So you might read this and think, what is an everyday explorer? My friend, I am glad you asked.
An everyday explorer is more of a mindset. It’s a way of looking around your surroundings at home, and noticing ways of seeing things with “tourists eyes.” It’s about finding ways to learn about the world and about your own culture and lifestyle while at home. More than anything, it’s mindset of reflection, appreciation, and continued learning, with the added comfort of remaining home.
When you travel, it’s constant movement, learning, looking, wondering, questioning, and answering. It’s truly life changing. However, being back home after travel, I have had time to try to find the answer my biggest question: and what? What good is travel if you only feel this way while you’re out of your comfort zone? There must be lessons within travel and feelings that can be transferred into “everyday life” back at the home base. Wherever that may be. The place where you practice daily routines, commutes, and where you have an understanding of how things work more or less.
…and I think I found a few of them; below, find 7 practical and deeper ways to become an everyday explorer at home.
Look at your home with “tourist eyes”
What does this mean? To be an everyday explorer, it means to try to start to see things a little bit different. Looking at things that you would otherwise see as mundane, typical things in your home country – going grocery shopping, your daily work commute, shopping at the mall, hitting up a Starbucks, etc. with “tourist eyes.” As boring as it may be, when I go to the grocery store, I try to think what would a tourist from Spain, or Denmark, or Mexico think about our grocery stores in the U.S? What would someone from another country think about our “American food” or our obsession with iced coffee? Think about how someone from another country would think about our huge malls and huge cars? What about something like setting foot at a high school for someone who grew up watching American films, and feeling so excited to be at a high school just like in all the movies?
Think about the times you’ve been tourists, and when you’ve gawked at cute little coffee shops, or cute little streets. Simply bring this mentality into your everyday life, and bring it to when you’re doing the most “normal” thing back home. It’s changes things a little bit. The concept of grocery shopping as we do it here in the States all of a sudden may seem interesting, and you may even question a few things. it makes things a little exciting, and that is a goal here.
Learning a language, a new culture, and reflecting on your own
Learning a language has not only allowed me to do just that, but it has also helped me meet new people, learn about other cultures, and also learn about my own culture. One of the the things I pretty much always get asked when I talk to someone that is not from the States is what life is like in the U.S. I feel like every time I have answered this question, I have explained it different ways that have allowed me to not only reflect on our way of life here, but also how people outside perceive it and us.
Language learning apps like Tandem or Hello Talk are amazing at connecting you with different languages, people, and ways of thought. Being an everyday explorer at home means also reflecting on our own culture, and nothing really makes us reflect instantly like explaining it to someone who isn’t from your country, and having them ask you questions. I have had some amazing and interesting conversations through these apps about language, culture, and politics, etc. It’s definitely interesting seeing how someone in a foreign country perceives your country, and what they think about it.
Join local international meet ups
This isn’t something that I have done personally, but I know that these groups exists, and joining them is easy! This is such a cool way to meet international people, in really cool and fun settings. It’s kind of a win win, since you get to meet new people (international people) and you also get to meet up at some really cool places throughout the city. Maybe places that you haven’t discovered yet! You’d really be an everyday explorer at home by doing this.
Check out the international neighborhoods around your area
I absolutely LOVE how accessible it is to access so much culture, unique foods, and specialty ingredients from other countries right here in Chicago. Smells, foods, and even advertisements, and people from those countries so close to us! International neighborhoods are such a goldmine in my opinion, and It’s so cool to be able to check them out. Just visiting a Korean store, or a Japanese mall, or a Little Mexico or Little Italy neighborhood can automatically make us feel like we are physically traveling. It’s so cool and so accessible if you really look for them.
Visit your closest big city
For instance mine would be Chicago, so when it’s not in the negative temperatures and actually sunny, I like to make my way down to the windy city. I like going in the mind of a tourist, seeing everything “for the first time” and trying to really see how cool the Sears/ Willis Tower is, how beautiful Lake Michigan looks from Navy Pier, and how many amazing little international neighborhoods we have.
Doing this has personally made me appreciate living close to a big city with so much to do. A city that so many people outside of the U.S would love to visit, and I have it a short driving distance. It’s the saying, “be a tourist in your own city.” They’re not lying, try it sometime 😄 and again, it’s about going back to the “tourists eyes” and really feeling the beauty. Even in the things you have seen multiple times. Have you really experienced it? Or have you just seen it? Think about that for a moment.
It’s the saying, “be a tourist in your own city.” They’re not lying, try it sometime 😄 and again, it’s about going back to the “tourists eyes” and really feeling the beauty. Even in the things you have seen multiple times. Have you really experienced it? Or have you just seen it? Think about that for a moment.
Start expanding your mind at home
Through podcasts, informative YouTube videos, podcasts, blogs, and books. There are some INCREDIBLY knowledgeable sources out there with amazing, uplifting, and mind bending information that can change your life. You can learn about other countries, other languages, social problems, self growth topics, literally anything and everything. The amazing thing about the internet now a days is that we have access to so much information. For FREE. People willing to share their expertise and that genuinely want to help us reach new heights. Take advantage of this. Reflect on what you digest, and take it into your everyday life as you look at everything with “tourists eyes.” It changes things.
Buuuut what do you all think?? How do you become an everyday explorer wherever you are in the world? What are some ways that you like to experience your home country? What about ways to keep learning about other culture while at home? I’d love to know so let me know in the comments below! 🙂