Friday, June 22, 2007

How to travel - request #1

A loyal RagandBoneBuffet reader asks:
Due to job constraints, you're allowed one 3-week vacation every year to travel the world. You're young and have never been outside the United States before. Money, within reason, is no object. Over the next couple decades, you want to see as much as the world as possible. What's your strategy?

When I started traveling, I thought I would love Asia most of all and be least interested by Latin America. The opposite has turned out to be the case. Since most people are not good at forecasting which places they will like, I suggest a simple strategy: see each major world area as rapidly as possible and figure out where you love it most. Then concentrate your attention there.

Here are a few three-week trips you might take:

1. Europe: Amsterdam-Paris-Switzerland-Florence-Rome
2. Latin America: Mexico City-Macchu Picchu-Buenos Aires-Rio (don't shoot!)
3. Asia: Tokyo-Hong Kong-Shanghai-Bangkok

Also, figure out whether you want vacation or travel; I love the latter and hate the former. I much prefer work to vacation, and use work to recover from my travel. That entire distinction is usually more important than where you end up going.

5 comments:

Gary said...

I would link to this post from my blog - but I can't - since it's a secret!

I leave for Asia tomorrow. I do much prefer it over Latin America, though one day each at Macchu Picchu and Iguazu Falls are a must.

But while I enjoy Bangkok for a day or two, I prefer to get out of the primary cities. I love Chiang Mai, Siem Riep, Columbo (and beyond)..

My advice is not to try to do too much in any place. If you internalize travel as part of your life, it doesn't seem nearly as expensive or out of reach. And a visit to a given place doesn't have to be once in a lifetime. You'll be drawn back to certain places. If it was really that important to see, you can see it next time.

Don't force yourself to be so busy that you lose your sense of place. A country and a culture are not its tourist landmarks.

One of my stops in Italy in March was Rome. Not my favorite place, but I spent only a few hours at famous spots. I enjoyed sitting outside on street corners at cafes, drinking coffee and reading. Totally different place than Milan (where I spent a night before going to Como), which is a much more industrial city.

MikeK said...

For the Europe trip, I would greatly suggest adding Madrid and/or Barcelona (I haven't been to te latter) to the list.

I absolutely loved my trip through Spain (2 weeks spent all over Andalusia, from Malaga, Cordova, Granda, to Seville and finishing in Madrid). The food was also superb. Only in recent years is Spain getting acknowledged for their superior gastronomy. In fact, I much preffered the food I had in Spain to what I had in France (I've only been to Paris and the Loire in France, and I know there is much more to be had there).

Also, where would Britain come into this? I'd say it's quite its own. In keeping with the wide coverage of each trip I'd suggest a forth trip and call it "Other Europe"

and have it go like:
Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, London, Dublin.

And despite the unstable situation, many people find the Middle East (or rather, the eastern part of the mediterranean, further inland tends to become rather less hospitable) to be quite their thing: Israel (of which I am a native), Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt I would all very highly recommend.

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