We often daydream of our next trip to this or that city, anticipating the adventures we’ll have, the new things and places we’ll see, the new food we’ll eat and the photos we’ll take. But with time constraints, financial difficulties or other obligations, a flight to an exotic location across the globe isn’t always a feasible option. What we don’t realize, however, is that there are people daydreaming about visiting our very own town. It’s human nature to want what we can’t have and unfortunately, this can lead to us not appreciating our surroundings. With an open mind and a small break in habit, we can set out on a local adventure that allows us to see the fascinating and exciting that our town has to offer, as though through the eyes of a tourist. 

So here are five ways you can be a tourist in your own city and discover what visitors fall in love with.

    One of the things we delight in while on vacation is taking photos, but in our own city, it’s hard to see our usual surroundings in a different light. Break this frame of mind by putting yourself behind the lens of your camera to notice the beauty in small things. And don’t be afraid to brave rainy weather and winter snowstorms for the possibility of a perfect shot. After all, such things never stop us when we’re travelling.

    Photo by Kaique Rocha from Pexels
    When it comes to dining out, we tend to stick to the time-tested favourites. And it’s true, being adventurous is a risk, but it may prove to be worth taking.  Next night out, make it a point to check out a restaurant that you’ve never been to. Hit up those TripAdvisor reviews and see what new gems you can discover.

    Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels
    We are creatures of habit. We’ve found comfort and contentment in the familiar routes we use to get to work or fulfill our daily chores. We’ve mastered the quickest and most convenient way of getting from point A to point B. When travelling, however, that’s rarely a priority. In a new city, we opt for the scenic route, regardless of how much longer it may take us to arrive to point B. In fact, we don’t care so much about reaching point B, as long as the walk or drive is exciting and interesting. Switch things up on your next errand and take a new path or better yet, hop on a bus or bike.
    As tourists in a new city, we’re on the lookout for exciting events and shows that will help us get to know our temporary home a bit better. What’s your city known for? Is it the stunning architecture? The wild nightlife? The breathtaking landscape? Think of what makes your city unique and go check it out! While the CN Tower is Toronto’s most significant landmark, you’d be surprised how many proud Torontonians I know who have never taken the elevator up the 147 floors to the top. These attractions are what make your city stand out, so get out there and get to know them.

    Photo by Viktor Hanacek from picjumbo
    A town’s personality stems from its history. Go to a museum or take a guided tour to learn about you’re city’s historic hotspots and discover the story behind your city’s founding. You’ll appreciate what it’s been through and feel that much prouder to be a part of it. 

    Photo by Engin_Akyurt on Pixabay

    Do you often find yourself travel-deprived? What do you do? Do you have any other tips? I want to hear them!

He dies slowly – he who does not travel, read, listen to music, find Grace in himself…

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but with the last of the tinsel off my Christmas tree, and the New Year’s day hangover nothing but a distant nightmare, I can’t help but dwell on my hopes, dreams and goals for 2018.

I think that the poem “Muere Lentamente” by Martha Medeiros (often incorrectly attributed to Pablo Neruda), sums up how I want to live out not only the coming year, but every day of my life.

Here is the original, taken from http://www.mundolatino.org/muere-lentamente-martha-medeiros/

Muere lentamente
quien se transforma en esclavo del hábito,
repitiendo todos los días los mismos trayectos,
quien no cambia de marca.
No arriesga vestir un color nuevo y no le habla a quien no conoce.

Muere lentamente
quien hace de la televisión su gurú.

Muere lentamente
quien evita una pasión,
quien prefiere el negro sobre blanco
y los puntos sobre las “íes” a un remolino de emociones,
justamente las que rescatan el brillo de los ojos
sonrisas de los bostezos,
corazones a los tropiezos y sentimientos.

Muere lentamente
quien no voltea la mesa cuando está infeliz en el trabajo,
quien no arriesga lo cierto por lo incierto para ir detrás de un sueño,
quien no se permite por lo menos una vez en la vida,
huir de los consejos sensatos.

Muere lentamente
quien no viaja,
quien no lee,
quien no oye música,
quien no encuentra gracia en si mismo.

Muere lentamente
quien destruye su amor propio,
quien no se deja ayudar.
Muere lentamente,
quien pasa los días quejándose de su mala suerte
o de la lluvia incesante.

Muere lentamente,
quien abandona un proyecto antes de iniciarlo,
no preguntando de un asunto que desconoce
o no respondiendo cuando le indagan sobre algo que sabe.

Evitemos la muerte en suaves cuotas,
recordando siempre que estar vivo exige un esfuerzo mucho mayor
que el simple hecho de respirar.

Solamente la ardiente paciencia hará que conquistemos
una espléndida felicidad.

Although the translation of any work doesn’t come close to the message and the power expressed by the original, here’s my translation into English:

He dies slowly
he who is transformed into a slave of habit
repeating the same paths each day,
he who does not change his brand.
Who does not risk to put on a new colour and who does not speak to anyone he does not know.

He dies slowly
he who has a television as his guru.

He dies slowly
he who avoids passion,
who prefers the black over white
and having all the ‘i’s dotted over a whirlwind of emotions,
precisely those that save the sparkle in the eye,
that rescue smiles from the yawns,
hearts from the stumbles and emotions.

He dies slowly
he who does not flip over the table when he is unhappy at work,
who does not risk the certain for the uncertain to go for a dream,
he who does not let himself at least once in his life
flee from reasonable rules.

He dies slowly
he who does not travel,
does not read,
does not listen to music,
does not find grace in himself.

He dies slowly
he who destroys his own love,
who does not let himself be helped.
He dies slowly
He who spends his days complaining of his bad luck
or the never-ending rain.

He dies slowly,
he who abandons a project before starting it,
who does not question matters that he doesn’t know
or not responding when he is inquired about something that he knows.

Let us avoid death in soft doses,
always remembering that to be alive requires a strength much greater
than the simple act of breathing.
Only ardent patience will allow us to conquer
a splendid happiness.

I hope that it will give everyone the push needed to get off your laurels and take the left turn off the beaten path, and not being afraid of taking a risk, making a mistake, and learning something new. So instead of wishing you a Happy New Year, I instead wish for a Happy New You!

Taken 23-12-2017 on a hike up to Ha Ling Peak in Canmore, Alberta. A Gray Jay that followed us a good chunk of the way up perches on the pine on the right.