Ok, so I probably don’t need to defend staying “in” while traveling, I’m not certain anyone is debating for or arguing against it. But there's this thing that takes over me when I am traveling. I have a constant need to be out of the apartment/hotel and exploring the city. Even when I feel like I can't take more in or my feet can't take another step, I am insistent on going, going, going.
I have a hard time being ok staying in anytime but it's particularly heightened when I am traveling. I always feel like there is more to see, eat and experience in a place than I will ever get to do no matter how long I am there. I have had to change my tune since we've been traveling full time. I've been trying to build in more time to be in my apartment or hotel room either working on the website, learning a new skill, planning for other parts of our travels or just simply relaxing. This might sound weird, but going out all day everyday to take in the sights, sounds and tastes of a place is a lot of work. Every now and again you need to take a day off.
There have been many times throughout our travels where it just feels like my body and soul are too tired to take in any more information. So somewhat begrudgingly, I decide to stay in. I have a constant tug of war with myself in thinking about all the things I am missing that day but then I think about how good it feels to just be. But then I see all the things that I want to do but have not done and think "Ugh! I'm wasting my time! I need to get out there!"
Full time travel is a very different discipline than being on vacation or even working at an office full time. There is an exchange of energy in everything we do and sometimes that exchange needs to be slowed. I find that I am better able to take in my surroundings when I've given myself that break. I am more open and receptive to seeing and processing new information. I'm also less quick to judge or be harsh about how I feel about something. Taking the day or even a few hours "off" allows me to rebalance and start enjoying my environment some more. I am a better traveler because of it.
Even though I know all these benefits come with me taking time away from the work of learning about a new place, I still feel the pang of disappointment when I realized I missed a particular event or won't get to see a certain something because I chose to stay in my house. I have to remind myself that long term travel is not about how much I can take in all the time, but it's about experiencing a place as I experience my life. And I need to live my life in each environment I find myself.
As our travels have continued and we've done more house sits, we've naturally stayed in more frequently. I'm still working on feeling ok staying in a full day and not getting out to "see the sights"; but I've realized that taking the slower approach and taking some time away helps me feel less like a tourist and more like I am living in a place. I still battle myself whenever I want to stay in, but staying in has become a consistent winner.
The next time you are on vacation, stay in for a bit and see how you feel. Do you feel like you're wasting time or did it help you feel more involved in the place? I'd love to hear what you think and how you practice "staying in" when on the road.