Last week, I had family members in town for a visit. This meant I got to show off Gent to first-time visitors. I love doing this!
I love being a tourist in my own town. I always learn something new and it is a great way to see (or re-see) everything the city has to offer. It’s fun to see how much people enjoy this great city. It makes me love it even more. It’s also a great reminder of how many wonderful things we have access to, right here.
In just a few short days, among other things, I: visited an 800-year-old castle and other 600+ year-old sites; viewed the world’s most stolen piece of art; saw a Rodin, a Goya, and a Rubens all in one museum; drove a few short trips to hike in a fairytale forest and visit WWI battle sites.
Listening to my guests in awe of what they were seeing and what I have access to reminded me how lucky I am to be here. I live in a place that is rich with culture and history. Knowing that I am living here for a finite period of time, I have sought to learn about and visit as much as this city, region, country, and continent has to offer.
My husband and I have been told by Belgians that we have already done and seen things in our time here that some natives never have or will. We are grateful for the opportunity to be here and explore this part of the world.
But I don’t write this to be braggy. As my guests spoke about how unique and wonderful Gent, Flanders, and Europe are, it also occurred to me that where they live in the U.S. has its own unique treasures and attractions that visitors appreciate.
In fact, everywhere else I have ever lived has its own unique treasures and attractions, too. Did I take those for granted because it was just “home” to me? How many of them did I miss? How many of them do I not even know about?
I encourage everyone to think about where they live in the same way. Every city (or town, or village, or whatever!) has its own story, history, and unique attractions. It’s so easy to get caught up in our daily lives and lose a sense of adventure and exploration when we are “at home,” but it doesn’t have to be that way.
What does your current home city have to offer? Have you experienced it all? Go be a tourist in your own town and find out!