Why I Will Never Stop Living Life Like A Tourist

I moved from Southern California to London, in pursuit of a vet degree, and the experience of living abroad. That was over 7 years ago, and I still live everyday like I just stepped off the plane. I still live everyday excited by the world around me, eager to embrace new experiences, and appreciate the wonder in the seemingly mundane. How? Because I still live everyday like I am a tourist.

I spent the first few months in London with my camera strap perpetually around my neck. How could I not? For a Californian, the sense of history was not only intriguing but, overwhelming, unfathomable. The country seemed to have a surplus of ancient buildings, and I was especially shocked to see churches which in the States would be roped off and have an entry fee charge, being converted into trendy loft apartments.

For the first time I saw seasons. Just like in the movies, the leaves changed colours and the temperatures dropped below a degree that made flip flops un-acceptable all year round. And there was the snow. I am not sure you have truly lived until you have seen the streets of London covered in snow. The city apparently didn’t use any time within its vast history to learn how to cope with white fluffy stuff, and everything shuts down. A hush falls upon one of the busiest cities in the world.

Why Be A Tourist

After a few years, I knew my zest for taking in the London sites would wane. But I decided I was addicted. I loved living life like a tourist, and here is why.

  • Elyse Macartney with her two terrier dogs at a Red Telephone Box.Every Day is Exciting. We never have as heightened a sense of adventure as when we travel somewhere new. A whole new world to explore; alleyways to get lost down, and countryside to marvel at. Adventure opens our eyes, and takes us out of our routine. Adventure allows us to be free to seek out pleasure and excitement. The more we can increase the presence of this pillar in our life the happier and more satisfied we will be.
  • See the World with an Open Mind. When we are traveling we make a point to embrace the unknown. We make it our mission to try every new cuisine, to dare to engage in every cultural experience we can. Through opening our minds, and our bellies, to the new, we are growing as individuals. We are learning from the world around us, learning about it, learning about other people in it, and learning more about ourselves. We are widening our horizons.
  • Appreciate the Wonder in the Seemingly Mundane. I am obsessed with pictures. On every trip I take a few hundred at least. But not just of famous landmarks and stunning landscapes, but often of a unique tea pot at a restaurant, or a market stall selling all shape, size, and colour of produce. Only when traveling do we look at the ordinary around us and see how extraordinary it is.

Let’s All Live Like A Tourist

My challenge for myself, and for all of you, is to harness the enlightening affect of being a tourist. To take how traveling transforms our view of the world around us, and apply it to the world right around you everyday.

  • With Harry Potter at Platform 9 3/4Take pictures of everything. Make a point of it. While out walking the dogs, or on your commute into work, think that you will find 3 things that are beautiful, and photograph them. I guarantee even if its just a Tuesday, you have done that walk 4 times already that week, and its a bit gloomy out, if you decide to find beauty, you will.
  • Make a list of all the restaurants in your neighbourhood, then try them all! When you arrive, ask the waiter what he recommends, what their best dish is. They may not all end up being a regular stop for you on a Saturday night, but they will all be a new experience and a step out of your routine.
  • Take an active approach to how you spend your weekends. Of course, Netflix and the couch are very welcoming, especially as winter approaches. But rather than waste the weekend watching fictional characters live-out thrilling lives, do a bit of research into what thrills can be found in your reality. Explore the Farmer’s market down the block, buy tickets to the local theatre, or have a picnic in the park and people watch.

I am sure you will find, just as I have, that once you start to live life like a tourist, its addicting. You won’t be able to get enough of the adventure, new experiences and beauty the world has to offer.