It is no secret that I am relatively new to Windham. Although, technically, my address has been in Windham for three years, the first two years were spent working and going to school in Portland. Windham was only a place I laid my head.
Since becoming the editor of The Windham Eagle, I now live here “full time” and have learned so much about Windham in the process (and Raymond, too).
This past Saturday I took the opportunity to participate in the Windham Historical Society’s Fall History Tour (see front page for details) and realized there’s a lot more I have yet to discover here - such as how beautiful it is and the depth of historical character it contains.
I love to travel and explore new areas, but I am acutely aware that I have overlooked this seemingly ordinary, hometown spot, that sits along Route 302; a town that many tourists also neglect as they travel westward or eastward along that popular road, to more “important” and well-known destinations.
From my own personal experience, I find truth in the fact that traveling to other cultures and lands makes an individual more well-rounded, helps them to discover more about themselves, provides different perspectives and educates in a delightful, albeit sometimes challenging, way.
Although, I find that these statements have validity, that doesn’t mean exploring your own backyard won’t provide the same results.
We have all heard the ever popular “staycations” and no one thinks twice when someone chooses to stay home to explore Portland; but I’m certain if someone announces they are going to stay home and sightsee Windham and/or Raymond, the response would most likely be that of disbelief.
But paying attention and realizing what is directly in front of you can also refresh one’s perspectives, making the old - new again. To explore your hometown with new eyes, as if seeing things for the first time, can also lead to new discoveries and a well-rounded character. With new eyes one can explore the known, only to discover there is more to uncover.
As I write this insight, it is more of a lesson for myself. But I suspect others who journey often to faraway lands, may also forget, that exploring their home town can challenge pre-conceived notions and add to the collection of well-traveled knowledge.
Try it sometime. You just might notice something new and gain a whole different perspective of where you live.