15 August 2016

10 ways to be a tourist in your own town

A few years ago I saw there was a photography exhibition called “A Holiday in Glenrothes”. I didn’t even go to the exhibition, but the phrase stayed in my head. So how do you holiday or be a tourist in your own town?

It’s more than just having a staycation because it’s about appreciating what’s right on your own doorstep, rather than having day trips here and there. And the great news is that most of these activities cost very little or nothing at all!

Start by giving your house a good clean and getting all the other chores out of the way – you don’t want to be distracted! Stock up on some of your favourite foods so you won’t have to go food shopping. It’s also worth combining your “holiday” with a digital detox to help you relax, so get all your digital chores, like replying to emails, done too!

1. Find out what’s on
Have a look at The List and other online directories of what’s on, and look at posters and leaflets in your local libraries, museums, etc. You’ll probably find that there’s more than you realised going on in your local area, especially in the summer - exhibitions, shows, tourist attractions, open gardens, open studios, craft workshops, car boot sales, craft fairs, sporting events etc. Be prepared to try some activities that you haven’t tried before, or things that you are not sure about – you’ll probably have much more fun than you expect!

2. Take photos
Get out and about with your camera and look at your town with the eyes of a tourist. You could photograph nature, architecture, or even graffiti! And at the end of your holiday you can create a photo album!

3. Walk or bike
Get a bit of exercise and really look around your town. Go to areas of town that you haven’t explored before. Look at the details. You could combine this with photography, sketching, foraging, or other activities.

4. Sketching
Find a spot in your town to sit and sketch. This could be in a park or garden, local tourist attraction, beauty spot, or even just in the street (or in your own garden if you aren’t confident about sketching in front of other people)!

5. Send postcards to your friends
Do something nice for your friends – send them postcards when they are not expecting them. It’s lovely to get a surprise through the post in these days when everything is done online. You could buy postcards of your own town, design your own, or just buy any postcards that you like. Sit outdoors in the sunshine (if there is any!) to write them.

6. Eat out
Try a restaurant in your own town that you have never tried before, or one that you know and love.

7. Have a picnic
If the weather permits, head out for a picnic. Make all your favourite picnic foods, and pack them up in a lovely picnic basket (or any old bag if you don’t have one), take a blanket or groundsheet, and go somewhere lovely. You can combine this with walking or biking, and sketching.

8. Have an at-home spa day
If the weather is poor, and you don’t fancy heading out anywhere, try having your own spa day at home. Stock up in advance on a few essential oils that you love. Look online for recipes for face masks, scrubs, massage oils, etc. Eat some healthy but delicious foods. Relax in a long bath. Look online for some tutorials on yoga or tai chi. Try some relaxation apps or just put on some relaxing music.

9. Reading
Stock up on some good books (or ebooks). These could be your favourite novels or short stories, or non-fiction, whatever you prefer. Try including some local guidebooks – you’ll probably learn some interesting local facts from them and they’ll give you ideas of some places to visit. Read your books while sitting in a local garden or park, or try sitting somewhere at home that you don’t usually sit to read.

10. Sleep somewhere different
Whether it’s pitching a tent in the garden, sleeping in the spare room, making up the sofa bed in the living room, or rearranging your bedroom, it can be fun and refreshing to sleep in a different place!

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