Start off the year right with an “Adventurous Year” Challenge- 12 Months of Exploring Your City! I encourage you to enjoy a staycation and explore your local establishments and discover the history and culture in your area.
When we first arrived to our host country we did not do very much exploring on our own. We arrive with a baby and a toddler in tow. All of the horror stories we had heard of people getting robbed, killed and what not–paralyzed us. I think at the time it was just easy to let our new friends and family show us around because they had a vehicle, so we let them.
I’m an adventurous soul so I was bursting at the seams to explore on my own. My husband worked during the day so it was either figure it out on my own or only go out on weekends. So I began walking to the store by myself. Then I started taking the taxi my own. It was scary at first but then we got the hang of it. The extent of our exploring was nothing adventurous, it was mostly to the grocery store and market because we were still trying to acquire the basics for our new home. But then we moved on to riding the trolley which is quite a cultural experience in itself. So baby step your way if you’re feeling a bit cautious
So I encourage all of you, to go out and explore! Don’t let all of those horror stories paralyze you from enjoying the city you live in. There are some places you should never explore for safety reasons and you should definitely consider the advice given to you so figure out what those are and stay away from those but for the rest of the city–explore it!
An Adventurous Year Challenge- 12 Months of Exploring Your City
In the 9 years we have lived here I’ve been surprised how many expats have left this amazing country without exploring it the least bit.
But I say, “No more!” to that nonsense.
Decide today to take risks and get out of your comfort zone so you can explore your very own city and if you’re feeling extra adventurous explore your state or country.
I set us the challenge of finding something extraordinary to do each month for the entire year. Something fun. Something adventurous. Something delicious or out of the ordinary. Something magical. ~Lisa Mckay
How to start!
Think of yourself as a tourist. Remember to stay flexible and enjoy the adventure. Be a smart traveler. Think creatively.
- Sit down and make a bucket list. If you have kids and they are old enough to contribute include them in this activity. If you’re not familiar with the area get online and start looking at places become a tourist in your own country.
- Then pull out your 2017 calendar and write down where you’re going for the next 12 months. So next to February write down–Farmer’s market if you’ve never been there and need to baby step your way into this. I highly recommend to pencil in a day and change it if need be but get it in on that calendar.
- Write down some mantras to help you through this if you’re feeling a bit out of your comfort zone.
- As you get closer to each outing start researching it and if need be change the location but don’t skip the outing.
- You can make one of them a night away in your local city as a special outing.
Become a tourist in your own city. Take your identification card, snacks (just in case you get lost), camera, sunscreen and water. Have a staycation!
There will always be a reason or excuse for not getting out and exploring. Especially for those of you who are home bodies but get out and make memories with your family. Make memories for yourself even the negative experiences from these outings shape us and refine us. I won’t make any unrealistic promises though you will get lost, you will get flustered, you will have moments of stress but you would experience the same things, even if you were in your very own home. Well maybe not the get lost part.
24 Things You Can Do In Your City
- Visit a local museum. Look it up online and find out if they have a day that it’s open to the public for free.
- Enjoy the arts in your town. Go online and look up where there’s a local festival, play and concert. Many times you’ll find lots of free things to do.
- Go to your local farmers market. That’s always a great way to discover what your neighbors are growing and cultivating in your very own city.
- Go visit a community park you have not gone to before and explore. Here in Ecuador we discovered one of the local parks has wild llamas running around and we love going there just for that reason.
- Try geocaching. My husband got into this hobby with my boys and this opened up new places we had not discovered before.
- Visit the zoo.
- Go camping. Yes, you can even go camping in your own backyard which is still exploring because you’re able to discover all the night sounds of your community that you had not noticed before.
- Go bike riding. It’s a totally different experience to explore an area with a bike. I highly recommend it. If you don’t own a bike you can always borrow one or rent one for the day.
- Walk around your neighborhood and or surrounding neighborhoods.
- Explore your cities botanical gardens.
- Go hiking to your nearest national park.
- Go to the beach or pool. We don’t live a beach so it’s always fun for our kids to pay a nearby hotel to use their pool for the day.
- Take public transportation.
- Go horseback riding.
- Take a class. There’s always something you can learn and even if there aren’t any organized classes you can ask a local. That’s where getting out and about in your community helps. I once asked a lady from the market to teach me how she cooked that and she was more than happy to do this for me.
- Go down and have tea or ice cream at your local cafe.
- Try making a recipe thats from your area.
- Check into a hotel for the night and enjoy the night away in your own city.
- Try a new restaurant.
- Enjoy an activity you would normally do like golfing or wall climbing.
- Have a progressive dinner at restaurants in your new home town.
- Explore a non-profit organization and volunteer for the day.
- Take a tour of a local farm, restaurant… Many places offer official tours but if they don’t it wouldn’t hurt to offer to pay a fee for a tour of their establishment.
- Do a park-hop. Where you visit 3 different parks in one day or back to back during the weekend.
- Have a scavenger hunt. When my little guy was 4 we went around town and enjoyed an ABC Picture Scavenger Hunt around our city. Later I turned into a photo book for him.
You don’t need to go on a fancy vacation to have fun with your family. We’ve enjoyed both exploring our town and city but also going beyond that and exploring the country. All of the memories we’ve made from our exploring this country have bonded our family in such a neat way that I can’t imagine not having those experiences in our life.
These experiences shape our stories and build memories for a lifetime. We’ve skipped through the amazon jungle, hiked up volcanoes, swung across the tropical rain forest on a wire, swam with penguins, played with sea lions, lived with indigenous indians, held monkeys and snakes and have eaten jungle ants… all because we decided to become students of this beautiful place we call home.
I got this idea from Lisa McKay and she goes on to say,
I declared a “year of awesome” because in some ways it felt like we were paddling hard just to keep our heads above water, and it had felt that way for a long time. Because, with everything on our plates and two kids under five who have been terrible sleepers for most of their lives, it was easy not to stretch to create moments and outings and days that are memorable for lovely reasons…We’re four months into the year of awesome now. We’ve been out on a glass-bottom-boat, journeyed out to islands, snorkeled over bright coral, celebrated our birthdays with champagne, and gone camping on the beach with baby turtles. So far, so good.”