Be a Tourist

Seldom do we take advantage of the offerings around us as a tourist would.  When I travel to the nearest small city it is seldom to visit a museum or gallery, explore the historic fort or wander a path along the river.  Instead I rush in to the big box stores; the long thoroughfare lined with them referred to a Anywhere USA; the mall and the used bookstore see me on occasion.  Our Governor is acting as an ambassador in another state touting our’s as a tourist destination, The Last Best Place.  And indeed it is, but likely so is the place you spend much of your time or somewhere nearby.

When my children were young we ventured out and took full advantage of dozens of great places for kids from the wide offering where we lived.  We we surprised to hear on chaperoning field trips as they grew, how many of the kids had never been to the destination of the day, whereas it was as familiar as their school playground to my kids.  Children of course, must depend upon adults for this type of exposure, but adults have options they rarely choose.

If you had a friend who lived at some distance coming to visit where would you take them or suggest that they go?  Surely not the grocery store or the dry cleaners.  Even in the smallest of towns there is usually some special place that we forget about in our hurried days.  More often we are surrounded by a wide array of choices but think only about the time it will take, the long lines we may encounter, or the cost of admission.  But what a shot of rejuvenation for the spirit to spend a day as if we were a tourist visiting for the first time.  Plan the day with a guidebook or search online for offerings of interest.  It is likely the search will offer up a surprise, a small treat for the heart and the senses.

Plan your tourist day to eat out even if it is the cafeteria in the museum or the hot dog cart on the street.  If you would buy a souvenir if you were on an extended vacation, purchase some small reminder of your adventure.  As you go about your planned day leave room for a side trip of discovery, some place or thing that presents itself as you play tourist.  Soak it in, whether it is the architecture of the building, the view from the highway, the chatter around you in line.

This little one day experiment can open your eyes to the many places of interest large and small that surround each of us, as well as cause us to slow down and absorb things our eyes sweep over every day without seeing.  It can lift your heart with the thrill of a new discovery, recall a cherished memory from a visit to another place.  Take the time, see your world though a new lens, be a tourist.

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