Since I uploaded the article “What kind of traveler are you?” on Wednesday, I’ve been thinking a lot about my travel style.
It took me a long time to figure out my travel style because I often followed guides, “top 10 lists” and recommendations from others. When I was on blogging trips, I usually followed itineraries set on tourist boards. I went to museums, historical buildings, and art museums, which are said to be the most popular things to do when traveling. We visited the “Tourist Center”, “Bunkamura”, and a Michelin-starred restaurant. We had a wonderful, wonderful time. But it wasn’t just me.
For a long time, I felt like there was something wrong with me. I went to interesting museums full of history and culture, interesting artifacts, and knowledgeable guides. I looked around and saw that everyone else was listening to their headsets, mesmerized, with deep, concentrated expressions on their faces. They spent his 10 minutes observing the ancient vase and reading all the information about it.
I was almost jealous of their attention. I wanted to become more interested in local history.
But I wasn’t.
I felt like I was on a school trip and longed to be outside in the sunshine. Whether it’s rain, wind, or snow. I wanted to get on my bike and cycle around the monument as quickly as possible. I wanted to go up a mountain, drink beer on the beach, and eat where the locals were eating, not a fancy restaurant.
I felt like I was doing it wrong. This was not what the guide told me I should do. I didn’t visit any touristy museums or attractions. I was doing things I would do in London or my hometown of Chester, but I didn’t feel like a ‘proper tourist’.
I have two travel styles, so I have a dual personality when it comes to travel. When I’m with George (my 10-month-old son), I like a laid-back, family-oriented style of travel. And when I’m alone, I have an adventurous non-stop travel style. But there’s one thing he has in common with both of my travel styles: he loves the outdoors.
Rain or shine, I prefer being outdoors to being in a museum. But I also love being in a city, close to the beach, surrounded by history, yet not far from a decent wine bar. There aren’t that many destinations that fit all of these criteria, but when you do find one, it’s absolutely amazing. (Valencia was one of those places!)
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been to some great museums and loved them so much I didn’t want to go back. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Guggenheim Museum in New York are two of my favorites. But one museum or historical landmark is all you need. I’m not a history or culture buff.
It wasn’t until I researched the quiz and its results that I started thinking about the fact that there are different “types” of travelers and that there is no one right way to travel. Indeed, the survey found that the second most popular traveler style is ‘Culture Vulture’, but there are many others.
I think there have been changes in the tourism industry over the past few years. I talked to many guides and they said that tourists are more interested in the locals and love to know how the locals live. We like to visit houses and markets, eat street food and hang out at local bars. We spend less time sunbathing on the beach and more time exploring. This makes me happy. I’ve never been very good at lying still in the sun!
We all like different things and that’s a good thing. Next time you pass an art gallery, you won’t feel bad about stopping to go inside. I plan to keep walking until I reach the ocean, mountains, forests, and lakes.
You can try the Croatian Tourism Board quiz mentioned here. Please tell us what kind of traveler you are. Cultural vultures, adventurers, party lovers, etc. Or are you a jack of all trades, or are you like me and don’t fit in anywhere?