Just to make it clear from the beginning: I’m not trying to start a rant here. I just found myself thinking about my past 10 years of travelling, and evaluating what I would do again and what is changing about my travel habits. “How do you choose where to go next?” is a topic that I discuss quite often, so it was easy to do 1+1 and integrate the whole sightseeing mentality to this article. Let me switch the main question from “What place are you chosing to go next?” to “What do you REALLY want to see and experience?”. And answer it honestly.
I changed my mind very quickly about all inclusive holidays, for example. Maybe after the first and last time I did that without my parents. It stressed me out the most, and I’ve been out in this world quite often. The buffet plate overloading, sunbed reserving and beer burp breath crowd is not for me. Then add a bunch of screaming children right next to my right ear and Aventura’s “Obsesion” played daily for the 30. season in a row – you’ll have me running big time. A week caged like this stresses me more out than having to figure out by myself how to find a place to sleep for this very next night. Seriously, I could do the same from my own balcony without having to spend a single penny and I might experience more. Of course you will be able to go out and do stuff if you want to, but I bet the “but I paid for everything so I should eat/drink/stay here as much as I can” mentality will prevale in 90% of the cases. I know that this is seen as a way to relax for many people, and if it’s yours as well, totally fine. Then you might should leave this page right now, I’m just trying to point out another perspective and I’d like people to give a thought about it.
Well, I guess I made a good intro about how I started to notice what doesn’t work for me on a travel. Let’s move to the second thing you might should lightly reconsider: sightseeing. Sightseeing per se is not bad. It just depends if you really want to see something. Do you really have a big interest in hiking and do you want to give yourself a challenge, or are you forcing your butt up to the Machu Picchu just because everybody does it there? How big is your interest into historical monuments? Do you know something about the Colosseum or are you just standing there with your selfie stick because 1 billion instagrammers did that before you? The point here is simple: I just want you to think about on how you put together your well deserved holidays. Following what others do is always the easiest choice, you don’t really have to think about stuff and you’ll probably reach all these spots very easily.
But pick out those who really move you to go there. A quick example: I’ve been to San Francisco on one of my first big journeys. I’ve seen the most spots that were reccommended at the time as must-do. And I really enjoyed a good part of it. But I also caught myself snapping a photo of those oh so famous Full House victorian buildings, without knowing nothing about the series. I’ve never watched it. I just went up there because you’re supposed to do so when in San Fran. With tons of other people, maybe almost beating each other off to shoot from the best angle.
So I started to set my own priorities. When in Paris, I took a trip up to the Eiffel Tower because I wanted to see that gorgeous 360° view, or visited the Picasso Museum because I studied this guy’s work and life for many years. I didn’t go to the Louvre though, and I didn’t even take a picture of the building from the outside. Did I have the feeling of missing something out? No. Am I a bad tourist because of that? I don’t think so.
Do the sightseeing you really are in to, and leave the rest behind if you don’t care about it, add maybe a day or two of goalless strolling, just to see where it leads you, and I assure you, you’ll come back home with the most interesting and unique pictures. Don’t let yourself lead from selfie nation on where to fly next.Social Media and Blogs can actually be a great starting point for inspiration, just YOU should be the artist in the end and construct YOUR perfect trip. Listen to your needs, intuition and interests. You’ll be richer in experience and you’ll have the real stories to tell when you’re back. If you’re staying in a nice hotel then go out and have lunch in a local district instead of on the main shopping street. Or reverse the process: if you have no clue and it seems scary, book yourself a room or do couchsurfing and tour with your host. The magic formula is quite simple: get lost a little more.
*this post was originally born to share my own tips on how to choose your next destination. I suppose we’ll talk about it the next time 🙂