I read a really fascinating blog yesterday from Price of Travel talking about the differences between fast and slow travel. What stood out to me most was that the writer was advocating for fast travel, which is unusual and he points out that most travelers talk about taking your time when visiting places. I found myself drawn to his points because I like to travel fast and see as much as possible on each trip I go on. However, after our latest trip I was starting to have my doubts about how I travel.
When my wife and I first started to discuss world travel I was adamant that I wanted to see as much of the world as we could and that we would probably only visit a place once because there is just so much to see in so many countries all over the globe. But after two fast-paced trips I was beginning to waver on my resolve to see as much as possible whenever I travel somewhere and I began to fall into the trap of thinking, “oh, we’ll just come back and see it another time.”
So what happened on those trips that had me questioning my travel plans? For starters here are the itineraries from those trips:
- Three days in Dublin
- Drive across the entire island to the Cliffs of Moher and then south to Killarney
- The next morning drive from Killarney to the Dingle Peninsula to the west for a tour of that area; that afternoon drive southeast to Cork
- After spending one night in Cork continue east to the Rock of Cashel and Glendalough and then eventually north back to Dublin
- Sleep in Dublin and leave bright and early the next morning for home
- Spend five days in London
- Take the train to Paris and spend four days here (in two hotels)
- Take the train back to London, rent a car and head out to Stonehenge
- Spend the night in Winchester then head south to the White Cliffs of Dover before heading north to spend the night in London
- Sleep near Heathrow and leave for home in the morning
That’s not even breaking down the sites we saw in each city, of which there were many. Fast travel is just that – fast. When you do something fast you get tired. I came home from those two trips more exhausted then when I had left. I found myself wondering about two things: after visiting Paris I felt that we missed out on some things and I wanted another shot, and secondly, what’s the point of vacation if you get worn out?
Stumbling across that blog however was rejuvenating and energized me while planning for our next trip, which is to Peru. Some of the points from the blog resounded with me and were the very same points I had made to family and friends about our trips. When I told my wife that I wanted to see Paris as well as London, she felt that it might be too much in one trip. I made the argument that flying to Paris to see it on a separate trip, versus taking the train through the Chunnel, which was an experience of its self, would be costly. Also, if we skipped Paris there was a chance that we would not be planning a trip there for quite some time because we were already looking at trips to Peru, Australia, and Thailand. In the end my arguments won and we visited Paris.
Traveling to Paris taught me a great travel lesson of my own. Changing hotels within one city during a trip is not worth it, no matter how good the deal is. Through my credit card I have a voucher once a year to stay a free night in any hotel that I want anywhere in the world. With that voucher, I wanted to get the most bang for my buck and picked out the most expensive hotel in Paris. The hotel was amazing and the views were spectacular, but the precious time taken up with dragging all our stuff through the Metro across town, would have been better served by having a picnic in the park or enjoying an early dinner in a café.
Did we miss out on some things that I would have liked to do? Absolutely. However, considering time and finances what we did do made it worthwhile. We were able to see two world-class cities in one trip. We strolled around the massive corridors of the Louvre, walked amongst the gardens at Versailles, ate the most amazing crepes at the base of the Eiffel Tower, and meandered where many famous artists spent time in Montmartre.
The blog also reminded me that I travel to see new places, cultures, and have new experiences. I don’t travel to relax and recuperate, which is what some people consider travel. When I want to relax, the wife and I might take a day trip to a nearby park or spend the day at the beach. Sometimes we drive for a weekend trip to places like St. Augustine or the Appalachian Mountains to take it slow and unwind. It’s much easier for me to justify spending a small amount of money to relax versus spending a large amount. If I invest a lot of time, energy, and money into a trip I want every moment to be memorable and unique.
So what kind of traveler do you consider yourself?