See, like tourists do
In the big scheme of things, travelling should be on the top of everyone’s to-do list. Having said that, I know lots of all y’all can’t afford to travel, at least the way you think I mean “travel”. The thing is, I’m not talking about a cruise or a flight to the other side of the world or even to the other side of Canada. I am talking about travelling outside of your comfort zone or even outside of you neighbourhood. I find it hard to believe there are people who don’t explore the world beyond that zone or even beyond the No Frills.
So here I am, week two of the over ’ome adventure. I’m not sure I ever thought I’d have an opportunity to visit this place. And, I’ll be honest, London isn’t exactly an exotic, Lonely Planet, destination. I don’t feel like I’m in a foreign land. Most of the people we’ve encountered in our first week are English speaking or they give English a whirl. For those of you who haven’t been here, London is a massive, massive city filled with people from every corner of the globe.
People watching quickly becomes an activity I engage in every time we head out of the flat. Each day, as we make our way around to the touristy places on our list. I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of humanity. The sidewalks are never clear and the buses and the tube is always crammed with people. The city is a constant drone and hubbub. While our flat is in the back side of a commercial business, we do hear the thrum of buses, lorries, scooters, pedestrians and a rumble under the floor because we’re situated over Angel Station. Yet, London feels like home. I was told it would do. However, unlike at home in Canada, we have to be reminded over and over to “look left” and the “look right” at the corner crossings. Where there would be “stop signs” in Canada, we cringe as vehicles zip around corners yielding only to other vehicles. Teetering home from the local, I have grabbed Lovey’s coattails whilst shrieking “look right” or “look left”. My turn is coming, I’m sure there is a Vauxhall with my name on the bumper.
Back to my point about travelling—and I do have one—be a tourist, folks. Be a tourist. Pick a day and explore the neighbourhood. Many of the people we’ve met here (mostly in the locals) have asked us about our travels. We hear about how they can’t afford to travel and about how jealous they are of our trip and ask where we’re headed for the day. We tell them about our plans and are told they’ve never been to Tower Bridge, Pall Mall, Westminster Abbey or Borough Market or Brick Lane. The irony of this is LOML and I used to do the same thing back home in the County. We took a very long time to be tourists at home.
When we’ve asked our County neighbours if they’ve been to one of the museums or on the Waterfall Tour or visited a farm stand or if they know where the old Court House is, the answer is that lots of people just don’t “tourist”. I say, “You’re in the County. Have you ever had a picnic at the Hill Street Parkette? Have you stopped by the park in Wellington or the Mill Pond in Bloomfield? What about the conservation areas?”
Getting to know your home town, a bit about its history and the history of the surrounding communities, is interesting. Yes it is. You’re going to eat lunch anyway, put it in a container and go for a walk, find a spot to sit and watch the world from a perspective that isn’t your couch.
I am fortunate. I do get to travel to different places outside of the County. That’s more than I could have hoped for in my life. When I’m home, however, I do “do” the County. Give it a whirl. It’ll be a travelling experience.