A Tourist at Home

Carl Milles' God of the Sea

Carl Milles’ God of the Sea

Now that we are home from our round-the-world travels, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about maintaining a tourist’s viewpoint.

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Alongside the music museum…

I am trying to preserve that feeling of wonder, and the relaxed feeling of having time to look — at building façades and their details as I walk to work, at the people passing by, at the landscape that is home.  A daily commute on familiar paths can make it difficult to keep that kind of wonderment at the surface.

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Conservation at work

Repetition kills insight. It can dampen down the unexpected.  But it also opens up new vistas:  As I have been walking on streets that I usually bike, or pass on a bus, I’ve seen new shops, new architectural flourishes, all sorts of interesting things I’d been missing, and that I now get to see with each repeated walk.

I’ve been considering if this is just part of mindfulness practice:  of being aware of every step you take, of breathing. Taking the time to look and see and feel and notice, yourself and the world around you.

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Rangling cowhide

I have also found myself wondering:  have smart mobile phones helped some of us recapture our desire to see new things and share?  For those of us stuck at home, a phone and a chat partner somewhere else makes for the opportunity to snap the odd photo, of a weird billboard, a dog and its owner, a rare car… a way to keep playing tourist.  (Unless, of course, you are totally plugged into your phone for texting-phoning-reading-whatnot, and you are neglecting to *look* at the world around you as you walk down the street, plugged in.)

Amy Winehouse, at Bukowski's

Amy Winehouse, at Bukowski’s

I pass the Royal Palace on my walks to work, and the parliament and boats and old buildings that once served as merchant centers at the harbor; I pass a major art auction house, an art restoration atelier, cafés, banks, parks.  I am trying to keep looking with new eyes, and to keep sharing.  It’s amazing that I ever get to work…

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