How many times have you gotten frustrated with people who come to town and walk slow as they take in everything that the city has to offer, looking around in awe of some of those things we take for granted–or people that stand on the left side of the escalator with all their souvenirs from a day spent at the Smithsonian?
These “people” are tourists and I must admit that these frustrations inevitably creep into my mind after a long day in the office when I just want to get home.
But recently, I got to thinking, maybe these “people” have the right idea (okay, I’m not talking about standing on the left side of the escalator) about slowing down and taking in everything the city has to offer. So a few weeks ago, I took a Friday off from work to play tourist for a day. This city has a wealth of things to offer and I decided I should start to take more advantage of them.
My tourist day started much like a normal Friday – I got up early and headed to the metro, but the similarity to a normal Friday ended there. I got off the metro to take an early morning walk around the Tidal Basin, followed by a stop at the World War II Memorial, visit to the Natural History Museum (and its Butterfly Pavilion), and finally stopping to enjoy the gardens of the Smithsonian Castle.
I used this as a chance to take tons of photos (here are a few) and to discover new things in the city that I call home. Stepping into the shoes of a tourist allowed me to explore the city in a different way. Instead of bee lining to my destination and losing awareness of everything else around me, I slowed down to take everything in. It was like coming to my mat – pausing for a few moments to unwind, relax, and just be here.
If you haven’t been a tourist in this great city in a while, I encourage you to make the time to slow down, to visit the place “you just haven’t gotten around to yet” because you’re “too busy” (I know I have a few of these), and pause to appreciate what we have right here.