Gain more by taking travel slower
I am often asked how many countries I have travelled to in my one year abroad. I find this to be an interesting question because I have never really considered measuring the value of my travels by the number of countries I have been to. Instead I have always preferred to take my time and experience many aspects and cities within a country before I feel I am even close to being in a position to give an opinion. Travelling in many respects is like entering the dating world and perhaps your own travel style reveals more about your dating style than you may have realized. And the same advice can be given for each really … slow it the hell down!
What on earth is the rush? I will never understand the haste of choosing to skip from one capitol city to another in the name of ‘travel’. This to me is like attending a speed dating session and referring to each of those as your ex. In the same way you do not know someone you briefly spoke with for 10 minutes you do not know a country you spent a day or two in the capitol city of. Yet there are even companies dedicated to people who wish to ‘travel’ in this manner (Contiki anyone?*). Rushing through 15 countries in 15 days is not even remotely close to travel and you are kidding yourself if you think that this type of trip classifies you as a lover of travel. In the dating world you would be referred to as a player or a slut for the equivalent action. That type of trip can only serve as a proverbial chocolate box in which you can choose to revisit the countries you tasted and liked properly in the future. Until then do us all a favour a please refer to the time you visited ‘Budapest’ briefly and not as having ‘done Hungary’, that sort of talk is best kept for your escapades with the opposite sex.
When the opportunity to take your next trip arises instead of taking the speed dating approach perhaps instead consider this … have a fling with just one country. Go steady with just one country? Yes. That is exactly what I am suggesting. Take the time to learn everything you can about just one country. What makes is tick? What are the flavours? With whom does yours of choice consider itself to have the closest ties to? What is in the beating heart of this country? Getting to know one place well will always be more rewarding than knowing many places halfheartedly.
Half my time abroad has been spent revisiting countries I have wanted to understand better. To learn their language. To experience their culture. To begin to understand what is running through the veins of the country. The other half has been about visiting places that are new and as a general rule I would spend a month in each of those. In the same way I tend to keep my FB ‘friends’ under a certain number I keep the number of places I visit lower to gain the most from each.
Do not kid yourself into believing a higher number of countries visited makes you a more worldlier or proficient traveler. By this logic sleeping with a larger number of people makes you a better partner; now surely I don’t need to debunk this flawed thought.
In answer to my original question, how many countries have I seen in my one year abroad? Well … a lady never tells.
*Having attended Contiki trip in my earlier days of travel I believe I am more than within a position to rag on this style of travel #sorrynotsorry