Me, Peering Heavenward, Siena Duomo, Italy
“So lower your camera from your face for awhile and just sit and survey the scene. Go get lost in the traffic-jammed chaos of the city streets and wander aimlessly without a map. If on these wanderings you walk past a restaurant that’s packed with locals go in and eat a meal, even if that place is not recommended by 700 other travellers on TripAdvisor. Stop. Checking. Facebook. Every five minutes. And for God’s sake if you go to my friend’s hotel can you please put down your smartphone for a second and appreciate the view.”
Follow. Every. One. Of. These. Suggestions.
You will be the richer for it. Getting lost is scary and important to do as often as possible. (After all, as Ray Bradbury said, “We travel for romance, we travel for architecture, and we travel to be lost.”) If the restaurant’s crowded and you’re alone, you’ll probably feel like all eyes are on you. That vulnerable feeling will be incredibly uncomfortable but go in and sit down and order a drink and something to eat anyway. Try to speak the language of the country you’re visiting when you place that order. Sure, you’ll probably bungle it and the server may look impatient, but your attempts will be appreciated. Sit in parks. Sit in museums. Sit in cathedrals and look heavenward (that is, until the security guard tells you you’re not allowed to sit on the floor against the columns, then go find a chair). Take in the air in these places. Allow yourself time to breathe. If you are with someone, take your nose out of your smart phone or tablet and make eye contact, speak to them, smile, and know that you are creating a memory you both will be able to share forever. If you are alone, let the place seep into your pores and change you.
The place, I mean.
It will change you.