Far too many people travel without seeing the true essence or culture of the countries they go to. Do not be that person that heads to London only to take pictures near the Big Ben, ride the London Eye and purchase stuff on Oxford Street. Yes, by all means, do all the touristy activities, but also be the person that goes to Camden to take notice of the cultural and ethnic diversity there is.
When in Rome, do not just go to the Colosseum and the Trevi fountain; meet locals, engage in what is typical for them, try the traditional gelato and learn a few useful phrases in Italian. Don’t ever leave a place without seeing it from the eyes of those who inhabit it and love it.
Why do this? Because of the simple fact that you may not be able to do it again.
The first time I ever went to Spain, my brother and I were literally forced to try tapas. We took our first bites with our eyes closed – nervous, especially since we had eaten McDonalds nuggets for breakfast, lunch and dinner during on entire trip. Now, for the first time, we were trying this local food and it tasted like heaven. A fusion of spices vigorously danced in our mouths.
My mother also had a smiler experience. She’d never ridden a roller coaster in her entire life. The first time she did, in her mid-thirties, she was scared to death and couldn’t even scream because of the shock. Yet, that same day, she rode one for the second time and enjoyed it – laughing and loving how the adrenaline pumped through her veins.
So my advice to you? Try it – because you might end up liking something new. Even if you don’t, at least you are now sure of what you dislike. It would be impossible to know otherwise.
After all, everyone says that the best things in life are unexpected. You might have never expected to like that smelly german cheese or that greasy LA burger so much, but these kind of decisions end up becoming excellent stories to tell; it is what makes a trip truly remarkable.
So give yourself the possibility to discover something to love. Although it is hard to be able to see all the beautiful parts of a city in a short amount of time, take your time to notice what gives life to the places you visit. You may already be missing out on that little coffee shop in that lonely corner, but don’t miss out on other possibilities.