See Your Town From A Different Perspective: Be A Tourist

Have you ever thought that you were bored with life in your city? Or that it has lost its luster? It’d magic? It’s intrigue? Perhaps with life humming along every day you forget to look around outside of your path to and from work and your usual stomping grounds. And chances are you steer clear of the more “touristy” parts if you live someplace that attracts business and vacation traffic.

This weekend, my wife and I are taking the time to be “guests” in our city (thanks to some dear friends who bid on a hotel / dining package at a charity event). What we noticed right away was how different our perspective of this place we know like the back of our hand has been, just from making a point to experience it differently.

It was surprising and lovely how The taxi ride (as opposed to driving ourselves) through my old neighborhood on the way to dinner went from an exercise in expediency to a nostalgic interlude. Instead of being frustrated by traffic and having tunnel vision to our destination we took the time to observe how the neighborhood had changed: an organic Mexican restaurant where the bake shop used to be. A line at the new nightclub down the street from my old condo. Peering down the block where a favorite lounge used to be: yep…still there. Good to know. The city seemed More vibrant and interesting and bustling with a young professional energy. Definitely a different vibe from the “gayborhood” it used to be but still looked like a fun place to hang.

And on the way back, instead of rolling our eyes at the tourists in horse-drawn carriages, my wife was transported back to her childhood as she watched the lit-up “Cinderella” carriage clop on by and thought of how much she would have enjoyed that as a little girl. (I think she would probably enjoy it even now).

And as we sat and enjoyed brunch on the terrace of the hotel, I noticed the flickering gas lamps in the new-Orleans style terrace at the business hotel across the street. I enjoyed watching the souped-up classic cars blasting era-appropriate music juxtaposed with the “Ballers” in convertible Bimmers pumping out hip-hop as they took late morning cruises along the downtown strip.

And we are looking forward to spending the day practicing the art of noticing what we likely make a point of overlooking on a normal high-stress mission to get where we are going.

Being a tourist in your own town also gives you a chance to be an anthropologist for a couple of days and really observe the culture of the place where you live with objectivity instead of self imposed obstruction.

It’s a practice we tend to forget and I think one that helps us really appreciate where we are and live in the moment. And even if you can’t afford a hotel stay you can still take the day to get off the beaten path and have an experience that might change your perspective.


Categories: Anthropology, Art and culture, Consumer Anthropology, Consumer Culture, Experiment, Participant Observation | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “See Your Town From A Different Perspective: Be A Tourist

  1. Saw your other post on Freshly Pressed, and so, here we are.

    Sweet post. I, like your good self, oft try and put myself in the shoes of a tourist when I’m walking around my own hood. I think that the only noble way to live life is by pretending you’re always a tourist!

    And sweet blog, generally. I like your writing style. But I can’t wave the feeling that I like your blog/writing style because it reminds me of my own?

    Well, I s’pose that’s narcissism for ya!

    Anyway, kudos! *demurely tips of hat*

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