If you have an imagination like mine, you’ve climbed Mount Everest with your toy tiger at 6 years old, become a mermaid and fallen in and out of love throughout decades, spanning from the roaring 20s to the age of "The Jetsons."
Everything has always been within reach in your mind.
But if I get realistic, I’m not fit enough to climb Mount Everest, my scaly fins are actually hairy legs and my countless affairs turned out to be just one person I briefly loved.
So, why do we believe we have to go across the globe to find culture, gorgeous views and interesting people?
Because in reality, exploring the world usually consists of a five-step program where you save up money, take a plane to an exotic island, drink the water by accident, have diarrhea for a week and, when you’ve recovered, scout the touristy spots (because that’s obviously a clear depiction of a traveler's lifestyle).
Here are reasons you should use your creative mind to explore your own hometown:
1. Adventure awaits around the corner.
I’ve lived in one place for years.
Then, I moved for school, moved for a job and moved back to my hometown.
I made sure to really explore my home when I moved back. It was all so new to me, including the people, the places and the food.
I didn’t have to go to Italy to try the wine. (Although sometimes, I sipped wine and pretended I was in an idyllic vineyard).
Sure, it could have been easier to be in awe of the newness of a different city, but for someone who’s currently in her hometown, I’ve realized I don’t really know my city at all.
I’ve grown up here. I went to school, had my friends and experienced the nightlife. But other than that, I’m really a tourist.
I’m a tourist in my own city, and maybe you are, too.
2. Tap into your creative side.
In all honesty, some of us don’t have the means to travel just because “Paris is lovely in the fall.” I feel like those people don’t have student loans to pay off.
Don’t you want to live your life, instead of watching other people else live theirs?
It’s not like we really don’t have the means for it. We just lost our creativity and imagination along the way.
We forgot how to work with what we have, and unlike Ponce de León, we have technology informing us of events we can do on the daily.
Local events are happening all the time, but it’s so much easier to complain and say there’s nothing out there.
So, you’ll stay in bed all day, watch "Scandal," eat nothing but white cheddar popcorn and drink coffee. All of a sudden, it’s Tuesday, and you’ve got nothing to show for your life.
And it's all because we live in a bubble we won’t pop.
3. Drop the dead weight.
Whatever’s stopping you needs to be kicked to the curb.
If your boyfriend is a deadbeat, leave him.
If your friends are too attached to their phones, dump them.
If your mom is overprotective, don’t answer all her calls.
You need to do this for you.
4. No tour guide? Get techy.
Even if you’re on your own, you’re not actually alone. Technology saves the day. (Who needs annoying people, anyway?)
There are many apps that can help, including Field Trip, Eventbrite and Like A Local. Local newsletters and daily newspapers also have listings of cultural events.
If you want a more organic way of finding information, pretend you’re from out of town and chat with the locals. They’ll know all the happening places you’ve missed out on.
It’s like they’re opening the doors to a hidden oasis called a social life.
5. Act like a tourist.
From live music and wine-tasting to art exhibits downtown and the beach, it’s all right there.
Henry Miller once said, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
Wanderlust isn’t just about traveling; it’s about integrating into the culture.
Every new opportunity is exciting and adventurous. You just have to act like a tourist to experience it.