Discover Hidden Gems In Your Backyard

Discover Hidden Gems In Your Backyard

Photos: Shiyi Wu
Words: Rachel MacFarlane

Do you ever feel that maybe you’re not seeing what is right in front of you? Like there is some magic lingering right at your fingertips. We often plan for vacations to take us out of our routines and look at the world with new eyes. But what if we don’t need to pack a bag and jump on a plane to get there? Where you live is almost certainly full of special places you haven’t experienced yet. Why not discover the beauty and inspiration right around you with your family or friends or even just by yourself?

Your local area could be full of parks, forests, lakes, old castles, farms. You might even find a historic military fortress or a skating rink. Actively seeking out these places in your local neighborhoods and experiencing them can flip a script. You may learn that fantasy is housed in your own world. You can certainly uncover the exotic and spectacular in the most familiar places.

A friend of mine used to round up his pals for excursions he called Adventure Saturdays. Every weekend they would meet and find a place to go on a trip within driving distance of where they lived. They explored hot springs, botanical gardens, natural hikes, or interesting architectural sites. These excursions cost little money. They saved by splitting gas and packing lunches for each other.

What started as an experiment became a movement. It was a unifying experience shared among a close knit group of friends. To explore nearby locations hop on a bike or get in the car and just see what you find. Drive through a rural area, and maybe you’ll discover an antique store that is full of unique objects. Or you could reach a farm to pick apples in a magical pastoral setting. So why not try to experience what local gems are within reach?

Soren Kierkegaard wrote that, “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” Instead of seeing your home as only your place of work and responsibility, honor it by unearthing what makes it extraordinary. Exploring locally can build a better relation with your home. It makes your life richer, and friendships stronger. Soon you will have a list of places you want to visit again and again. Go out and find the enchantment in everyday life.