HOW TO: Be a Tourist in Your Own Town
I went to the Redmond Derby Days parade today and realized something important. Not only do I love parades (they are fun because you see things like the scene above, and you definitely don’t see Stormtroopers most days around Seattle), but they also remind you of the importance of being a tourist in your own town.
We are all quite busy, and it’s easy with the multi-screen temptations of mobile, social, and cable to forget how fun and important it is to go to a shared place, have a shared experience (In Real Life) and have a reference point to life in a small(er) town. And that town need not be Redmond, WA. It can be wherever you are.
The Challenge: Find One Thing You Ought To Visit
When someone comes to visit your town, don’t you usually go into overdrive mentally to find the one thing that they ought to do, eat, or visit so that they can have an authentic experience? In Seattle, that might be go to a baseball game, visit the Pike Place Market, walk the streets of Queen Anne, enjoy the Japanese Garden at the University of Washington, or any one of a hundred different things. So why don’t you do any of these more often?
Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to pretend that you’re coming to visit town. And I’m going to make a mental list of the places we should go sightseeing. Then, I’m going to visit some of them (maybe one a week.) Once I do, I’m going to try to look at them with new eyes and see if there’s something I missed.
Every Day Is Not A Parade
It’s true that annual events can be boring – I’m not suggesting they are always as exciting as seeing Lord Vader striding down your street – but there is always something new that you could be finding. So go find it. And then tell someone about it. Because in the act of sharing that “familiar” thing with a friend, there’s the opportunity to discover something new. And try not to take too many pictures of Mr. Skywalker. There’s that Force thing to contend with if he gets upset.