It really doesn't matter whether I'm taking a jet to give a speech in a city far from home, or driving a short distance to a place I've never been or a spot I love to return to. I am always amazed at how much I love to witness different architecture, people, signs, and nature's beauty. Sometimes it takes awhile to recognize how special somethings - ones that we see so often we barely pay attention to - actually are.
About a year ago, while driving on Interstate 476 in my local area, I looked up at a sign I've seen thousands of times before, yet never really appreciated. It read Philadelphia (with an arrow pointing to the left) and Valley Forge (with an arrow pointing to the right). Both destinations are no more that 15-20 minutes away once the driver exits off 476 and onto Interstate 76. Yet, to me they we just places near my home. This time I thought, "Geez, people come from all over the world to visit Philadelphia (after all...it is where the United States was born) and Valley Forge (where Washington rallied his troops so gallantly and helped to turn the tide during the Revolutionary War)." It was a bit of a travel epiphany. At that moment I could hear people sitting in their car saying..."Wow, we're close now!" Perhaps a couple from another country or from another state. Or...their kids yelling out from the back seat.
There's a hidden beauty in where we live. Sometimes...an under appreciated one. Although, I think you'd get an argument from my friends about me on that. Almost all of them think that I must be employed by the city because I know Philadelphia (and its surrounding area) so well and love it so much, enjoy taking people for tours around the town, and one of my grandfather's legacies is that he build its most famous fountain.
So, the next time you're thinking about heading out to some distant land, perhaps you should pull out a map of your own locale. I bet there's some pretty neat places you haven't seen right in your "own back yard" that people travel for hours just to get a peek at. It doesn't matter where you reside - someone wants to see it! Of course, the next time you're in Philly...there's oh...about "a million places" I think I could recommend! Hmm... where would I start? Which do you want to see first - Independence Hall, The Liberty Bell, or City Hall?!