You can feel at home where you live – or not. Either way, nearby places are often so familiar, they have long become boring.
This is how you get blind to what there is, inure to what you could discover, desensitized from the adventures your surroundings might offer. Or just bored with workouts because you are (supposedly) always running in circles and seeing the same things.
In this part of my blog, I want to explore ways that we can rediscover what is near us, see it anew, and find adventure and things to explore.
Of course, the examples I can use are only the ones that are around me – and I will want to regularly range further – but we will look for the lessons that should be applicable for other places.
My Own Boring Surroundings
My surroundings do feel boring to me, and they do not offer the interesting challenges and lookout points of mountain peaks, the fascination of big cities, or any of that.
My surroundings are mainly flat, quite thoroughly influenced by human activity (if not completely man-made). A rural countryside with quite some strip-mall like urbanization having crept in, with lots of roads and automobile traffic, agriculture and an outlet as the current claim to fame.
That boringness may be the ideal starting point for an exploration of nearby adventure. After all, if I can find things to discover here, you should be able to do so equally as well wherever you are.
The Starting Point of Nearby Adventure
The starting point for such an exploratory pursuit is very near, anyway: In your own mind.
You have to want to find things that you could discover and explore near you. At the very least, you have to be open to the idea that you may have become blind to such things around you.
Curiosity and fascination are naturally piqued by the unknown, the awe-inspiring. The longer we have been around, the more we have seen and come to accept as just ordinary, the less anything captures our attention.
The Promise of Travel
This is why travel holds such great promise, because it promises to bring us to environments outside our normal, usual, ordinary.
Travel is often packaged and sold as grand adventure in and of itself, and sure, a place you have never seen will offer more things to discover, it will gain your attention more easily.
Mindset, however, still matters in travel. Travel doesn’t mean great exploration, let alone deeper understanding, if you don’t let it.
We always travel with our own minds, in the state they have come to be in, after all – and I have seen enough people who only traveled far to find their own preconceptions confirmed.
They could show that they, too, went to far-away places… and they learned nothing.
The Promise Fulfilled, Nearby
On the other hand, if you let a place fascinate you, it doesn’t have to be a place far away. It can be right in front of your feet, out your doorstep, if only you allow it to and learn how it can.
You just have to accept that adventure and exploration isn’t just out there somewhere far away, in exotic places, but has to be actively engaged in.
After all, same as we can learn from travel or just see everything as yet another disappointment, we can change our minds, our knowledge of and look at the world, to find new things.
Clearly, a nearby place *can* be a place of adventure, can offer chances for exploration. There is always more to see and to learn.
What We Need to Do
But how? What? What more do we need to do than just want it?
Of course, we cannot just think ourselves into fascination, we have to do something, find something that ends up engaging our senses and mind.
This is exactly why I propose microexploration as this (necessary) mixture of venturing out to see things and learning more to recognize what more there is to see.
That right here is the starting point: Trying out new things, engaging in new pursuits – or at least, going out into our familiar surroundings with a spirit of exploration.
With open eyes (and ears and all other senses) and an open mind, asking ourselves what we are seeing, what it means, and if we really know what we see and feel, we can find things that reciprocate our desire to become fascinated by something, so to say.
Share your own experiences with exploring your own neighborhood in the comments below! What is your favorite place to explore? What activities do you enjoy doing?