When I visit a city, I can feel overwhelmed. There are so many sites to see, foods to eat, and people to meet. When I travel I often crammed everything into a couple days. Each day I planned to the minute. In a typical day, I went to this museum at 9, checked out a tour at 11, ate lunch, hit another museum, went to see the castle, and continued to pack my day.

Long trips exhausted me.

I am not saying I didn’t like to travel, I am saying it wasn’t always a vacation. I left tired and overwhelmed. This shouldn’t be the case. Vacations shouldn’t exhaust. They should invigorate. If I travel for vacation, I must have limits. I can’t see and do everything.

There will be sites I miss, and that is ok. Cramming more experiences into a trip doesn’t increase my knowledge. It only checks off more boxes.

Residents have true knowledge. They know the ins and outs of the city. Where to eat and what to see. I want their perspective. I want to leave a city understanding a resident’s perspective.

Better knowing how a resident interacts with a city informs my perspective. Instead of seeing a city as a collection of sites to visit, I see it as a holistic life experience. My worldview shifts.

People cram to maximize their time and money.

Each experience checked off adds to their travel conquests. Instead of quantity, I prefer quality. Quality experiences give me the deep perspective that changes my worldview. Quality experiences can be difficult to measure. It is much easier for me to count the number of sites I visited. But I know a homestay is a superior experience to visiting a museum.

There are some cities I will never visit again. I know that. But I still shouldn’t cram. For one, the city, though magical, will leave me exhausted. My memories will run together as I look back. I limit my worldview. Each extra experience I cram becomes less remarkable and thus less memorably. I leave exhausted, without a cultural understanding, and a poor memory of the trip.

If I truly feel I am missing experiences core to a city, I should go back.

I shouldn’t cram. Adding these experiences into a short time frame does them a disservice. Even if I had infinite time, I couldn’t fully know a city. As I leave a city, I should feel relaxed and content I gained a few cultural insights.

Summary

  1. Exploring a city can be tiring when trying to cram everything in.
  2. A vacation should be a source of relaxation and not stress.
  3. If there are more things that you want to see, plan another trip.

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