Friday, September 5, 2014

Live Like a Tourist: Local LIVING with a Traveling Spirit

Jackson's Corner in Bend, OR:  Simple, clean, and beautiful way to display jars for filling our own water glasses.  

The best advice I received before taking off to live in Asheville, NC for a year or so was:

"Live like you're a tourist.  See as much as you can."  

I took this advice to heart and was intentional about taking advantage of my short time in such a beautiful place. I was amazed by how much I saw and did...How much LIVING LIFE we did!  We really took advantage of all there was to see and do locally and really, all along the east coast.  We traveled, became members at the Biltmore Estates, climbed hills, swam in rivers, ran on new trails, scoped out the best restaurants, and so much more.  And we still adjusted as locals and became part of our community.

When we know we will live in a place for along time, it's easy to settle into routine and end up really only seeing and doing the things that are within our small area.  I grew up in Colorado.  I lived there for twenty years.  But I didn't really see much at all.  There were so many times in college and afterwards that people would ask me if I'd been to _______ or seen ______ and I realized that I'd seen and done so little in my own home state.  I resided there but I didn't really LIVE beyond my neighborhood and the same places I went to every week. We are creatures of habit.  Isn't this true!  And I admit, I love routine.  It would have been easy for me to travel all the way to Asheville for an adventure and really not see much at all in that year if I were to settle into too much of my old habits of only doing and seeing the same things day in and day out.  I was so thankful for this friend's words ringing in my ear...challenging me to seek out new things.

Yesterday after picking all the kids up from school, we parked and walked to this place downtown called Jackson's Corner where we shared a brownie and our day. It was something that probably wouldn't have happened unless we were intentional about it.  Otherwise, we would have just driven home and done what we always do.  When we were there, I made a point to look around and take in my surroundings...truly notice things (I tend to live in my head so much of the time).  My favorite part of this place is the wall where they have the drinking jars for us to fill our own water. Just something about it that is so simple but beautiful.

Now that we are in Bend, OR for the long haul, I still want to challenge myself to live as if I am a tourist for awhile (a tourist on a budget) and not just settle into my own 2-3 mile radius.  I'd like to choose a place to visit every week or so.  This doesn't have to be expensive or even time consuming.  I plan to keep it simple and intentional.  Some ideas might be:

  • Sitting in a new coffee shop (or one I've been to before but sitting in a different place or talking to someone new) 
  • Driving a different route
  • Finding a different trail to run on or mountain to hike
  • Making a point to find all the book stores in the area (even in Sisters, OR and other surrounding areas.) 
  • Exploring a neighborhood or area that's not my own, even if it means driving, parking and getting out to walk or ride our bikes.  
  • Taking the kids to a variety of parks, museums, etc.  
  • Attend concerts, theater performances, and local live music

Really, it isn't so much as living like a tourist as it is simply, LIVING DEEPLY.  Settling in our familiar routines is comforting and wonderful.  I love knowing my favorite places and enjoying the richness our little corners of the world bring to us.  I also know that it takes being intentional to open my eyes to things I may never do or see otherwise.  When we are exploring a new place on visit or travel, we are usually much better about noticing things, exploring and trying to soak up all we can.  Since we aren't traveling, it will be more of a challenge to break from weekly routine where we have our go-to grocery stores, daily running routes, same drive to and from school and work, and our favorite places.  Yes, we will still have these things...these things make life comfortable and great!  I just want to change my path at least once a week. Why leave all the fun and beauty in Bend, OR to the tourists?!

1.  Do you try to break from your normal routines and see new things in your own city or state?  

2.  If you are familiar with Bend, OR and the surrounding areas, what are your recommendations for spots you love (shops, trails, restaurants, coffee shops, etc.) and favorite things to see and do (big and small)??  

3.   Thanks for the dog and 50k trail advice from my last post.  We are still looking for a dog.  I might go check out a hound mix today but not so sure a hound is best for living in a neighborhood.  And I'm pretty sure her keen sense of smell might distract her on our trail runs.   



  1. I'm a big fan of doing the tourist-in-your-own-hometown thing, and as a result, David and I have visited many landmarks he (a native New Orleanian) never saw without me. After Katrina, especially, we paid close attention to historic places that we knew we might lose to a flood someday.

  2. It's a great day when I find something new in my hometown where I've now lived for nearly two years whether it's a new place to eat or a new park to run or ride in!

  3. Try Thump coffee in the downtown area. It has a very "Bend" feel...