The Resident Tourist
We live in London now.
It is an endless city, with nearly every language, culture and cuisine available. Free museums, hipster cafes, boutique shops and layers of imperial history easily overwhelm the best-of-plans to get to know this town.
When adapting to life in a new city you get accustomed to the basics – public transport, following signage, managing coinage and finding some comfort in routines like our morning coffee at Monmouth.
However despite being well adapted you don’t easily shed the tourist’s mentality; gazing, slack-jawed at some new vista, picking through the weekend’s shows and events on offer. On a daily basis there is some visual or sensory prompt that reminds me that I live in London… what a wonder.
It is this state of mind that mixes the familiar with the not-taken-for-granted that I call the Resident Tourist.
Natives are often the least likely to be explorers of their own environment. They reserve that spirit for their holidays. In nearly every aspect of life (work, relationships etc.) we are creatures of routine. While these routines can be lovely and are building blocks for our experience of life, they can also shut down our senses and allow us to ignore our environment or fail to consider new possibility.
I am trying to be a Resident Tourist in all areas of my life – including work, relationship, hobbies. The only question you need to ask as a Resident Tourist is this: “what if everything was new? How would I react to it, what would I choose to do/not do?”