“Once a year, go some place you’ve never been before”
In the Dalai Lama’s instructions for life, he tells us to visit a place we’ve never been before every year… For many of us, this may not be possible in the “traditional” sense, as we would jump to the conclusion that this means visiting a new city or country, which we may not be able to afford. But for the vast majority of us, there are so many places in our home towns and cities which we have never visited before – so why not make a promise to yourself to become a tourist for a day, a weekend or even longer at home.
- TAKE A TOUR.
Most of us are more than able to list off the names of the iconic buildings where we come from, but do we fully appreciate their history? Do we know about how our home towns and cities were founded? The home-on, hope-off tours may be aimed at tourists, but there’s no reason why that can’t be used to fill in the gaps in your local history knowledge. Many cities now also offer free walking tours, which is another very entertaining way of getting to visit different corners of your home.
- MAKE A DATE WITH YOUR CITY.There are so many places I pass on a regular basis here in Dublin, each time, I making a silent vow that “one day” I’ll visit them. I’m sure several such places in your own area are popping to mind as you read this. Take it from me: It will never happen without a concrete plan. So set a date, and keep it.
- ACT LIKE A TOURIST.
I’m not suggesting you buy a bum bag, but quite simply do as tourists do when they’re in discovery mode in a new city. Go to the “new arrivals” booth at the local train station or chat to the people working in your local tourist information centre. Read the newspaper with an eye out for activities that will take you out of your comfort zone rut.
- TAKE SOMETHING SMALL AND MAKE IT BIGGER.
Why not make all the little things which you do every day touristy?
Your daily stroll around the block could turn into a walk around a new-to-you neighborhood. Friday pizza night at home? Why not make it a mission to test out the newest cute cafe or exhibition in town. You’ll be surprised how simple shifts in everyday strategies can widen your window for adventure.
- GET OUT ON THE WATER.
If you live near a lake, enjoy a day of canoeing, or out on paddle boats! You may enjoy just finding a stream and dipping your feet in the water. City Kayaking on the Liffey in Dublin run great value kayaking trips and guided tours too – you might even be lucky enough to have some seals swim with you.
- CLIMB A MOUNTAIN.
We are luck in Ireland that you are never too far from a “mountain” to climb and overall, we have quite a mild climate – so you can climb a mountain at nearly any time of the year. If you’re near the mountains, no matter the season, there is always something to do, from skiing to hiking. You can even find hot springs to dip into in the middle of winter or a river to dangle your feet in after a thrilling white water rafting trip.
- ATTEND FREE LOCAL EVENTS.
Dublin, like many towns and cities, hosts free community events, such as free movie showings, concerts, and arts, music and cultural festivals. Dublin’s highlights include movie screenings throughout the city, run by various city councils, jazz festivals, the World Street Performers Championships, dance festivals, and numerous others. Check out your town’s calendar, and attend as many free events as you would like.I would always suggest bringing along a picnic with delicious finger foods, fruit, cheese, and wine (be cautious with bringing alcohol, as many towns and cities, like Dublin, do not allow drinking in public parks and streets. Spread it all out on a soft picnic blanket and enjoy.
- DON’T FORGET YOUR CAMERA!
You’re not on holidays unless you’re taking needless photos of everything. Charge your battery. Empty your SD card and get click happy. Take all the cheesy shots you want. No one is judging – except maybe my youngest sister, Helen,who finds my “tourist at home” photos a little embarrassing.
I have a week left in Dublin to put this into practice a little bit more. I’m looking forward to updating my photo album of home and sharing it with you soon…
…To be continued…