I read this on one of my favorite blogs, in the comments re the author's recent travel.
"I love seeing your yummy pages! In a future post, would you please talk about how you can spend three weeks in a place and not feel the need to go to museums and all the must-see sites? I know you don't like crowds, but do you ever feel like you're missing an important part of your trip? Thanks for sharing the ride!"
Oh those shoulds! I think if I were to answer the dear commentor, I'd say that there comes a time in your life where you just go where you want to go. Period. Do you miss many things? Oh of course you do. But so what? For one thing, I know the original blogger is choosing to spend her time, and her money, on this kind of free form travel. She probably isn't buying many things that others feel are necessary to their lives...cable tv, good wine, a newer car, children. Along the way, our choices do tend to determine our other choices. Years at a steady job usually lead to a good number of vacation weeks and/or the ability to take a leave of absence. Does everyone have these options? probably not but I suspect they have other options that the original blogger does not have.
When my dh and I travel, we both enjoy taking public transportation. We could afford taxis but we get our bus passes or tube passes etc and enjoy the journey not just the destination. I'm one who would choose a bus rather than an underground but there are times I want it faster and so I'll go below. I love art but not enough to spend what a lot of galleries charge. I'm spoiled. I live near Washington DC where the museums are free! A decade ago, we became members of the two museums in Baltimore which gave us reciprocal passes to many museums around the country. Now that the museums in Baltimore are also free, we feel we've seen the nationwide collections we wanted to see and are pretty much done with museums.
We both like to eat and that tends to be a big part of our travel. However, eating at the top name restaurants in cities hither and yon has had less an less appeal as the years have gone by. Himself in particular wants a full plate of food. He doesn't do well with artful smidgens. For me, I want good fresh food simply cooked and served. It isn't reverse snobbism that makes me avoid the 'restaurant du jour' and choose the eateries that seem to have a lot of local people. I read the lists of those top places but do I feel I need to hit them for some check off list created by someone who feels I should go there? Naw...
If you love museums, then go to them! If you can't visit Paris without going up the Eiffel Tower, then, sure, get yourself there! But after some point in life, and yes with some experience to know your own travel style, you can look at the list of must-see, must-do, must eat, and know which ones are for you and which aren't. My quiet introverted engineer loves Baroque frou frou and over the top opera (yes, that's a bit of my bias showing) while extroverted me likes clean design and instrumental music and hard rock. Often we split up and each make our own choice and are happier for it. Neither of us burdens the other with a 'you should like what I like' - anymore.
When you travel and of course all of life is a journey, make the most of what you really like to do. Concentrating on someone else's shoulds is the best way I know of causing yourself stress and guilt. Life is too short to live someone else's dream.
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