On Becoming a Tourist in Your Own Town

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When you’ve lived in a community for so long it can seem like you’ve expended its opportunities pretty quickly. After going to the same grocery store, bar, and coffee shop for so many years the chance of finding something new and exciting feels less and less possible. But this is why activating unique space is so important - it’s about making the ordinary, special and the bland, new. It brings to light this idea of being a tourist in your own town and what that means for exposing the hidden gems that often go unnoticed in your community.

When we travel outside of our communities we are easily amazed by the new sights, feelings, and amenities. It’s as if we’re wearing rose-colored glasses when we’re exploring somewhere other than home; we are eager to search for the hidden gems and discover what gives that particular place it’s character. But what if we could look at our own towns and cities this way on a daily basis? What if we could constantly consider the unique experiences that make our own communities feel like that, new, exciting place?

Instead of inserting ourselves and our needs into our communities first, we can let our community’s unique features guide us more. Instead of taking the most direct drive to work, take the long, windy road that adds an extra 10 minutes to your drive, just because the place you live gives you that opportunity. Instead of going to the grocery store that you know has everything on your grocery list, try the farmers market down the road you’ve never explored.

If we step back and let our town’s treasures guide our exploration, we can expand our identities to connect directly with the places we live. This allows the environment around us to open our eyes to new experiences and opportunities, rather than what follows our traditional routines and schedules the closest. And this is what loving the place you live is all about.

Watch how the places you live are being transformed, whether it’s through the creation of public art or an old building becoming a cool, new social spot. Involve yourself in the growth of your community because it’s part of your identity. Go through your day acknowledging what your town has to offer and why you love to live there. And most importantly, never take off those rose-colored glasses, because you’re sure to find the ordinary, special and the bland, new if you just look.