When it comes to saying “I hate tourists”, I can’t really talk. I mean, I live in one of the tourist capitals of the world and I will, of course, get caught at some point squinting intensely through a viewfinder at something with a queue of others doing exactly the same thing beside me. But I think we often take for granted the novelty of things that seem old. Being in Paris has helped me realise how much excitement that can be had from a slightly different view on a slightly different day. Paris in the summer is a different city Paris in the winter. Wind makes the leaves on an Autumn day applause you as you successfully fight the hair off of your face and the old newspapers out of the betweens of your legs.
I have been to this city for so many days and nights and months but I have no doubt that time and again I will be reborn as a tourist. I, like so many other expats, have countless pictures on my iPhone camera roll of the Eiffel Tower and have accidentally ended up in front of the Moulin Rouge on a number of occasions. And instead of being all “tourists are actually so embarrassing, I hate standing out” I have recently been embracing it. There is not a day when I am not overwhelmed by the fact that just outside my apartment building, there is a road that leads me up a hill to the most beautiful view of the city of lights and love. There is not a day where my camera roll doesn’t get blessed with a selfie of my gorgeous face and a politically and culturally significant building hiding cheekily in the background trying to seduce you with its architectural prowess.
Alas, you needn’t leave this feeling of being a tourist in countries that you don’t live in. Being a tourist in your own place is the perfect way to fall in love with it all over again. Every single day. For instance, before Paris, before travelling around Europe, I was a resident of an Australian town with gorgeous sunny days, endless beaches, a great live music scene and food fit for the (surf) gods. In that town, ou take your camera off the shelf, dust it and rub clean the lens, and you march yourself down to the nearest train or bus station and let someone else take you somewhere. The excitement slowly rolls in like a shallow wave on low tide.
That fresh SD card and a fully-charged battery will get you through the day (after that delicious morning coffee in a never-before-explored café because you’re so stuck on your favourite barista – you know, the one with the 3 o’clock shadow, arm tattoos and the piercing brown eyes). You will take a photo of that ocean view with the rustling grass and seagull from a different angle with a different light and maybe even a different Instagram filter (NB: utilisation of the ‘Kelvin’ Filter excluded) and you feel a shiver of contentment because you have redefined old memories and created new ones.
That, my friends, is why each day I don the tourist cap (minus the “I<3PARIS” embroidered typography, of course). Because if your heart tells you “I want to immortalise this moment” then no one should effing stop you. Just don’t wear the sneakers/jeans/backpack combo. You still gotta play it cool, fool. I mean, we all want friends… kidding. Wear what you want. Because you’ll make me look comparatively better.