Back when I lived in Bolivia, I was mostly staying in a city called Cochabamba.
Something you can read more about here.
Anyhow, while I had the free time on the weekends, I would often take a nearby trip to whatever area of the country that blogs on the internet recommended that I visit.
Now, if I could do things over again, I’d have done things exactly the way I did them.
Especially in hindsight.
I fell in love hard with a nice gal from Bolivia named Mariana as you can read here.
Among many more places.
Still, to be fair, I did spent little time in each place that I did visit while only having 3 months or less to work with in the country.
On top of that, I really did do my due diligence to visit quite a few places in the limited time I had on the weekends only.
Having said that, one could argue that I “didn’t travel right.”
That I should’ve “picked one or two places to explore” and keep it at that.
Are they correct?
Years Later in Europe
Let’s jump away from South America for a moment.
Rarely do I do as such because, sticking to the name of the website, I do prefer to mostly talk about “Iberian America.”
Still, let’s go there.
Before I went off to Mexico, I did a few months traveling Europe.
In doing so, I literally only visited the capitals for the most part.
I had a limited amount of time and funds to see Europe and so I basically went from capital to capital aided by the cheapest flights available on Ryan Air.
Here’s some photos of some of the places I visited.
Was it cool?
Yeah, it was pretty cool.
Still, be it South America or Europe, the argument would be made by the same people.
That, for the most part, you shouldn’t travel from one area to the next so quickly and should appreciate what you do have in each area.
Having done some “quick traveling” and also having spent a significant time in certain areas of the world while traveling, I guess I can provide some perspective on this.
The pros and cons of both.
The Short Term Quick Travel
In the case of Europe, I think I did what was best.
Personally, I have little investment in Europe.
I don’t live there and never have.
With little idea of what to see, I think it was the right call to go from capital to capital on limited time in each place.
Especially with such a shoestring budget that I had for the occasion.
With limited emotional investment and money, you’re going to want to “scratch places” off the list of things to see.
If done right, it’s not the worst idea.
And, if done right, it really isn’t.
Let’s go back to Bolivia.
When I was traveling the country, I feel I got to see what I wanted with reasonable time dedicated to each place.
I guess that’s a personal preference, no?
For example, I saw Lake Titicaca in Bolivia as you can see here.
Or the Death Road as you can see here.
When I saw either, I saw both of them.
Got to enjoy both of them.
Did my bike tour down Death Road or sail a boat through Lake Titicaca….
Got to experience both on an organized tour!
Did I need to do the tour again?
Granted, years later, I wouldn’t mind doing either tour again and, if I travel again, I just might.
Still, in the moment after doing each activity, I didn’t feel the need to do it again RIGHT NOW.
Or spend any more time basically.
In hindsight, I guess that I could’ve spent more time talking with the locals in the area.
That would’ve been cool.
But, outside of that, there isn’t anything that comes to mind that I wished I had done while in either area.
So, when on limited time and money, I don’t agree that it’s a bad thing to prioritize time appropriately if done correctly.
The Long Term Experience
To be fair, I get the argument made by some that “traveling too quickly” can lead you to not appreciate the moment at hand.
In which you are in a certain area and you are not simply looking around…
Look at the architecture.
Look at the street sellers.
Look at the trees?
Look at everything!
Appreciate the moment.
If you are truly on a literal “checklist” of traveling, then you are sacrificing the appreciation of the moment for that extra thing or two on the checklist to cross off.
If you are that extreme, then it does sound stressful, doesn’t it?
Still, assuming it’s not that extreme, I obviously do see benefits of the “longer term” visit to a place than the short term “this and that” traveling that many do.
Assuming there is no noticeable “rush rush” to your pace of life when traveling on the short term anyhow….
Well, the benefits of a longer term experience in a place are obvious.
For one, you appreciate the changes.
In the last 4 years of living in Mexico City, I can say that I have!
For good and worse.
The first thing that comes to mind is the memory of all of the businesses that have come and gone.
So many – bars and restaurants – that have closed over the years.
When I walk by Rosa area of Reforma Avenue, I can remember “that pizza place” that was here 3 years ago.
Or that bar owned by “Alejandra” a few years ago that Angie and I went to often for their incredible deals that is now closed.
Among so many others.
Something that a traveller that showed up last week wouldn’t know about.
I guess though, in a way, that’s a “community thing.”
With that comes a sentiment for the city itself that a traveller who arrived recently wouldn’t appreciate.
On top of that, when you spend more time in an area, you can give more appreciation to the areas beyond the tourism.
Like in Mexico City again.
In my time here, I’ve lived in areas well outside of the touristy areas.
Areas that, like Cuatro Caminos as you can read here, are regarded as dangerous by the panty wearing foreigners and fresas who don’t dare leave Roma Norte.
But, despite their flaws, are areas that can still be enjoyable to live in (assuming not too dangerous however)….
Or are areas that, on a visit, can be enjoyable in their own regard.
To meet the locals of the area.
Keep eyes open.
Maybe make a friend?
Among other joys of life.
To which the short term traveller would not likely experience at all.
As we travel to a new place, we tend to “crack the surface” first.
The touristy areas usually.
Before “digging deeper” over time.
Among other benefits.
Well, I agree with the sentiment of the critic.
Don’t “over plan” your trip to any part of the world.
Including Latin America.
Don’t add too much to your itinerary.
Try to enjoy the walk.
The pace of life wherever you are.
But, on top of that, don’t feel too bad if you have a lot on your itinerary.
I’ve done that and it worked out great for me.
Just as long as you know your expectations and are realistic…
Not to be too stressed when seeing what you want to see?
Don’t be naïve.
And, ideally speaking, it should work.
Still, between the short term and long term, I always prefer the latter.
Even if I get traveling again, I plan on making “home bases” out of certain cities.
Places where I have an apartment and travel from to do side trips.
Like when I go to the DR in a year or so…
It’ll be me living in Santo Domingo and doing side trips from there.
In that case, you get best of both worlds.
Can experience and appreciate a very specific part of the world while doing the trips you want on the side when free time is available.
Anyway, that’s the “middle ground” that I see best suited for someone wanting to travel quite a bit but not yet have a specific place to call home long term.
Got any comments yourself?
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