Friday, June 11, 2010

Insert Fleetwood Mac Song Here

I went to film school once, for a brief moment in time.  Fall of 2005, but it feels like half a life time ago.  I had these great designs about writing and directing my own movies, like I could be the most significant lady filmmaker since Leni Riefestahl, but without all the Nazi propaganda.  Obviously, that didn't pan out, and I didn't stay there long.  But I do remember what the dean said at the freshman assembly.  "Life won't always open the door for you.  When the door is closed, build a new door.  Make your own opportunities."

He was talking about independent movies.  I'm transposing to the blogosphere.  And why not?  It's appropriate.  No one's going to ask me to write about being a tourist, so yes.  I've created my own venue.  

But why be a tourist?  Aren't tourists universally hated by locals, defined by their straw hats and fanny packs and annoying habit of stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to take a picture of a historically significant bank building?  Aren't we all a little embarrassed to see (or be seen with) that guy with the Hawai'ian shirt and the big camera around his neck?  Isn't it a point of pride to live in New York City and never visit the Statue of Liberty, or in San Francisco and not care about that gorgeous bridge, or in Las Vegas and never eat at a casino buffet?  

Possibly.  (Definitely.)  And let's face it; an American tourist is generally considered to be the worst of a bad breed - we push our way to the front of the group, we've got the video camera permanently attached to our faces, we talk loudly and slowly to our English speaking tour guides, just in case.  All for the superficial understanding of something close to culture.  

Is it worth the lousy reputation, I can't imagine not going to a place for the sake of not going.  What will you do then, when you've missed your chance?  Will you be happy to have not seen that thing, that place?  Will you wish you had gone while you still had your legs?  Will you have wondered why you were too good to see this world before you, tourists be damned?  Will you regret?   

I'm not too good to be a gawker.  I'm not above carrying my camera with me at all times.  I love finding the ugliest, tackiest souvenir, just to have something to put of my shelf, something to remind me that I was There, and It was great.  I'm not ashamed to have seen as much as I have, nor will I stop trying to find the most strange, most obscure, most famous, most beautiful places in my country, and others.  I'm proud to be a tourist.  I will regret nothing.  I hope you don't mind too much.      

1 comment:

Kate the Beer Babe said...

Keep Exploring! And keep creating doors... through film, blog, mothering, touristing, however you see fit. Thank you for sharing your adventures!