Monday, October 26, 2015

15 Ways to Rediscover your Town

Portland, Oregon, Keep Portland Weird, hometown, bridgetown, bridges, river, city

I've lived in Portland for almost 2 years now. This amount of time is not nearly long enough to get to know the entire city, but I do have it pretty well figured out for all intents and purposes. When I first moved here I tried to take a different route every time I went somewhere so I would be able to understand the layout a little better. Now that I've settled into my routine I tend to always take the road most travelled. I've decided I want to return to that adventurous spirit I once had and discover (or rediscover) some of those hidden places Portland has to offer. Here are 15 ideas for seeing new places in your own hometown.

Portland, Oregon, Mount Hood, hometown

  1. Buy a map of your town and highlight all the routes you've taken. Next time you go for a walk, bike ride or drive follow a different path to get to your destination.
  2. Go to open houses all around town. Let your dream home become a reality (if only for an afternoon) and find new neighborhoods you might not have known about.
  3. Look for local theater productions and see a play. You may even see someone you know on stage.
  4. Go on a public art tour. Try to find as many murals and sculptures as you can. Mark the ones you find on a map.
  5. Rediscover history by reading old newspapers at the library. “Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft.” - Winston Churchill
  6. Research your towns sister city and visit it if you can. 
  7. Wake up early for the early bird breakfast at your local diner. See who's up and about at that time and experience a different side of your town.
  8. Organize a scavenger hunt for you and your friends. With a little research you can discover amazing places you never knew were in town.
  9. Take a day to visit the flea markets, craft fairs and antique shops in your town. You'll meet some very interesting people with wonderful stories.
  10. Do some research to discover if you town is the setting for any movies, TV shows or books. Then try to find the landmarks.
  11. Collect pamphlets from hotel lobbies to discover some activities tourists might do when visiting. You don't have to go out of town to go on vacation.
  12. Set your alarm an hour earlier to take an early morning bike ride. Let the trails lead you where they will.
  13. Start a walking or running group, take turns leading the route in order to find new trails and sights.
  14. Find out if any famous people are from your area. Find the house they grew up in and the places they used to work.
  15. Find the highest point in town or take a hot air balloon or helicopter ride to see your town from a new perspective.

Portland, aerial, oregon, City, hometown

Take some time to rediscover where you live. You may be surprised what you find right in your own back yard. Do you have more ideas to add to the list? Tell me in the comments below.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Top 5 Green Actions

Lately I've been noticing that I am easily distracted. I get my mind set on doing something based on what an "expert in the field" is saying only to turn around and hear another "expert" telling me I need to be doing something else. With all the modes of communication available to me it's easy to be bogged down with excessive information. I feel like they are just throwing bits and pieces of stories at me and hoping something will stick.

This is especially true when it comes to living green. There are about a hundred thousand things everyone could be doing to build a better world but it would be impossible for every person to do each of these things. I've narrowed it down to what I believe are the top five things. These are the actions I personally can see myself continuing to do or working toward doing more often.

1. Buying less stuff

We live in a culture where buying and having more stuff and a bigger place to keep it all is marketed as the fastest way to find happiness. I believe this to be wrong. Work on finding happiness within yourself through relationships, hobbies and activities. Collect only things that you actually need, rather than things that are advertised to make you think you want them.

2. Buying products from socially responsible companies

There are certain things you will probably never stop buying and for each person these special items may be different. Be sure that you are purchasing your favorite items from socially and environmentally responsible companies. Follow the links to my guides below for more information:
And be sure that when you do make purchases you bring your reusable bag.

3. Using alternative forms of transportation

The most significant change an individual could make toward reducing their carbon footprint is to cut down on how much they drive. Trains, buses, bikes, carpool. Avoid spending time in a vehicle occupied only by yourself and your imaginary friend. Read more in Getting Around.

4. Eating less meat and more sustainably grown and harvested food

Recognize the importance of knowing where your food comes from and what is being used to grow or raise it. Find out more, read Buying Food: The Naked Truth about Local and Organic. Decide for yourself whether fish should be on your menu: 

5. Conserving energy and water at home

When it comes to conserving energy and water, small adjustments can have a big impact. Protect the environment by conserving energy and water with these 100+ tips. Additionally, check out The Pros and Cons of Wind Power.