It always amazes me how something someone says to you during a conversation that can only be described as small talk, can stay with you for years to come.
I had such a conversation a long time ago. The person concerned was a colleague I knew only a little, and the conversation began with a very standard enquiry from me about what this man was planning to do at the weekend.
He told me that it was his wedding anniversary, and that he had booked himself and his wife into a hotel in the centre of Manchester. They never went into the city centre, you see, despite living in Manchester all their lives. Of course, they did go into town on occasion, I knew that. But I understood what he meant.
He went on to tell me how much they were looking forward to just ambling about, enjoying their own city. We never look up while we’re walking, he said. And I tried to remember the last time I walked round my own city and looked at anything but my feet or the city centre traffic that was out to get me.
These words, spoken to me by this person I knew next to nothing about, told me a lot about the lives of busy people who live in big cities. Especially cities that capture the imagination of visitors and which prove popular destinations for many a traveller.
I thought about how so many journeys taken “into town” by native dwellers are tedious and task driven. We go to appointments; we run errands; we need to visit a particular shop for a particular thing. We rush; we get in and get out. We keep our heads down.
We rarely look up.
Now I’ve taken the time to have a go, and look at my own city of Liverpool with new eyes, it feels a bit different. I’ve noticed tranquil havens and buildings of great significance that I’m not sure I ever paid attention to before. And as Liverpool is a place loved by many of its visitors, it’s my plan to share more of its charm with you soon.
In the meantime though, perhaps you have stories of discoveries from your hometown or city? I’d love to know and maybe add some places to my own wish list of destinations.
Or perhaps someone said something to you, once in passing, and it stayed with you…
Travelling is exciting, but sometimes you don’t need to go more than a few miles to discover something new, especially if money is tight or you are between adventures.So discover a new city; the one you live in.
Sometimes all you need is to set aside a day.
And just look up.