Last week, one day I drove Nick to work. On the way, the sunrise was lovely, pastel colors spilling across the sky with Mt. Hood on the horizon, the sun rising behind it. After dropping him off, I took the back way home, through North Portland, instead of the freeway and it was one of those mornings that I really looked around at my city. I really saw what was happening around me in great detail instead of just flying past it, en route to my busy day. I saw parents standing with their kids, ready for school, out on the sidewalks waiting for the bus. I saw people, young and old, biking into the city to their jobs. I saw people admiring the sunrise and I saw markets opening up and the city waking up. And it hit me, this is the way we see places when we travel but not often when we’re home.
When we travel, we slow down, we really see what’s around us. We see those shop keepers opening their stores, we see those kids heading to school. We see it because we’re really looking, we’re interested. We see the stories. And as often is the case, at home, we don’t often see our own cities as destinations like that, we’re too busy running around trying to get everything done with never enough time. But when we’re traveling, when we’re on vacation, those little details like a beautiful sunrise or the ordinary ways of ordinary people are so interesting, so unique.
Sometimes it’s important to take the time, and I mean really take the time, to spend an hour every once in a while to just see what’s around us. To look at our own cities, our own homes as those exotic and interesting places, because at the end of the day, we’re all citizens of this world and all of our stories are interesting. All of our stories are needed to make up the patchwork of the planet. We are the shopkeepers opening up for the day, the woman biking into the city for work, the kids waiting to head to school. Sometimes we need to reverse the roles and take a look around us and enjoy what we have right here in our own backyards. It’s often hard to see our homes as exotic locations, but I urge you, sometime soon, take a look around and really see the wonders that are all around us.