Our oldest son, Bob just moved to New York City to pursue his stand-up comedy career. This is a HUGE step for him – leaving everything he knows, people he grew up with, going from the Midwest to the East Coast – let alone going from a small city to a HUGE city! Not only that, but here in Omaha he was fairly well known on the local comedy circuit – sort of a medium-large fish in a small pond. Well – in NYC he isn’t even plankton! He has a lot of adjusting to do – but when I spoke to him during his first week, the only thing he seemed to be concerned with was that he didn’t want to look like a “tourist” and take pictures of himself to send to his family – things like him in front of Radio City (Lizzie actually wants one of him with the Rockettes, but I’m not sure how he will manage that one without getting arrested) – and also in Rockefeller Square.
My first response to Bob was to let him know that until he has a job – which pays him money and not alcohol – he is technically a tourist. Then I started thinking about what that means – being a tourist – and I realized that I am still a tourist in our small part of the world – even though I have lived here for 37 years! If being a tourist means getting excited about seeing the sites – like the zoo, new walking trails, College World Series, the local colleges, local jazz festivals, great new places to eat (especially for desserts) – then I guess I will always be a tourist. I don’t want there to be a day when I’m not seeking new things to see or learn about in my neck of the woods – how boring would that be?!?
I’m always surprised when I talk to people who live near famous landmarks when they tell me they have never been there because that’s just a place for tourists. What that means is that they haven’t taken the time to fully explore their city and their surroundings. That means they don’t know about all of the parts, pieces and people which not only helped build their city/town – but they don’t understand the history and importance of their surroundings – how sad that they have no knowledge of how great the place they live in really is.
So – I will always be a tourist – no matter where I am or where I live. I take delight in finding those special local spots, as well as visiting the main attractions. Everyone should be a tourist – and they might be surprised at the wonders they never knew existed right in front of them.
If you acted like a tourist for one day in your town – what would you go see?