I tend to travel two months at a time, making a dozen stops in different bordering cities and countries. My travels aren’t exactly the whirlwind tours I’ve heard about or seen advertised (tours promising 9 countries in 8 days, apparently, are just what one needs to say, “I’ve been there” without ever realizing why one went in the first place), but from mid-June to mid-August of this past year I felt something I’d not expected to when traveling: an acute awareness of the need to stay.
Here’s a quick synopsis of my (A) actual 2011 summer and (B) a hypothetical one, had I listened to the voices in my head:
(A) Florence—Cinqueterre—Napoli—Sorrento—Rome—Belfast—Portrush—Dublin—Barcelona—Prague—Dubrovnik—Omiš—Split—Zadar—Plitvičke Jezera—Osijek—Zagreb—Budapest—Copenhagen—Reykjavik. (Average time in each city/town: 3 days)
(B) Sorrento—Portrush—Barcelona—Prague—Omiš—Plitvičke Jezera—Osijek—Zagreb—Budapest—Reykjavik. (Average hypothetical time in each place: ~1 week)
I’ve been instructed by many people to see as much of the world as I can, and I’ve taken their advice up to this point. But something changed this last summer, and I can now put words to it: traveling to see as much as you can sounds like a sure-fire way to age prematurely. Now, I travel to stay young.
So next time, I’ll stay a while.