When you actually reside in a tourist hot spot, it is very easy to become so jaded as to look down with derision upon the wandering hordes who clog your sidewalks like cholesterol in an artery. We know that their tourist dollars keep our local business afloat and our city from decaying into a ghost town. Yet their stupidity, ignorance, and occasional downright rudeness makes us dread the day that first cruise ship pulls into port.
It doesn’t have to be that way. We just need to embrace our inner tourist.
We spend most of our days walking or riding or driving from point A to point B, making sure we’re getting there in the least amount of time possible. We live here, we’ve seen it all, we don’t need to stop and smell the roses. Holy hell, how many times do I have to see that damn lighthouse? I have a thousand pictures of it already! Yes, the outlet store is on the main drag. Yes, there are plenty of art galleries up there too. No, I will not take a picture of you in front of the statue of the lobsterman. Please get out of the way, you’re blocking THE ENTIRE sidewalk.
I’ve only been in the tourist hotspot of Portland, Maine for 8 months at the time of this writing, but I’ve already found myself muttering these very phrases. How quickly I’ve become a jaded local astounds even me! But I’m also new to Portland, and because of that, I can still look at this place with fresh eyes. I still look for new places to visit, new things to do, and I am constantly surprised by what I find. I can actually put off my malcontent for a bit and embrace my inner tourist. It’s a lesson all locals — and even seasoned travelers — should adopt. Why? It’s simple: the more you deride others about their lack of knowledge of your town, the less likely you are to do your own exploration, and the more likely they are to find something you had no idea existed. How lame would you feel if a tourist came up to you and showed you something that you didn’t know was there? Yeah, I thought so.
Next time you find yourself being short with a tourist, take a step back and think about being in their shoes. Be a good ambassador of your city by being helpful to that person. And take a day off to go exploring. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you — and your inner tourist — find.