With all of the recent travel in my life, it’s been neat, but work-based. That’s not to say it hasn’t been fun, but the agenda has been different seeing the places I’ve visited as working grounds instead of playgrounds. Time and energy has gone into the most efficient routes, where to get business, and quickest ways between A and B. Sites have been skipped and personal preferences foregone, all for good cause and in the name of productivity.
However, in Atlanta, a fellow traveler encouraged me to slow down, play, enjoy, and take it all in. We still worked hard in Atlanta, but outside of show and follow-up hours, we took time to enjoy the city a bit. It started with a simple invitation to check out some basketball and turned into a good reminder and balance to long work days.
We had the idea to watch the Atlanta Falcons play live, not having tickets, but committing to figuring out how to get cheap ones. Walking to and from the CNN Center, we became those slow ones you have to wait for as we took pictures, took more pictures from different angles, then walked a few steps and found something else to take pictures of. The group we were walking with were quite patient, but ended up just leaving us and meeting us later as we noticed little details and had to stop again to snap a shot. We became super excited at the prospect of eating Chick-Fil-A, which our group understood seeing as how we don’t have Chick-Fil-A easy access in NYC. We made it a point to eat “the best burgers” at The Vortex and take other local food recommendations.
I know there is a time and place for everything, and I don’t regret not taking more play time in other places I’ve recently been. But the thing about doing all of this in Atlanta is I did it slowly, taking it all in, taking pictures, and enjoying my first visit. It reminded me that it is ok to step to the side of foot traffic and take pictures, read plaques and maps, and be a tourist. Even if you’ve been there before.
Taking time to be a tourist was my version of stopping to smell the roses. Stop and smell your roses, too.
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