What do you mean? Touring your own backyard?
1. It’s for real! Grab a glass of wine and sit out on the patio with me. Gaze across the foothills and bingo, I’m anywhere in the world with hillsides and a shroud of trees and all I’ve done is walk from my back door to the outdoor setting. Check out that view!
I suppose you imagine you’re in Europe somewhere. That’s a bit of a stretch for the imagination, you say.
It works for me. I’m content. No matter what I imagine.
2. Another way to be a back yard tourist means a short drive to a local town where I go for a walk along an historic path like the amazing one created by locals in the small town of Bruce Rock in Western Australia. I check out names that go back to 1910 and capture memories with a pioneer’s granddaughter who is a local resident, and hey presto, I’ve transformed a dry, dusty, central wheat-belt town into a place in which many people take immense pride. Just as if I were walking through many a town in England.
3. Sure, you say. England is never dry and dusty and our history doesn’t go back anywhere near as far as somewhere in the UK.
Good point. I beg to differ about the historical side. We all live on planet earth. You see, I talk with a local tour guide who knows about the ancient geological plate that lies beneath the wheat belt region. I learn about the Salt River that flows beneath my feet, surfaces here and there and leaves salty scars across the land, like those near Eujinin and Yarding, two areas with salty flats where my great grandparents pioneered farms.
Yes, you say, but you crossed from settlement and geographical and geological information.
My liberty! I gleen what I can. That’s the random pleasure of back yard tourism. I chat with locals. I check out facts when I get home and discover so much more than I ever knew about an area. I read an historical novel, Songwoman and albeit that’s based on early Britons, I find my soul connection with the land I grew up on as valid as many a persons’ experiences.
4. Another place in my backyard which I explore is my own city, such as Yagan Square which I recently discovered and visited. I was delighted to learn about Yagan, and his history. That link is explored in a post by Maureen Helen, who helped me find my way to this relatively knew meeting place.
5. I first came to the city in 1972. A long time ago! Once upon a time, it was a quieter place, less traffic, fewer shops. Pizza places were few and far between. We had Pancake Parlours and far fewer coffee shops. I love to grab a coffee at a new place. Or simply to find a haunt and revisit it. Like locals do in their own hometown. Like they ‘push’ on television. Being part of the local culture. It’s what being a local means. In some ways, at least. I explored Fremantle Quay a few months ago where I found art works on display, quaint little buildings and of course, a plethora of coffee shops.
6. There’s so many activities to choose from now, so many festivals and markets, I honestly have lost count of my options. What one might encounter overseas has come to our back door. I read the other day children and families can experience snow at Elizabeth Quay, as if it were a Christmas marketplace in Europe!
7. There’s any number of places in my own state I enjoy being a tourist in. In recent months I’ve seen Cervantes, Geraldton, Greenough, Margaret River and Yallingup.
Frequent family-focussed road trips along the Great Southern Highway and other roads through the wheat-belt have taken me to historic York; through Quairading where I saw Jordan Sprigg’s sculpture; and through Shackleton which boasts WA’s smallest bank.
I often allow extra time to stop and take a few photos, even though I’ve lost count how many times I’ve travelled these roads.
Being a tourist in my own backyard is immeasurably pleasurable. I get to see great deal for much less money. No airfares for a start! There’s always a treasure to uncover; a piece of history to slot into place; a connection to family that goes back to the first ships of free settlers who landed in WA; our unique geography and geology to discover; a coffee shop to write in; a market to explore; and … you get the idea. There’s so much that’s within a day’s drive; a mere hour or so on a train or a few steps away on the back patio for me to uncover, waiting for me to appreciate. And it’s all in my back yard.