You passed us on the street yesterday. But it is unclear if you saw us.
We were the smiling, enthusiastic cyclists. We had just arrived, it was obvious. Our pink skin gave us away, and perhaps our naive excitement as well. We were eager to get our first look at the beach and the ride there was an opportunity to take it all in. It was hot and we were falling in love with the town. We were looking forward to our time here, our discoveries, our future friends and new favourite places. Because this is where we chose to live for a while. Like locals.
You looked like you had been here long enough to claim the title. The oh-so-desired status of a “local”. But why, may I ask, did you not smile? Your aversion to “tourists” transpired through your straight face and left us wondering if such disdain was necessary to qualify as a traveller-turned-local. It left us thinking that perhaps we’d rather not become locals. Do smiles, openness and friendliness need to be compromised? Do other travellers, such as your past self, not deserve your respect?
Simply do not forget who you were before. Do not forget that although you may claim a certain status, we are still one in this universe, on this planet, in this town. And do not forget that we will remember your attitude and your energy before all else, before your status. And next time you pass us on the street, well, we will still smile at you…