How To Travel and Discover Your Neighborhood

Amazing experiences don’t have to happen in a foreign land.

Mathias Barra


Photo by yue su on Unsplash

I love traveling. I’ve traveled all my life on a regular basis until I came back to Japan in 2015. Since then, however, most of my holidays have been used to go back to France to see my family. I won’t lie, I miss going around the world and discovering new places.

In the last 6 months, though, I have found a way to solve this urge to leave: walking around town.

It isn’t about going far.

When we think about traveling, we always picture an exotic land, full of wonders. A place where the culture surprises us. An environment we don’t get to see often.

When I was a child, I would picture myself traveling to Japan, the US, Colombia, Australia, or Indonesia. Traveling within Europe felt like I wouldn’t be surprised. Yet, every summer, I’d go somewhere in Europe and still come back with stars in my eyes.

Nowadays, I live on the tiny island we call Japan. Sure, it’s large. But it’s still only half the size of France. There isn’t any neighboring country to go to in a few hours of train. As a result, found a solution: discovering my neighborhood.

Traveling is about novelty.

What does going to the other side of the planet bring? The bragging bonus of saying you did it. There are some other aspects too, but what stays in our mind is what is new. What feels new.

How do you feel?

Photo by the Author, enjoying the view already seen countless times.

The novelty itself doesn't have to really be new. It can also be the feeling of something new. You can be living a new experience, love it, only to go home and have a lingering sense it wasn’t the first time.

Some things are so amazing that, even after 100 times, they feel just like new.

When I was in France, I took a metro passing by the Eiffel tower twice a week for 2 years. Every time, I looked up in awe. Now, I go up the hill behind my place almost every single day to look at Mount Fuji in the far…



Mathias Barra

French polyglot speaking 6 languages. Writer. Helping you learn languages. Get my new ebook →