Friday, July 16, 2021

A Tourist on Planet Earth

For the past two and half months I have been in Connecticut, caring for my 97-year-old dad. He's just come home from the hospital (for the second time). Each new day brings something unexpected. Sometimes it's sad. Sometimes it's funny. Sometimes it's just strange or bewildering. Our days together always present some sort of challenge.

I think this is actually a good thing.

I have been walking around "the loop" in his little suburban neighborhood. I miss my real home, and in order to cope with my new situation I've begun to think of myself as a tourist. Sometimes it feels as if I've just arrived in Paris after an overnight flight, jet-lagged and confused.

Okay, not exactly Paris.

The point is, I find myself in that altered state that comes from the exhaustion of traveling. I have a heightened awareness, just as a tourist might upon disembarking at an unfamiliar destination.

I notice everything. Here are a few examples:

A Cape Cod house with a fake tree hosting a lot of bird houses. It seems to be the meeting place for all the neighborhood birds and squirrels.

A dog with white paws that look like fancy shoes or spats. Very dashing.

A man on motorcycle who stops in front of me and exclaims, "Oh, I thought you were my wife!" 

A pretty pollinator garden.

Lots of wildlife. Some real, some fake. Deer, rabbits, a bear (fake, I think), a snake in the road, and a bird that flew into my dad's house (real, probably).

And, next to a sign that said "FREE", and a beautiful cafe table and two chairs. I carried them back to my Dad's house and he was thrilled. Later, I thanked the man that gave them away. He knew my father and was so happy that they found a nice home. 

So, here's your creativity prompt for the week: go someplace new and unfamiliar. It doesn't have to be some far-flung destination! You can do this in your own neighborhood.

Look at everything. Question everything. Listen to the language. Open your eyes, ears, taste buds, inhale the smells. Take in the strangeness of it all. Allow yourself to be confused, disoriented.   

And then, be a creative tourist -- sketch in your travel notebook, take out the travel watercolor box, your camera, your journal. Write postcards, letters, even emails or a poetic and slightly mysterious text message. Sit in an outdoor cafe, a porch, a stoop, and take it all in.   

The world is a wonderful and magical place, my friends. And as you are traveling through your life, I want you to recognize that we are only visitors in this land called Planet Earth. Please make the most of your time. Be present to the everyday beauty and mystery, the sadness and the joy.  

Oh, and look out for free stuff! 





  1. So very true!! You are a complete joy and personally I am so glad you remind us of the positive things in life with your wonderful blog posts!

    Enjoy the table and chairs!! Love them!

    1. Thank you for your kind words and support! I'm so grateful! Jamie


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