When I go to the United Kingdom this January, I plan to be the most touristy-tourist ever while I’m in Europe. My travel checklist includes participating in a traditional Scottish Ceilidh dance, shopping in Milan, and touring European treasures like the Palace of Versailles and Hever Castle. At each of those stops, I plan to gaze at my new surroundings in awe, take a ton of photos, and ask so many questions knowing locals are sure to scoff.
When I think of my hometown of Harrisburg, I don’t feel the same sense of adventure. As a knowing local myself, the sights of downtown no longer hold any mystery or mystique for me, since I’ve visited most of them at least twice (do you know how many field trips I’ve had to the State Capitol building? A lot.).
But recently, one of my best friends, Becca, visited me. She lives about an hour away in a tiny, boring town. For her visit, we decided to wander around downtown Harrisburg for the afternoon. Seeing her excitement at the sights surrounding us as we walked to my favorite market made me realize that, yes, my city is pretty cool.
I think that we tend to take things for granted, especially when we feel like we’ll always be there. For example, during my first semester at Arcadia, I was super-excited to explore Atlantic City and New York City when the opportunity arose. On the flip side, I rarely wandered through downtown Glenside and Center City Philadelphia since I know I have four years to do so. I knew the sights wouldn’t be as special to me because of that.
But they should be special. When I begin to get used to my campus this semester, I still want to feel the excitement of seeing the giant lake in the middle for the first time, even after I’ve had four months’ acquaintance with it. I want to taste the foods offered at the campus eateries as if it’s my first time tasting them, every time. This appreciation will make every day feel like its own little adventure, as it should.