Hello fellow travelers,
Have you ever taken time to truly explore your neighborhood as you would a travel destination?
No, I’m not talking about exploring the city for the purposes of writing a review or providing travel tips for other travelers. I’m talking about exploring it simply to learn more about where you live.
Normally, I try to travel to some exotic destination for the holidays. Whether it’s shopping the European Christmas markets, or celebrating in the Ozarks of Branson, Missouri, I’m usually not at home during the holidays.
Circumstances this holiday season presented me with an opportunity to enjoy a rare Staycation. Due to my recent relocation, I was unable to visit one of my bucket list travel locations.
Yes, I know still could have gone somewhere, but with moving expenses and setting up a new home, my finances were little strained.
And if you think I’m travelling from L.A. to Las Vegas during a holiday, you have never had the pleasure of sitting in Southern California/Nevada traffic during these times. The pictures below are real and are not Photoshop for effect.
Suffice it to say I was pretty bored (and low on funds) this holiday season. Luckily for me, my friends, who are slowly becoming world-class travelers themselves, reminded me I did have an exotic location to explore — my new hometown. They suggested I use one of my Staycation days and go “sightseeing” around town. I thought “why not.”
The first thing I always do when visiting a new location is learn more of the town’s history. Nowadays, this can easily be done via the Internet. But you know a better way? Visiting the local town museums.
The local museums provide a panorama of local history. From fossils and ancient artifacts, to the development of its agriculture community, to the bulging metropolitan city it is today, the local museum presented a fascinating history of my new hometown. What a wonderful experience!
Next, I visited the local library. Not only did I peruse its collection, but I did what many locals have done before me — got my very own library card. Hey, I’m an avid reader and as the slogan says — “never leave home without it.”
Since eating is always a big part of my vacations, I had to try the local flare. Of course the national chains like iHop, McDonald’s, Burger King and Jack-N-The-Box are represented; and of course I was happy to see we have an In-N-Out Burger restaurant. However, I wanted to try some of the local restaurants. Seeing as I love sushi, I stopped by Spicy Sushi and Grill.
Though I wanted sushi, my stomach growled when it spotted Korean Barbecue short ribs. Oh, they were so scrumdiddlyumptious!! I did add a spicy tuna handroll to feed my sushi craving, but those short ribs took the cake. No doubt, I will be visiting Spicy Sushi and Grill again.
I spent the next hour or two of shopping, as I would during my travels, only this time I wasn’t shopping for souvenirs, but necessities like food, pots & pans, etc. Although I’m a native Southern Californian, after spending six years in the Midwest, I’d forgotten that Californians don’t know how to park. Is it so hard to park in-between the lines or open your car door without slamming it into the car next to yours? Ugggh!!
After shopping, I spent a few moments at the local park. No, I didn’t play on the playground. I sat on the bench and marveled at the world around me.
Here I was surrounded by majestic mountains and radiating sunshine in one of the most vibrant region of the USA. I’ve traveled to many different places, but there aren’t very many places like Southern California. It’s one of the only places I know where I can ski the mountains and relax on the beach all on the same day! Truly remarkable.
I have to admit, my friends had the right idea (oh how that pains me to say. LoL, just kidding). Taking a Staycation day to explore my new hometown was truly a joy.
Although I’m in no hurry to have another Staycation, I no longer fear them. For now on whenever life determines I must have a Staycation, I’ll use the time to explore my city more.
I never want to be that person who has lived in the same city for years and never knew there’s a library right down the street.
Until next time …
“HAVE PASSPORT, WILL TRAVEL!”