We moved to a new city when I was 4 years old. My dad was transferred for his work, and my parents knew we'd be in this city for only a short time. So they set out for our family of four to live a bit differently.
We were to be tourists in our own city.
Those two years are some of the most memorable of my childhood. I remember visiting weekend art gallery classes in which my sister and I got to be mini-Monets or make handmade ornaments for Christmas. We'd spend an afternoon at a museum dressing up like pilgrims working in a farmstead kitchen or general store.
Then there was beautiful park land along the river which was also home to a kids' story book amusement park. We'd join a statue of Humpty Dumpty who sat on the wall. We'd climb a big spiders' web made out of rope, feed the Three Little Pigs and go up the stairs and down a slide of the Shoe that house the Little Old Woman.
I've just got to see.
On a recent flight I was across the aisle from an elderly woman who appeared to be travelling with her daughter and grand-daughter. As we started to descend, we could see flickers of the city skyline through the windows. I watched this older woman crane her neck, twist her body around and stretch up her head just to catch a glimpse.
I smiled at the thought: flying above the world can grant even the elderly child-like wonder. It can make grown ups surrender their proper posture just to catch a glimpse of something exciting.
Playing tourist in your life.
Our life really is a set time frame as well. Some of us should be so lucky as to live a century. But none of us lives forever on this planet. Most of us don't live in the same location forever either. As much as we'd like it, vacations don't last forever too.
I spent my Christmas holiday visiting Adelaide, Melbourne and some points in between. Knowing that I'd be in these places for a set period of time made it all the more urgent to see as much as a could.
There were neighbourhoods to explore, parks to discover and natural wonders to visit. I reckon we should look at our everyday lives as an opportunity to "play tourist" and make the most of the time we have...wherever we are.
Here are a couple of my suggestions on how you can do just that, starting today:
- Visit your town or city's museum to learn a bit about the place you call home. Sometimes history can be fun, exciting or at least eye opening.
- Pick that one thing you've wanted to see or do but figure it's only for visitors or tourists and just go do it! See a play. Hire a bike or kayak. Go to the really expensive restaurant. Wander through a garden or park.
- There are so many great websites that list cafes, restaurants or weekend activities in most major cities around Australia (weekendnotes.com, theurbanlist.com, your city council website). So pick one of their top ten lists and go check out what your city has to offer.
- Keep your eyes open during your commute to or from work. Perhaps there are buildings, parks, skylines you haven't noticed or appreciated before.
- Find someone or a few someone's with whom to share the experience. It's fun to reminisce with your friends or family about whatever you did.
- And finally, have fun. See your city through new eyes. You'll probably be pleasantly surprised by the things you can do, the sights around you and be able to enjoy the place you call home in a new way.
Lisa Goetze is a 30-something-woman endeavouring to love Jesus and love people with reckless abandon. She's a former Canadian journalist who now calls Brisbane home. She's a full-time volunteer at Youth With A Mission.
Lisa Goetze's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/lisa-goetze.html