There is a lot of talk out there about boring itinerary’s and getting off the tourist track but contrary to popular belief, travel doesn’t need to be a game of destination one upping your friends. You need to ask yourself what you actually want out of your holiday.
There are many reasons we go on holiday; to relax and unwind, to party, to explore a different culture, to see an amazing site, just to be somewhere different away from your responsibilities and none of those things are wrong. It is you well-earned vacation you should do what is best for you.
With modern social media access you can’t escape you friend’s tweets and Instagram posts about what an amazing trip they are having #bestholidayever. Even in more hardcore travel communities it is all about finding an authentic experience and getting off the beaten track. You know what’s authentic? Doing something because you want to not because your friends are doing it.
Where one traveller’s snapchat of the hotels infinity pool looks boring as hell to some people and another’s Facebook post from the summit of an artic mountain just looks like cold, hard work. We are all looking for something a little different in our downtime.
Similarly there is a perfectly good reason visitors to Northern India stop to see the Taj Mahal and people new to Sydney go to ogle at the Opera house. These icons of cities and culture are pinnacles of the achievement of that nation past or present. There is a reason they are famous, a reason you read and dreamed about them since childhood and a good reason to go and enjoy them when you get the chance.
Now I’m not saying that many of these famous location are not over hyped or crowded with other tourists just like you but as long as you are prepared for these eventualities what really matters is what these icons mean to you. If you have been dreaming of a romantic trip to Paris since you were a little girl are you really going to consider skipping the Eiffel tower because it’s “clichéd”?
No of course not but when a friend drops a “oh did you see le muse des Egouts de Paris? You really haven’t been to Paris until you have” You are maybe going to feel a little ashamed and promise humbly to see it on your next trip.
Here’s the secret, the reason tourism is a multi-million dollar industry. Being a tourist is great fun! Having your needs catered to, indulging in the dreams of your childhood, exploring new cultures and cities. Again I’m not suggesting we become culturally insensitive louts or that you don’t get out there for some lone hiking or adventure. I am simply saying don’t be afraid to follow your personal bliss.
If you wake up in a foreign city and take a moment to be grateful for the opportunity to be there. Try a little of the local delicacy with your morning coffee, enjoy the sun on your skin and smell of a foreign space. If you are appreciating your tip in a way that makes you happy, then you are having an “authentic” experience.
So next time a friend says “oh you went to Bali, did you see the Yeh Pulu holly site?” you can answer “No, actually I didn’t step out of the resort for the whole two weeks and it was wonderful” and sail off to dream about your next trip without a second thought.