Whether you’re a long-term, short-term or weekend traveller, when you decide to go off exploring a new city or country you almost instantly become a different person. A person with their eyes open and their ears to the ground. Suddenly everything seems different, and you start to notice small things that you’d usually rush by in your day-to-day life back home.
The more time you spend in these foreign places the more you learn about them. From places to eat deliciously, sleep comfortably and watch live music, to cheap activities, fun local culture and the best spots for a sunset. Backpackers gather around hostels at night digesting the day’s events and the mysteries of the city.
“However ask them about their own own hometown and they’d have to think about it for a while…”
As you meet other travellers your conversations begin to center around the unique ways to enjoy your new temporary home. You all share your tips and take turns uncovering the secrets you’ve unlocked. It’s an awesome way to truly understand and learn about your new surroundings. Most travellers we’ve met are pretty similar. They could tell you the best place to score a cheap bed, discover a delicious meal or find free activities to do in the most random places around the would. However, ask them about their own hometown and they’d have to think about it for a while. Some might even struggle to answer.
And while I’d like to think I know a fair bit about Melbourne, there’s also a hell of a lot of stuff that’s new to me. I mean, I probably don’t need to worry too much about things like hostels, but in terms of hidden eateries, secret art openings or sweet underground live music events, I’m pretty much out of the loop. And that’s because I’ve never needed to know, I’ve never needed to explore and make the most of it. And most people are the same for their hometowns.
“Having a new pair of eyes on your old tired city can open you up to site you’ve previously overlooked.”
That’s why taking a walk around the city with Christine is so exciting. Sometimes I forget that this is all new to her. All the amazing things that Melbourne has to offer are second nature to me, but absolutely incredible to a first timer. Melbourne has iconic sporting, music, art and food culture. Every month in Melbourne is celebrated with some form of festival, and it always feels like something is going on. Here’s how you can find the best your hometown has to offer:
Host a Couchsurfer
Having a new pair of eyes on your old tired city can open you up to sites you’ve previously overlooked. Travelers have a way of finding the fun and exciting in the most mundane places. Host a couchsurfer or other traveller for a drink or coffee (or give them a couch to crash on!) to get a valuable outsiders perspective.
Hit Up Your Visitor Center
Information at visitor centers around the world changes, but at the least they’ll have city maps available for some self-guided tours. At their best visitor centers have local staff dedicated to assisting all your inquiries. They’ll know exactly what’s going on in the city and how you can get involved. Be sure to ask around for upcoming events or activities.
Google That Shit
You may feel silly searching your own city, but sometimes all it takes is a quick Google to see what’s going on. Visit the tourism board websites for your city and see what’s on. Also, check out blogs, news and any other online content you can find that’s promoting events happening around the city.
Walk a Different Path
Got a usual bar, lunch hangout or restaurant you frequent? Throw caution into the wind and mix it up. Read your local food guides and see what’s up and coming and check it out. Take recommendations from people you talk to and actually follow up on them. Talk a walk outside your normal route.
Using these tips to feel like a tourist in your own area will help you appreciate what many of us take for granted. Being a backpacker in your hometown may not seem like the most exciting adventure on your bucketlist, but if you’re between trips or saving up money for your next travels, it can be a cheap and convenient way to feel like a traveler again!