Play Tourist, and Love It
By Amy K. Pieri
of the Manitou Springs Collaborative
What underlies that freeing thrill we experience when visiting a new place? Is it a visceral response to differently mixed air or angled light? Is it thankful relief for brief anonymity? Is it tingly fear? Or is it simple giddiness at escape from our every day?
Perspective leads that thrill, however undefinable. But perspective dulls under routine. Blithe smells become expected; exuberant sounds, trampled under typical din. But can we polish perspective and burnish its shine for our every day?
I think sometimes we can. Today, Erin Yount showed us how:
1. Mix 25 summer-heated, excitable school-age kids with approximately 10 begrudging (Read: loving.) parents.
2. Spice the mix generously with charming scavenger hunt tasks.
3. Toss into a delightfully busy mountain town.
4. Shake vigorously.
5. Presto! Gleaming perspective.
Erin’s recipe is but one in her bountiful reserve. Indefatigable, she stirs her soup pot of joie de vivre, serving heaping helpings of happy to those in need.
Erin’s sustenance begins and ends with family and friends. The first Manitou Springs Photo Scavenger Hunt bubbled from a boiling houseful of summertime visiting cousins. Justly dubbed “Aunt Camp,” the visit necessitated Erin summon her inner camp director; her activity clipboard fit seamlessly. And the town scavenger hunt became a favorite. “No prizes and no snacks,” jokes Erin. Her nephew specifically requested the jaunt again this year, and we newcomers will likely whine for it the next (Read: me.).
Because, by looking for out-of-the-ordinary, I saw out-of-the-every-day. I changed my perspective while pursuing animal statues, butterflies, and spider webs. I found new art, undiscovered shops, and secret fountains. I watched kids taste Manitou spring water, plank with a fireman, do the conga, high five cops, and “talk like a pirate while welcoming a tourist to Manitou.” That dare was my favorite. And guess what? Tourists are nice. Tourists are happy to be in Manitou Springs. Tourists are smart.
Sure, we are happy to be in Manitou Springs, too. We are smart. We live here, right? Smart. But when our town is hot and busy and dusty and crowded and noisy and hot (did I mention hot?), we dirty our lens. We lose perspective, a loss with potentially far dangerous applications. But we can reclaim and redeem our perspective through creativity, curiosity, and connections. We just have to play.
So, it’s summer! Go play. Buff your lackluster perspective.
Play tourist. You’ll love it.
(Thanks, Erin. I loved it.)
The Manitou Springs Collaborative (MSC) is a citizen networking group dedicated to supporting and advocating for the visions in the “Manitou Springs Forward” and the “Plan Manitou Master Plan” (PMMP). Presently Shanti is the director of MSC and he is using this website to host articles and announcements for the Collaborative (because it is easy). Below is an article published in July 2016.