“I’m Not a Tourist! I Live Here!”

When it comes to cities I love to be able to use the words: “I’m not a tourist! I live here!” These words imply ownership and belonging. They say “Don’t mistake me for a stranger who doesn’t know the rules. A wide-eyed, excited, naïve tourist!” The only problem is that sometimes it helps to see the city I live in through the eyes of a tourist. A tourist who travels for pure pleasure, sightseeing. looking around and noting the details, blissfully ignorant of the difficulties and problems. I see the dirt; the tourist sees the beautiful building. I see the chaos; the tourist sees the excitement and energy. To see through eyes wide and amazed, taking in everything around me and enjoying it all, this is a gift given to the tourist. So on Saturday that’s what we did. We set off to see the Public Gardens and Newbury Street like tourists.

With observant eyes and cameras in hand, an unseasonably warm Thanksgiving weekend welcomed us to take in the sites and simply enjoy. Sometimes we’re so busy defensively proclaiming “We’re not tourists! We live here!” that we forget to appreciate where we live, to see it through eyes of gratitude and joy.

The pictures following are glimpses of Boston through the eyes of a tourist who lives here! Enjoy and make visiting Boston part of your bucket list.

Welcome to the Public Garden established in 1837!
Gate to the Garden
Beautiful weather and green space to enjoy it
Skyline of the city from the Public Garden
George Washington Statue
The Island
When asked what the name of their band was, these guys shrugged and said "We're just friends!"
Church on Newbury Street
Creative store front - at least 50 or more old Singer sewing machines
Love the fire escape on this building
Lovely outdoor lunch at Bottega Fiorentina - 264 Newbury Street
Always up for used books - These from Raven Used Books
School of Fashion Design with a fashionista in front
Another beautiful church

So there’s just a sampling of our seeing the city not as a place of work and stress, but as a tourist would see it  –  Pure Pleasure.

It brings me to this question: Where do you live today and do you need to take a step away and see it through the eyes of wonder and fun? 

16 thoughts on ““I’m Not a Tourist! I Live Here!”

  1. What gorgeous photos Marilyn, I don’t think you can say you don’t take good photographs any more! Erase that from your vocab! Loved seeing your city through your eyes, it looks lovely! So funny that you’ve pinpointed that feeling of pride of not being a tourist but living here. Such a strong thing in me too, wherever we have lived!


  2. This post really resonated with me. I live in Chicago and hate being mistaken for a tourist. Generally I see tourists as people who are in my way! But over the summer I made it a point to see the tourist traps in my city because there are some truly magnificent sights to see and I don’t want to miss out on that just because I’m jaded.

    Stef looks adorable, as always :). I miss her!


    1. Malori – you used the exact words I was thinking about myself. I had this superior attitude until I looked at the pictures of some of our visitors and realized that they’ve seen things I’ve completely missed! Thanks – and Chicago is an amazing city! Fun to both live and tour in!

      Sent from my iPhone


  3. I’ve had several family members and friends visit me in Beijing this year and having to slow down and see things through their eyes helped me see parts of the city I miss or find less endearing because “I’m not a tourist! I live here.” You’re right, it’s good to have the eyes of both the local and the tourist — you see more that way!


    1. Amy – thanks so much for reading and commenting! How long have you lived in Beijing? Have had several friends live there in the past. Also know what it’s like to live overseas in these big, wonderful, amazing, frustrating cities! It was in Cairo, Egypt that I first used the phrase “I’m not a tourist, I live here!” and I really do love the phrase but when we had friends come, wide-eyed, it always helped. Especially the times when I would be going through a low period.


      1. Marilyn, I’ve lived in Beijing over eight years and in Chengdu, Sichuan five years — now Chengdu has changed so much since I lived there I’m in the “tourist” category there :-). Amy


  4. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Boston. So, thanks for this little tour.
    It takes a visitor for us to get around our town. We take so much for granted.


  5. Marilyn, it reminds me of why I love Boston so much besides all of our personal history there. I guess the Swan boats are put away for the winter, or you would have had a picture of them. And what a lovely Fashionista! Love Steffie!


    1. Oh my gosh – is that where your bookstore boyfriend works?! I’m sure we did but didn’t know it. Wait till I tell Dad! You should probably be glad we didn’t know …..


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