My wife and I recently spent some time Southern California doing the whole “touristy” thing for a few days. On the second day of our trip, we booked a day-long bus trip that took us from Anaheim into Los Angeles and back with a few touristy stops along the way.

For close to five hours, our guide/driver, Alex, rattled off everything from the opening date of Disneyland (July 17, 1955) to the height of each letter in the famous Hollywood sign (44 feet) to the capacity of the Rose Bowl (90,888)—not to mention the sticker price of every Rolls Royce, Lamborghini, and Mercedes Benz we spotted in Beverly Hills.

He took pride in knowing the history and lesser known qualities of his famous community and sharing that with people who were willing to listen and learn.
As we left downtown and re-entered the freeway toward Anaheim at the end of the day—and prayed that we could dodge the famous LA traffic—Alex reiterated a statement he had said probably three or four times earlier in the day.

“I wish we had more time here. I could talk for at least another couple hours.”

Now I can’t say for sure where the other tourists were from, but it’s probably safe to say that none of their hometowns measured up to Los Angeles in terms of population, glamour, prestige, or terrible NBA teams. But what he said next really carried some weight.

I’m paraphrasing here, but basically, he told us we don’t have to go to Los Angeles (or New York or Chicago or anywhere else for that matter) to hear a great story and learn history. Every city, big and small, has a unique history and countless stories (if you know where to look).

There are plenty of things to see and do right here in Quincy/Hannibal and no matter how long you’ve called our Mississippi River region home, you have not seen everything our towns have to offer.

Here at the station, we’re fortunate to be in a position where we get to chat with some of the Tri-States most interesting people, and we learn something new from every one of them. New history. New perspectives. New stories.

So if you’re not already, get out and learn something new about your town. Take a tour of the John Wood Mansion or the Mark Twain Boyhood Home. Visit the Villa Kathrine or take a Hannibal Ghost Tour. Check out the Quincy Museum or the All Wars Museum. Just take a stroll through Downtown Hannibal or Quincy’s District when nothing is going on and just take everything in.

And when you’re done with all of that—and this is very important—tell someone else about what you learned. Share your own story and encourage them to share theirs.

It’s easy to forget how fortunate we are to have these opportunities all around us. Don’t take anything for granted and whatever you do, don’t stop learning.