Wow – where did that 5 (now 9) months go?
When I last left you (while in travel mode), we were on our way to Europe. It was at that time when Helen and I were evaluating what kind of travellers we were as individuals that I realised I needed some structure to this travel story. Wind forward two months and we are back in Melbourne, with the date of return to my day job in Darwin fast approaching. (and past)
I am glad I put aside some time to settle back into our family home in Melbourne before returning to work in Darwin. Treating time in your home city as a holiday or as a tourist is thoroughly recommended. In a busy world, many of you will scoff and say you don’t have time.
We all make time for things we want to do and have to do.
Be Tourist in Your Own City
Because being a tourist in your own city has to be something you want to do, there has to be some perceived benefit in order for you to want to do it. If you are not naturally outgoing, curious or interested in trying new things, it can be hard to see the benefits of being a tourist in your own city. I include a raft of benefits to justify you trying out this approach in your own backyard.
Returning to Melbourne at the end of March means I have missed the Moomba festival, but have arrived in time for the Melbourne Flower Show at the Exhibition Building and surrounding parkland. At Albert Park the Formula 1 event is on from today and while not my cup of tea, I will go along one day to watch.
One thing we started, or rather had enforced was walking within 5km of our house as a result of COVID restrictions. During that time, we got to know all streets within that radius and when the radius extended, so did our adventures.
Back to benefits realisation for being a tourist in your own city.
- Meet new people
- Experience unfamiliar things in a familiar city
- Travel insurance not required
- It is easier to organise a trip in your own city
- You can be more spontaneous (if that is your thing)
- You can use long weekends or even just a day on the weekend to travel
- You become more knowledgeable about your community
- you are still travelling while you save for that next big international trip
- Discover new hobbies or things that you like
- Be surprised and delighted
- Get healthy
- Increases your creativity
- Destresses you (hopefully it doesn’t distress you 🙂 )
- Save money (on airfares, travel in general and accomodation)
- Spend money (on something new that you like)
- Disrupt old habits (sitting too long at desk?)
- Trigger endorphins
- Lose weight (or put it on)
- Help local businesses
- Be helped by local businesses or other “tourists” in your hometown
- Builds a community ecosystem
- Helps you be more engaged and interesting at work
Not all of those will apply to you, but I am sure some will. I try to be a tourist in my two home towns of Darwin and Melbourne, but it is a more exciting and positively intense after travelling for the period we have. It is almost as if my “spidey travel sense” has been pushed to next level.
Some may find that odd to discover heightened joy in our own backyard, considering the new and amazing things we saw on three continents, not to mention the experiences with people, places, wildlife and nature in general. Part of that is due to the fact that Melbourne is a beautiful city and like so many other locations with four seasons, really shines in spring and autumn.
We have literally “walked the talk” taking not only a large number of strolls, for example the walk to the Melbourne Flower and Garden Show 2022 and 2023 which featured in my last blog post, but ensuring we do something a little different from previous iterations of the same walk. Staying for the twilight extravaganza at the flower show is something I hadn’t done before.
This blog has photos from a different walk, a different garden – all shared below.
Education, Quests and Carmen
Having a tendency to see an education opportunity in everything I experience, I thrive on taking a part of a trip, be it a day trip on foot, tram, plane or bus to share some knowledge that I didn’t have about the destination, the journey or the event. I don’t go as far as to map it against ISTE or ACARA curriculum standards, but I am banking on AI to be able to do that for me soon.
I am constantly drawn back to the gaming model of “Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego” because it offers a simple way to incorporate knowledge quizzes into a quest that coincidently follows a path (literally) that we were on anyway. Although I would love to be paid for such an exercise which would essentially be combination of Encyclopedia Britannica and Lonely Planet as the reference backup to the “quests” we go on.
These quests can be combined into this never ending story that could be a lesson opener for a primary school class. “How much ice is in the Perito Moreno Glacier?” – Where the heck is the Perito Moreno Glacier? Volumes, Geography and History (It almost ended up in Chile without even moving – although we know that glaciers do in fact move). We don’t have glaciers in Melbourne however there are enough super interesting locations that I don’t think I will ever run out of stories of places, events and history to share.
What we can do is include a quiz with questions about our topic. In this case the quiz is about the Chelsea Garden at Olinda Project and the answers are included in the link below… or rather can be discovered in the text of the link below.
Chelsea Garden at Olinda Project
Although it has taken me 4 months to publish this draft after 5 months abroad, we haven’t been idle during that time. I want to share one album we photographed when we visited the confusingly titled “Chelsea Garden at Olinda Project“. It is one of those titles suitably contradictory geographically that it warrants a deeper look and I am glad we did. This garden is small when compared to the immensity of the Melbourne botanic gardens, but like a polished emerald, you want to keep looking at it to admire its beauty. The kookaburras in the background echoed their approval with long laughing calls.
In case you haven’t seen my other sites, https://pilotographer.com.au includes videos and aerial photographs of my flights around the Top End of the NT. Maybe a bit more extreme than going for a walk, but similar in intent. Check it out. Here is a sample.
In my personal and professional life I combine education. This manifests itself externally through my Learnshifting blog where you may see posts that connect portions of what I share here through travels and journeys afar to local activities in the airspace around Darwin.
A Call To Action
Every blog article is supposed to inform and provide a call to action. Mine is to be a tourist in your own city once a month, starting with a trip on public transport, walking cycling or taking your car/uber to somewhere new. If you need to combine that with a practical task like shopping, visiting long ignored friend, then do it. If the media is correct we have rising costs and less time to do anything. Taking a little time out in your own backyard might clarify your perspective on both those perennial challenges or at worst offer a temporary respite.