Travel is one of the great joys of life. Some people even rate it as high as sex or hamburgers! However everyone needs a time off from the road, since staying in hotels and living in airports can be extremely exhausting. So when you’re at home but feeling the itch of the travel bug, why not live as a tourist in your own city? Here’s how!
Travel just outside- Leave the house!
That’s the number one most important thing to do whenever you’re tired of being at home.
What are antonyms of the word “adventure”? Assurance, protection. That’s what your home gives you. Which is, if you want to be a tourist in your own city, what you need to avoid! The four walls of your apartment might be quite cozy however that’s part of the problem.
So leave the house, and go see what your city has to offer!
Travel route to office- Stop being such a hamster
Leaving the house might not be the only thing to ditch. If you have an office job, or if you need to go from home to work every day, you’ll be taking the same path, the same train, the same road, and every single day. You’ll probably get to work at the exact same time, eat the exact same things, have a coffee break in the exact same break room, go home and watch the same TV show, and go to bed at the exact same time. Just like a hamster! Get out of your routine…
Travel zone- Step out of your comfort zone
The one thing that travels make you do is step out of your comfort zone. It forces you to deal with situations you never thought possible. Get up early in the morning, hike to the best spot in your town, and go see the sunrise! Or… step onstage at a karaoke bar and sing “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi in front of 50 strangers!
Travel Partner- Talk to a stranger!
Why would you even talk to a stranger in your own town? You know where you’re going, you don’t need the help of anyone to figure out the subway plan, you understand the language, you know where the good restaurants are… But, wait a second. Do you, really?
Here’s a good idea: play lost, and ask a stranger in the street what his favourite restaurant is. What bad can come off of this? Maybe the restaurant will not be one you like. Maybe the stranger will shrug you off. What if the restaurant is one you’ve never heard of? What if the stranger happens to be a good looking person in the same age range as you and the restaurant suggestion is a good one?
Same thing for music! Sitting at a bar alone in the evening, while travelling, isn’t that uncommon. Most of the time, we end up talking to people. So why not try it at home? Ask about the music scene in the city… ask a stranger at the bar what his favourite local band is.
This is, by the way, another great way to step out of your comfort zone.
– Go see the sights
What are the sights in your on city? Here, in Montreal, we have the Olympic Stadium. It was built for the 1976 summer games. Until last year, I had never been to the museum and the observation post. We, locals, ridicule this stadium as being a cash toilet (it did cost more than a billion dollars, and, well, just look at it… it looks like a giant toilet!) but it’s still the tallest inclined tower in the world… Why miss out on that?
In Chicago, the most cliché picture to take is a selfie using the reflection of the “Bean”, this art installation by Anish Kapoor at Millenium Park. If you live in Chicago, head there and play tourist. People-watching is so much fun around these super-iconic places!
– Stay at a hotel, for once!
Did you ever have a friend or a relative tell you that he’ll be visiting your home town and ask you for hotel recommendations? Obviously, you don’t know where to send him, since you’ve never visited hotels in your own town! Change that.
Cities around the world are now starting to offer serious off-season hotel and dinner package discounts for locals who’ve never experienced their own town’s best beds and tables. Why not make it a special week-end getaway in your own town?
– Do a food tour… and take pictures of your food
I’ve interviewed dozens of chefs in my career. One of my favourite questions is: “How do you travel? What do you like to do when you head to another city?” Many of them have answered, emphatically, “eat”!
One of the great techniques – one that I’ve used myself in the past – was passed onto me by the owner of Thazard, a Japanese restaurant in Canada. He says that he travels to eat, and one of his favourite ways to do it is to create a list of places he’d like to taste and visit; he then makes himself an itinerary on a map; then he travels from one restaurant to the other, having a first course and a cocktail in each. Two for lunch, three for dinner!
Plus, take the opportunity to create souvenirs for yourself. Take pictures of your food! Instagram isn’t only for travellers…
– Don’t own a car? Rent one!
Going beyond the limits of a city is a great way to be a tourist in your own country. If you don’t own a car, these opportunities can be rather rare. Rent a car and go on a day road-trip. It’s like an adventure in your own backyard!
– Museum passes
Some cities have free museum days for locals. Others have cheap museum passes for people who live in the city. Museums aren’t just for out-of-towners!