Be a Tourist

This past week, I had the opportunity to travel with my son Zach to Sacramento as a chaperone for his school’s 4th grade field trip. Since Zach was born in Sacramento, and my wife and I lived in Sacramento for 20 years, we went into the experience thinking, we knew and saw everything there was to know and see. Boy were we wrong! While we had pretty much been everywhere the tour took us, having the experience of an educational tour guide opened our eyes to the events and experiences that brought Sacramento’s rich history to life in a whole new way.

As I have reflected on the trip over the last couple of days, I got to thinking…how often do we play tourist in our own city? As a kid, I grew up only 20 minutes from San Francisco, but would rarely go into the city as a sightseer or really take time to learn about its diversity and history. Even my wife Jennifer, who was born in San Francisco and raised just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, has never been to Alcatraz, which is one of the city’s hottest tourist attractions.

Almost every city or county has certain facets that make it unique: the natural environment, historical sites, tourist attractions, walking trails, hometown diners, architecture, or quirky local treasures. And when you decide to play tourist in your own town, you set out to discover some of the things that you might otherwise take for granted. Such was our experience in Sacramento this past week. While we lived there for many years, there was so much history we failed to integrate into our day-to-day experience, which if we would have taken the time to understand, would have helped us connect the dots of mills, forts, street names and schools. Things we often took for granted while we lived in Sacramento, because we never really spent the time to really learn and play tourist in our own city.

My history teacher Mr. Ladendorff would often say, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat its mistakes.” There is such rich history in our city, in our state and in our country. By learning from the men and women who have gone before us and taking the time to be a tourist in our own surroundings, we might just discover something we’ve been missing. So try setting aside a day every once in a while to learn more about the lesser known facets, or experience familiar ones in a new way. You’ll not only gain a greater appreciation for the place that you live, you might just enjoy yourself as well!

2 Responses to Be a Tourist
  1. Sally Reply

    Good words to live by Pastor Bryan! Thanks for sharing. Looks like you all had a great trip.

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