Recently, I saw a TED talk that discussed the idea of letting go of the question of where someone is from and instead replacing it with understanding where they are local. In the talk, the argument is made that you can be local to multiple places. Those could include where you were born, raised, where you currently live and/or work. They could even extend to where your parents were raised or are living now. Any number of these places influence your habits, personality, traditions and relationships.
This resonated with me since I call a few places home. Ottawa is where I was born and raised. Every time I return ‘home’, there are memories around every corner and traditions in that city that I still hold dear (e.g. beavertails during Winterlude). Where I call home now is Toronto; it’s where I went to University and where I have lived and worked for more than a decade. This city is where I feel most comfortable in the hole-in-the-wall restaurants and walking through the diverse neighbourhoods. But, I also lived in Vancouver for a few years – and it feels like home to me whenever I touch down now. Its proximity to the mountains is what always draws me to want to move there again. All of these cities hold dear friends, places and experiences that have shaped who I am.
But, the talk also connected with the philosophy I’ve always believed while traveling. I have never been one for tourism; let me feel like I’ve lived in a city – even for just a few days – and I’ll be happy! Checklists don’t interest me and rushing around to capture it all just sounds tiring. I travel not to see what makes a place a ‘must-visit’ destination necessarily but what is unique about the common fundamentals in its daily life: work, family rituals, music, food, laughter, dancing, etc… My greatest memories of travel are from having witnessed the beauty and simplicity of those everyday goings on. They haven’t always been captured on film, so to speak – in fact, my most cherished memories are only that – forever only visually captured in my mind.
No matter how I’ve captured them, this is where I’ll share them with you. And, I hope you’ll discover the wonder in the local.