Here’s the sad truth…sometimes in our excitement and desire to see the rest of the world, we often overlook or take for granted the incredible place that we are right now. Because we see our city every day we have lost sight of the things and places that make that city so unique. When I lived in Utah, I would meet people who had traveled from all corners of the globe to come and see some incredible places in the state and I would sheepishly stand there thinking that I had never been to that place. I had my routine of places I would go all the time all the while dreaming of adventures in other places. Of course when we moved to Florida and then to Tennessee, we were brand new to the area and so we were wanting to explore all these new places that we had never been to before. There is something so incredible in looking at your city or your state and seeing it with new eyes- the eyes of wonder and excitement that someone visiting would see it as. Especially after this last year when where we are was the only place to be, how much more important it is to really appreciate where we are and all that is has to offer us. So in all your planning and wanderings to other places, may I suggest also taking some time to be a tourist in your own place and seeing it with new eyes and renewed interest. This may not come naturally-after all, we think we know this place pretty well since we’re here all the time- and it really takes an effort to see something so familiar in such a different perspective. Here are some suggestions to retrain you eyes and seeing where you are as a tourist might see it.
- VISIT THE STATE PARKS :: Of course this would be my first suggestion, right! If you’ve been following along with my adventures you’ll know that we are trying to visit every state park in Tennessee. But the state parks are a great way to really get in touch with the most beautiful areas of the state.
- TAKE THE TOURS :: Does your city have a historic building that gives tours? Or have you ever taken a guided tour of the city? Or is there a kind of factory that offers tours? Find local tours and take them. You might just be surprised at what you discover there.
- SEE THE MUSEUMS :: I love museums! And I love the really small, obscure museums as much or more than the big museums. Find all the museums, both big and small, in your area and visit them. See the things they showcase and the passion in which it is preserved. These museums not only hold treasures but are a treasure in themselves.
- EXPLORE DOWNTOWN :: Does your city have a downtown or central area? This is the best place to explore the heart of a city- wander through the shops, eat at the restaurants, marvel at the buildings. When you really explore the downtown you will find a place that you may not have really seen before.
- VISIT HISTORIC PLACES :: Not all history is found in a museum. There are many spots that hold historical significance in your city and state. Go there and learn the history and why that place was so important. Historic places can include monuments, cemeteries, buildings, events. Find the historical parts of your city or state because that history is a large part of the story of the area.
Being a tourist in your own place will absolutely help you see your city or state in a whole new light. It gives you ideas of things to do and places to go (especially if you will someday need to be the tour guide to someone who visits) and it connects you to where you live. There are endless adventures to have, and those adventures can begin right where you are. I would love to hear about you experiences as you act the tourist in your own city or state! Where did you go and what did you discover?