European travel anxiety...

Old Sep 8th, 2003, 06:34 AM
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European travel anxiety...

I absolutely love to travel and want to get as much as I can from my trips which sometimes ends up being a problem.... it's a feeling of ambivalence. If I'm at a cafe relaxing over coffee or wine and enjoying the people-watching, a little guilt may creep in to mar that moment...maybe I should be at the museum/cathedral instead of just relaxing, take advantage of as much as possible--after all, when and will I ever return? I enjoy it all ( and there's so much) yet time is limited and I want to see as much as I can, but in the process, I feel I may be shortchanging myself. I realize I can't see it all and I should just enjoy, but I find it hard to do sometimes. The pressure is on for me to keep on moving! Yet in retrospect, the best times I've had were the most simple...walking down a deserted street in San Gimignano, people-watching at a cafe, smiling at the locals and just watching them in their everyday behaviour. As much as I love museums/cathedrals, etc., most of my memorable moments have been the very ordinary slices of life. I guess ?want to pack in as much as possible and do not have time to stop and smell the roses.

Does anyone else suffer from this anguish? Are you bothered by it? What do you do? And for those lucky souls who do not have this problem, any suggestions for me to have a more relaxed time? Thank you for any help you may offer.
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 06:44 AM
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Hi lucky,

Your problem is that you enjoy relaxing and people watching and feel guilty because of your Puritan upbringing. I shall relieve your anxiety.

Relaxing and people watching are part of the cultural and educational experience for which you are paying all that money. You are required to sit, relax and people watch, especially if it takes the place of visiting an obscure building of minor cultural significance, eg, the Louvre.

Feel better?
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 06:49 AM
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I find that if I cannot/do not get in the full days worth of sightseeing that I have planned, I try to do it the rest of the stay. And if it doesnt work out, I just plan the next trip to get it all in. That way-you know you will be there again and it will relieve some of the anxiety over seeing and doing Everything!
BTW-7 trips to Paris have not been sufficient yet, so plan on being a traveler for a loooong time
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 06:49 AM
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There's no need to feel any guilt about doing what you enjoy. The museums and cathedrals will almost certainly still be there next year and the year after. You can read a book on the intricacies of a cathedral's architecture, but the way of life of another country is something you can only experience at first hand.
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 06:57 AM
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Like Scarlett, we rarely cover all the sightseeing I have researched and scheduled for us. And yes lucky03 sometimes I do feel we should "drink up" and get going. However, I do find the more we travel, the more I seem to relax and just take things as they come. I continue to do extensive planning in advance and make up an itinerary for our trips, but seem to feel less bound to do everything I've laid out for us. Still have some disappointments about things missed, but less so than before.
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 06:59 AM
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Do what you enjoy doing and the heck with the rest. You have nobody else to please but yourself.

However, the ones I feel sorry for are the "unprepared" tourists who don't know what there is to see and do and expect it to leapt out and grab them upon. Asking the hotel desk clerk "what's cool to see and do" as your main sightseeing plan is a recipe for frustration and disapointment.

Plan ahead and you can see the sights and relax and people watch. Don't try to do one at the exclusion of the other.
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 07:25 AM
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I always make a tentative itinerary for each day in order to be sure we fit in all the things we absolutely want to see in each city. I have a few "must sees" on my list for each day, and then a few "if we have time to see" items.

We really try to accomplish the "must sees" each day and take the rest of the time to stroll, people watch, enjoy sitting in a cafe or two, and just soaking up the local atmosphere. If we still have time to see the other items that day...great! If not, no big deal.

We find that this enables us to make sure we see the things that are important to us, along with giving us time to relax and enjoy other things, as well. I agree that part of the cultural experience is just hanging out and watching the world go by.

So, be sure to enjoy yourself and don't feel guilty, Lucky!
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 07:31 AM
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I'm always amazed at the people who are sightseeing maniacs while abroad, yet don't bother to see the sights 10 minutes from their homes.

Ask people in L.A. if they've been to the following:

Huntington, Gamble House, Bradbury, MOCA, Ennis-Brown, Norton Simon, Schindler House, Cathedral (new downtown) etc...

Mostly you get blank looks and zero responses.

I like doing both: however, I usually limit my cultural visits to under 90 minutes, and no more than two, MAX, per day.

I'd rather spend two hours in PECK than two hours in the Louvre.

Another option is to keep revisiting the same places.

Coachboy
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 08:48 AM
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As the James Taylor song goes: "Try not to try too hard, it's just a lovely ride. The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time."
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 08:55 AM
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lucky, the more you travel, the more you will relax about these things. Someone once said you should always leave something unseen so you will have a reason to return. Perhaps that will assuage your guilt.

Or you could just drink more wine.
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 09:01 AM
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I have a couple of female friends who really don't enjoy spending time in museums. They joined us in Paris for a week a few years ago and weren't looking forward to hours at the museums which they felt they simply would HAVE to do. Funnily enough, they arrived the week of the big museum strike. All the museums were closed. They were probably the two happiest people in Paris.
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 09:04 AM
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Forget about feeling guilty!! Enjoying the ambiance of a cafe, sipping that glass of "vino" and watching the world go by is perfectly acceptable. I always take at least one of these "mini-breaks" daily when in Europe. Personally, I think you get much more out of a trip if you are not constantaly running yourself into the ground trying to "see it all". There's nothing like visiting a site or museum and then relaxing over a coffee or glass of wine and more or less processing what you've just seen. Don't worry about an hour of "down time"!!!
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 09:09 AM
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You need to talk to your shrink if all the above posts didn't do anything for you. Are you Catholic? Then guilt is a part of your upbringing.
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 09:17 AM
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... ah, Marilyn, wine is the answer to a number of issues. More wine equals more enlightenment. In Italy, one may take a morning glass in the shadows. To me, it is the right idea.
 
Old Sep 8th, 2003, 09:24 AM
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I agree with all the above. Dont feel guilty, people watching is the fun part of travel. It is hard to see everything in cities like Rome and Paris , and as long you were able to see the main sights , why worry about it? For myself I am a go..go..girl, and need to keep moving, and perphas after 20 minutes in a cafe sipping wine, am ready to go to the next adventure. Could be that perphas, because I grew up in Europe, I am used to people watching, and therefore, to sit in a cafe is not a big deal for me.
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 09:26 AM
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I agree. It's your vacation, your time, your money. Do what you like and enjoy.
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 10:03 AM
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I certainly feel better after reading the above posts! On my trip to Europe last year, I also felt that I had to see as much as possible (in case I never got a chance to return, since there are many other places I long to travel to). After I got home, I regretted not spending more time relaxing at sidewalk cafes watching the world go by and reflecting on what I DID see. Fortunately, I will be going back to my favorite places and will certainly take the time to relax and just enjoy being there.
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 12:37 PM
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It's so true that some of the best travel memories are the ones where you're relaxing and not doing much of anything. Fortunately I've never had a problem doing just that. I try not to plan more than one major site/activity per day with the rest of the time allocated to just walking around, dining, shopping, etc.

CoachBoy,
I've been to all of the places you listed with the exception of the Ennis-Brown and downtown Cathedral. What is the Ennis-Brown?

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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 04:47 PM
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I definitely have had this problem and I get rather irritated if my schedule doesn't go as planned. However, now that I'm planning my trip to Paris, I want it the exact opposite- I'm planning time to just relax! I know I'd feel guilty about relaxing if I were relaxing instead of seeing that church I had originally planned. Like Statia said, I plan the things I HAVE to do that day, and then leave the thing I'd like to see at the end. If I make it, I make it. If I don't, it's not a big deal. I'm also planning a day for Paris where we can go back to things we feel we didn't get enough time with, which should be helpful too.
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Old Sep 8th, 2003, 05:00 PM
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I understand where you're coming from, lucky. I, too, am a museum nazi. My husband always complains that he needs a vacation to recover from our vacations! Me? I don't feel satisfied unless I collapse from pain and exhaustion at the end of each day.
Coachboy is absolutely right- at home I am the laziest slug you've ever seen!
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