It’s natural to overlook a city’s beauty once you’ve become accustomed to it, especially if it’s your hometown. I used to see Los Angeles as a tourist, eyes filled with curiosity and wonderment. Every street, cafe, alley, and dusty corner appeared magical. Alas, what used to shine has dimmed. Having lived in LA for five years thus far, this sparkling city transformed into a mere backdrop of my everyday life.
Perhaps it’s a common trait when becoming a local; the initial romance of an alien city gradually replaced by nonchalance. Every so often I am reminded that you can never know everything about LA. It’s a highly-concentrated, ever-growing, ever-changing, multi-bipolar city. From food, entertainment, career opportunities, and Things-That-Must-Not-Be-Named, LA has much to offer (yes, that was a Harry Potter reference). The weather is so awesome that if I had to choose a place to be homeless, it’d be LA. Note: supposedly the homeless near the beach are richer than those in downtown. Just letting you know in case you ever decide to change careers.
Hollywood and Venice Beach are only miles away yet it seems tourists know how to enjoy the city more than its residents. Understandable. Being a local means maintaining a life and fulfilling responsibilities. Being a tourist means exploring the unknown and indulging everything possible.
This week, wherever you live, BE A TOURIST. Explore uncharted territory. Inject spontaneity into the daily drone. It can be as simple as stepping into a thrift shop. A seemingly ordinary place may turn out to be extraordinary. Dine at that restaurant you always pass by and think “I should go there some time” yet never have been. Reignite the spark between you and your city. Treat it like a lover and it will love you back.
For the next seven days, I will be a part-time tourist in LA. Check back next weekend to read about my mini adventures! Feel free to share your experiences too. Happy local travels :)
(Written by Professor Oh)
(Photo: Walt Disney Concert Hall. Taken by Carol M. Highsmith)