My four-year-old grandson Noah was visiting the other day when I happened to mention something about New York. “Oh,” he exclaimed, “that’s where Lady Liberty is.” I nodded in agreement and was reminded once again about the impact of travel.
Noah was a mere two years old when his family made a trip to New York. He still talks about it. And he still calls it Yew Nork.
Years ago, I became a fan of Helene Hanff after reading her most popular book, 84, Charing Cross. I identified with this frustrated Anglophile who eventually found herself making multiple visits to London.
In a later book, Apple of My Eye, she wrote about her adopted hometown, New York, and confessed she’d never visited the Statue of Liberty or several other famous landmarks.
That’s not unusual, of course. I have London friends who have never toured the Tower of London, nor explored the Victoria and Albert Museum. It’s easy to overlook treasures in our own backyards when we are neighbors.
What a shame.
Even if you don’t live in a spot that draws visitors from far and near, exploring your own part of the world can be a fascinating undertaking. At the very least, you’ll be able to entertain your family at the dinner table with tales of your local adventures.
At the very most, you’ll be giving your curiosity a wake-up call.
Spend a couple of hours now and then getting lost on purpose. Visit a new local business. Stroll through the grounds at your community college. Do a photo essay of your area. Or go looking for a community problem that you can help solve. Get connected while seeing familiar places with fresh eyes.
You may, of course, wish to travel beyond your backyard, but you can keep your travel bug well fed without a passport.
There are some hidden benefits in changing your scenery. This piece from Lifehack illustrates that beautifully: