It’s Okay to Be a Tourist

When I was a teenager in a tourist destination (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida area), I sure didn’t like tourists. They showed up and drove strangely, got horrible sunburns, and asked ignorant questions. Grr. They filled “our” restaurants.

Get off our stairs! Tourists (our group) milling around).

I currently spent half my time in another tourist destination, where natives carefully avoid downtown or our beautiful parks during certain times of the year, since so many people show up to party and have fun at festivals. We grumble, but know the economy needs it.

Right now I’m the tourist in New Orleans. I have done tourist activities like bus tours that crowd the streets, and walking tours that crowd the sidewalks. I sure wouldn’t want to live where my house is photographed by people like Suna all day long. Certainly living in the French Quarter would require a special patience.

With all this good food, the economy can’t help but do well.

I see tourists wandering around getting blitzed and screeching about things, and they are contributing to the economy, I guess.

Then I see our group asking question after question to learn more about the area. I see us making connections in local shops (I bought yarn!). This is good tourism, as far as I’m concerned.

Local yarn to celebrate the yarn shop’s 50th anniversary. Also there was needlepoint. Ah.

Last night, we went to a “cooking school” where even all these seasoned cooks (we spent a lot of time learning about nutrition in La Leche League) learned a trick or two about cooking and the culture here.

Chef Recardo was fun to watch and full of creole facts.

I appreciate the patience and kindness of the people here who share their history and culture and keep it alive, after hurricanes and other challenges. There are some mighty kind and generous people here.

And while, yes, we are taking up space and photographing things we probably shouldn’t be photographing, we are learning about how people live in a place much different from where we live.

St. Louis cathedral inside. Probably shouldn’t photograph.

THIS is how we can learn to appreciate our fellow humans. Travel can’t help but make the traveler more open to new experiences and more understanding that everyone is NOT like the people where you live, and they are fine and happy and doing good work.

I might be okay living next to Jackson Park if it were in these apartments.

So, I have a much better attitude toward both being a tourist and sharing my homes to people willing to learn about Austin and even little Cameron. Come on over (but wait until I get home).

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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