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I was once told by someone who had moved to Southern California after having grown up in Connecticut that they didn't really get to know what there was to see in Connecticut until they would travel back for visits. They became tourists in their hometowns and then they really began to see what was there.

In 2009, I began a journey and part of the journey was a dedication to discovering the great
place I live in. In doing so, I revisited many places I had seen as a child and then found new places to see. It opened my eyes to what was around me. I began calling myself a Local Tourist.

In 2012, one of the places I visited on my Local Tourist weekends was the Olivas Adobe in Ventura. The docent and I had so much fun talking about what I had already learned. She suggested a program to me called the Passport 2 History. I was intrigued, so she showed me a passport with 51 historic sites in it and told me that you won prizes for visiting so many sites. That was it, I needed to see these places. It turned out that one of them was off Reyes Adobe off the 101 freeway, an exit that I passed everyday on my way to work. It was, of course, The Reyes Adobe. Who knew? I realized right away that we don't know half of the incredibly fun things about where we live. This idea was born.

I went on the Passport 2 History tour, visiting all 51 sites. My husband and I were the first to complete the book and I became the Passport 2 History Liaison. I spent the next few months doing my best at getting new sites to join the passport and looking for sponsors. I'm very proud to say that I was a part of a team that grew this concept 50% over one year!!! From 51 historic sites, to 78 historic sites now incorporating San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties!!!

It was through my travels looking for local businesses to sponsor the historic sites that I began noticing that places I had gone to for many, many years were disappearing. Little eateries and knick-knack shops that had been there from 20 to 40 years were gone. I believe we need to start focusing on the roots of our neighborhoods and band together to build our communities back up. If I can inspire 1 person, I've done what I needed to do. I hope you will join me in re-discovering your neighborhood and the communities around us!!!