My 7 Travel Truths

23 Sep

I like it solo! On Cache Lake, Algonquin Park (okay, I was not solo here but you know what I mean)

I know there was a viral link exchange going on about Tripbase’s My 7 Links project and though I was nominated by my twitter bestie, Just Travelous I don’t feel I have enough posts to base the project on. So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw another post going around about the 7 travel truths of various bloggers, including Fly-Brother (the source).  So here are mine:

1. I am a research junkie. 

I believe in the power of not planning every moment of a trip; there are some experiences you can never control and of course, those are the best memories. That said, reading about a trip gets me really excited about it. I really like to read everything. When I went to Europe, I read EVERY guidebook. Plus, I photocopied some favourite articles from National Geographic and put it in a folder so I’d have it when I was Venice.  The books also occupy me on long travel days (ADD? Yup, that’s me).  Magazines (travel magazines in particular) are also a slight, um, addiction.  Then there’s the blogs, facebook, personal recommendations and twitter.

Certain guides are useful in certain destinations (i.e. Luxe and Time Out may be for the urban coinosseur who likes the finer things in life though they do have good hole in the wall recommendations; if you want to know the basics, LP is your source.  Is it neurotic? Probably. Can I blame it on a background as a travel agent? Yes. Will you be covered if you travel with me and have a ton of fun? Yup!

I do  like to have my bases covered and I get a certain sense of pride when a local tells me I know their city better than they do. That said, I hope I’m not coming off as one of those annoying “I’ve been to X country” types and therefore, I am better than you” types. I just like to geek it up on the planning aspect. Planning trips  and learning about new places is fun for me.

2. I’m a pretty good packer except when it comes to weekend trips. 

A three month solo trip to Europe and one backpack under 20 pounds? No problem. A three day trip to New York and the suitcase is exactly twenty pounds. Urban escapes enable me to dress up a little more and you never know where you”ll end up. So many shoes have to be packed. And dresses. And the hair iron. And the lap top. This adds up but I like to think of it as less “high maintenance” and more “prepared for the right opportunity.”

3. I perfer to travel solo. 

After being stiffed by a friend when planning a trip to Europe, I decided that I was going to travel on my own terms. It was the best decision I ever made. I have no problem travelling with friends and know it’s a compromise but I think it’s healthy (for me, at least) if I’m off on my own for a bit. That way, there’s flexibility for each of us to do our own thing, we have something to talk about when we reconnect, and we didn’t fight because we had our space.

4. Food and experience trump accommodation.

This is how I see it: if I’m hardly in my hotel room, what’s the point? I’d rather stay in a hostel and have a super posh meal if I’m on a budget. That said, I’m very flexible in accommodation. Who doesn’t want to stay in a cool boutique hotel? Who doesn’t want the best mattress after an exhausting day of touring? I’ve stayed in quite a few and I have had great experiences but as an example, I remembered seeing the amazing scenery of Ireland than the names of all of the hotels and B&Bs we stayed in. On the flip side, I’ve stayed in some very cool hostels in Europe and like the fact that more of them are becoming more modern in North America and are offering private rooms in addition to a shared dorm. The other thing I’ve noticed is that most shared dorms are not completely occupied in low season (Schwing! Money saving tip). I think the one thing that slightly annoys me is if someone who doesn’t like hostels is looking down on someone that does. No need for the snobbery.

5. I like to see all of the tourist attractions.

If I’m going to a new place for the first time, I want to see what makes that place tick.  If I’m in Paris? I’m up first thing in the morning using that museum pass. There’s is no time to waste when abroad! Yes, I’ve been called “a machine.” Maybe it’s also a reason I travel solo. I do try to take off days so I can sit in a cafe and people watch, relax and *gasp* turn off the computer.  My other trick is that I always take a day off to breathe and sleep before returning to work or getting back to normal routines. I don’t know how people can get off a plane at 6 a.m. and go straight to work the next day. I don’t imagine it to be great for productivity.

6. I’m not ready for certain countries yet. 

I never thought India would be on my sights, but after talking to a few devotees, it’s on my radar. But I’m not ready for it. Mount Kilimanjaro? Not ready for it. The most exercise I’ve gotten are on my fingers from typing on my laptop!  I’ve only been to two continents (Europe and North America) and am still waiting to get my feet wet in a few more adventurous places before I do them on my own. If I did, I’d go on a tour and then on my own, depending on the safety of the country. I like to ease into things.

7. I’m impatient. 

I’m a wash and go gal. If I’m travelling, I don’t want my time to be wasted. So I may get a bit antsy if a travel companion is prepping the outfit for every meal or is late upon meeting in the morning (it’s a pet peeve of mine: be on time for meetings; say what you mean and mean what you say). Respect my time. It’s basic manners. It’s probably why I travel solo. I’ve tried to be more patient with friends who have unruly hair. So far, so good.

What are your travel truths? 

I nominate the following to share theirs:

Bacon is Magic

Neon Jungle Princess

Just Travelous

Camels and Chocolate

Candice Walsh

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9 Responses to “My 7 Travel Truths”

  1. Cathie Maud September 23, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    Completely agree with 3 and 7!! — travelling with someone is full of compromise and negotiation. Although, as much as I love travelling by myself, it’s nice sometimes to have company.

    • nearafar September 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

      I agree. It is nice to have a little company and sometimes a companion will have complimentary skills. i.e. I’m not a driver, so if I’m taking a road trip I have to go with someone. As long as there is some breathing room, I’m good!

  2. Amy Schiele (@alschiele) September 28, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    #6 for sure. There are some places that I just can’t imagine going until I have a little more life experience! =)

    • nearafar September 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

      I hear you. It’s not that I can’t handle them but there’s certain places I want to see and think I should see before others.

  3. ayngelina October 1, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    I felt like we were kindred spirits until I read you needed to see every tourist attraction, I don’t know what it is but once I feel compelled to do something I lose all interest in it.

    Besides Paulo Coehlo from The Alchemist said to stay away from museums and go to bars. I am following his lead 🙂

    • nearafar October 3, 2011 at 2:26 am #

      I don’t have to see EVERY tourist attraction but I do have to see some of the main ones. If I’m in Paris, I’m seeing the Eiffel Tower, If I’m in New York, I’m seeing Central Park. I guess it’s a thing. I can’t go somewhere so far to not see something that makes a place what it is. You are right though: some of the more interesting stories do come from the bars (well, in my personal experience). 🙂

  4. Liz December 22, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

    Funny – this post couldn’t come at a better time. Just got back from a trip with a friend and spent some time reflecting on my all my travel companions. You read my mind on #1, #5 and #7. I agree with #3 but I’m gladly at a place in life where I can afford to indulge a little (doesn’t have to be 5 star but clean and comfortable is important as well).

    • nearafar December 23, 2011 at 3:58 am #

      Thanks for the comment. I totally agree with you — clean and comfortable is super important but if you search hard enough you can get it at a good price that can afford you other luxuries. I’m so glad you liked my post and actually dug through the archives for this one! Sometimes, I wonder if anything I write actually resonates with people so I really appreciate the comments.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. AFAR: Buenos Aires Planning – ICE CREAM « Near. Afar. - March 12, 2012

    […] I’m planning Buenos Aires.  Of course I would be.  Exhaustively researching is one of my seven travel truths. Yips! And it’s so funny. Many people I know are planning too. So they’re asking me: […]

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