10 Ways to Find Wonder Where Others Find Routine - Tourist in your New Hometown - ExpatJoy

ExpatJoy - Passionate Global Living with Sandra Bissell


10 Ways to Find Wonder Where Others Find Routine – Tourist in your New Hometown

One of the things expatriates have is a fresh eye. We see newness where most people only see routine.

Recently, I had the opportunity to observe a fellow newcomer who hadn’t seen snow yet. She arrived from a tropical country over the summer and is experiencing her very first winter.

I loved when she asked me to look out of the window – some snowflakes were just starting to fall. Snowflakes fall slower than rain drops and my friend could not see how we could get lots of snow with that falling rate.

She was expecting massive amounts of snow!

Uh oh, she has lots to learn – I thought. Sleet, freezing rain, snow pellets, snowflakes, ice crystals and other descriptions to snow that even I am still learning about myself after so many years.  

With time, all these new ways to refer to snow are going to become common to her. BUT, for now all these new words were unknown to my friend, and sure to bring surprise and wonder into her life.


So how to take advantage of our expatriate status and enjoy the wonders surrounding ourselves?



  • Save money
  • Relate to new neighbors and make new friends.
  • Become a guide for our visiting friends and family.


10 ways to be a happy local tourist expat.

  1. Plan it – a little planning can go a long way to make your adventure more enjoyable, saving you time and money. By deciding on your main attraction for the day, you can go ahead and search for possible discounted tickets, make reservations for meals and even plan a quiet time for little ones, visiting family members or yourself – you’ll often find that even locals will not know about this. 
  2. City Ambassadorrecruit a native friend to give you tips on your town’s history and must-see spots. They can either direct you on your way or join in.
  3. Day trips: (add affiliate Hotels by day NYC) Are there fun towns and cities close by? Organize an outing for the day. The ride itself can become an end to means of getting there. A train ride can be a good time to socialize with a family member, and a short car ride serves the same purpose. Large metropolitan cities, where many hotels have idle rooms available, may make your trip even more comfortable by providing rooms by the hour.
  4. Take a walking tour: Joining a walking tour is a must. With little planning involved, paced accordingly to the slowest people in the group, and with a guide at your disposal, walking tours are a perfect way to get to know your own town and learn a little more about some it’s peculiarities.
  5. Bike/Segway tours – Don’t feel like walking? Ride bike, hop on a Segway or even share a ride on sand-buggy. Of course, it all depends on where your hometown is located, but these will provide excitement on a tight schedule or time need of break from walking.
  6. Walk, wander around, and observe – This is my favorite way to get around. My family and I are known for walking more than 12 miles/day (20 km), and that is with kids in tow when visiting new cities. We do the same at our new home cities too. I find it satisfying to walk to a coffee shop or closest grocery store grab something to drink and walk back home. I get to pay attention to daily details that go unobserved on my daily driving, as a bonus, I keep healthy, get to greet familiar people and observe my town at a slower pace.
  7. Get up high – a view from above is always different. You can have dinner at a special restaurant; climb the closest mountain or the tallest building around. Your hometown is sure to look different from above.
  8. Take photos and send to family and friends back home. By approaching your hometown as a photographer you will put yourself in the position of an observer. Ordinary places, before unnoticed, may pop up to your attention. Sharing photos of your hometown is personal and not intimidating, for both you and those receiving.
  9. Visit local fairs and festivals – There are lots to learn and enjoy here. From old-fashioned fairs packed with tradition and fun to arts and crafts type events; big and small cities alike will offer some variety of festivals and fairs. Celebrate your town’s music, art, food and culture at these fun occasions.
  10. Share but don’t compare – “My new city is not as exciting as my friend’s,” isn’t an excuse for not becoming a tourist at your new town. By sharing your excitement others will join in and learn from you. It’s natural to be attracted to places others find interesting.


–       Find two upcoming events (festivals or fairs) that interest you and your family. Organize your schedule to attend them.

–       Ask a native friend to be your town’s ambassador.

–       Book a walking tour.

–       Promise a friend that you will send photos of your new hometown within next two weeks.

YES, a little fun “homework for you.” Enjoy!

By deciding to take these 4 small actions right now, you’ll prove to yourself you that these steps work and of course, will have a good time doing so. 

I’m excitelly waiting to find out the results your get from your homework.

Please leave a comment below and I hope to hear from you soon!

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My name is Sandra Bissell.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to live as an expatriate for more than 2 decades.

Some of my passions are people, my family, good conversations, traveling, ethnic food, dancing and Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian-Martial-Art-Dance.

Originally from the countryside of São Paulo state, in Brazil, I have enjoyed life in Kanagawa and Aichi prefectures, in Japan, Boston and San Diego cities, in the United States, São Paulo, Brazil, as an expatriate in my own country, Zurich – Switzerland and most recently Stamford, Connecticut, back to the United States.

As you may guess, I feel the most comfortable within the international community.
ExpatJoy - Passionate Global Living with Sandra Bissell


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