Ever since I arrived in London, I’ve been determined not to seem like a tourist. I have posted zero photos on Facebook, I don’t have an Instagram account, and the only things I tweet are terrible jokes only I find funny. A couple of my friends didn’t realize that I’ve been in London until I saw them over break.
I haven’t even taken a picture pretending to call my Great Aunt Sally in one of the red pay phones located on every street corner.
Almost every day I see Germans or Eastern Europeans take pictures with their tongues out in front of these red boxes, and I can’t help but shake my head. And they have much better styled hair than I do: imagine if I were to do such a thing. It’s probably just in my head, and I probably shouldn’t care what people think about me, and I’m definitely an ass for looking down on people enjoying their London experience, but I can’t help it.
My shame about being a tourist is one of the reasons I chose to study abroad at LSE, because it was the only program my school offered that lasted for a year. I could either be a tourist for three months, or I could be part of the city for ten to twelve. Not to say being a tourist is the worst thing in the world, in fact it’s rather fun. When traveling, I tend to wait until the people I am with start taking pictures, and then I give in, sending selfies of me eating raw fish in the Netherlands to my mother.
Perhaps some of my hesitation towards partaking in touristy activities is because I live right near Trafalgar Square, a haven for those visiting London. There is a bus that gives “ghost tours” of the city stationed right outside my residence for God’s sake. And walking to class down the Strand is like going through an obstacle course, with hordes of people just stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to take pictures of anything and everything.
I know I should stop being cranky and accept it, especially since doing touristy things are an important part of one’s time abroad. I’m not going to be able to experience London for much longer, and then who knows if I’ll have another opportunity to do so. I’m going to try and embrace tourists the next two trimesters, and maybe I’ll even do a few things in the guidebook my parents gave me.
Just stop taking pictures of your fish and chips.