I never seem to do tourist-y things in my own town until a friend comes to visit. Then they ask, “What should we see? Where should we eat?” And I’m like, “I don’t know! What should we see? Where should we eat?” I have a few ideas, but I’m embarrassed that I can’t recommend more things to do. I may be a local, but I’m not much of a guide.
One of the truisms of my personality is that I tend to gravitate toward home. I like to stay in. I like to order out. I nest. But I also know that most of the good stuff in life exists outside my apartment, so I constantly fight an inner battle to go out and do things instead of stay in and do things. I’ve lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for over two years now, and while I’ve seen lots of things and eaten at lots of places, I haven’t done as much as I’d like. I need to be more of a tourist in my own town.
I don’t think this behavior is just limited to me. My friends in New York never seem to visit the Statue of Liberty or go to the top of the Empire State Building unless they’re ushering someone else around town. When you live somewhere there is no end point for your stay, so you think you can get around to seeing things eventually. But when you’re on vacation and only visiting for a few days there is an urgency to see what you can when you can. And if you do live somewhere for awhile and then move away, like my older brother and his wife did recently, you suddenly have a list of restaurants you urgently need to eat at before you pack up the moving truck.
I’ve been making a list of places to visit and restaurants to eat at in the Chapel Hill area. I’m trying to do at least two a month. I’ve been using Yelp and Foursquare for recommendations. I’ve also got some guidebooks my brother left with me after he moved. I managed to cross the North Carolina Botanical Garden off my list when my friend came to town, so I’m already on my way. It’s easier to stick to visiting the places I already know, but I’ll try to seize a sense of adventure and discover what else is out there.