Monday, September 15, 2008

"Do"-ing while travelling

How does one "Do" a church?

Keep your obscene, inappropriate and/or blasphemous comments to yourself, now.

I spent a lot of time this summer travelling weekends, and have been doing my best to take in everything I can, experience as much as possible and to live life the German way whenever possible. I do my best to respect the people and institutions of the cities I visit.

Which is why it has started to drive me nuts to hear people talk about "do"-ing a museum "do"-ing a royal garden, "do"-ing a festival, "do"-ing a monument. When one has this mindset, they are just crossing things off a list to themselves. Which runs pretty much opposite to my way of travel. Not that I don't also have a list of priorities, and am usually short on time, but at least I try my best to avoid using the terminology that reflects just going somewhere so you can say you went there.

After some time, I developed a different travel philosophy, of merely wandering. If you are in the appropriate places, just wandering at random, stopping when something piques your curiosity, eating when hungry, stopping and listening to the street performers, sitting beside the banks of a river to relax, can be much more rewarding than speedwalking through a city to get from church A to town hall B to monument C. If the places are truly remarkable, you'll probably come across them on your way anyway.

So that's my vent about tourists for today. I fully own that I can fall into the same way of thinking, and in fact I am sure that most who travel do from time to time, but it is a way of thinking that in the future I will fight, and make sure that I make myself take the time to just sit back and smell the roses a bit. It's far less exhausting.

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