The antidote to being a foreigner in your city is to do precisely that: to be a tourist in your own city. You should have the same enthusiasm for visiting new places as you do for exploring every corner of your familiar surroundings. You would be surprised how much you don’t know about the roads you pass every day.
Try it every now and then. You will be guaranteed to have fresh eyes after every adventure. At the same time, it is one of the cheapest ways to travel and experience cultural immersion. If you can’t wait to try this out, here are ways to do it:
1. Decide if it’s a single thing
You can do the whole adventure alone or with a friend. Although to make sure that you don’t wait for someone else’s decision and availability, you would want to go it alone. All you need for this is yourself.
Or you can also invite a friend to join you on this adventure, but you explore separately. After all, you have someone you can talk to about the whole experience.
If you like to take photos or draw sketches, you can take your camera or sketchbook. If you want to vlog the set, you can do that. Just take anything with you that can help you document the whole trip.
2. Plan the adventure or do it freestyle
The decision will depend on what you want to do. Planning allows you to have a set route, while freestyle gives you a feeling of freedom. Here’s how you can do it on either route:
If you’re the type of person to plan their every move, then go for it. Research all the interesting places in your city. Make a list and sort them into categories.
You can base your categories on proximity to places or a theme. An example of a theme is historic places. With it, you can search all the historical sites ever recorded in your city. Once you have a list of all the places, make a schedule.
Other examples of themes that you can use to guide your adventure are theme parks, abandoned places, tourist spots, underrated urban sites, and more.
If you decide to explore the city based on the sights, this is also an interesting take. Usually, locals are not interested in going to places usually marketed to tourists. Who knows, you might meet some new friends along the way. You can also see what attracts tourists to your city. You can also get to know your city by attending local events.
Food is also an interesting way to get to know any place. Go on a culinary adventure. Explore all the decades-old restaurants as well as the trendy new cafes.
You can’t explore the whole city in a few days. Distribute all the places you like to visit according to your availability.
If you decide to freestyle, walk, cycle or drive around town. You can also use different modes of transport that you rarely use. You will likely pass places that you have never seen before. Find places that you find interesting.
Do what you want. You can pack snacks and have a mini picnic. Talk to the people you meet along the way. Share stories with strangers. Watch local movies and play with the kids in a playground.
3. Find practical use of the knowledge you have acquired
Exploring your own city is a whole new experience. You will learn so much not only about your city, but also about yourself and other things. You can even learn practical lessons from your trip.
For example, you will learn what style of architecture most of the houses in your town use. You can also see how the roads can be improved. Or how some areas can use a park or two. You can find use in all of this information whether you are just an ordinary citizen, a student, or someone who has a business related to construction management.
You will also see some problems in your city, whether it is in transport, lack of housing, or lack of proper road signs. Knowing the whole city can help business people develop better marketing strategies or better ways of doing business. Ordinary citizens can understand which parts of the city can benefit from improvements.
It just proves that exploring your own city isn’t just about enjoying the place. There is some useful information that you can get from the whole experience.
Don’t be a stranger in your own town. Go ahead and explore where you were born to better understand where it has been and where you are headed.