HOW-TO BE A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN TOWN
by elise joy blaha
I've noticed that when I visit a new city I look at it differently - through my view finder. For some reason while on vacation I have no problem holding my camera unabashedly and wandering aimlessly. I also have no problem stopping to take the same photo with a film camera and my polaroid in addition to the shot I just captured with my digital point and shoot.
As a result, I have a great collection of photos, textures, signs, people and places from around the country and globe.
However, what I think is just as important, if not more, is capturing the here and now. Where I live. What my town and location looks like. Right now the "what you do" and "where you are" seems obvious and unimportant. But someday all those details will be easy to forget.
Celebrate your city. Below are my tips for becoming a tourist in your own town.
01. Pick a day (or an hour) to wander your city, neighborhood or town on foot. The slower you go, the more you'll see.
02. Carry your camera. Not in your purse or backpack, but in your hand. If it's out, you'll use it.
03. Get over the embarrassment that the mailman or someone you know will see you taking photos. They probably will. Just smile and keep going.
04. Look up. Look down. So often in our own cities we are focused on looking straight in front of us. At the road, at the mailbox, at the front door. Take time to see more.
05. Look up your own city (or zip code) online with yelp! or google maps and get suggestions for a new ice cream shop or place to grab a coffee.
06. Think about where you would take out of town guests. Into the downtown area? On a hike? To a park? Consider visiting those places on your own.
07. If you can find them, grab a postcard or two. Mail them to family and friends who live out of state (or next door).
My husband and I recently moved to a new town and have been taking lots of tourist walks in our new location. I'm taking my camera out of the house as often as possible and have been compiling a little photo diary of where we live. We're military so many, many moves are in our future. I'm happy we'll have a "tourist's view" of the places we've lived.
Have fun! Enjoy your adventures.