With tight travel restrictions in place across the world, it may seem like there is nowhere new to visit. Luckily, lockdown has forced many of us to explore closer to home and discover previously unknown places within our local areas.


Mental health professionals the world over have cited fresh air and outdoor activity as absolute musts during lockdown. Walking, running, cycling: they drag us away from our screens and have been proven to increase our endorphin levels, cheering us up during this demoralising time. But these excursions are often confined to our local areas - so has the pandemic forced us to explore our surroundings more?


For me, the answer is a resounding “yes”. A daily walk around my neighbourhood, while once being the most boring thing I could think of, has now become the highlight of my day. During these walks, I have discovered places within walking distance of my house that, shamefully, I never knew existed before.


It seems I’m not the only one. Lucy Pay says that she has been living in Surbiton, south-west London, for 20 years. “I’ve never lived in one place longer in my life,” she realises. 


Yet it has only been within the past year that Lucy has begun to explore her local area properly. “It’s embarrassing really,” she laughs. “I’ve discovered two parks that I never knew existed, just round the corner!”


“My friend took me to a park on one of our walks, and I was so embarrassed to say that I had no idea it was there.”


While the coronavirus pandemic has impacted everyone, some much harder than others, one more positive thing to come out of it could be our greater awareness of our surrounding areas. The fact that so many of us have taken this time as an opportunity to explore our local areas, discover new places and enjoy being outdoors is testament to our adaptability.