I’m sure you’ve had conversations that begin with “I would love to live in…” and you name your favorite destination, someplace where your lifestyle could potentially take on a transformation: New York, London, Greece, Barcelona, Paris. Whether it is a yearning for something different or a genuine desire to experience life abroad, what many people have in common is the perception of over there as being somehow more interesting than right here.
“Love each place for what it is” has become a bit of a mantra in my life. I believe that most people harbor an innate enthusiasm for discovering new places, so why is it that when it comes to home, we’re often gazing elsewhere for inspiration?
We could have solid reasons for wanting to live elsewhere – better jobs, more suitable lifestyle, weather, affordability – but unless you’re actually working out a tactical plan for moving, focusing on what your current hometown is missing is actually detrimental to your enjoyment of it. Perhaps, all you need is a desire to look at it in a different light.
Here are simple steps on how to do so:
1. Look up
Stop and literally look up. You will be surprised at your realization of how much walking you normally do with your head down. Look up and note how tall the buildings are, how the sun reflects against the glass windows, or how the tree branches move from side to side. Try it every time you remember to and you’ll suddenly gain a brand new set of eyes with a whole new appreciation for what you see.
2. Research your city
It wasn’t until I started really exploring my city that I grew to appreciate it. Look up the best restaurants in your city, the top ten attractions, the different parks and nature centers, the museums, and the upcoming festivals. Look for the hidden gems, the places you’ve never been. I am so thankful to be completely surrounded by the Cleveland Metroparks because there is so much to explore. Today, I searched “Hiking Trails in Cleveland Area” and jotted down addresses. Alex and I spent the morning hiking the trails at Shaker Lakes Nature Center and pointing out the chipmunks, butterflies, birds, and fish we saw. I saw my first Hairy Woodpecker which was exciting!
I love the way the light was hitting this bench. Dappled sunlight is my favorite.
Check out your city’s tourist website. You’ll find a list of all the museums, historical spots, and events around town. If you’ve lived there a while, then chances are that you will have already visited some of these places, but this is also a good way for you to find out what you’ve been missing. Plus, there is nothing wrong with going somewhere more than once!
We ate dinner at a restaurant called Brio. It is pretty popular and well-known, but I’ve never been there, so we checked it out. I pass this place every single time I go to work and I’ve never thought to stop in, but I have to say, I had one of the best meals I’ve had in a restaurant in a long, long time. I had the Grilled Salmon Fresca and I couldn’t stop talking about how delicious and scrumptious it was the entire time we were there! It had all of my favorite things! Grilled asparagus, oven-roasted sweet potatoes, spinach, roasted peppers, pesto vinaigrette, feta, diced tomatoes, and balsamic glaze. I am drooling just thinking about it now!
We shared a tiramisu for dessert and it was absolute perfection. I am a passionate food eater you guys. I wrote a post called Eating Should Be Enjoyable if you’d like to check that out!
3. Stay humble
Take a moment and realize that somewhere, someone is pondering on how incredible it must be to live where you live. The point isn’t to curb your desires of traveling or living somewhere else, but perhaps, to plant a seed of gratefulness for all that you’ve already been blessed with.
Being a tourist is really a state of mind. Tourists read up, they learn, they notice everything around them, they are adventuresome, they are interested, and they are curious. Don’t let yourself get lost in your own thoughts or your own routine. Shake things up! Sometimes you just need to change your perspective a little and open your eyes to what is around you to see what amazing things the city you live in already offers.
Even though these tips and tricks were pretty self-explanatory, I hope they inspired you to see where that street leads or visit that little shop that always has the cutest window displays. Just driving around new neighborhoods can seem like you’re visiting a completely new city.
Happy exploring! Your next adventure is waiting in your own backyard!