Local Unknown is my new blog series exploring my hometown of Arlington, Texas and the local area. It focuses on local history, oddities, arts, and culture.
In my younger days, I dreamt of being a travel writer. I didn’t fully know what that meant, but it sounded exciting. I liked to write, and I thought it would be cool to travel and write about faraway lands.
Now that I’m older and more pragmatic, a nomad lifestyle has less appeal. I’ve discovered that I don’t like to travel as much as I thought I did. (I can’t afford to travel as much as I would like either.) I also realized there’s a whole world in my neighborhood, city, and nearby that I haven’t explored yet. I haven’t earned the privilege to travel the world when my hometown lies untouched.
I live in Arlington, Texas. It’s located in the Dallas and Fort Worth (DFW) area. Lately, I haven’t felt like a local to this city. I’ve started to feel like a visitor or even a stranger. I’ve lived in this area my whole life and should be an expert on all things Arlington. But if someone asked me about the local history or places of interest, I wouldn’t be able to provide much insight. I wanted to change that and forge a relationship with this city.
Tourism has a profound impact on this area. But I’m more interested in the local things, and less about the tourist attractions. I’m interested in what I call HOAC — history, oddities, arts, and culture. These are the things that truly give a city its personality, and they’re often overlooked. DFW is a treasure chest of HOAC. It’s everywhere.
One of my favorite TV shows is Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. He travels around the world and experiences local culture and cuisine. I wanted to do something similar, although I don’t have the means to travel the world with a film crew. But I can travel around my world, the DFW area, and still experience amazing things.
This isn’t my first attempt at a blog series like this. I’m determined to make this one work. I’d love for this to turn into writing for a local historical society, visitors bureau, or travel magazine. Plus, what better area to start exploring than where I live? May the exploration begin!
Post and photos by Jason S. Sullivan, 08-12-20