Author Topic: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?  (Read 3551 times)

obstinate

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I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« on: April 16, 2018, 09:58:05 PM »
DW had a work trip to Tokyo last week, so I tagged along. Figured it was a cheap way to see a country I'd always wondered about, both from a cultural and urban planning perspective. For only the cost of a flight and my meals, I would probably stay cheaper than most people would in a hostel.

The results were mixed. I found the city to be striking, admirable, captivating. I love the urban design, the architecture, the efficiency. But for the most part, I couldn't really get into the grind of touristing. Out of the whole experience, the only parts I can say I wholeheartedly enjoyed were Mt. Takao (and especially the hour I spent at the onsen at the bottom), and tramping around the back streets of Nakameguro looking at cool Japanese houses. And I guess Golden Gai in Kabukicho was pretty amazing.

The rest of it, I could have done without. Sensoji, Meiji shrine, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Akihabara, much of the rest of Asakusa, the metropolitan government tower lookout, etc., bored me (these are all prime tourist destinations).

I'm not sure if something is wrong with me, or if I'm just not a tourist person. (Strike that, I'm sure something is wrong with me, but I'm not sure this is that thing.) Part of it is that many of these districts are very consumption focused. I am not going to buy the clothes, watches, electronics, gaming doodads and anime crap that are on sale, and that goes for pretty much anywhere we might travel. The only things we bought were one small package of baked snacks, and four postcards. I did love all the restaurants we went to and the food we tried. I could probably make a vacation out of just going around to different spots and trying a dish at each one. But you can only eat so much. Maybe part of it also is that my feet were tired from walking ten-ish miles per day for five days in a row, but toward the end, I was struggling to get joy out of the time. That seems like a huge waste, even if it was only the cost of airfare.

Whenever I go places, what really captures my imagination is what it would be like to live there. If we ever go back to Tokyo, we're going to stay for at least a month, and work remotely rather than take vacation. I am not interested in seeing things, I guess is what I'm realizing. I want to experience the lifestyle of a place, and it just doesn't seem possible for me to do that while wandering and looking all day.

I guess what I'm wondering is, does anyone else feel this way? If you do, have you figured out how to get more out of your touring time? We have another international trip in the near future for a wedding, and I'd love to gain some insight before we go!
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 10:33:28 PM by obstinate »

lhamo

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2018, 10:52:39 PM »
I prefer the live in a place for awhile approach, too.  I would much rather spend an hour exploring a grocery store, followed by a lunch in a park full of locals, than the same amount of time in a museum or other must see attraction.

Step37

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2018, 11:20:23 PM »
You articulated that very well. I feel the same in many ways and have little desire to go somewhere just for the sake of seeing it. I’d rather go somewhere to visit people or attend an event, and maybe do a few things around that. Otherwise, I am very much a homebody.

When I was around 10, we went on a family trip to England and Germany (and a few places in between). I think we were gone two or three weeks; while I remember a couple of cool things, I mostly didn’t care for it, and kept making up songs about how I wanted to go home to see my dogs and cats. I guess I haven’t changed very much!


marty998

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2018, 03:21:30 AM »
It could just be Tokyo you don't like.

MrOnyx

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2018, 03:46:35 AM »
I've only been abroad once (it was with my uni group,) and I have to say that I absolutely loved the sightseeing, touristy element of being in a different country, a whole new city to explore (Budapest) and a completely different atmosphere to soak in. I'm the sort of person that can happily soak in an atmosphere as it is - and maybe it was specific to Budapest - but there was something about this place that was nothing short of magical. The warm city lights that lined the banks of the river and punctuated the features of the historical buildings and bridges, the natural green, mountainous backdrop and overall climate was pure poetry.

Now, I studied a Design degree, so of course it had to be educational; everyone wanted to visit the museums and art galleries. THAT frankly bored me. I can handle maybe one or two museums or galleries in a day, but after that I'm begging for something else. I'd much rather admire the scenery and landmarks of a place.

I'd say don't shoot it down just yet. It may be that the place you went to didn't agree with you. I'd love to visit the cities and historical areas of Japan one day, but I may not like it as much as I think I will. Maybe try visiting other locations before you give up on it entirely, because I feel like even though I didn't necessarily learn a lot from it in a way I can describe, I definitely left that place a more whole and well-rounded person.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 03:48:40 AM by MrOnyx »

Villanelle

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2018, 04:28:34 AM »
I'm an avid traveler (40+ countries and counting) and I live in the greater Tokyo area.  When acquaintances ask me "What should I see and do in Tokyo", I say, "Kyoto".  I'm not really kidding.  Tokyo is hours away from Kyoto, so they are not at all the same thing.  Tokyo is a fascinating city, but not great, IMO, for touristing.  I'm sure that has to do with what appeals to me specifically as a traveler and tourist though.

You seem to have a good sense about what it is you do and do not like.  While it's harder to live like a local for a week (vs. a month+), you can definitely keep that goal in mind.  Off the top of my head, I know there are cooking classes in Tokyo where you go to someone's home and they teach a cooking class of a local dish, in their kitchen.  Things like this might appeal to you.  Sitting in a Japanese-tea ceremony might be something else you enjoy.  (I know of a very foreigner-friendly, comfortable one in Yokohama at one of the big hotels, though I'm blanking on which one.)  Experiencing meditation in a temple.  Going to a sumo match if you happen to be here when there is one.   These sort of experiences are not consumption based and are more about the local culture than the local offerings.  If you are a nature person, the Japanese also do a phenomenal job of showcasing and appreciating nature.  Their gardens are top-notch (I love sankeien in Yokohama.) and there are often flower viewing opportunities around whatever is in season.  I've never been a flower person, but seas of nemophila at Hitachi seaside park, where it's almost hard to tell where the ground ends and the sky starts, are pretty impressive.  Likewise, there are *always* a zillion festivals in Tokyo.  Last weekend was a big coffee festival, for example. 

This kind of travel takes more research, but I (and maybe you) get much more out of it. 




FreshPrincess

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2018, 04:35:29 AM »
I'm kind of the same way. I just don't really "get" it either.

I travel for work - albeit not internationally - but I rarely leave my hotel except to get food.  I fly in as late as possible and leave as early as possible.  But on our team calls I have teammates who fly in a day early or leave late to site see and "explore the area" - the urge to do that is totally lost on me.  Humans are weird and different, aren't they?

I even had a teammate who had a long layover and hopped in a cab to leave the airport just to go visit a particular touristy place because she didn't know if she'd be that close again.

I kind of get TO these locations/things/tourist traps and then feel a bit like "ok cool... now what?" I struggle with just looking at things.  But I'm also like that at places like the zoo, museums, etc. And you're right... I'd much rather live and just BE there and not be a tourist.

Long story short... I'm here for the advice :)

Villanelle

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2018, 05:44:09 AM »
I'm kind of the same way. I just don't really "get" it either.

I travel for work - albeit not internationally - but I rarely leave my hotel except to get food.  I fly in as late as possible and leave as early as possible.  But on our team calls I have teammates who fly in a day early or leave late to site see and "explore the area" - the urge to do that is totally lost on me.  Humans are weird and different, aren't they?

I even had a teammate who had a long layover and hopped in a cab to leave the airport just to go visit a particular touristy place because she didn't know if she'd be that close again.

I kind of get TO these locations/things/tourist traps and then feel a bit like "ok cool... now what?" I struggle with just looking at things.  But I'm also like that at places like the zoo, museums, etc. And you're right... I'd much rather live and just BE there and not be a tourist.

Long story short... I'm here for the advice :)

There are so many tourist things you can *do* and not just look at.  My husband took a cooking class in Morocco that involved going to the local market, selecting spices and chickens (that they watched be butchered--talk about fresh!), and then cooking the dish. In Dublin, we went on a pub tour that revolved around Irish music.  This one felt pretty touristy, yet was still very informative and lots of fun and we listened to some great music.

Climb Mt. Fuji.  Bake bread using the thermal heat in the ground in Iceland (and hike a glacier an hour later).  Learn about coffee-making in Vienna.  Catch your own seafood and watch someone cook it in Ireland.  Bicycle the streets of Berlin.  Find ways to do versions of what you do love in new places!

That said, it's also okay not to like traveling.  But if you do want to or have to travel, there are ways to do far more than look at things. 

gooki

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2018, 05:56:41 AM »
I find exploring the natural environments of foreign countries much more appealing than exploring the big cities.

If you do it again, try getting out of the metropolises.

jlcnuke

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2018, 07:03:10 AM »
Traveling, and being a tourist, do not have to be intertwined. There is no need to be a tourist when you travel, you can be an adventurer, a climber, a local, a [insert anything you enjoy doing here].

I love to dive. I love to snorkel. I love to relax on a beach. I love to see beautiful nature. I love to look at art I enjoy (which is far from all art...).
I don't love to look at old buildings. I don't love standing in lines. I don't love being stuck in traffic. I don't love staring at sculptures.

As such, I try to make my travels correspond to what "I enjoy", not what "tourists do where I'm going". I'd rather go to the Dalí museum in Florida than the Louvre in France because it has art I enjoy without the ridiculous lines and crowds of the Louvre. When I go to France, I'll enjoy eating French food in parks and walking around the rivers etc instead of standing in line at the Louvre.

When planning a vacation, plan what YOU want to do, not what "tourists do" and you'll likely find traveling much more enjoyable.

freya

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2018, 07:35:50 AM »
Great thread!

We're all preprogrammed to think that when you take a vacation, you must go somewhere and "accomplish" something tourism-related.  I can't think of anything more boring, or a dumber way to blow through large wads of cash.  If you can get away from that you can get a lot of mileage out of tagging extra fun time onto work trips, especially international ones.   My rule is to only do things I genuinely enjoy, like going on long walking trips or just puttering around/exploring and living like a local. I've done walking tours of the Scottish Highlands and the Amalfi Coast, for example, where getting lost and negotiating public bus routes is half the fun.  There are rare instances where a tourist trap is worth your time and money - the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) and Pompeii (near Naples) definitely make that list for me.




PoutineLover

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2018, 07:46:31 AM »
I love being in new environments that look, smell, sound, feel different from home. Part of the joy of travelling for me is walking around just soaking it all in. I'll pass by the main tourist things, but I don't usually do all the museums and paid attractions. I'll get some local food and have a picnic, find a tall place where I have a good view, and chill. Find the way you like to travel, and do that. If you are happier at home do that. The emphasis on travel is a bit exaggerated, not everyone needs to do it especially if they find it difficult or boring.

charis

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2018, 08:14:14 AM »
I love traveling that involves wondering, absorbing the locale, and seeing a small number of "the sights" that interest me (not just for the sake of seeing them).  I traveled a good bit when I was studying aboard and essentially broke, and my favorite thing to do in a new city was go for an early morning jog, before the area is fully awake, to a couple of nearby attractions while taking in the area.  Then I would walk or take public transport to engage in free or cheap, second-tier touring.  I enjoyed it much more than pricey tours, attractions etc, partly because it was more affordable and less crowded, but also lead to off-the-beaten-track adventures more often.

netskyblue

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2018, 08:31:44 AM »
I don't like the "looking at things" aspect of traveling.  I like sampling different restaurants and cocktail bars, grocery stores (Yes, I LOVE LOVE LOVE going to foreign grocery stores.  I was even excited the first time I got to go to a Safeway, which we don't have here in the Midwest.)

My favorite traveling involves visiting someone who is a local and doing "local" things.  Going to a movie, a bookstore, their favorite restaurant (eating, again!), etc.  I guess that only works if you know someone there, though.  My partner is really good with people, and he'll chat up waitstaff or bartenders and find out where they like to go, and we'll go there.

Zola.

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2018, 08:40:03 AM »
I do wish your DW was in somewhere like Kyoto instead.

Japan is an amazing country, people are so friendly and the culture is incredibly interesting.

I was there for 2 weeks and only spent two days in Tokyo, the rest was around the other more interesting parts of Japan.

GuitarStv

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2018, 08:41:13 AM »
I dislike traditional travel.  Sit in a car, sit on a bus, get to a room, sit in a taxi, go to the 'must see' sites, sit in a taxi, go to a restaurant, sit in on a subway, get back to a room - rinse/repeat.  That's awful.

Agree with freya that you need to find something you enjoy, not something that tourists do.  For example, I really like riding a bike around a place and stopping when I want to, taking in the countryside/cities as I pedal past them.

montgomery212

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2018, 09:34:20 AM »
I feel similarly. I AM one of those people who takes a half day or 1 day before/after a business trip to explore, but that typically means walking around one part of town, not fitting in 10 different tourist sites so I can take a picture at each place to post on insta. After I'm done, it DOES feel good -- like a mental break from the day to day routine; and I do have a weakness for nice hotels. Yet I feel like I only care for breaks like that 0.5-1.5 days MAX, not the usual 5-10 day vacation whether it's cities or beaches or wherever.

Yet I feel like the odd (wo)man out in my social group; it's an income bracket where people literally go on vacation 4-5 times a year. Grown adults talk about going on "spring break" -- meaning their kids are off school, so they MUST go somewhere (not how it was when I was growing up in a very different income range -- if you had off, you stayed home and watched tv while your parents went to work; they would have laughed if we had said 'so we have a week off in March, where are we going?") If ANYTHING is going on like stressed at work or life, the FIRST thing my peers say is "oh you need to plan a vacation." Meanwhile I'm thinking -- I HATE planning, it stresses me out (see above -- my style is showing up someplace and wandering and I don't care if that means I missed the attractions that you are SUPPOSED to see in the place; I just don't have that 'fear of missing out'); and BTW when I travel, it's not like I forget the problems of daily life as everyone seems to suggest. If I'm worrying about work and career moves, guess what that worry goes with me on that $3000-5000 trip that was supposed to be the cure all . . . . IDK I've become the odd one out because I'm not constantly boasting about "travel" as a hobby or passion.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 09:35:51 AM by montgomery212 »

Zikoris

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2018, 09:53:27 AM »
I suppose what I don't really "get" is why you decided to do a super touristy-focused trip, when that's not your thing? Or if you didn't realize it wasn't your thing until it was already underway, why not change course midway to do more of the things you liked?

We've traveled a ton, and frequently decide to skip popular tourist stuff in favor of doing things more in line with our interests, like hiking, visiting cool natural stuff like waterfalls or hot springs, or wandering around interesting-looking neighbourhoods. We sometimes plan heavily food-focused trips where we spend a day or two doing what you mentioned, going place to place and having a little bit at each restaurant.

I don't have any really specific advice, but in general, maybe try planning trips around what you actually want to do, and if it's not working out the way you want, do a course correction.

wenchsenior

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2018, 10:03:35 AM »
I find exploring the natural environments of foreign countries much more appealing than exploring the big cities.

If you do it again, try getting out of the metropolises.

Same.  I prefer low key, slow travel that is mostly focused on the outdoors/nature rather than cities.  For big cities, the only way I typically enjoy them is if no driving is needed (fly in, taxi to hotel, walk/bus/tram everywhere of interest) and if they are very short (like a long weekend).  When in a big city, I enjoy the museums and occasionally live theater, etc, and getting a brief 'sense' of the place.  But if I had to choose country vs city travel for the rest of my life? Wilderness or rural areas are going to win every time.

However, I really did enjoy a week in Sydney, and wouldn't have minded spending another week there. 

kaizen soze

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2018, 10:26:52 AM »
op know where you're coming from with this. My wife and I spent three weeks in Italy a few years ago and we spent much of it doing the tourist thing. My wife loved it and didn't want it to end but I was ready to go home after about a week. It's not that I'm just a homebody (although I am), it's that I prefer more active travel. I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain last year, and that was a rewarding experience. I saw some cathedrals and museums, as well as countless Spanish villages. But I spent most of my days walking the countryside. For me this was travel that I enjoy. It's also a pretty inexpensive way to spend 5 weeks in Spain. I'm sure long walks are not for everyone, but I am saying that not all travel will appeal to everyone.

Eric

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2018, 10:56:20 AM »
The results were mixed. I found the city to be striking, admirable, captivating. I love the urban design, the architecture, the efficiency. But for the most part, I couldn't really get into the grind of touristing. Out of the whole experience, the only parts I can say I wholeheartedly enjoyed were Mt. Takao (and especially the hour I spent at the onsen at the bottom), and tramping around the back streets of Nakameguro looking at cool Japanese houses. And I guess Golden Gai in Kabukicho was pretty amazing.

This is a good enough reason to travel right here.  You don't have to make a list of top sites and check them off.  You can simply find what you like about a place and do more of it.  There's no "correct" way to do it. 

JoJo

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2018, 11:26:14 AM »
Re: I don't "get" guitar playing. Am I doing something wrong?
Re: I don't "get" rock collecting. Am I doing something wrong?
Re: I don't "get" home improvement. Am I doing something wrong?
Re: I don't "get" concert going. Am I doing something wrong?
Re: I don't "get" gardening. Am I doing something wrong?

Hobby interest varies by person.  I personally love traveling, so much that I blog about it but it's not for everyone.  In fact, I wish that less people would do it so the tourist sites wouldn't be so packed.  I also think I'd be bored with extended time in a city - I prefer mountains, beaches, and lakes to museums and restaurants.

limeandpepper

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2018, 11:31:30 AM »
The results were mixed. I found the city to be striking, admirable, captivating. I love the urban design, the architecture, the efficiency. But for the most part, I couldn't really get into the grind of touristing. Out of the whole experience, the only parts I can say I wholeheartedly enjoyed were Mt. Takao (and especially the hour I spent at the onsen at the bottom), and tramping around the back streets of Nakameguro looking at cool Japanese houses. And I guess Golden Gai in Kabukicho was pretty amazing.

This is a good enough reason to travel right here.  You don't have to make a list of top sites and check them off.  You can simply find what you like about a place and do more of it.  There's no "correct" way to do it.

Exactly. OP, sounds like you enjoy travel when you're doing it right (i.e. seeing/doing the things that really interest you). Where you went wrong is that either you don't know yourself well enough yet (and hence have to go through more trial and error to find out what you like and what you don't) or you needed to do more research (you know what you like, but don't yet know where to find them) or you're being a bit too much of a sheep (just doing things because they're popular and you feel like you should, even when it's not your thing). From what I've read it seems like it was a combination of all three things. Fix that and hopefully your next trip will be better. For what it's worth when I went to Tokyo I thought it was a bit overhyped. But once I found things that were up my alley, it got a lot better. Still, there is so much more to Japan than Tokyo, so there's that as well... maybe Tokyo just naturally has less of the things you like, and you would be better served elsewhere.

Scortius

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2018, 12:09:06 PM »
I remember going through this myself, and in many ways it was similar to a lot of realizations I had while growing out of adolescence. For example, I remember realizing one year that I didn't actually have to stay up all night for New Year's, and that it was perfectly fine to completely ignore the 'holiday'. Same with Halloween, just not my thing.

For travel it was a bit different. My wife and I enjoy traveling, but we like doing different things. She's more of a go-getter and will plan out a trip so that we can 'accomplish' the most with our time, usually involving going around to check off all the top tourist attractions. I really don't enjoy that approach as it feels like work and I never get any real appreciation of some of the major attractions as I feel like we're just breezing by.

A turning point was when we ended up with an extra unplanned day due to certain logistic constraints, and we just walked around aimlessly and 'accomplished nothing'. I had so much fun that day and it made me realize that I really didn't like being a tourist, but I loved aimlessly walking around new places. Now I know my favorite traveling activity is what I like to call 'urban hiking'. I just start walking and try to stay off the main streets. It's fun to walk through random residential neighborhoods and pretend like I'm a resident. If I see a nice cafe or shop, I'll just go on in. If I find a nice park or overlook, I'll just and people watch for a while. It's great! No schedules, no pressure, just new organic experiences.

To that end, one of my long-term goals is to do more slow travel, staying in places for a week to a month, just experiencing life as it comes in a new place. I won't be against hitting up some big attractions, but only as a side note to the trip as a whole.

In summary, I think we often knowingly get caught up in doing things that are expected because "that's just what people do". Realizing that there are instances where you don't fit into the usual stereotype of what people expect is a important moment of personal growth and self-awareness. That realization may appear across many different life events, and latching on to it each time will only help you grow as an individual.

bluebelle

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2018, 01:20:48 PM »
I've learned I don't like crowds, and I especially don't like being 'herded', so we don't do alot of "touristy" things, and will avoid 'tours' whereever possible.  The few times we've gone on an organized tour, we've been disapointed.  And what are the odds that it's always the driver's birthday.  It has made me very jaded.

When we are in big cities, we will go see the 'sites', but try to do it on our timetable, without being rushed back on the bus.  We often spend time just wandering around looking at old buildings.  Hubby is lower energy than me, so I've learned to not pack too much into a day, just ends in grumpiness.  I've also learned that staying places that have a 'free' breakfast works - forces him to get up and moving!  :-)

We've learned that we like stay in places with efficiency kitchens or 'picnic' in our room rather than go to restaurants.  I hate the noise and having to 'beg' for a glass of water in restaurants. 

I hope to do some slow travel in our retirement, the idea of cooking classes in someone's home greatly appeals to me.

GuitarStv

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2018, 01:35:27 PM »
Re: I don't "get" guitar playing. Am I doing something wrong?
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Re: I don't "get" home improvement. Am I doing something wrong?
Re: I don't "get" concert going. Am I doing something wrong?
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Hobby interest varies by person.  I personally love traveling, so much that I blog about it but it's not for everyone.  In fact, I wish that less people would do it so the tourist sites wouldn't be so packed.  I also think I'd be bored with extended time in a city - I prefer mountains, beaches, and lakes to museums and restaurants.

Yes
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Yes
Yes

Hirondelle

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2018, 02:06:20 PM »
The results were mixed. I found the city to be striking, admirable, captivating. I love the urban design, the architecture, the efficiency. But for the most part, I couldn't really get into the grind of touristing. Out of the whole experience, the only parts I can say I wholeheartedly enjoyed were Mt. Takao (and especially the hour I spent at the onsen at the bottom), and tramping around the back streets of Nakameguro looking at cool Japanese houses. And I guess Golden Gai in Kabukicho was pretty amazing.

Whenever I go places, what really captures my imagination is what it would be like to live there. If we ever go back to Tokyo, we're going to stay for at least a month, and work remotely rather than take vacation. I am not interested in seeing things, I guess is what I'm realizing. I want to experience the lifestyle of a place, and it just doesn't seem possible for me to do that while wandering and looking all day.

Sounds like you perfectly "get" the traveling part, just not the tourism ;)

heybro

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2018, 04:10:10 PM »
I don't get traveling either.  This is especially true in the winter when your flight is often delayed or canceled.

Living in a place for a few weeks would be better in my view as well.

Often times, at tourists places, each shop SELLS THE SAME STUFF too!  haha.

I also think that TV and computers and all that has made places less special.  You see all this stuff on TV and in movies and so you sort of feel like you've already seen it.  Or you get there and you already 'know' what the 'postcard' view is that you should be looking at and you end up looking at the place as if it were a post card.  Or, you can get in the pitfall of needed to take a picture of EVERYTHING so much that you don't actually look at it yourself while you are there.

I would suggest spending more time in the hotel.  haha.  Go out at your leisure or pick 1 or 2 things to do and try to relax more in between.  They always say that living like a local is more fun.  Think of the place you currently live and imagine the tourists spots that you probably NEVER go to on a daily basis.  Then try to think, you know, how you actually experience the place you live.

Try to approach the place you are in as if you did live there.  Maybe there is a club you can pop in on (like if you enjoy playing cards or getting massages or something).

In short, put less pressure on the place and yourself.  And also travel less!  You sure save a lot by not traveling so much!

DreamFIRE

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2018, 06:51:31 PM »
Is the OP wanting to be talked into liking traveling or something?  What's the point?  I don't really care about going to other countries overseas, but I'm not doing anything wrong.  I simply prefer to stay in the U.S., so I'll do most of my traveling in the U.S., and probably Canada some also.  Just because someone else enjoys an activity that you don't doesn't mean your thinking is wrong and that you need to be schooled.  You'll find some differences with everyone you meet.  I work with some people that like playing golf.  I don't play golf, and I'm not interested in playing.  Maybe I should start a new thread, too.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 06:54:57 PM by DreamFIRE »

kpd905

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2018, 07:40:46 PM »
You can travel and not do tourist things with flocks of people in the big cities.  Have you ever gone backpacking?

I'm not interested in looking at old buildings or art, but I'll hike 15 miles a day to see waterfalls or the view from a mountaintop.

COEE

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2018, 08:08:54 PM »
I like experiencing history and culture.  One of the best ways I've found to do this is to get an airBnB and vacation like you live there.

One of my favorite examples is when we visited Paris last year.  We got an airBnB outside of town in a little flat.  5 of us stayed in a little 900 sq ft apartment on the 3rd story of a 5 story building.  We walked and rode the bus or metro (subway) everywhere we went.  We went to the market one of the days it was open.  We went to the church in the town we stayed.  We had pastries at the local pastry shop.  One Saturday we went for a walk on the River Marne in Noisy-le-Grand - not near the city.  We drank wine at a park one day.  We ate at the local restaurants and were overjoyed when the owners serviced everyone and they were in no rush to turn a table.

It's the memories and who you go with that matters.  The places and sites are secondary.  At least for me.

COEE

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #31 on: April 17, 2018, 08:10:33 PM »
The results were mixed. I found the city to be striking, admirable, captivating. I love the urban design, the architecture, the efficiency. But for the most part, I couldn't really get into the grind of touristing. Out of the whole experience, the only parts I can say I wholeheartedly enjoyed were Mt. Takao (and especially the hour I spent at the onsen at the bottom), and tramping around the back streets of Nakameguro looking at cool Japanese houses. And I guess Golden Gai in Kabukicho was pretty amazing.

Whenever I go places, what really captures my imagination is what it would be like to live there. If we ever go back to Tokyo, we're going to stay for at least a month, and work remotely rather than take vacation. I am not interested in seeing things, I guess is what I'm realizing. I want to experience the lifestyle of a place, and it just doesn't seem possible for me to do that while wandering and looking all day.

Sounds like you perfectly "get" the traveling part, just not the tourism ;)

+1

dhc

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #32 on: April 17, 2018, 08:15:56 PM »

I love to travel, but I tend to hate anything with an admission price. My idea of a great international trip is one where I spend no more than 24 hours in any major city but spend plenty of time tramping through beautiful countryside. And unless the countryside has mountains, chances are I'll be disappointed when I get back. So I fly somewhere interesting, give myself a night to recover with no plans other than walking mostly at random around the city, then hop on a train or in a rental car and get away from the people as quickly as I can.

Come to think of it, that's just about exactly how my vacations in the US (or even shorter breaks locally) go, too.

Sarah Saverdink

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #33 on: April 17, 2018, 08:25:20 PM »
We love to travel but tend to avoid being tourists in big cities. We'd much rather explore nature by foot or bike. Hiking in Iceland - stunning! Seeing legendary animals in the Galapagos and snorkeling with sea turtles - amazing! Biking through the countryside of Ireland - beautiful! Wandering through dozens of knick-knack store and buying cheap souvenirs - no thanks.

Our travel interests heavily align with our hobbies at home, which isn't much of a surprise. We'll certainly spend some time (briefly) exploring cities if we are in a new location, but we would never plan that as the sole purpose of a trip.

Sounds like you need to adapt your travel habits to better align with your interests. Don't give up yet :)

Kyle B

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #34 on: April 17, 2018, 08:34:16 PM »
Derek Sivers wrote a great post called "Moving for Good" on how he lives: He doesn't travel as a tourist; he completely uproots his life and moves somewhere every year or so (not keeping his previous home.)

This 'Serial International Moving' makes more sense to me that the 'touristing' way of travel. ('Slow Travel' also makes sense to me.)

Quote from: Derek Sivers
You are the way you are because of what you’ve experienced.

Your country, family, town, random circumstances, and friends shaped the way you think. If you grew up on the other side of the world, you would have a different set of values and thought patterns.

But if you keep experiencing the same things, your mind keeps its same patterns. Same input, same response. Your brain, which was once curious and growing, gets fixed into deep habits. Your values and opinions harden and resist change. If you don’t flex, you lose your flexibility.

You only really learn when you’re surprised. Unless you’re surprised, everything is fitting into your existing thought patterns. So to get smarter, you need to get surprised, think in new ways, and deeply understand different perspectives.

With effort, you could do this from the comforts of home. But the most effective way to shake things up is to move across the world. Pick a place that’s most unlike what you know, and go.

This keeps you in a learning mindset. Previously mindless habits, like buying groceries, now keep your mind open, alert, and noticing new things. New arrivals in a culture often notice what the locals don’t. (Fish don’t know they’re in water.)

Don’t think of yourself as visiting. Say that you’ve moved here, and mean it. Commit. Immerse. Go native.

Form deep friendships with locals. Ask lots of questions. Ask them to explain things, and show you how it’s done. When they state a fact, ask how they know. When they state an opinion, ask for examples.

At first, their values and methods will feel wrong. You’ll feel the urge to tell them how it could be better. (Meaning: more like what you know.) But try to understand a perspective where they are right, and you are wrong. Eventually you’ll realize that your beliefs were not correct — they were just the quaint local culture of where you grew up. You are a product of your environment.

Every country has a shared and working philosophy. Dive in and really try to understand it. This is one of the best things you can do for your brain. Stay immersed at least until you feel yourself saying “we” instead of “they”.

Then, if you want to keep your brain actively learning and growing forever, keep moving across the world and immersing like this for the rest of your life.

https://sivers.org/mfg


Hirondelle

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #35 on: April 17, 2018, 10:27:47 PM »
Derek Sivers wrote a great post called "Moving for Good" on how he lives: He doesn't travel as a tourist; he completely uproots his life and moves somewhere every year or so (not keeping his previous home.)

This 'Serial International Moving' makes more sense to me that the 'touristing' way of travel. ('Slow Travel' also makes sense to me.)

Quote from: Derek Sivers
You are the way you are because of what you’ve experienced.

Your country, family, town, random circumstances, and friends shaped the way you think. If you grew up on the other side of the world, you would have a different set of values and thought patterns.

But if you keep experiencing the same things, your mind keeps its same patterns. Same input, same response. Your brain, which was once curious and growing, gets fixed into deep habits. Your values and opinions harden and resist change. If you don’t flex, you lose your flexibility.

You only really learn when you’re surprised. Unless you’re surprised, everything is fitting into your existing thought patterns. So to get smarter, you need to get surprised, think in new ways, and deeply understand different perspectives.

With effort, you could do this from the comforts of home. But the most effective way to shake things up is to move across the world. Pick a place that’s most unlike what you know, and go.

This keeps you in a learning mindset. Previously mindless habits, like buying groceries, now keep your mind open, alert, and noticing new things. New arrivals in a culture often notice what the locals don’t. (Fish don’t know they’re in water.)

Don’t think of yourself as visiting. Say that you’ve moved here, and mean it. Commit. Immerse. Go native.

Form deep friendships with locals. Ask lots of questions. Ask them to explain things, and show you how it’s done. When they state a fact, ask how they know. When they state an opinion, ask for examples.

At first, their values and methods will feel wrong. You’ll feel the urge to tell them how it could be better. (Meaning: more like what you know.) But try to understand a perspective where they are right, and you are wrong. Eventually you’ll realize that your beliefs were not correct — they were just the quaint local culture of where you grew up. You are a product of your environment.

Every country has a shared and working philosophy. Dive in and really try to understand it. This is one of the best things you can do for your brain. Stay immersed at least until you feel yourself saying “we” instead of “they”.

Then, if you want to keep your brain actively learning and growing forever, keep moving across the world and immersing like this for the rest of your life.

https://sivers.org/mfg

Love this! Makes me wanna move again :)

honeybbq

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #36 on: April 18, 2018, 09:51:54 AM »
Well, you can travel in different ways.

Before I had the munchkin, every vacation I had involved going to some remote destination and backpacking. The fewer people I saw, the better. I have never seen the Louvre or Big Ben or ruins in Rome. But I have backpacked most of south America, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, etc. Some days my desires and expectations may change. But for now, natural beauty appeals to me. I'm not much for touristy/city stuff, and that doesn't mean I don't like traveling.

If I do travel to foreign cities, I like getting off the beaten path a little. Go to a grocery store and see what weird fruit and products they have. Sample them and try something new. Find a local farmer's market. Go to a park and lounge and people watch. Getting a picture of a castle I can see on the internet doesn't really wow me. 

des999

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2018, 11:10:47 AM »
read the book vagabonding by Rolf Potts.  He talks about a more 'slow' travel experience vs the typically 1 week hurry up and see the known sites and then go home.

Personally I am a fan of all travel, but I understand people have different views on travel. 

Schaefer Light

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #38 on: April 18, 2018, 11:57:44 AM »
I've learned I don't like crowds, and I especially don't like being 'herded'.

Same here.  Airports, sea ports, and ferry terminals in small countries are the worst.  I dread having to go through these places to get back home whenever I visit certain places.

drachma

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #39 on: April 18, 2018, 01:25:09 PM »
absolutely. being a (stereotypical) "tourist" sucks, and is lame. I have no doubt that many popular "tourist" destinations are cool and fascinating, but they are no more cool and fascinating than similar attractions which are more local to me. they're just different. I don't want to go somewhere just to stand behind a roped line in a crowd of other people (none of whom are locals) and pay 20 bucks to "have an experience." Experience is something you create yourself.

Like other posters here I'm more interested in what it's like to live in a place and also more interested in the customs, culture, and resultant perspectives, thoughts, and behaviors of the people that do live there. Exploring why people think and believe and behave differently and what I can learn from that and bring into my own life. It's especially interesting how the environment shapes cultural attitudes as well.

You get none of that by stressing yourself out to fly overseas, spending 3-4 days of a 9-day vacation on a plane or in airports, staying in a hotel and eating at restaurants 3 meals a day and paying to see attractions. Not to mention its extremely expensive to do it that way.

I probably wouldn't turn down a very very cheap short term trip like you just had the opportunity for, but I wouldn't make a habit out of travelling that way.

JLR

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Re: I don't "get" traveling. Am I doing something wrong?
« Reply #40 on: April 18, 2018, 05:52:11 PM »
I read somewhere once (probably on an FI blog) that you should take some time to really think and drill down on what you actually like about going on holidays. That way you can replicate that experience at a lower cost, perhaps without travelling to the other side of the world.

For me, I enjoy time spent with my family entirely uninterrupted. I like us being the only people around that we know, and having no work, extra-curriculars, etc to interrupt our day. I like being able to eat out without guilt. I enjoy that we live a minimalist life while away, so there isn't the daily slog of cleaning, etc. I enjoy seeing how other people live and looking at new things. When on holidays I will walk down every aisle at the supermarket, just to see what people in that place buy, to see different products, etc. I enjoy doing the same at a pharmacy. I like just walking along the street in a residential area, seeing what it looks like.

What I don't like? I don't like crowds. If I was planning a holiday to Japan I know myself well enough to know to plan only 48 hours somewhere like Tokyo, before moving onto somewhere quieter.