I was listening to my favorite podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, and they were discussing the merits of being a “tourist” in your hometown. There are so many sights to be seen in our own backyard, but the busyness of life – and many other reasons – can get in the way of our exploring.
It was a timely discussion because just this morning I had been looking at local museums and was making a mental list of all the things I want to do this summer with the kids.
We live in an area where there’s so much to see and do. It’s easy to say that because we live in a large metropolitan area, but that hasn’t always been the case. We’ve lived in all different sizes and types of cities, and we’ve found neat places to go visit in each one. I think it’s important to not let the size of a city discourage sightseeing plans. If you seek, you will find. There are hidden treasures everywhere. Sometimes you have to drive a bit and make a long day of it, but there are always options.
Living like a tourist is one area that I think military life allows us to excel. We move every few years, so there’s a somewhat definite timeframe and end time of how long we’ll be in an area. Having a limited time is a forcing function. When we move to a new area, we research and ask around. Then we make our list and start planning. Planning is very important because if it isn’t planned for then it probably won’t happen.
Here’s a perfect example…although we’ve lived in our current area for about 18 months, we’ve already been to our local air and space museum a few times. I recently met some friends there and I was shocked that they hadn’t been to this museum before. They’ve lived in the area over 10 years! The museum is amazing – it pops up on “must-see” lists all the time – and is only about 20 minutes from our house. Oh, and it’s FREE. I’m not judging (ok, maybe a little…), but it was a very good reminder of how we can get into our comfortable routines and general busyness, and then forget to sightsee in our own town.
Is there something you’ve been meaning to see in your local area? Here’s my challenge to you: get out and see something new in your own hometown (or where you currently live, for my military friends) and let me know what you see! And I’ll be doing the same.