Bringing Out Your Inner Tourist
All my life one of my biggest fears has been looking like a tourist. In Manhattan I refused to carry around a backpack; I wouldn’t even let myself wear flip-flops on the beach. For years I did not want any stranger thinking I was in a new place for the first time not knowing exactly what I’m doing.
But, in the past two months I have had to come to terms with the fact that I a indeed on a foreign continent, and 70% of the time (maybe a little more) I have no clue what I am doing. And no matter how discreetly you can look at your map or say a couple of phrases in the local language, everyone is still going to know that you are indeed, like most others around you, a tourist.
So my advice is basically to just embrace it—asking someone for directions is better than spending an hour lost, taking a picture is better than just walking by a beautiful view.
And not to mention it is fun! It is fun to take goofy pictures; it is fun to wave at people on the boats passing by. I like carrying around a book about the place I’m going to because then I actually know what I’m looking at, and I have my camera on my wrist at all times ready for anything.
Even around Prague I felt too jaded to do the touristy things, but then my friend came to visit and I had so much fun reading all the sayings on the John Lennon wall and paddelboating and it made me wonder why I don’t do this all the time.
In short, I realized I’m not as cool as I think I am. The second I open my mouth; I know I am not passing for a local anywhere. So embrace how clueless you are, embrace how excited you are to see sights locals see everyday, and you will have fun.