I’ve been spending some time sorting photos lately – and I just came across this one yesterday. I think it might be the best visual representation of “tourist” I’ve ever taken!:
I mentioned previously that I’m getting ready at the moment to leave the DC area, where I’ve primarily based myself for the last couple of years. Moving day is about three weeks away now.
I admit: I’m more than ready to go. I in fact can’t wait to go! I feel like I’ve gotten everything I’m going to get, personally-speaking, from this area. And then there are some practical considerations (alluded to briefly in the end note here) that make the idea of moving on even more appealing.
But that said, I do have some good memories here. It’s been a good place to pass some time. It’s a fun city to be a tourist in!
For one thing, DC is a fantastic city within which to re-connect with art – particularly important if you are someone like me, who got a graduate degree in Art History and then promptly followed her then-husband to a small Kansas college town where she was pretty much completely cut off from museums, galleries, etc. And so was starved for such things for several years! The free (and wonderful) Smithsonian museums “feed” you very, very, very well in this regard!
It’s also a great city to explore with young children – and my kids and I have done a lot of that. DC has taught me that, while the presence of my kids adds to the considerations I have to manage when traveling (and the cost), they don’t prohibit me from traveling – and in fact can very often enrich the experience. Looking at things through their eyes, answering their questions, etc, gets me out of myself and immersed in the small moments in a way not easily matched.
(They’ve grown up so much in the time they’ve been in this area! They’re such babies in these pics!!!)
And DC has given me opportunity upon opportunity to develop my skills as a writer and blogger and photographer.
(A good example of that is this post here [posted to my other site, Live.Snap.Write.], which I wrote last winter about a trip I took to the US Botanic Garden with my kids and my ex, their dad. It’s extremely photo-heavy – so if you’ve never been to the Botanic Garden, this’ll give you a peek as to what it’s like to visit!)
But here’s something I’ve been thinking about, as I prepare to leave the DC area:
I’ve never really felt as if I live here – regardless of the fact that I’ve spent the vast bulk of my time here in the last four years.
Some of that is due to the irregular situation I’ve had going with my ex – which has meant that, technically, I haven’t lived here. I don’t feel that I’ve lived in Ohio either though (my technically correct domicile.) I haven’t really lived anywhere.
It’s been a state of perpetual tourism, I guess!
But this has definite advantages. Travel can serve to grow you…open you…develop you.
I feel that I’ve experienced that very much these last few years – and I’m grateful for that.
I can’t say I feel that it’s time to stop being a tourist now and “go home.” To settle in…settle down. I am ready (very much so now) to leave DC; that’s true. But I don’t even know where “home” is for me. And while I’m curious about that – is there a place like that for me? Will I just stumble into it? Does it even exist? – I have a strong suspicion that I’m comprised more of “gypsy” parts than “homebody” ones. And that most certainly complicates an idea like “home.”
So it’s not a yearning for “home” that is getting me excited about moving to Richmond. No…it’s the chance a new, fresh, different place gives, I’m realizing, for immersing more fully in the act of being a tourist.
I know that no matter how long I live there, and no matter what the future holds, I want to face life – in Richmond and anywhere else – with a “tourist’s mind.” I see that as kind of like “beginner’s mind” in Buddhism: I want to be open to whatever comes, with no preconceived notions, no particular expectations. I aspire to keep a perpetual focus on seeing…on listening…on trying to understand. The point being to grow and experience things – to gain wisdom, and to reach toward my own personal potential.
My time in DC has helped me to advance in this – most definitely. But I feel very strongly that it’s time to take the next step forward now – and that this relocation will be that.
I’m ready! 🙂