On many of my travels, when I meet local people I often ask them for some great recommendations of beautiful places to visit in their own country. Most of the people I ask can only give me those touristy places everyone knows about. This is because most of them – and they admitted it themselves – haven’t traveled much in their own country. And that surprised me. How can you not travel around this beautiful country of yours: Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Hawaii, the list goes on and on?
But then a couple of days ago, when I was wandering around Barcelona – the city I’m currently living in – exploring some new areas, I thought, “Damn, how come I didn’t come here earlier?” It got me thinking: why don’t we feel the urge to explore our own country, our own city or town where we live? Then it hit me. Because it is right in front of us. We have this strange blindness to that what is right in front of us and we need to remind ourselves every now and then about what we have right on our own doorsteps. When I was walking around exploring new parts of the city where I live, I was once again filled with a curiosity about the place I had become so used to. From that day I regularly started exploring new places, visiting every part of Barcelona, seeing more and more of this amazing city. And the feeling of familiarity, of it being just a place where I lived was lifted. Everything and everywhere became new and exciting again. And it felt great.
My days here in Barcelona are counting down, and soon I’ll make my way back to my home country of Belgium. This realization, instead of leaving me sad, made me pretty excited and I began to look forward to returning home where I can travel more in Belgium.
1. You’ll Come to Appreciate Your Own Country More
We so often forget the beauty that our own country has to offer, simply because we never actually think to explore it. It is there in front of us, right under our noses. And like many things that are right in front of us, we often don’t see them. However, even though it might feel less interesting to explore your own home country – when you actually do go out and see it – see it as a stranger would, you start to see how beautiful and unique it is. You will come to appreciate your own home country even more than you already do, and probably more than you ever thought you could.
2.You Will Meet New Friends and Other Interesting People
Just go to another town and there are already a hundred people you have never met before. Go to another city, and there’ll be a thousand. When you travel around your own home country try staying in hostels. You will most likely meet other travelers, which is great – together you can explore and be travelers in your own country. Try Couchsurfing or Meetup to join events, parties, etc. It’s a fantastic way to meet new people. Or use Helpx or Workway and live with a family for a few days, weeks or even months, working for them in exchange for food and accommodation. This is an excellent way of traveling if you are planning on doing it for a longer amount of time!
3. It Will Refresh Everything
When you see or do something new, your whole life will feel fresh again. By exploring your own country more, not only will your life feel fresh but so will your own country. To experience something new and exciting you don’t have to travel to far flung countries, it can be found right here where you are. All you need is the knowledge that there is more to see on your own doorstep than you realize. In every single country there are many, many beautiful things to do and to see. You could use TripAdvisor to find a new restaurant or some new attractions. Use Google Maps to scan around for some beautiful landscapes or places to visit. Or, you could of course always venture out randomly and go wherever your two feet (or car/bike/train) take you. You are bound to find something new and interesting.
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