For my work, I commute in to San Francisco once a week. It’s a long commute on the train, and it takes me about 2 hours. I’ve been doing the commute for about 6 months now, and it’s become pretty routine. I know how to make my stops, I know the feel of the train going over rough or wavy track, and the scenery has become pretty wrote. The last leg of my Journey takes me into San Francisco by Bus, and that is where I saw this man.
As we traveled over the Bay Bridge into San Francisco I saw an elderly man riding the bus in the row ahead of me. He wore a red baseball cap with Einstein like gray hairs shooting out the side. His face bore the wrinkles the come with time and his long gray beard was thinning with age. He also bore a camera strap over his neck and kept picking up his camera to take snapshots through the bus windows. He would pick the camera up for the most mundane things and snap photos as we crossed over the bridge. A tugboat below, a tunnel ahead, road signs… Lastly, but most importantly, he wore a satisfied smile on his face, and I knew I was viewing a tourist.
My routine commute was his trip if a lifetime.
It gave me a moment of pause as I considered what the world would be like, if we treated every day as if we were tourists. What if we approached the world with the wonder and marvel of seeing everything for the first time?
I love this time of year. Sure, thanksgiving is nice. And Christmas with family around is wonderful. But one of my favorite parts of this season is all the Christmas lights. Even the most rundown home can look magical at night with a few strands of multicolored lights. It’s makes the boring look magical again. But it’s not really about what it does for the houses, it’s about what it does for me. It brings back my wonder and reminds me of the magic all around.
It is indeed a challenge to approach the world with the wonder of a tourist. Our minds operate in a very novel focused way, when something becomes known it begins to fall into categories. Instead of triggering our wonder it falls into our world of known labels.
Today take on the challenge of wonder. See if you can walk around your home like you’ve never been there before. See if you can visit your usual haunts like they are the Seven Wonders Of The World. Most importantly, appreciate that everything around you is a gift and something to marvel at!