Travel can be more than simply taking some pictures and checking it off the bucket list. Travel can be understanding a destination and that takes time.
Most people would say that one of the reasons they travel is to learn. Learning happens in layers, like an onion. We peel off the skin one layer at a time. At first we learn a lot when the rings are large, but as we delve into our travel itinerary we learn more but at smaller intervals, just like the onion. Sometimes that new little bit is what makes the trip so exciting. So keep peeling, looking, and learning.
Much of this needs to be done before you depart. Do the research. Ask your travel agent the questions. Explore the internet and go to the library for travel books, novels, atlas and maps. Then you can buy what you really want for learning. Learn about the past as well as the present. Once you know something about the people and culture you will be able to go even deeper by developing connections with locals and their community.
It is completely possible to check a place off your list and really never have been there at all. We all know the person who says “I was there once!” and we know they hardly peeled one layer off the onion. Going most places once is hardly going at all, of course unless it was for a long stay. Yes it is better than nothing, but why not take the time and do it right. Then set aside travel agendas and itineraries in exchange for interaction with real people who make up the culture you are visiting. Take the necessary time, at least once in your lifetime, to slow down, to learn, to digest and allow a new place to change who you are, from the inside out. Isn’t this why we begin traveling in the first place?
Check out some thoughts and words from BootsnAll, a great website (aside from a few listed above):