I am a restless soul. I have been bitten by the travel bug, and I can’t get enough. As all extravagant things, travel comes with a price. In the off-months, when I am at work and earning the necessary dough to be able to escape on my next adventure, instead of walling myself up at home, I like to venture out into the town I call home and see if I can discover something new.
“Be a tourist in your own hometown” is something my old hometown (Victoria, BC) offers every year to its locals. However, having recently moved back to Kelowna, I am now able to explore it with fresh eyes. Naturally, the town itself has changed quite a bit over the last 6 years. My husband and I recently took a stroll downtown during a particularly soggy day and discovered a hidden Japanese garden behind the city hall. It was a really neat and quiet place in the urban center. A great place to escape.
Here are some of my top tips for exploring your local town and getting the most out of your experience:
- Go exploring in the off-season. Things can get pretty hectic, especially if your town is a popular tourist destination. If you’re like me, not a fan of large crowds, choose a time in the year to go exploring where you know the crowds will be smaller.
- Go out of your comfort zone. One of the best ways, I’ve found, to enjoy your tourist experience to the fullest, is to try something new. Imagine you are in this town for the first time, and are seeing everything for the first time, what would you try that you haven’t before? Perhaps a cruise on the lake, or a trip to the museum? Whatever it is, it will be memorable.
- Go on foot. This is a big tip for any adventure you embark on. You always see so much more of a city when you just walk. You can find some eccentric alleyways, interesting shops, tasty eateries, and fascinating parks (see the Japanese garden we visited).
- You don’t have to break the bank. Being a tourist doesn’t mean you have to spend a tonne of money… or any money at all for that matter. Look online for any free events or discounted tickets in advance. The best thing is, you don’t have a time constraint. You live here, so if there is a show next month that you can get discount tickets to, go for it!
- Do a photo scavenger hunt with some friends. This used to be my favourite thing to do whenever visiting a new town with a large group of friends. See if you can google up some neat monuments, parks, and shops that are specific to your town and compile together a list. This is also a great idea if you have visitors seeing the town for the first time. You can always do this as a group, or split up and meet back together for lunch an hour later to share your goofy pictures with each other.
Regardless of what you do, have fun with it. Every experience you have exploring old familiar areas can be refreshing and unique. It all depends on your perspective.