I love this idea from Laura McInerny as quoted in the book Curious, by Ian Leslie:
When you live somewhere boring—and we all live somewhere boring—then we have a choice about the way we will see that place. We can spend our days thinking like everyone else, seeing the same things over and over, and never once wondering about how they got that way, or why they stayed that way, or how they could be better. Or, we can learn. And if we make the choice to learn, and to be curious about the things around us, then we are essentially making the choice never to be bored again. (Leslie 179)
I moved out of Indiana in 2016 to work full time in Mobile, Alabama on the gulf coast. I left a city I grew up in, and remember that when I moved here, people asked me what there was to do in Indianapolis. I always came up with the big name items, but realized I hadn't been to all of them even though I lived there for over 18 years. People come from all over the world to see the Indy 500, but it wasn't a big deal to me.
Why is it that people visiting your home city may experience more of its big ticket culture destinations in a week than you experienced in the decades you lived there?
As I sit here writing in Daphne, Alabama, thinking of things to do when I host someone from home, I realize I'm doing the same thing now! I struggle to think of interesting things that a visitor might want to do, because I've kept to my little bubble in Mobile. Why does it take someone from out of town visiting for me to venture out and explore all that my area has to offer?
By necessity, I started with eyes wide open when I moved here. But now I'm in a bubble. We all exist in multiple bubbles. There's an internet/social media bubble we live in. A physical bubble governed by the distance we're willing to drive on a normal day. And several more. Without intentionally avoiding them, bubbles form around you. It's like a frog that can't tell it's gradually boiling; you gradually build these invisible barriers around yourself through habits that keep you from experiencing new and exciting things around you.
That bubble could also be one of comfort level at work where you don't talk to someone because the previous person in your job never did. You think it improper by custom. And miss out on potential great relationships.
I don't want to go 10 years before I experience the best my hometown has to offer. I want to explore as much as I can so that when someone visits, I know I'm giving them the best of Daphne.
It starts with asking a question. How did things here come about? I'm with Laura—I choose to be curious and never be bored again.
“You can choose to use your curiosity to look at a situation differently. If only you're aware enough to realize you have a choice.” (Leslie 187)
What will you explore next in your hometown that you've delayed? Go try it out! You might just find your new favorite destination.