This is a constant battle. Do I save up all of my allotted time off, or even quit my job, and go on an extended walkabout? Or do I go on mini getaways, taking the time to soak in one destination at once while remaining employed? I know a starting point for me is identifying what I want to get out of a trip (and how much I value my job). I can tell you from experience, both these options are great choices, as long as you are honest with your motivations and expectations of what you need from each trip. Being honest with yourself is not always as easy as expected.
I have walked out on a stable and modestly paying job to travel the world on an open-ended adventure. In my opinion, this is the greatest thing I have ever done. The trip was the catalyst for a lifelong obsession with snowboarding, and an education and test of my inner strength and adaptability to changing situations. I didn’t really understand the value of this education at first, and the importance has slowly sunk in.
This trip I’m referring to was in the “Quantity” category. The most time was spent in Canada for 3 months of snowboarding and hangovers (see above described obsession), with another 30 or so countries hosting me for up to a month or less at a time. My friend and I driving through Europe was an attempt at tourism blitzkrieg at one point. Drive to a new city, see the sights (insert: church/castle/river/statue), take some photos and then high tail it over the next border/mountain range/river to the next destination. This was EXHAUSTING. Yes, we covered a lot of ground and visited an obscene amount of places, but I think the value of a lot of places was lost on us. Further to that, I don’t think I can look at another church again.
Of course there was an upside to our blitz approach. We saw places that a meandering pace would not have afforded us. To be able to visit a places that are steeped in history and be enriched by the experience (and education) of the past and present. The enormity of the events that produced the horrors in Dachau and Auschwitz, the unstoppable progression of time that creates caverns like Eisriesenwelt and Postojnska jama.
It’s when we slowed down and took a few days at a new destination, is when we really absorbed everything around us and moved away from the lens of a camera. Wandering the streets of Salzburg taking in beer halls and bicycles, a week spent laying by the Adriatic in Split, taking in the beauty and solitude of Lagos in the off season, and doing what everyone does in Amsterdam. This is only a snapshot of what happened when we took the time to slow down and reap the rewards.
I think it is important to identify what you want out of a holiday so you can reap the greatest rewards. Don’t get me wrong though, I ignore my advice all the time. However, I am grateful when I do take the time to recognise what I need out of a journey and heed my own advice. The beauty the world has to offer us has no end, and a history of who and what came before us can be both humbling and inspiring. Like a lot of you, I am lucky enough to live in the most privileged time in modern history. Whichever route you choose, take it all in.
How do you like to travel? What’s the greatest motivator, the opportunity to visit numerous destinations or quality of time spent in one location? There’s no right answer of course, it’s whatever works for you!