Walking Into The Spirit of Travel
It would be great to take off on a trip whenever the whim strikes us. Unfortunately, there is a seemingly endless list of things to keep us at home. Perhaps we feel that travel is not a financial possibility. Maybe our lives are filled with work and family obligations, leaving no time for travel. The list goes on and, in the end, leaves us at home following the same routines.
What if there was a way to experience the excitement and discovery of travel without leaving your hometown? The English writer G. K. Chesterton said that "the whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land." This idea of making one's home foreign is not necessarily about movement or new places. Rather, it involves opening your mind and seeing the world in a new way.
It is safe to say that most travelers believe the easiest way to achieve this new perspective is to immerse one's self in a foreign culture. This may be the easiest, but it is certainly not the only way. I would argue that by simply going for a walk anyone can feel the excitement of travel.
Going for a walk late at night or very early in the morning is a great way to see a different side of your town or city. In rural areas, walks at these times increase the chances of encounters with wildlife. Wandering around a city, buildings are lit to reveal the night workers going about their business. Garbage collectors and street sweepers make their rounds. At the same time, the city seems quiet and maybe empty.
Alternately, you can trick yourself into exploring a new part of your area. Leave your house or office and go for a walk in which you only take left turns. You could also take a train to the end of the line or drive to the opposite side of town to find a place to begin a walk.
Photo walks, either alone or in a group, are great ways to get into the traveling spirit. Try to set a goal for the walk like "I will take 25 pictures," or "I will photograph 15 different signs." These walks, along with reviewing the photographs they produce, will help develop a photographic eye as well as a traveler's sense of wonder.
Finally, while not necessarily a walk, a great way to get a different impression of the place you live is to act like a tourist. Find a guidebook for your area and choose some weekend activities from it. For a different twist on this idea, try to find an older, most likely outdated, guidebook.
These themed walks will not magically transport you to a foreign land. However, they cost little or no money and will go a long way towards giving you a traveler's sense of the world.
If you are interested in some more travel experiments, try the Laboratory of Experimental Travel.
How have you traveled in your hometown?
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