Forget about all those “Top 10 Things To Do/See” lists. Forget about the lists of best restaurants. Forget about the pressure to make sure you check everything off.
These things are attention grabbers. These lists make you believe that you can truly experience a place if only you check off everything on these handy lists – that these lists are all you need. Print and go. But it’s not quite that easy.
It’s all subjective. What makes these places the best? According to whom? Did they poll 100 random people on the street and then extrapolate and assume this applies to literally everyone in the world?
I bet that list of restaurants only applies to people who share the exact same interests and eat exactly like the writer. And “best” does not necessarily equate to “top rated”. The “top 10” restaurants in L.A. according to Yelp ratings is a completely different story. So many things go into why a place gets a great rating, and it could have nothing to do with whether you will personally like it.
Everyone’s tastes are different. Your tastes are different.
So before you go on a trip, ask yourself a couple questions.
What do you like to do and eat? How do you like to typically travel?
Make your own list of things you want to accomplish, but don’t be afraid to stray from your list – or any list. This is one of the main reasons I do minimal planning for trips (that, and planning is kind of annoying…).
So go ahead and check out the lists – they usually offer guidance if you have no idea where to start. But remember that sometimes the best experiences you can have are those that come from discovering something you might have otherwise overlooked by just sticking to lists.
And it’s not just about going “off the beaten path” (which has become it’s own top 10 list generator), it’s about finding your own sense of wonder and curiosity. Don’t do something just because other people say you should. Do something because you want to do it for yourself. Don’t travel somewhere just for the Instagram picture (nothing wrong with sharing photos – it’s one my favourite things!), travel for the experiences and the memories. Be present. Be curious. Be your own list-maker.
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