As I returned to Canada after 3 months abroad in a foreign country, I looked at my surroundings. The streets, buildings, even the people were all things I remembered and recognized. I knew that the community centre and the church are up the street, but I was much more inclined to explore them after having explored abroad. I wanted to look at every avenue in my neighbourhood, attend events in my city, and meet the people in my neighbourhood. It took me flying all the way to Africa to become inspired to explore a little more of Canada and feel this way.
“We journey across the world to step out of our own tiny corners and experience all that foreign cultures can teach us. But can an education about people, lifestyles and cultures be found, to the same real and rich extent, within our own borders?”
I’ve been living in Ottawa for 4 years now and I would say that I could show a newcomer around the city. But this summer was my first real interaction with the Westboro, Hintonburg, and Little Italy areas. I think because the beauty of my neighbourhood was right in front of me and so I became used to seeing it. Not to mention, my lifestyle while in Canada is pressed with more duties and deadlines than when abroad so I’m distracted from what I could be seeing.
I walked home from Rideau Centre to Vanier the other night unintentionally (long story). Initially, it was so frustrating to have wasted time walking so far because it was late at night and I had to get to bed. But I put on my travel lenses and realized that I never walked these parts of the city this way before. What I heard was music playing on a Sunday evening, I saw what my neighbourhood looks like by night and interacted with some neighbours. These are things about my neighbourhood I usually don’t see because I’m on the bus trying to save time. But it was worth it.
This article gives three good reasons why we should explore our own countries more. I think most importantly it states that we are able to appreciate our countries more when we travel within them. I know that the Rockies are in Alberta and there are beautiful lakes across the nation; people travel across the world to explore them. And I’m already in the country, so why wouldn’t I explore them too? I think once I have experienced more of what Canda has to offer, I will feel and even greater sense pride in the country.
Do you have a desire to travel internationally more than within Canada? Or have you done your fair share of travel in Canada?
How do you compare domestic and international travel?
Why is it that we don’t explore the things that are right in front of us?