People walk around London at a hurried pace, which is why tourists are easy to spot. Weighed down by the history and culture of the city, they are sluggish, contemplative, and absolutely oblivious to those pushing past, whether it be school kids walking to the National Portrait Gallery, shop attendants on a quick tea break, or actors rushing off to their next career-making audition. Yet, despite the constant prodding of more experienced city-goers, tourists are propelled by some driving force to see everything London has to offer at their own pace.
One night my roommates and I participated in the Ghosts by Gaslight walk that wound its way through West End. In the midst of a discussion on how Ann Boleyn holds a record for the most sighted ghost in London, our tour guide halted at a pre-determined location and began an off-script commentary on the malleability of London’s milieu.
Indeed, under the right light the city can become anything. Refractions cause each experience to become personal. Perhaps, this is why tourists mill about; every scene is arresting because of its distinctiveness.
For me, a college student who travelled abroad for the first time this Jan Term, the view was spectacular even from the cheap seats. Three weeks immediately passed, and I regret not acting a little more touristy.
Nick Avery is a sophomore studying literature and writing at Whitworth University. He is the proud owner of a Netflix account, a 1993 Toyota Corolla, and five tobacco pipes. Nick hopes to pursue graduate school following his education at Whitworth.
Nick along with 23 other students spent Jan Term in London studying British Culture through the Arts, co-led by Casey Andrews and Meredith Shimizu.
Want to experience the British Isles for yourself? Check out the British Isles Study Program coming Spring 2015. If you are interested contact, John Pell at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Katie Creyts at email@example.com.
One last reminder, Julia Kasdorf Reading TOMORROW, Feb 25 at 7 pm in the HUB Multipurpose Room. Don’t miss it!