I know that it’s difficult to get out and experience something new. Especially if one has lived in a location all their life. Fortunately for me, I’m still pretty new to this city. Sander, however, has lived here for around six years and is still discovering new perks about this town. So how does Sander keep uncovering new experiences in a town he’s lived in for so long? He decided to be a tourist!
Stop and look around
I enjoy walking everywhere because if I need to stop and observe what’s new around it, it’s much easier to do so when I can stop at will. Being a tourist in a car or bus is also an excellent way to be able to see the smaller places you might have missed. Although do be mindful of where you are and your surroundings. It would be horrible if you were in a busy city (Amsterdam, for example) and in the middle of a moving crowd that comes to an immediate stop because someone else has unmindfully decided to stop and look at something. This is so common, I can’t even begin to share how annoying it is! Take the time and find a safe place where you can pause and really take in what had you mesmerized.
This is pretty difficult for me to do since I tend to walk quickly. I’m short and years of having to keep up with taller friends and family have put me into the “quick walker” mentality. I love traveling by train as well because each stop takes about 5-10 minutes to load and unload passengers and tourists. This gives me time to look at what the current stop aka city or town, has to offer. Some are super rural villages where crops and farming are the main source of income. Some are bustling cities where the women travel in impossibly high heels. I’m always in awe of these types of commuters. Once I saw an art student board the train with all her art supplies and a gigantic drawing pad. She was adorable and I couldn’t help but wonder what she had decided to sketch that day.
Take a new route
I’m the type of person who sticks to routine, especially when it comes to travelling. If I find a route that fits my needs, I often don’t change it up. By travelling on roads new and undiscovered, you risk both getting lost, or discovering something amazing. This has been a common theme for us since we finally have perfect biking weather. Each evening, Sander takes us somewhere new and exciting but we never venture out of town. How amazing is that? Just in our own backyard we have so much wilderness and human expansion at the same time.
Visit small businesses
Sander knows a handful of places that sell various goods but he’s never visited them until I arrived. There’s a list of bakeries that we’re working through and there’s always something different and delicious to bring home. We also ventured into a used bike shop a few weekends ago and found my dream bike! I’ve named her Blue, and Sander had a good laugh. “You’re always complaining about how boring our pet names are, but you went ahead and named your bike based on looks!” He’s referring to how I commented on the naming process in the Netherlands. “If it’s white, name it Snowy or Misty! If it has spots, name it Vlekkie! (which means spot in Dutch). If you run out of options, just go with Lucky.” Which is why his parent’s dog and our cat are both named Lucky.
Go the extra mile
You may be more comfortable visiting the closer grocer but sometimes we like to mix it up and travel to a different store. Our local grocery store, Jumbo, is pretty small and lacks the smaller and lesser known brands that a larger store may stock. We occasionally visit a grocer in another town just to see what’s on their shelves, and we usually find something worth wild.
Buy something new
Sander and I can be a bit gluttonous when it comes to snacks. About an hour after dinner and dessert we’re rooting around for something delicious to snack on. Many of the Dutch treats are flavors and textures I’ve never experienced before so every time we go shopping, we come back with something bold and new. Point is, trying something new each week and not only spice up the mundane, it can open your eyes to new things you never thought you would enjoy!