A different approach: no sightseeing

I give a hearty ‘yes’ to Travellious’ recent post, Breaking the Rules: Don’t Sightsee.

Basically, the post questions how we travel. Don’t just follow the crowd and see something because it’s in the guidebook or because you’re expected to see it. Rather than seeing a place for the sake of ticking it off a list, choose a place where you’ll truly appreciate what it offers. If it helps, keep in mind that you can always return another time—that might asuage the fears that compel you to zip through all of the monuments.

A recent trip of mine to Seattle was exactly that type of trip—no visiting the Space Needle or ferry trips to Bainbridge Island. It was more about visiting a friend, which meant seeing neighborhoods through a local’s eyes by running errands. I liked imagining my friend and the thousands of other residents in their daily routines. It begs the question: what can I take back from this experience to my own daily life?

Of course, there will usually be a few sites you have to see on any trip, or else why wouldn’t you just be in your home town? The Eiffel Tower completes Paris, the Opera House makes Sydney. But I think it makes for more enriching travel to rethink what you want out of your experience—don’t you?

Posted by | Comments (1)  | April 29, 2009
Category: General

One Response to “A different approach: no sightseeing”

  1. Traveler Says:

    This makes sense if you avoid sightseeing for the right reasons, like you did in Seattle. But for many shoestring backpackers, this is their excuse to sit around a smoke pot or just lie in a hammock all day while Petra or Prambanan is right around the corner. Ticking off the boxes is a bad way to travel, but so is avoiding wholesale what most people have flown great distances to see. As with most things in life, the middle ground is usually the most sensible. See what is really worth seeing, skip what’s not.