Travelling the length of New Zealand’s North Island this Christmas (more to follow next week), it occurred to me that once leaving my home country all I could think about was travelling to see the world, explore new cultures & experience the unique and infamous *activities* of the exotic, unfamiliar cities we come across. It’s taken a few years to occur to me, but how often do we travel-lusting lot sit back and explore our own hometown backyard?
I don’t necessarily mean watching the weeds wave gently from the manicured back lawn (weeds are the only plant I have managed to grow well bar grass and a rather determined rose bush), but actually loving the city where you work, the village that you live in or the region you hearken from. I’ve also had a few of my friends tiptoe home lately from their crazy London lives to be with their much-missed families, and lament how they feel that they will become stuck.
It is hard. How do you view roads that you’ve travelled for umpteen years with any excitement? Paths that you know exactly where they end? Appreciate sights that only a tourist could love…? oh wait…!
Well, arriving on New Zealand soil with a few sunny days to keep myself entertained I found myself deploying a few of the travel skills I’ve learned over the years, much to my surprise.
- Asking Twitter natives for recommendations, running through tourist board websites, Googling the phrase “things to do in xxxx” and flicking through Pinterest.
- Signing up to local council newsletters, searching local hashtags, wandering into a nearby tourist information center and seeking out delicious new places to try delicacies like the ever questing sweet tooth of Kelly.
- Walking that path I’ve always meant to take (and turn cartwheels like Amanda).
- Treating ourselves to a glass of wine in a local hotel with an amazing view.
- Getting out and about Erin-style.
- Having an insatiable curiosity.
- Driving home in the evenings keeping my eyes peeled – in the UK & NZ watching for brown roadsigns and historic home hunting like Dannielle.
- Organise a picnic with friends in an unusual location.
- Have a staycation like Angie.
I swiftly went from acting like a bored local to skidding about as an excitable tourist – and adventuring in a town or two that I thought I knew altogether too well to explore. I managed to wise up and live up to the nom de plume ‘Adventures of a London Kiwi’ better than I expected. There’s many an adventure to feature next week; feeding lions, paddling with penguins, walking windswept Wellington, exploring MiddleEarth like a Hobbit and spending hours blowing raspberries onto the belly of my baby nephew. You could say that it was a pretty enjoyable holiday…