Is Travel Broadening?

Travel plans – or is it true that Travel is Broadening?

I love travel – I hate flying. Too bad teleportation is still in the future. I had hopes when I was younger that by the time I reached the impossibly OLD age of 65 – someone would have figured out the technology.

But no. You can send information around the world in seconds – but yourself – 35 hours of travel time from Montreal to Bali – going either way around the globe. You have got to be kidding me.

Speaking of Bali – I officially blew it. I could have done a round the world trip – flown Montreal, Paris, Singapore, Bali, Toyko, Vancouver, Montreal – but I lost focus when I saw I could get first class for only $1000 more – and opted to go and come via Paris. Missed opportunities.

So – is Travel Broadening? I think the answer depends on your definition of broad. If you mean fattening – I think that depends on who you travel with. When I travel with the Intrepid Traveler – we live cheap and simple – and we walk everywhere, eat little. So nope – that kind of travel is not that kind of broadening.

When I travel with my husband, it’s a bit trickier. I don’t generally put on weight – but I do have to watch how much I’m eating because the meals tend to be more elaborate, longer, and often fattening just because they last so long! But still – in general – I’d say that for me – travel isn’t that kind of broadening. I have friends who complain that a trip = 5 extra pounds, but I don’t think that’s the way it has to be.

What about the other kind of broadening – learning about new places, new cultures, learning new things. Again – this can depend. I’ve chatted up fellow travelers and discovered that they are accidental tourists – not travelers. They came armed with a certain point of view – and are determined to leave with the same. Been there – done that – don’t need to do it again seems the dominating characteristic. And they don’t give places enough time. I’ve been guilty of skimping on time too – so I know what I’m talking about. It takes time to experience a place, to get past the running around – need to see that museum today – headset and start just being there.

Sometimes people can’t help but limit their exposure to a new place. In South Korea we ran into a delightful Indonesian family that had very severe diet restrictions – so they had to cook all their food at the hostel. And they couldn’t even use the pots and pans provided – they brought their own. Trust me – they missed out on a lot of what South Korea has to offer – the food there was amazing. But I get the need for restrictions – it’s a tough choice.

What can you see in a city like St. Petersburg or Rome in just 2 days? It takes a day just to figure out how to get back to your hotel. 2 days is enough to say been there – but not enough to say – BEEN there. Which is why the Intrepid Traveler and I generally try to a lot a whole week per city.

It’s still not enough – but it’s a gesture in the right direction.

And then there’s preparation. I always want to read up on a place before I arrive – in case there’s something that needs to be organized prior to travel, in order to give myself a chance to get more comfortable with what I’ll see, and to map out the must do vs the can do options.

My preferences for planning are a combination of Tripadvisor (if 1000 people love it – you should at least check it out) and print media. I find on-line sources are too often about selling you something (their services, their bus company, their tour plan), and less about reporting what is and is not great about a particular activity. Guide books are quickly out-dated – we have all carefully followed a suggested route to discover that the thing we most wanted to see changed it hours, closed, is under re-construction – what ever. So checking on-line (watch those last updated dates!) and a guide-book and tripadvisor – and common sense – all of these play a part in organizing the perfect trip.

All of this muttering is leading up to my next blog – clearly another trip!

Keep eyes peeled.

Signing off – The Soup Lady!

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