Why Every Local Should Strive to be a Resident Tourist

 

Why Every Local Should Strive to be a Resident Tourist | I'm always looking for my next big trip, but I make time to enjoy my local surroundings as a resident tourist. I challenge you to do the same. via @aweinclusive

A month after the grand debut, I finally visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

The monument is spectacular. Even though it’s the newest monument on the National Mall, MLK effortlessly stands among the stately leaders of this country. Hugging the edge of the Tidal Basin, the memorial showcases a larger-than-life statue of MLK surrounded by his most impactful quotes.

I wasn’t the only one excited about this new attraction. The location was swarming with people gushing over the monument and snapping pictures at every angle. I spent quite a bit of time chitchatting and people watching and taking in the historic occasion.

Afterward, I sat on a nearby bench, enjoying how tranquil the location felt despite being in the center of a bustling city, and I vowed to return. It was an easy promise to make considering that the memorial is a ten-minute walk from my job.

The Wonders I See Without Traveling

My route to work is flanked with the country’s most popular and well-known monuments and buildings.

The Holocaust Museum, the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, and the Washington Monument are all steps away. Yet, I’ve never taken the time to visit many of these free attractions.

It’s easy to take my proximity to the country’s history for granted. After seeing these attractions countless times, it’s easy to walk past without a second thought. Often, I’m so eager to get home that I don’t even consider lingering back to take in the wonders around me.

If it weren’t for visiting family and friends who are eager and excited about these places, I would have neglected to explore so many amazing DC treasures. And this behavior must stop.

It’s time for me to take advantage of my opportunity to see sights that others plan for and save up to visit. I am throwing my excuses out of the window and making it a point to explore these National gems.

My challenge to myself is to get out and visit these museums and monuments and to explore the city I’m living in. It shouldn’t be hard; I live in Washington, DC for goodness sake!

Why Every Local Should Strive to be a Resident Tourist | I'm always looking for my next big trip, but I make time to enjoy my local surroundings as a resident tourist. I challenge you to do the same. via @aweinclusive

A Journey To Be A Resident Tourist

My goal is to become an expert on my city, and I challenge you to do the same.

Each place, no matter the size, has unique treasures, history, and culture. Learning about the place you call home introduces you to a historical perspective and its influences on the present. Resident tourists also gain an inside look at some of the best places in their city.

Who knows? Your exploration may lead to uncovering a hidden gem to share with others or keep to yourself!

Becoming a resident tourist has another benefit. It offers a fun and inexpensive way to keep the wanderlust at bay during times I’m not traveling.

As I’ve started thinking about my financial future and considering the type of life I want to create for myself, I’ve adjusted the way I spend money on traveling.

Impulse buys and credit-funded trips are no longer an option, so there are plenty of times when the wanderlust starts to drive me crazy. Touristing at home is an easy fix that keeps the travel monster away.

I’m can find some of the excitement and novelty that makes travel so great, and I keep more money in the bank!

Loving and appreciating the city you’re in is also an act of gratitude.

I’ve found that the surest way to a life of peace and contentment is to be happy with what you have. This means I am happy when I’m visiting a new country and happy when I get to stay home.

Happiness comes from my mindset and my actions instead of outside circumstances. Elevating my gratitude has helped me realize the greatness of my life and appreciate it. I’ve had so many amazing experiences that have changed my life and not all of those experiences happened across seas.

This understanding motivates me to get out and see what’s happening in my city, to try new activities like square dancing, and to come into contact with new people that will likely change my perspective on any given topic.

The opportunities to do something different are endless, and I am excited to make creating these unforgettable times a priority.

Why Every Local Should Strive to be a Resident Tourist | I'm always looking for my next big trip, but I make time to enjoy my local surroundings as a resident tourist. I challenge you to do the same. via @aweinclusive

How To Get Started

There are countless ways to have an amazing time traveling your city and bordering cities.

Immerse yourself totally in the experience as if you were a tourist. This might involve joining a tour group during the day and spending the night across town. Not only does this create a mini break from the daily humdrum, but it puts you in the mind of a tourist.

Your city makes it easy to discover new things to do. Visit your city’s website and find the section geared toward visitors. There you’ll find suggestions, reviews, and if you are lucky, coupons.

Local newspapers will also contain special events and timely activities for tourists. If you want to meet other people, MeetUp is a good place to find those with similar or even dissimilar interests.

Connect with others so you can explore your city from their viewpoint.

No matter how you make the leap into touring your hometown, the key to success is to develop that childlike wonder that pulls us from place to place almost oblivious to what’s around us.

We often look at tourists with a bit of amusement.

These people pay good money to explore the places that we get to live in every day. It’s easy to forget just how awesome we have it until we put ourselves in the shoes of tourists and explore our homes with new eyes.

It’s not hard to retrain your mind to appreciate the wonders around you.

It only takes some practice and determination. Use these tips to become a better resident tourist and rekindle your appreciation for the piece of the world that you reside on.

I’m a vacation advocate and I’m always looking toward the next big trip, but enjoying the treasures right around me is a great way to take time out and reflect on the gifts of the present.

I would love to hear your plans for fulfilling this challenge!

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Are you planning a visit to Washington, DC?  Check out the “How To Survive the Washington, DC Metro System – A Traveler’s Guide.”
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Why Every Local Should Strive to be a Resident Tourist | I'm always looking for my next big trip, but I make time to enjoy my local surroundings as a resident tourist. I challenge you to do the same. via @aweinclusive

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  • I’d love to see DC but have no idea when, so I’ll follow along with interest here.

  • I haven’t been to DC in years. I really, really need to visit someday soon. It’s about time Dr. King got a memorial too!

    • I agree! It’s amazing that the designers were able to create something that fits in so perfectly. The memorial looks like it’s been there all along.

  • I love D.C. My extended family lives up there and I always enjoy exploring the sights.

  • I’ve only been to DC once to help a friend with something and didn’t get to see any of the sights =( I think there’s probably enough there to fill a couple of months of full-time sightseeing!

    • Hey Andrea! You’re right! The thing that I love about DC is that many sights are free of charge to enjoy! I hope you’ll return to sightsee! There are lots of great things to see and do!

  • It’s so true that you don’t see what is in your own backyard. I have lived in Lexington, Kentucky since I was 18 but had never been to Keeneland (a very famous racetrack about 2 miles from my house) until last fall. And it was great!! One of the regional magazines I write for is anxious for me to write about the small towns in our vicinity and I will…just as soon as I can stay home long enough!!

    • I have yet to visit a racetrack, but it’s on my list of “to-do”s. And your new project sounds so exciting! I look forward to reading about those hidden treasures.