01 August 2013

2nd Annual Challenge of Travel :: You Are Here

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. 

stay·ca·tion

[stey-key-shuhn] 
noun
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

Ready to take the Challenge?

Hopefully, this will be a chance to get up out of your studio, or living room, and encourage you to explore what makes where you call home special. In this challenge you will be tasked with creating an accessory that captures the spirit of wherever you call home.

Whatever your inspiration... the climate, the landscape, the festivals and celebrations, the local traditions and institutions, the architecture of buildings or the natural landmarks... I challenge you to be inspired by the place you call home this month!

Who knows? Maybe you will discover a place that someone else will write about that will encourage you to visit there one day!

1::Go to the tab above that says 'take the challenge' and sign up. Participation is limited to the first 80 who sign up between August 1st-4th.

2::Plan a staycation. Be a tourist in your own town. Ask friends and family for recommendations on what makes your hometown unique. Investigate something that you have never done in your town before. Google your hometown. What did you find out?
2::Share the tourist attractions. Act like the convention and visitor's bureau for your location and get us excited about the area you live in. If you do a great job, we just might be on the next plane there, so get the guest room ready! ;-)

3::Mark your calendar: Blog Hop on Saturday, August 31st. Yes, you must have a blog to participate in a blog hop. ;-) You are encouraged to blog about your hometown, your inspiration, your creative process. Be sure to share with us what makes travel to your area unique. Think of this as an exercise in localism or nationalism. Please find a way to share something about this place on your blog. We would love to lean about where you live!

The most important thing, the only rule really, is to HAVE FUN!

9 comments:

Maneki said...

Interesting challenge! I'm always interested in learning about new places and see new regions (why do you think I studied human geography?) and when people show a place close to home it's especially interesting as it's more personal and often includes details or views you don't get from a visitor or other outsider.

For me personally, I guess it'll be about defining hometown too. I live in the countryside in a small hamlet, which do have tourist attractions and sites of interest, but it wouldn't be wrong to expand a bit beyond the hamlet border. But I'm not interested in including the two towns/villages that are already well-known tourist magnets in Sweden. No, focus will have to be on the countryside and the small hamlets. Perhaps find something I haven't already mentioned on my blog and/or Skåne pinboard, though of cause some things have to be included. And then I have to figure out what I want to infuse my creation with of all that, how to fuse different aspects together to create a whole, the jewellery version of a landscape* says the geographer in me.

* = Being scandinavian I of cause use the term landscape for something beyond the mere scenery it is often used for in english.

Cheri said...

I would love to take this challenge, this time of the year is very festive around here! I can see why others come here as I grow older, however have taken it for granted for years.

Dawn Doucette said...

I'm in! I LOVE where I live. I make a regular habit of checking out "what's new" in town... new shops, new coffee stops, new attractions (like ziplining and the indoor virtual reality golf.) I can't wait!

Heather Powers said...

You had me at hometown!!! Love this challenge. Now to think about what I would like to share from my little slice of heaven.

Wendy D. said...

This morning my local travels led me to the bookstore -- and I was delighted to spot your Muy Caliente necklace on the cover of Beadwork's 101 bracelets, necklaces and earrings. An inspiring design!! :-)

Marlene Cupo said...

Hi Erin, Has so much fun last year, I was so anxious to join again, that I miss spelled my email address, and never got the confirmation of it. Let me know if I should reapply.

James Clarke said...

Interesting challenge. I have a passion for traveling which is why the quote you shared in the beginning of this post struck me straight to heart. I am excited to discover wonderful things about my own hometown!

- James Clarke, Danisa Flowers

Toltec Jewels for Jewel School Friends said...

Great idea! I LOVE living in "The City Beautiful" -- one of the greatest blessings of my life! I hope to share some of the wonder here. Disney. Universal. Sea World. But also my little wonderful, multicultural neighborhood where people are kinder than I've ever experienced, where our international world really does become a small world after all, filled with love!

I do have a question. Will the system automatically stop taking info as it reaching 80 people? Or should we be on the lookout in our email or on your blog for participant confirmation?

Thanks!
Rita

Holly said...

Oh, I wish I'd found this challenge earlier! I guess I missed out on the deadline. Ah well - I can't wait to find out more about where everyone lives...in a non-stalker kinda way ;)

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