Holidays and travel can be a whirlwind. From the time you decide where you want to go, to booking leave, to purchasing tickets, it’s all a build-up of pure excitement and possibility. So, naturally, you want to take advantage of it and make the most of that hard earned money and annual leave!
Depending on what type of traveller you are you might be making lists of all the biggest monuments and attractions, hoping to tick each one off. Or you might have family and friends asking you if you’re seeing these things and wanting pictures. Then you jump on Instagram and find even more incredible landscapes and adventures. It can all be overwhelming and give you a serious fear of missing out.
The big question you have to ask yourself though is: ‘is this what I actually want to do?’
In my travels, I have gone out of my way to go to certain sites because it seemed like a ‘must do’ activity. I walked the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. I saw Big Ben in London. But I found when experiencing these landmarks that I would take a photo and think ‘ok, what’s next?’ I was ticking these places off the list because of what a guide book or friend or family member had told me.
This isn’t to say that these things can’t be worthwhile. Seeing the vastness of the Grand Canyon or walking the Great Wall of China are special experiences to me. If you truly want to do or see something then that is what you should do. But some of them just aren’t for me.
Now when I travel I focus on the things that I want to do.
I think about my interests and find activities to suit them. It may be as simple as reading in Hyde Park rather than seeing Buckingham Palace. But I enjoy reading and people watching so that’s what I will do. This trip is for me, not for people back home. They will inevitably say ‘I can’t believe you didn’t do this!’ But that doesn’t bother me. It’s not their holiday.
Scheduling two or three things per day that you really want to do can help you to enjoy your trip a lot more than planning five or six because you have a fear of missing out. Not only will you appreciate your experience more you will also have more down time to yourself to stop and take it all in. Too often people feel like they need a holiday to recover from their previous trip.
I want to stress, I am not saying that you shouldn’t do these things just because they are popular. If you want to have these experiences then go and do that! If you’re a person who likes to be busy and fill their day to the brim then go ahead and I hope you enjoy every second of it. But if, like me, you like to go at a slower pace, don’t feel bad about skipping things. If someone wants to see a picture, they can always use Google.