Author Topic: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?  (Read 5795 times)

Exhale

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 824
Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« on: September 06, 2014, 12:43:34 AM »
Anyone out there up for a "Be a Tourist in Your Own Life" challenge? As I move toward FIRE, it occurs that I should maximize not just savings, badass frugality and investing, but also maximally savor where I live (hence the term "tourist" which is simply shorthand for seeing things anew, explore my local world in the way I would if I were on a trip).

Walking and riding a bike are, of course, key. But what else? How do you maximize enjoyment of where you are right now? How do you meet different folks, learn new things about where you live, travel deeply where you are now? What are some things you've been meaning to try?

The books that first got me interested in doing this are:
- When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler's Journal of Staying Put by Vivian Swift
- Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You by Clare Walker Leslie
- Feast Nearby by Robin Mather

Thanks for you ideas/advice!

GMars

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2014, 05:07:57 AM »
A wonderful topic. My thoughts:
Walk through town with wide-eyed wonder. Smell, breathe and savor everything. Know that ... "there is no where to go and nothing to do".

The Art of Travel by Alain De Botton is good.

Casserole55

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2014, 05:21:04 AM »
A wonderful idea!

We are more motivated to get out the door to go places when we have out of town guests. They provide the impetus to see new things, and we often end up with a deeper appreciation for where we live. We scratch our heads and say, "We've been here for years. How come this is the first time we've [fill in the blank]?


Exhale

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 824
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2014, 08:55:31 AM »
Thank you for your replies and the book rec. I'm going to check the library for it now. Summer it's easy to be a tourist at home. Grey wet winter? Not so much. Good luck with your travels!

sheepstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2424
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2014, 09:51:40 AM »
Another obvious book option is travel guides for your home town.  Lonely Planet from the library or the wikitravel website, guides from the local historical society, etc.  I'm often surprised what good day trips are available even from nowheresville towns.  Not just cultural but nature.  Can you identify all the birds and plants you might see in different seasons?  If your area has a cold wet gray winter well good news because some people in perpetually sunny climes would just love to be a tourist in a place where you can go sledding, snowshoe, xcountry ski, etc.

If there isn't a tourist guide for your area, make one!  If you had guests, what walking tours would you take them on?  Make maps with local points of interest.  Make a "commercial" for the "tourism bureau" for your town.  Go around interviewing locals about what they think the area's points of pride are, see if you can tour local businesses, farmlands, write up brief bios of prominent citizens, record music from local garage bands, collect items for a time capsule, etc. 

Roots&Wings

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1125
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2014, 01:52:59 PM »
In addition to visiting local nature preserves/hikes, I'm planning to explore more local food stuff (u-pick farms, wineries, breweries, etc).

And might be obvious, but TripAdvisor for your town might reveal some surprising things you never knew were there!

Exhale

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 824
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2014, 02:16:14 PM »
Thanks everyone - great recs! I'm going to compile my 2014 "Travel" List and post here. More soon...

Later...
Okay, wow I had no idea how much I've already traveled in my own back yard. This list is only for Seattle and doesn't include that many wonderful things I've done just outside/near to the city. I realize that my travel list is now more focused on getting brave enough to draw in public and supporting local writers.

My to-do list for 2014:
Check out the Ballard (Seattle neighborhood) library's rooftop garden and Sunday Farmer’s Market
Attend readings by local authors
Sketch outside - nature and/or urban subjects

Already enjoyed at least once:
- Books: Explored ten library branches, have three favorite bookstores (Elliott Bay, Open Books and Third Place)
- Shows/Talks: Benaroya, Central District Forum, Century Ballroom, Cinerama, Columbia City Theater, Daybreak Star, HiLo, Intiman, Langston Hughes, Pacific NW Ballet, Pink Door, Richard Hugo House, Seattle Children's, Seattle Rep, Seattle Town Hall
- Local food: Visited many community "P-Patch" gardens, Seattle Tilth garden, gone on Tilth's annual "Seattle Chicken and Garden" tour and been to Framer's Markets in Columbia City, Pike Place and the University District
- Outdoor experiences: Ballard Locks, Burke Gilman Trail, Ferries, Foster Island, Fremont Troll, Henry Moore’s Vertebrae, kayaking on Lake Union, Shilshole Marina for a sailboat ride, Smith Tower and 14 of Seattle's city parks
- Museums: Burke Natural History, Children’s, EMP, Flight, Frye Art , Henry Art, History & Industry, NW African, Olympic Sculpture, Pacific Science, Seattle Art, Seattle Asian Art, Wing Luke, Seattle Aquarium, Woodland Park Zoo
- Neighborhoods: Capitol Hill, Central District, Columbia City, International District (my favorite: murals, Wing Luke, Panama Cafe, KOBO at Higo, Hing Hay Park), Pioneer Square, University District & UW campus
« Last Edit: September 06, 2014, 04:06:15 PM by Exhale »

2ndTimer

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4616
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2014, 09:12:48 AM »
I love this idea.  We recently realized that there is an excellent campground just 17 miles down the bike trail from us.  A perfect starting point for people getting back into bike camping. 

Davin

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 112
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Eureka, California
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2014, 09:41:54 AM »
My not-wife wife suggested exactly this when we returned from our big summer trip a few weeks ago. There are quite a number of things to do and places to see within a 75 mile radius that we have never experienced together. As far as cold grey wet winters are concerned, the right gear makes all the difference in the world.

Elderwood17

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
  • Location: Western North Carolina
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2014, 03:31:00 PM »
We are in!  We live in an area that depends mightily on tourists for the local economy, and the entire region is full of interesting things to do and see.  There is a list of the top 50 waterfalls in the region and we have not seen 32 of them yet so we are starting with that!

Exhale

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 824
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2014, 08:36:52 PM »
So many waterfalls! And now that the summer crowds have abated, it's the locals time to have fun! You're inspiring me to go explore nearby beaches. :-)

MsRichLife

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 539
  • Age: 42
    • Living My Rich Life
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2014, 08:46:30 PM »
I'm in! Spring has sprung here and the city is coming back to life after hibernating through Winter.

On Sunday, we loaded the boy onto the back of the bike and we did a few hours of easy mountain biking in our local nature reserve. Along the way we stopped for a coffee in a nearby suburb that we rarely visit and had a chat to people who were there. It felt like we were visiting for the first time.

I want to build up my fitness levels so that we can go further afield on the weekends. The bike paths around town are exceptional, and we have plenty of nature reserves so there is no excuse not to go exploring.

Also, Spring is when our city comes alive with festivals, so I'm going to keep an eye out for things to do each weekend.

Great thread!

pac_NW

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 155
  • Have the stamina to work on it until it's right
    • Take Next Steps
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2014, 08:39:51 AM »
Exhale - loved your Seattle list and this idea as a whole.  I have been on sabbatical for the past 9 weeks, doing just what you are talking about.  I have called my time "getting local", and it has been truly wonderful.  You mentioned speakers and authors in your list, and I wanted to share The Well (http://qaumc.org/the-well/).  I heard Bill McKibben, one of my favorite authors speak there.  The programs at The Well are intriguing, and you may want to check out that source.  I have also loved my local library and my own neighborhood.  I have spent much time walking in Queen Anne, where I think one of the most beautiful urban walks on the planet is (walk this route - start at Big Howe Park and walk on Howe to 7th Ave - hang a left and turn right onto 8th Ave at Blaine.  Wrap around 8th to see the Sound, Bainbridge, the Olympics.  As you round the corner at 8th and Highland, check out the view from Parson's Park (and walk in the small park 0 itis lovely).  Keep heading East on Highland for several more blocks to 3rd Ave and enjoy Kerry Park (best view of Seattle and Mt Rainier).  To add a wonderful hill to the walk, head back on Highland and hang a right at 7th Ave.  Up the hill to Howe, right and back to Big Howe Park in a few blocks.  There are also lots of stairs to be enjoyed too - check out a book on Queen Anne Stairs or Seattle Walks.  I just had to share that as walking in your neighborhood surely embodies the whole movement you are sharing. 

(ps...love Ballard farmer's market.  I find the University Market better from an overall organic produce and lower prices perspective.  The vibe at Ballard on Sundays is very cool.)

MooseOutFront

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 510
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Texas
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2014, 08:43:35 AM »
I like this idea.  There is quite a bit of tourism in my city and I often think that I should spend some focused time doing whatever it is they do when they come here!

MicroRN

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1025
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #14 on: September 08, 2014, 09:34:24 AM »
What a great idea!  We live near Seattle as well, and have been trying to get out and do more things locally.  With 2 toddlers, further away trips are hard and expensive anyway.  We do at least get out hiking a decent amount, but we also keep hitting the same places over and over.   

Elderwood17

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
  • Location: Western North Carolina
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2014, 09:40:34 AM »

We are more motivated to get out the door to go places when we have out of town guests. They provide the impetus to see new things, and we often end up with a deeper appreciation for where we live. We scratch our heads and say, "We've been here for years. How come this is the first time we've [fill in the blank]?

We have had the same experience in the past.  Crazy! 

Exhale

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 824
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2014, 09:57:42 PM »
I wanted to share The Well (http://qaumc.org/the-well/).

(walk this route - start at Big Howe Park and walk on Howe to 7th Ave - hang a left and turn right onto 8th Ave at Blaine.  Wrap around 8th to see the Sound, Bainbridge, the Olympics.  As you round the corner at 8th and Highland, check out the view from Parson's Park (and walk in the small park 0 itis lovely).  Keep heading East on Highland for several more blocks to 3rd Ave and enjoy Kerry Park (best view of Seattle and Mt Rainier).  To add a wonderful hill to the walk, head back on Highland and hang a right at 7th Ave.  Up the hill to Howe, right and back to Big Howe Park in a few blocks.

Thank you for these two recs! Both are totally new to me. And you're right, Queen Anne does have the most amazing Seattle and Puget Sound views.

Exhale

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 824
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2014, 10:07:20 PM »
What a great idea!  We live near Seattle as well, and have been trying to get out and do more things locally.  With 2 toddlers, further away trips are hard and expensive anyway.  We do at least get out hiking a decent amount, but we also keep hitting the same places over and over.

Some fun Seattle places with kids:

Greenlake neighborhood
1) Mockingbird Books - story time every day (except Sun) at 11AM and awesome toy area
2) Greenlake playground - huge sandbox, wading pool in summer, easy walk around the lake
3) PCC store - offers every child a free serving of fruit (e.g., a plum or a staff can get you a serving size amount of things like grapes). No purchase necessary and PCC staff love doing this. My niece (2yo) is so proud to pick out her own fruit.

Seattle Center
1) Seattle Children's Theatre - a bit pricey, but if you usher you can attend for free (or someone could gift tickets to you and your kids). Some of the best theater I've seen has been there and they're so child-friendly (sound proof crying room so you can still see the show, actors come out after the show, sit at the edge of the stage and have Q&A with the kids, etc.)
2) Pacific Science Center - check they're free days and specials

Magnuson Park and Discovery Park are wonderful

Good luck!

MicroRN

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1025
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2014, 10:19:56 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions!  I get annoyed at myself for getting bored, when we have so much hiking, and Seattle is just a ferry ride away. 

2ndTimer

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4616
Re: Ready to be a tourist in your own life?
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2014, 08:26:40 AM »
We found the Entertainment book to be a lot of fun when we did our Staycation in Seattle a few years ago.  There were free admission coupons to the Zoo and several of the local museums.