Source: Farragotful, CC 4.0
To experience something new, many people feel the need to spend big bucks and endure travel’s hassles.
Of course, for some, there’s no substitute for standing in Notre Dame or at the Acropolis or chatting with exotic locals.
But it may be surprising how much that’s new you can experience without leaving your block. I call it a blockation.
For example, take a walk around your block and:
Architecture and flora
Look carefully at the architecture. Anything interesting, ornamental or functional?
How about the plants? Even if you live in the concrete jungle of a big city’s downtown, glance at the weeds fighting for life through the crack in the sidewalk, or the remarkable symmetry of trees and the leaves, flowers, and fruit within. And even in cities, and of course in less urban settings, people have all sorts of interesting things in their window boxes, patios, and yards.
Then, of course, there’s people watching. Much of America has a very diverse population. Walk around your block and you may encounter people as diverse in background as at some place thousands of miles and thousands of dollars away.
Even in the supposedly homogeneous small-town Midwest, people may be of the same background and wear the same sorts of clothes but look closely and you’ll often see much that’s different from the standard: from their socks and shoes to their eye contact or lack thereof.
Do look at their face and eyes. Especially after 40, our personality and life are etched into our faces. And of course, there’s the interaction between people: Do you think they like each other or do they seem just obliged to be together? Do you think that couple is very sexual? If you feel like it, say hi and even make an “environmental” comment of question: “Lovely blouse.” Or “Look at that tree. Beautiful, no?” The person may think you’re weird and speed up or, who knows, start a conversation, interesting or not.
You’ve traveled far and expensively to talk with people from a different culture. So, do you want to make a point to striking up a conversation with a stranger or someone you know on your block who’s from a different background, perhaps race or ethnicity, or maybe someone you guess has a different political philosophy from yours.
Of course, you can tour the entire world while walking the block or in your own home. Your block’s newness will likely fade after a circuit or two, leaving plenty of hours in just your first day of blockation. So, how about watching a highly rated travel video on your phone. And when you get back home, you can experience the world on the larger screen of your home computer or tablet.
You needn’t limit it to travel destinations. After all, your goal is to experience something new. How about browsing the YouTube videos that Google/YouTube recommends for you—They’re on the right side of any YouTube video you’ve watched. It has shown me links to videos of amazing magicians, legendary concert performances, and enlightening talks on topics I care about that have had millions of views.
Staycations normally refer to sleeping at home but doing touristy things: museums, churches, shopping. But a blockation, which requires no more effort and less cost than a staycation, may afford more opportunities to experience the new. Alas, my wife read this and said, “It makes sense but take me to Hawaii.”
I read this aloud on YouTube.