Tourist



It's weird being a tourist in your own home country, but the more I think about it, I realize that it isn't completely true. I'm a tourist in my own town, I drift easily between handfuls of people who don't know me but know my name. We nod to each other and exchange pleasantries but I'm never embracing the place I call home, I take pictures when the sunlight is pretty, drop a dollar in the pot at Christmastime to help feed the hungry, and try not to talk to strange people too long. But here's the thing, at home I always look people straight in the eye, we're from the same place, we feel the same heat, we're together on that. Humans seek solidarity and it's funny to remove yourself from that when you go somewhere else. Stick with what you know, take pictures of the famous sites, sit in dewy, glowing light.

It's like a toss up between feeling slightly out of place in the big city, with people moving a thousand miles a minute, people with stories under their fingernails and stuck in their teeth like spinach, and feeling at home. The book I'm writing talks a lot about traveling, it's at the core of the story, what drives it, so to speak. There's a part in it where one of my characters is telling his son that traveling makes you heartless. You start leaving bits of yourself all over in the places you've been until your heart belongs to many different homes. I'm starting to think that's not a bad thing, because... Chicago, I think you're winning a little piece of me.

xoxo Johanna