How to rediscover your hometown

Pumpkin CarvingBrett’s post from earlier this week, “Everywhere is a destination,” struck a familiar note with me. I live in a popular tourist town, and while I love where I live, I’m guilty of often avoiding “touristy” things. When we’re not as open to our surroundings at home as we are when we travel, we can miss something unique about where we live.

Here are some tips for rediscovering your hometown:

Stop avoiding local events and festivals. If your town is known for a huge annual festival, say, a pumpkin festival—stop leaving town when that weekend rolls around. Take a chance with the traffic that you grumble about and just go. In addition, pick an event that you wouldn’t normally attend, like a giant pumpkin weigh-off, and check it out. You might discover that these events aren’t only for tourists, and learn something new about your hometown.

Check in with your town’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) and see what you might be missing. Sign up for a regular e-mail bulletin of upcoming events and business openings to stay informed about what’s happening around you.

Browse through guidebooks about your city. Are you sure that you know everything about where you live? You may be familiar with the highlights, but changing your mindset and looking through a guidebook may allow you to discover something you’d like to add to your list of local haunts.

Open your eyes when you drive through town. We’re all victims of the daily get-things-done mindset from time to time (or all the time). Don’t wait until you’re on vacation to let go. Notice the small things about your surroundings. Take different routes, and find something new that you may have missed.

Allow serendipitous discovery. The next time you visit your Main Street, or any other district in your area, wander into a shop you’ve never visited. You may find out the store’s products are made locally by folks living around the corner from you.

Do you have any tried-and-true tips to add?

Posted by | Comments (11)  | December 11, 2009
Category: General, Vagabonding Advice


11 Responses to “How to rediscover your hometown”

  1. Adriana Says:

    what I love about living in a touristy city (Rio) is that whenever I have traveling withdrawals, I explore a different place in the city and can feel as if I were traveling! 😉

  2. Ted Beatie Says:

    I think we were at the festival at about the same time, as I think that’s about where Farmer Mike was when we stood to watch! ( http://tedbeatie.com/blog/?p=1466 )

    I totally agree that it’s too easy to get caught up in the routine and see only the smallest part of one’s hometown. If I’m walking from point A to point B, I might also try a different path – even if it’s just one street over, it will be different, and you never know what you’ll find!

  3. Jill K. Robinson Says:

    Ted, yep, you figured me out. I live near Half Moon Bay. One of my favorite things about that festival is the pumpkin ice cream. Yum!

    But I admit, I went to the fest when I was a new resident, and then not again until this year. After avoiding it, I wanted to get back to my local roots and find a way to appreciate the festival. The best way was to attend to pumpkin weigh-off on Monday before the fest. There are some locals who come to that event every year (for many years). I thought I’d be there for an hour at most. I left after four hours, hanging out with people I’d never met, in my own hometown, loving the weigh-off event. I’ll go back next year.

  4. prashant Says:

    You might discover that these events aren’t only for tourists, and learn something new about your hometown.

    Bowflex

  5. Shalabh Says:

    >>Do you have any tried-and-true tips to add?

    Actually yes. Try mapping your town/city with a GPS.

    I have realized it is one of the best ways to see places you never knew existed. I have been living in a town in India for the last 3 months, often going out for treks in the Himalayas. 5 days ago, I just went out with my GPS for mapping this town (Mapping is a hobby for me). And God!! I saw obscure streets and neighbourhoods, a very old temple in a cave, an old ruin of a palace and a hilltop with a beautiful view of the valley below. None of these are publicized because it is not a touristy town. So, no one but those who live here ever discover these things without knowing that they know of something the world at large does not. 🙂

    I am soon shifting to another town and the first thing I will do there is map it!! 🙂

  6. Nancy Says:

    Cool post. Rediscovering your hometown can be fun and cheap. Some of my favorite things I’ve done in my hometown is partaking in the cliche tourist stuff. For instance, in our downtown there are horse drawn carriages that give tours. I took one for the first time (24 years after living in the city) and had a blast.

  7. Brett Says:

    Hey Jill, thanks for the shout-out!
    #’s 1, 4, and 5–done this weekend (Bethlehem, PA is crazy busy during the Christmas season…).

  8. bailey Says:

    Thanks Jill! This article really opened my eyes to my own hometown, Pensacola Beach, FL. I will definitely take your advice to good use and stop by the Sip and Sing Caroling Tour this friday. Im excited to rediscover my hometown, thanks to you!

  9. Kami Says:

    Hi, Jill! Fun to stumble on your post! Last month I was back in my hometown visiting family and was convicted a bit about how badly I’ve done at exploring the place I came from. I’ve been enamored by the wonders of so many other places in the world but missed many of the wonders of the quite lovely place I grew up in. (I blogged about that experience here: http://kami-in-africa.blogspot.com/2009/11/roots.html) Thanks for your good tips!

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