After a hectic term filled with hard work and deadlines, the prospect of having five weeks off at home made me apprehensive of how I would spend my free time when revising. As someone who loves travel, I wished I was jet-setting off to somewhere sunny. However, I found my hometown and the local area had a lot to offer me which I had never appreciated before.
I grew up and went to school in and around Rochester, Kent, a historic town complete with a 12th century Norman Castle and Cathedral. Even though I spent a lot of time in Rochester, I admittedly only went there to go to the pub, local nightclub or just to sit outside in the sun with my friends during the summer.
I discovered there was so much on offer that appealed directly to my interests.
A couple of weeks ago, I journeyed into Rochester with my best friend Eve, who had also spent little time in town. We made the most of the sunny day and for the first time, looked around the various shops and attractions. As a history student, I discovered there was so much on offer that appealed directly to my interests.
One of the first places we went to, and one of my favourite places of the day, was a second-hand bookshop named Baggins Book Bazaar, which I discovered is the biggest second-hand bookshop in England. As an avid reader and book lover, it was lovely to look around all the books they had – ranging from medical journals to childrens books. It was definitely a hidden gem that before had been lost to me among all the other shops on the high street.
Undoubtedly the biggest attractions of the town are the castle and cathedral. Having gone past them both on countless occasions, their impressiveness has become almost mundane. For the first time, I went to view the exhibits on show. The main exhibit is the Textus Roffensis, which was the foundation for the Magna Carta.
I find it surprising that I never looked at home to feed my passion
Not realising what impressive artefacts were on show made me feel guilty; like many people, I had never been curious about my surroundings. For a lot of people, their hometown is the place they think they know like the back of their hand. After spending the day rediscovering my local area, I have realised that this might not be the best mindset to have.
Exploring my hometown properly like a tourist allowed me to fully appreciate what my town has to offer, leading me to have a newfound respect for Rochester. As a history student who was constantly surrounded by history, I find it surprising that I never looked at home to feed my passion.
I would urge anyone to spend an afternoon or a day exploring places you often walk past, you might learn some interesting things about your town. Instead of rushing to get away by hopping on a plane, you might discover a new favourite place that is right on your doorstep.