no matter where you go, there you are

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cece's Advice #5: There's no right or wrong way to travel. Do what you want.

Cece's Advice #5: There's no right or wrong way to travel. Do what you want.

This entire piece of advice may be completely irrelevant to many of you, and you may say "duh..." but since it's something I had to tell myself and remind myself of many times throughout my vacation I want to share it. Before I go into detail, it's important you know a few tidbits about me: 1) I like to plan and I plan in detail. 2) I don't like going out and drinking, especially if I'm not with friends 3) I like to sleep 4) I spend my money wisely and 5) I compare my behavior with others ALL the time.

In Rome and Munich, I stayed in hostels where I had 4-5 roommates and dinner was included at the Freedom Traveler Hostel in Rome so despite my default behavior of not socializing with others, these opportunities gave me the chance to talk a little with others like myself about their excursions. In doing so, I couldn't help myself from comparing my trip so far and my future travel plans and behavior with theirs (see tidbit #5 about myself). As usual, I found my behavior to be the complete opposite of those I talked with. When this happens, and it's quite often, I tend to believe what I'm doing is "wrong" and that the more common behavior is the "correct" and "normal" way to go about things. I know this isn't a good way to think and I'm working on trying not to, but that's not really the point...well, it kind of is.

The way I had planned things was to get as much done in the few days I had in each location. As if these visits were going to be my first and last time in these cities. Therefore my days began at 8 when everything opened and I was done by 6 when the doors shut. And no way in hell was I going to go out after 9-10 hours on my feet to spend unnecessary money on alcohol (see tidbit #2 and #4). After dinner, I would shower, prepare my next day's adventure (see tidbit #1) and was in bed by 10, asleep around 11 (see tidbit #3).

All of my plans were COMPLETELY different than anyone else I talked to. They discussed various clubs and bars, had no idea what they were doing the next day ("should we see the Vatican? What's in Rome?"), were all out when I went to bed and asleep when I woke up. Because my travel plans were such the opposite as my hostel mates, I automatically assumed I was doing the "backpacking Europe" thing wrong. And it took a few nights of this to know there's no right, or wrong, way to travel Europe. To convince myself, I had to say over and over "it's okay to sleep, okay to wake up early, okay to have travel goals, okay to be different."

So onto the advice...when you're traveling, do what you want. Nothing is wrong, everything is right. If you want to go to Europe and spend half your time partying, that's great. A different way to experience the culture. If you want to spend all your time in historic places, that's good too. You're trip is what you make of it and there's no use spending time worrying whether you've been doing things wrong or right. It's okay to sleep, okay to wake up early, okay to have travel goals, okay to be different.

No comments:

Post a Comment