Jan 23, 201211:44 AMResident Tourist
I knew after my family returned from our trip around the world that I would need to broaden my horizons at home beyond the familiar triangle of roads that connected Whole Foods to Giant to Trader Joe’s. Compartmentalizing my grocery shopping could no longer serve as my peak adventure; I was ready for something more.
I decided to wedge the new sense of myself as Traveler into the former, homebody version of me by making excursions to local destinations and writing about my experiences. I thought of it as kind of a friend’s guide to fun goings-on and dubbed it “Resident Tourist.”
The blog gave me a much-needed structure and a goal---a reason to get out and experience the Washington area through the eyes of a visitor. Museums and markets, lively neighborhoods and nearby towns, greenhouses and gardens I’d meant to visit for years, became assignments. I had to go---a post must be written.
I was as easily tricked into this faux reporter’s role as someone who begins to arrive on time by setting home clocks a few minutes ahead. I knew it wasn’t real, but it did the trick.
But then something unexpected happened. The faux became real.
Steve Hull, who I’d met during a post-world-trip interview for the magazine, asked to include Resident Tourist on the newly-designed Bethesda Magazine website. Suddenly the whole enterprise moved from a private, almost secret, creative outlet to a real venture with actual readers. I was thrilled.
Much like a new devotion to jogging may lead you to finally trying Pilates or rock climbing, the task of exploring and writing, gave way to other big ideas. After years of aimless imaginings about my own future, the usual haze was beginning to clear. This new version of me---a person who wrote and photographed and conceived of things became the same sort of person who might go to graduate school and start a whole new life chapter.
So now I find myself on the verge of a new career as a teacher of English to speakers of other languages. I’m in the midst of my teaching internship and hope to find a job beginning next semester. I have been alternately overwhelmed, excited and exhausted.
Writing Resident Tourist was a perfect antidote to the demands of graduate school with its research papers and in-depth studies of linguistics, methods, and assessment design. Nothing was a better break from fine-tuning a critical review than bicycling through the city streets with hundreds of pedalers dressed in tweed or dangling from a zipline harness or ambling through the charming streets of Frederick or St. Michaels.
But I find I’m unable to gracefully mesh the duties of full-time teaching with the pleasurable pursuit of blogging. And my sense of adventure now comes from seeing the world through the eyes of the students I work with - young people from Burma and Guatemala, China and India. Their dreams are modest, their stories inspiring. I've stumbled into my dream job.
So, with this new calling on the horizon, I find that I have to let go of this great opportunity that Steve provided. With more than a twinge of sadness, this post bids farewell to Resident Tourist. For now.
Thank you Steve Hull and the staff at Bethesda Magazine for your support. And thanks to you all for reading Resident Tourist.