No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel
until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.
~ Lin Yutang
Last year, the inaugural Challenge of Travel took us all around this beautiful globe of ours, to little-known countries and well-loved ones, too. I learned so many fascinating things from all of those that chose to participate. I hope you enjoyed it, too. It was a marvelous journey!
This year, I decided that we should shake things up a bit. I thought that we should experience that which is in our own backyards, down the street, around the corner or across the way. For the 2nd Annual Challenge of Travel, we are going to have ourselves a staycation.
a vacation spent at home or near home, doing enjoyable activities or visiting local attractions.
When I was in a college writing course, I remember that one of the first assignments the professor had us do was to write an essay about something that makes our own hometown unique. I will admit that it was a hard exercise for a girl who was longing to bust free of the old hometown and experience the whole wide world. And while the professor thought that my writing style was too conversational and saccharine for his tastes, it did teach me something about appreciating what you've got.
People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination,
the kind of people they ignore at home.~ Dagobert D. Runes
Traveling to a different part of the world allows you to open up to learning about that area. Generally those who travel want to eat where the locals eat, experience the local culture, marvel at the local architecture and soak up all there is to learn about that place. But have you ever done that for your own area? It is easy to take for granted that we don't need to do that. We start living with blinders on and don't notice all that makes our hometown special.
The Challenge this year is to keep it close to home: your hometown that you live in now, or the one you grew up in; your home state or country; even the neighborhood you live in or the land you claim as your own.
Your own neighborhood, city, county, state or country is a locale that is worthy of exploring. This exercise might even change the way you view where you call home to enhance your quality of living there. Time to celebrate where you come from, or where you are now. Join me, won't you?
Spend some time in your hometown as a tourist would. Where would they go? Are the museums or quirky tourist attractions nearby? What restaurants would the locals suggest to them? Go on a nature tour to find out about the local flora and fauna. Or learn about the historical figures who called your area home.
Take a closer look at your surroundings. Go on a photo safari and snap pictures of interesting vistas, cool architectural details, and natural land formations that might set your area apart. Take wide shots and macro. Perhaps there is a color palette that will jump out at you or a detail that will be important to include.
Notice the people. Today I noted that the fountain in our downtown square was filled with the joyous peels of laughter from the little children that came to play in it. This is something I walk by each day, but I saw it through fresh eyes as if for the first time.
True, going on a vacation to an exotic locale can be quite exciting. But it can also be expensive, exhausting, and stressful. And it makes me appreciate even more the home that I have when I return. I think we often overlook those things that are right under our noses. I am just asking you to spend some time getting to know the treasures you have right in front of you, sharing some history and local flavor with us, and celebrating all that makes your hometown a great place to live.
It's not necessary to go far and wide.
I mean, you can really find exciting and inspiring things
within your hometown.
~ Daryl Hannah