This Ain't Tatooine

4 minutes
It might look like a good place to run into Jawas, but Great Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge is actually in Oklahoma. Photo by Megan Rossman.

It might look like a good place to run into Jawas, but Great Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge is actually in Oklahoma. Photo by Megan Rossman.

Hello Oklahoma Internet,

My name is Brandon King, the Spring intern at Oklahoma Today magazine. (I should know, they gave me a sticker and everything.) Currently, I’m a senior at the University of Oklahoma with plans to graduate this May with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Before my college experience comes to a well-earned close, I was given the opportunity to learn the ropes at one of the best magazines in Oklahoma. I’m forever grateful for the chances I’m being given.

Oklahoma Today web editor and local food guru Greg Elwell asked me last week to write a blog about what I’ve learned in Oklahoma each week. As a man who loves a challenge, I accepted.

Growing up here, I often felt like I’d seen most of what this state has to offer. More often than not, I found myself empathizing with characters like Luke Skywalker as he looked out onto the horizon on the desert planet of Tatooine, wondering if there was more out there than what surrounded him. What I didn’t know then was how that arrogant world view could shape a naive and narrow-minded outlook on what Oklahoma has to offer. If you believe there’s nothing out there, it sort of becomes true.

This is a trap many of us fall into. It’s this sense of feeling content in confinement. If you go to the same places, try the same food, talk with the same people; where is the adventure? Why bother when I’m comfortable where I am? This is where progress and innovation go to wilt like a lily on a forgotten window sill.

That was me before stepping into the Oklahoma Today offices. Here I've found some of the finest minds and reputable sources for all things fun in the state. My relatively limited knowledge base became apparent when I began pitching stories to the editors and received a unanimous reply of, “We’ve covered that before.” Throughout the pitching process, I continued to stumble across people, events, places, and history I had never heard before. Instantly, I was intrigued and enthralled by all the topics I have yet to explore in a state I thought I knew from front to back.

This is what I’ve learned this week: It’s never too late to explore. Save the typical Tulsa and Oklahoma City trips for the tourists and become curious once again. Take any issue of Oklahoma Today and make a list of places you haven’t seen. There's an enormous state around us that I (and probably most of us) have yet to explore, despite living here. And while you're out there in the wild world of Oklahoma, be sure to let us know what gems you discover. Maybe you can help me surprise my editors with a story we haven't covered yet.

Email Brandon

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Brandon King

Brandon King
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