Exploring your own backyard is just somethingg that most people don’t do and I’m as much a culprit as anyone. Despite having lived a large part of my life in Somerset, I had never explored the cultural gems in my area like the Roman baths in Bath until earlier this year. I’ve still only seen Stonehenge through the window of my car. After living in Jakarta for four years I’ve not once visited a tourist attraction in the city. When I was living in Rio I didn’t go to the top of Sugar loaf Mountain, and the closest I got to the enormous statue of Christ is this photo. In short I’ve never explored my own backyard!
I know I’m not alone in this; If you live in New York you probably haven’t explored your own backyard (have you been to the top of the Empire State Building?). I’m sure if you live in London you’ve never visited the Tower of London for example. So here’s an idea, next time you meet a tourist where you live ask them what they’ve done or plan to do. I can almost guarantee that they will see more tourist attractions in one week in your own backyard than you have in a lifetime.
The strange thing is it doesn’t matter what kind of person you are. Whether you like travelling or have never been abroad there is rarely an exception. For whatever reason you just don’t explore your own backyard. We are our own worst enemies and we fall into traps of our own devising. Most people don’t like being a tourist in the place that they live. What’s more you always think you have plenty of time to explore your own backyard, there is no sense of urgency.
If you travel a lot you start to realise that is is a stupid way of thinking, which is why the last time I went back to England I visited all of the tourist attractions I could fit into my short stay. I still haven’t seen the crown jewels, but I did go into the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. I even arranged a winter break in Cornwall and the unsurprising thing, I really enjoyed it. Next time I’m in England I’ll see what else I can do.
You will never have a better opportunity than now go out and appreciate your own backyard, take in some local culture. So visit something spectacular like Iguazu falls or simply go to your local beach. You should remind yourself what’s amazing about your own backyard, because there are probably thousands of people all over the world who wish they were where you are right now.