things were. I am sure they have some cool ideas, insights and perspectives you may pass by unknowingly.
So there you have it. And remember, we share this with you because getting out from behind our laptops, and exploring is one of the quickest ways to experience personal growth. Plus, it’s one of the quickest ways to open your mind, take a breath, see new perspectives and even meet new people along the way!
There are no excuses. Get out there and explore—you might be surprised with the things you see, do, hear and learn along the way.
Let us know what mini-adventure you commit to this month in the comments below.
– Chelsea Dinsmore