Short trips – we’ve all done them from time to time. Weekends, holidays, and spring breaks are all great reasons to take a few days or a week or two off and go on a short vacation to recharge your batteries. Or is it?
To say I don’t believe in short trips, is quite a weird statement to make. What do you mean you don’t believe in short trip? What’s there to believe in? It just is what it is. But what if I’ll tell you it’s a sort of mirage? A clever way to fool ourselves that we are really free?
Can you think of a time you got back from a short vacation and felt you need to take a vacation from the vacation? If you did then you would probably identify with at least some of these reasons:
1. It kills spontaneity When you go on a short trip you are most likely to plan an itinerary. An itinerary is a planned route or journey that you organize prior to your trip. On short trips, you don’t have the luxury of being too spontaneous. You have a short time to see the place you are visiting. If you decide to go with the flow and not plan ahead, you would probably find yourself wasting a lot of your precious time figuring out where to go and how to get there, ending up not seeing much and feeling frustrated.
2. It brings stress As you have obviously concluded from the phrase itself, on short trips, time is in short supply. You don’t usually go on a trip to just lay on the beach or rest at the hotel, especially in a foreign country. You want to see the people, historical sites, architecture, museums, nigh tlife, explore the streets, try the food, and of course you can’t go home without getting some souvenirs. When you compress all that into a limited time, you’re bound to be stressed out.
But stressing out alone is one thing, what if you’re traveling with other people? Doing so many activities every day with other people who each have their own needs and their own pace can be really hectic and tiring, sometimes adding more stress to a bubbling pot of tension. No wonder you pass out every time you go back to your hotel.
3. You don’t really get to know the place It takes time to really get to know a place, feel the culture, mix with the locals. Since you are on a tight schedule, you usually can’t just wander off, mingle with the people living there, and discover hidden gems. You’ll probably just get to see the same old touristy activities that everybody else sees.
I believe that in order to fully comprehend the country or the city you’re traveling in (which is something that is important to me but might not be to you) you have to live there for a while. And by living there, I don’t mean doing a relocation. A few weeks in the same area or city would give you enough time to actually see the place and even feel a bit of what it’s like to be a local.
4. It is an illusion of freedom As I described before, in today's modern world most of us are living in some part of the endless rat race, chasing our own tail in the same old hamster wheel in order to live according to the divine trinity of job - money - status.
Once in a while, when we feel the need to catch our breath, we take a semi-vacation for a few miserable days (if we are lucky maybe even a whole week) in some over populated tourist trap hole.
In these so-called ‘vacations’, we are running around from place to place, trying to check-mark our Itinerary, stressing ourselves out and getting so exhausted that at the end of it all we’re just happy that it’s over. Of course a few days after we get back to the office, we forget how it actually was, and wait anxiously to our next fake vacation.
5. It is a waste of money When you’re chasing the clock and trying to see everything, you’re usually less concerned about the budget. Time is money, and when you don’t have enough time you’re just going to have to buy it.
So to save time and see another island you buy the expensive flight ticket instead of taking the slower ferry. And in order to see the city quickly you take the pricey tour bus instead of exploring it by foot. And of-course you don’t want to spend your time bargaining on the local market so you go into the fancy gift shop.
I call it a ‘Window shopping vacation’; you don’t get to try the dress but you do get to pay for it - a lot.
6. It is not satisfying It’s not enough. It’s too short. It’s too fast. It - is - just - not - satisfying. If it was stressful and exhausting - you’re glad it’s over. And if somehow you managed to enjoy it - it ended too damn fast.
Bottom line: It might be a harder thing to arrange, due to the demanding jobs and hectic way of life most us are trying to maneuver through. But I’ll choose long trips over short trips every time. And if it’s something that you wish to do, I know (from experience) that it’s possible.