I have never read the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. I've often passed it on bookshelves and been tempted, but I'm pretty sure that if I ever read the book, I'd mostly become overwhelmed with the fact that I will NEVER see most of those places before I die. I don't think that that was the author's intention, but unfortunately it is just how it is for most of us. A few of us get to travel and some of us get to travel frequently, but it seems like majority of most people's time is spent in the areas where we work, go to school, live, raise a family, etc.
In view of this, I began compiling my own list of places to see. I simply entitled it: "Places to Visit" - it seemed a little less overwhelming than "Places to Visit Before I DIE!" It makes me feel less like I have to make a mad dash to cross things off in case I am hit by a car next week. The list is comprised of locations that can all be reached as daytrips and most of them cost very little if anything to visit. It's a very feesible compilation of places to see.
No matter where you live, chances are you have some kind of point of interest or activity nearby. In fact, once you start doing a little research, you'll probably discover quite a few. (Hmmmm... if only there was a blog that helped us find fun things to do in the Southwest NJ/Southeast PA area........ ). Or maybe you already know of a bunch, but for some reason just haven't gone to see them yet. A good way to figure out what should be on your personal "Places to Visit" list is to think back to all the times you've said to someone: "Yes, we should do that/go there sometime!".
When putting together your list, try to stick with visits to places that can easily become a reality. It's true that certain locations need the right time of year, the kids to be a certain age, a friend to go with, a spouse to be on board, however, the majority of your list should places that you would go with just a little free time. On my list, I have an all downhill bike trail up in the Poconos that I came across in a brochure (which simply doesn't work right now with the ages of my kids) mixed in with things like a free zoo that's only 40 minutes away and a nearby free arboretum. I will have to wait for the bike trail, but the other two can really be done whenever I make the time.
One of the best things about having a personal list of places to see right where you already are is that you don't find yourself standing in front of a tiny painting in a French basement saying: "That's the Mona Lisa??" after having spent countless hours and dollars to get there. Instead you find yourself laughing and taking a photo of the local attraction that just didn't live up to all you thought it would be - but you're only a short ride from home and barely spent a dime, so it doesn't seem to matter much when things are a letdown.
But most places on your list will probably not be a letdown. Instead you will probably have a great time playing tourist in your own area. And then after you play tourist in a few places, you can turn around and play tour guide for people that you know. So now it's your turn - start planning and checking out all those local destinations in your area!