It’s not unusual now for me to spend a fair amount of time in a country. After breaking my foot in Guatemala I quickly learned the wonders of staying in and getting to know a location. The quirks of a city start to make sense. Locals start to recognize you and show you hidden parts of the city. You start to relax, unwind, and really get into a place. Stopping might also give you the opportunity to learn something you’ve always wanted or never knew you were interested in.
Most of all, taking a break will help you to enjoy yourself more. The stress of tourism and travel can’t be understated. You will get tired unless you’re just sitting on a beach and doing nothing for weeks on end.
Be OK with missing stuff
More often than not I’ll spend months in a country an see far less than an average traveler blasting through in two weeks. I’m OK with that, I don’t need to see everything and I don’t think anyone should feel like they have to. There is so much to see in do in this world that you could spend your lifetime travelling and still not see everything.
Rather, it’s better to know what’s really important to you. What do you want to see, what lights you up, what do you love to do? Top ten lists can help, but they shouldn’t be considered the be all and end all of your planning tool.
I started this trip with a list of a few hundred things I wanted to see and do on this planet. In the countries I’ve passed, I’ve missed about half of them. I’m OK with that.
Stop checking boxes
I used to have a bit of envy for people who had been to nearly every country in the world. That’s nearly 200 countries, so many check boxes and that’s just being there, not even doing something! I finally realized how much time it would take or how quickly one would have to move to achieve such a goal and decided that it wasn’t for me. There are endless books such as 1000 places to see before you die and websites filled with top ten lists for planning your travels and while they can sometimes be good resources they shouldn’t be the authority on your adventures. Figure out what it is that excites you and use that to guide your adventures don’t live someone else’s
Remember that you can’t see everything and that a few deep experiences will be far more rewarding than skimming the surface on a dozen.
Love what you do
We can get off track and caught up in other things pretty easily sometimes. Regardless of where, how, or why you decide to travel, check in with yourself every once in a while and make sure you really are doing what you want to. Make sure you love it and are doing it for the right reasons. I’ve met people who were on a world trip realizing a few months in it wasn’t for them as well as others on their 5th year of their “1 year round the world trip.”
We all have our own path, make sure you love yours.