How do you take your travel?

So many places to see but so little time. That is the complaint of many of us.We see a lot of articles on the travel magazines, newspapers and online, urging us to go to the top 10 or 20 destinations of each continent with a long list of what to see. We want to go so bad and see all of these places. We rush, fly through the security checks, unpack, pack again, unpack. We get blisters from walking everywhere. On the way back, we think to ourselves “Did I eat/see everything I could?”. God forbid if we miss some food joints off-the-beaten track that were listed somewhere else or every meal does not live up to high expectations. When we miss something, we might feel like we got cheated, came back home empty handed with a restless stomach and aching feet. We unpack our souvenirs and keep our eye on the next list coming up. So we can say “Yeah, I have been there!”…even if it was for several hours.

Most of us can not drop our lives and hit the road, be a life-time traveler. There are +190 countries in the world, we can not possibly visit all of them with our limited vacation days. We can not possibly try every food, drink,  and visit every market in the world. But we try, oh how much we try!

Why  is this rush while traveling?

I was in the mindset of hitting the road when the sun rises and go through my checklist. It does not matter if I am at work or on vacation in some place new. I have a list, I get up early and do everything to check off that list so that I don’t feel like a failure when I hit the sack at night. Of course, when I came to Salamanca, that list was long filled with travels to somewhere every weekend, making the most of every single hour, snapping thousands of pictures. Even if it meant, I had to go to a city for a couple hours, so I can “get it out of the way and check it off my list”.

Then something happened. First, I grew distant with my camera. It felt like a whole lot of work to get it out of its bag. It felt forced. The packed weekends have turned into “Let’s stay here this weekend”. Kept going back to the favorite cafes instead of trying every single place under the sun. My list dropped down to half. I am feeling lazy. I don’t feel like spending five to ten hours on a bus just to spend several hours in a city, just to say “Yeah, I have been there”. But have I, really? Or was I just passing through?

Why should I take the same “eat your lunch in 20-min at your desk” mentality and apply it to the travel? Would it be better to see less number of cities but more of just one or two? The answer is different for everyone. If we want to see the big chunk of the world, we have to rush through one security check after another with laptops laid down separately and toiletries out of your carry-on luggage already.

But is this really seeing the world or just “getting it out of the way”?

I know getting old is the reason of the change in my pace, even though I still fall for two-day travels time to time. But gradually I am learning to enjoy. I thought getting old would make me rush more with less and less days on this earth. Instead I am getting calmer. After all, if this was my last day on earth, I would much rather die while sipping coffee here than traveling on a bus!

How do you take your travel?





  1. by Lan | morestomach
    10:40 am
    May 12, 2014

    on our recent jaunt to Thailand, i brought my camera out the first few days and after that, i didn’t. i had a friend ask why i didn’t post more pix and i told her i was too busy experiencing it all rather than documenting. it’s taken me awhile to come to the realization that travelling is for yourself. if you’re able to balance the experiencing and documenting, great… if not… go for the former rather than the latter.

  2. by Ilke
    10:44 am
    May 12, 2014

    I agree with you, Lan. You summed it up greatly.

  3. by Joy @MyTravelingJoys
    8:51 am
    May 13, 2014

    I still love my camera and won’t put that down, but I do agree with some other points. For example, I just spent 5 days in Paris for my birthday. The only museum I went to was Musee D’Orsay bc I simply didn’t want to wait in line and waste my time that way. I didn’t go inside the Louvre, Notre Dame, etc., but I still had a blast exploring Paris. I took photos of the splendid architecture and window boxes as I walked along. I popped into patisseries, kitcheny and paper stores and wherever I wanted. I had a list of some of the places I wanted to cover, but I didn’t get to everything. And I’m okay with that. :-)

    Enjoy your travels too!

  4. by ela@GrayApron
    10:35 am
    May 13, 2014

    Oh men…that’s a big question! I used to travel for a living, so my view is a bit disturbed…but as much then and as now, my favorite way to enjoy a place is to have a coffee at a local bar.
    :) ela

  5. by Angie (@angiesrecipess)
    5:13 am
    May 14, 2014

    I am still not used to take my heavy camera with me while I am out…either visiting a restaurant, or a zoo…when I go out, I just want to enjoy myself. And you know what? I get car sick every time, sea sick sometimes..but ok with train. I remember last time we visited the in-law, I had to stop halfway to throw up..and I hated the drama.

  6. by Ilke
    11:39 am
    May 15, 2014

    Oh, getting carsick and seasick is horrible. I got seasick one time and could not enjoy any scenery. Takes the whole fun away. They say ginger helps but have not tried.

  7. by John@Kitchen Riffs
    1:14 pm
    May 14, 2014

    When I travel these days I usually take a point-and-shoot. Unless you really know a place (or are an exceptionally talented photographer), the pictures are going to be snapshot quality anyway, so I don’t stress over taking pictures (I used to). Fun to be a tourist sometimes! Good post — thanks.

  8. by Ilke
    11:38 am
    May 15, 2014

    You are right,point-and-shoot, or in my case, the phone, does the same thing most of the time. Instead of upgrading my camera, thinking about upgrading my phone :)

  9. by Terra
    3:49 pm
    Jun 9, 2014

    My family would take month long trips, and see so many sites when I was growing up. Now I love to just pick one or two places, and explore them. You can enjoy the trip more, and less stress and more relaxing! :-) Looks like you are doing well, sending hugs, Terra

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