Traveling Without Moving

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash
Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Photo by James Lee on Unsplash

Eat differently

  • Go to the local version of a corner shop and pretend you are a broke student with a craving for junk food. Buy junk food, eat junk food, feel a little sick, and understand that city a little more.
  • Go to a farmer’s market, bazaar, or local version of street market and ask for something that is in season. Eat it, especially if it’s something you’re pretty sure you don’t like. A fresh, in season, tomato is nothing like an out of season one.
  • Make use of the internet to find out what the local delicacy is. Then, find a lowbrow version and a highbrow version. Eat both and make your own decision. (In NYC, a $1 slice can be better than a $5 slice)

Travel differently

  • Go to the city center and walk to its outskirts. Every city has a point where buildings give way to parks or highways or long stretches of road. And walking from the center of the city to that point will show you how the city transitions, how it grew, what it did along the way.
  • Follow bodies of water. Especially in older cities built before we could divert rivers easily. Walk along the banks of the river or hop on a ferry or riverboat if that’s an option. See how the old piers where merchant ships would dock have turned into a trendy string of bars or a tourist trap. See where barges used to bring in supplies have turned into nightclubs on the water.
  • If you drive at home, rent a car and drive the street. If you ride a bike at home, ride a bike here. If you ride mass transit, hop on their version. Get a little lost, feel a little confused, ask for directions, ask for help.

Live differently

  • Use jet lag and time differences to your advantage. If you happen to be awake during the predawn hours, stay awake and watch the city wake up. See the bakers roll up their shutters. Watch the early morning deliveries roll into the kitchens. If you sleep in and wake up in the afternoon, stay awake and watch the city go to sleep. See the bartenders go home. See the lights dim and the streets empty. Hear the cats’ serenade.
  • You do you, but do it there. If you listen to the radio on your commute, listen to the radio there. If you read the local newspaper at home, read their version. If your ideal weekend involves grabbing a beer at the local bar and watching the game, do that there. If your ideal weekend is a pickup game of basketball or soccer, see what their local version is and do it there. It might be basketball or soccer!

Share what you learned

  • Make a shopping list before you go. Not a list of things you want to buy, but a list of people you want to shop for. Neighbors, children, those who have never left their hometown, fellow travelers, your family and friends. The people around you who have made you who you are.
  • Talk about what you saw, what was different, what was the same. Talk about what you learned, what you were surprised by, and what was not surprising at all.
Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash

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Thejus Chakravarthy

Thejus Chakravarthy

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if i’m not optimizing some operations puzzle or the other, i’m probably reading (or writing, apparently)