Travel is such an individual experience and I’m reluctant to dole out too many “should”s about it, but I have another important “tongue-in-cheeky” travel tip I’d like to share. Well, it’s more a recommendation:
Have a moment with a monument.
It took more than a few moments for them to be carved by nature, or Michelangelo, or world events. The duomo and David or the Grand Canyon or Uluru rock and other such masterpieces of man and nature deserve more than a fleeting glance and self-held snapshots taken to document you in front of greatness. Soak it in. Absorb it. Resist the practice of just ticking another iconic site off your bucket list as you stroll around it, on it, before it or through it with your friend, spouse or tour group debating where to procure your next gelato. I’ve caught myself doing this very thing! In Italy it’s gelato, in Paris; crepes: In Thailand, I crave and seek street-food Roti, a delicious pancake filled with savory delights or smothered in nutella and sweetended condensed milk and see..? I just veered off track. I do it when I travel, too.
“The Creator made Italy from designs by Michaelangelo.” ~ Mark Twain
There are benefits and drawbacks of solo travel, but one I am coming to appreciate more and more is the ponderful time I have with masterpieces of nature and man. So, if you’re traveling with a companion or two, I suggest the practice of separating for 15-30 minutes or more to have your moment. To reflect on the greatness and significance of Brunelleschi’s brilliance in creating the largest non-supported dome, or Michelangelo’s boldness in expressing vulnerability in his David. Take in the meaning of rituals at incense-infused temples where you’ve dutifully doffed your sandals. Share a drink or tapas with the locals in Barcelona. Observe a thoughtful moment of silence in the sand on the beaches of Normandy or the attic of the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam.
“The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.” ~ G.K. Chesterton
Divide and Ponder
It’s especially useful to divide and ponder in cathedrals where silence is requisite. When you rejoin your traveling companion/s, you’ll both be refreshed, enriched and enjoy sharing your perspectives. Maybe, if you’re a blogger, you’ll share your impressions with us.
“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” ~ Aristotle
You traveled far and long (lugging luggage, mind you!) and so I implore you to sit serenely by those seasides, gawk at soaring feats of architecture and art, allow the voluminous gush of spectacular waterfalls to spray your smile, and yes, put away your iPhone for a disconnected moment…that’s really a connected one.
All photos by Gina Stark