Travel Rant: “Must things to do”

I don’t want to see the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Visiting the Statue of Liberty in New York feels just unnecessary.
Why should I use my time to sunbathing on paradise beaches in Thailand?

People expect us to do certain things in cities and travel destinations we visit. All the places have some kind of attractions that are “must to experience”. Of course, I understand why. The most popular things are also usually somehow unique, have a long history behind them or you just can’t see anything like that back at home.

Most people will tell you that traveling is all about experiencing new things and learning about different cultures. I’m not saying that people visiting the Eiffel Tower are stupid or that travelers telling you to collect new experiences are wrong. I would be dissing myself because I’m also one of those adventurers and tourists. But in situations like this, there are always many point of views. There is always that “but” in the sentences I say.

I want to visit tourist attractions. I want to experience new things like a true adventurer. I want to be someone who sees as much as she can and travels as fast as possible. BUT sometimes I just want to sit in small cafes, write endless stories of imaginary characters and eat too many local sweets watching Netflix in my hostel bed. These two sides of me constantly fight with each other. Should I explore the city? Or should I just relax today doing nothing? Should I sit for hours in this small unknown cafe? Or should I wait in line to see one of the most important tourist attractions?

When I started this blog and my life of traveling, I told everyone that I was following my heart. But sometimes our hearts change their minds. I want to travel but at the same time, I don’t. My dream used to be the life of traveling full time. Now, I don’t know anymore. Being on road month after month for your whole life just seems so tiring. Going for a month, coming back for a few months and then going again. Doesn’t that sound a lot better?

I want to follow my heart. But it’s not telling me to see and experience the must things to do in new countries. My soul is craving for writers retreats, reading books in a hammock and getting lost in cities I have already seen far too many times. 

Often I lay awake at night thinking that my life is balancing between two expectations. Everyone at home wants me to live normally. Get a job, study the business degree and rent an apartment. Follow the same path everyone else does. The time of having the wild adventure of your teen years is over. Come back home. If you don’t create a career, life, and future now, it will be too late to ever start. You are destroying your own life.

Then people reading my travel blog, friends I have made on my adventures and the travel community as a whole is following my decisions expectantly. Either travel and do it properly or stop altogether. Going to new destinations and just reading a book on a beach or writing in old cafes isn’t enough. When I tell traveler that you didn’t go to the must-see places and just sat in dozen different cafes, they frown, won’t believe me and end up always asking why. Why would you give away the possibility to experience something unique? You could just visit cafes and write or read books back at home.

Both of these possibilities seem so dull. My feet are too restless to stay in one place but my mind is too lazy to keep traveling all the time. Can there be something between? Balance that is made for me? A few years ago I would have said no but now I’m starting to believe that everything is possible. When you do once something against all the odds, it gets easier. Out of nowhere, everything seems reachable.

What do you think? Is there something you have always wanted to do but everyone else seems to think that it’s a bad idea? Like always all comments are welcome. And sorry for this blog post that is a total mess. It’s how I write so get used to it. You can also read my daily posts from LostViivi.com

With love,

Lost Viivi

20 thoughts on “Travel Rant: “Must things to do”

  1. How about being grounded at one place and continue the travels often or as it suits you. Also, planing it in a way that you find the hidden gems of the place that do not fall under the category of ‘Places you must see’. To me that sounds far more interesting than just visiting what everyone else goes and sees…

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    1. Yeah that’s true! I think everyone just has to find their own way of traveling. Not all places are must to see for everyone (or at least not for me. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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  2. I purposefully moved to a city that I love getting lost in again and again. There’s a certain beauty to appreciating what you have around you. I love discovering a new, tiny detail of a street I frequent. There is a certain kind of adventure in the everyday.

    I used to think that I wanted to be someone who moved to a new city every six months so I could experience as many places as possible…but I’m much happier establishing myself in one place and growing to really know and love that place. I still love to travel, but I don’t have the urge to do it as frequently as I used to want to. And when I do travel, I prefer adventuring off the beaten path. I think real culture resides in places that are less overrun by tourism; while tourist destinations are exciting to see, I’d much rather seek out the places where the locals go. If I planned a trip that stopped in Paris, I’d probably stop by the Eiffel Tower since it’s so iconic–but if I had a trip planned through the South of France, I probably wouldn’t tack on an extra day in Paris just to see the Eiffel Tower. I actually live in a very touristy city (Washington, DC, USA) and one of my favorite parts of living here is discovering ALL there is to see beyond the tourist attractions. This city is amazing, but many visitors never even scratch the surface of all there is here, because they come for the tourist attractions.

    I think the beauty of traveling is that there’s not one right way to do it (though people may tell you otherwise). I also don’t think there’s any shame in sitting at a cafe and reading/writing. When I lived in Thailand, I spent many hours reading and/or writing in coffee shops. Local cuisine is different everywhere, and I got to try a lot of different coffee drinks and sweets that I never would have experienced had I stayed reading and writing in a coffee shop in my hometown. I LOVE trying different cafes and restaurants wherever I go in the world. I find that just as fun as seeing a cool attraction. It can be hard to brush off other people’s judgements of you, but there’s also a certain beauty in owning what you want out of an experience. I totally think you’ll find that balance. With time and patience, I’ve discovered a lot of amazing things about myself and how I want to live my life.

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    1. Hello and thanks for this amazing comment! I really can feel what you are writing about. Right now I’m balancing between wanting to travel the world all the time and just wanting to find one town to stay in for as long as possible. Who knows where I will end up…

      Living in big city like Washington sounds like you will always have new places to discover. Because I live in country of 5 million people, it feels like whatever city I go there is nothing new to do after a few days… But I would still never move permanently away from Finland. I’m stuck here even if I’m always complaining 😀

      But thanks for the amazing inspiring comment. And your blog seems amazing 🙂

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      1. You’re welcome! Traveling is amazing, but I think there’s also something to be said in accepting where we come from. I think a lot of people complain about where they’re from–we know those places so well and are extra aware of their negative aspects. I’m from Minnesota in the USA, and I’ll be the first person to complain about it. I also think traveling and living elsewhere can help us appreciate where we come from even more. For all the wonderful things we can see while traveling, there is something extra special about coming back home after a long period away. It definitely took me a long time to find the value in home, though. For the longest time, I couldn’t wait to get away from it!

        And consider this–living on the European Continent makes traveling to different countries very easy for you. I’ve never been to Finland, but I’ve been to many other European countries. Cheap flights, buses, and trains throughout Europe, as well as being in the Schengen Zone makes going to diverse, exciting countries so easy for you. Perhaps, as a European, you’re “Europed out”, but as an American, that accessibility sounds AMAZING! You may live in a small country, but you also aren’t far away from many other amazing countries and cities!

        I don’t post on my blog too often anymore, but I’m glad you think it looks good. I hope you end up in some amazing places! Finding the balance between wanting to stay and go is a huge challenge for me, so find solace in knowing you’re not the only one. 🙂

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  3. It’s hard not to care about what others have to say, I feel you. But at the end of the day, living up to other people’s expectations of your life will leave you feeling drained, lost, and not knowing who you are. I speak from my own experience! And then you’ll have to start over and discover who you really are. My advice is to follow your heart and find your own path. People who love you will stand by you.

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    1. You’re totally right. It will be hard but not following others’ opinions and expectations are important to be happy. But I will try because I don’t have other possibilities. Thank you for the inspiring words! 🙂

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  4. Balance is everything in all aspects of your life. Find what makes you happy and stick with it. There is no right or wrong, and what seems right today might feel wrong in 2 weeks from now. No matter what the decision is, follow your gut and don’t give up on your goals and your dreams!!!

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    1. Thank you! This was really motivational. Sometimes it’s hard but I have to do what I want to do. We all have to do what we want to do or living this life would be just useless 🙂

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  5. I know exactly what you mean. I personally very rarely follow the ‘must do’ guides (generally none of that stuff interests me – I didn’t see ANY of the things recommended in Bangkok, but I had a great time because I met locals and we sat in a cafe and chatted for hours). I think travelling is about doing what you want to do. It’s odd, because obviously you leave a considered conventional life to live an unconventional one when you travel, but sometimes you’re met with resistance whilst travelling by others that you’re not doing it ‘right.’ I’m lucky that I’ve never really had this happen with me, but I’ve certainly seen the slight judgment happen to others, and it’s a bit ridiculous. Great post 🙂

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    1. I just don’t feel like visiting similar places full of tourists again and again when I could use the time to do something meaningful. Good, I’m not the only one feeling like this. Sitting in cafes and chatting for hours in Bangkok seems like a dream if you ask from me. Unfortunately, I have met people who tell me I’m doing this whole living and traveling thing the wrong way. But like I said it’s good to hear that there are people who also believe in the way I’m traveling. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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  6. I agree with almost all you said. Personally, I also experienced that moment especially when I saw beautiful pictures of those places I aim to visit. A part of me decides to make a plan, save money and travel. While another side of me whispers to stay at home, read books, watch my favorite movies and spend quality time with my family. Sometimes you even do things out of pressure from other people. Because that’s what they expect from you. So basically, whichever path you chose, there’s always a BUT in it. Life will never be easy even how we want it to be.

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    1. That’s well said. And sometimes it’s good to hear that we are not the only ones feeling like this. Maybe everyone has days when they feel like everyone is against the idea – whatever it’s about traveling or not. There has to be balance somewhere between being at home and traveling the world. I hope we can find it. Thanks for commenting 🙂

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  7. I don’t think there is anything wrong with anything you said. I do like the tourist attractions but then again I have been to London 5 times and still haven’t been inside Westminster Abbey (that is more about not wanting to pay like £25 and not be able to take photos but still!). I think if there is one thing I’ve learned in my travels is that no two people are the same and just because someone else wants to do go out every day from dawn to dusk and walk thousands of steps doesn’t mean I do and I am quite happy with that

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    1. Thanks for this comments. Wise words I have to say. Maybe it’s just good that everyone travels on their own way who knows. And I can totally understand why you haven’t paid that $25. Sometimes it feels stupid to pay so much especially when photos aren’t allowed 🙂

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      1. I think it’s all about balance too. But at the end of the day, if you are happy with what you’ve accomplished then that’s all that matters 😁

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