I’m declaring a new holiday!
Yesterday I was chatting with my building manager, and she told me in the eight years she’s lived in D.C., she has never done anything touristy in the area. Never visited the Smithsonian Museums, the monuments, memorials, any of that. She said she knew she should and planned to “one of these days,” but that is all.
Last week I hosted a Meetup.com outing at Hillwood Estate where a woman who attended was moving to Minnesota after living in D.C. for ten years. With three weeks remaining in the city, she said she had a long bucket list of activities she wanted to check off before the move. This made her pre-move planning very busy!
The interesting theme with both gals was a shared a desire to see more attractions in the city, but only one had a foreseeable end date, so she’s the only one taking action on the sightseeing. The other has no plans to move, so she might end up living here another eight years without seeing a thing.
I’m always amazed at the amount of cultural resources, public artworks, gripping museums, and more that this capital city has to offer. And so much of it is free and easy to access via public transportation. Yet , so many locals take these resources for granted. Especially if there’s no plans to move away.
Overlooking the things we have at our doorstep, in any city, is very common. If there is ever a motivation to see “touristy” things, it’s because a friend or family member is visiting. But what if we all made more effort to head out, go to a museum, pay respects to a local monument, stroll through a public garden, pull over on the side of the road to read a historic plaque and figure out just who that bronze dude on a horse is and learn why he’s worthy of a sculpture.
By doing this, we learn something special about our surroundings, about our culture. We appreciate city art, we open our eyes to the community, we learn, we grow, and we enjoy the place we call home, whether that’s for the short or long term. And if we do this regularly, we won’t have to pack in a hectic schedule to see sights unseen before moving away, and we’ll have more local treasures to appreciate, and to re-visit whenever we feel inclined.
So the new holiday I’m declaring is International Hometown Tourist Day! Do some sightseeing in your own neighborhood. Pull out your camera, slap on the sunscreen, and go appreciate what your home town or city has to offer! Let’s say… this Sunday, May 17. Put it on the calendar and pick out something you have never seen, or haven’t seen in a while. Head out and explore! Then tell me what you’ve done.
I look forward to hearing what you do for IHT Day! I’ll keep you posted as well on what I do.
Over and out,
<em>[Photo: My having a grand ol’ time at Hillwood House in Washington DC]</em>