I’ve lived in Southern California for 9 of the past 11 years, but really had done very little exploring locally for most of that time. I did the touristy things, I visited the beaches, I went to the local wineries, but I didn’t do some of the things I love to do in this area, like camping, hiking, and rafting. I could look around while driving and see that there were beautiful areas all around me, but I had no idea how many trails were there and definitely didn’t know how many people were hiking on them all the time. There were two things that helped me get out there. A coworker mentioned a book, Afoot and Afield in San Diego, that is the “bible” for local hikes in San Diego county, and second I joined a couple of hiking Meetup groups. I quickly found that there were excellent hikes in the local area. I’m still exploring new local hikes, in fact there are hundreds of hikes in San Diego county alone.
I also spend a lot of time in the gym instead of getting my exercise outside. A run through a nice neighborhood, around a lake, or at the beach beats 30 minutes on the eliptical machine any day. I work about 2 miles from a perfect beach run and had rarely run after work until about a year ago. Injuries have slowed me down a little, but I’m looking forward to being able to get sunset beach runs in at least a couple nights a week. Until daylight savings time kicks back in, I can go right after work, which is when I normally work out anyway. In the summer I may change it up and run by the harbor since there won’t be a sunset to inspire me.
I’ve also found several resources that make exploring my local area less expensive. These include Groupon, Living Social, Gold Star, and Theater Mania to name a few. Those are available in many metro areas, but there are also a few that originate in the local area too. I will add a category for Living Locally Resources to post about these different resources. The more of these deals you are exposed to the more likely you will find a local activity you are interested in.
So whether you are new to an area or new to living a full life, remember to explorer you local area. When you find things you love to do locally, your can live a full life without emptying your wallet.