I’ve read quite a few “must-do” blog posts recently. What happens is that they look interesting, I open them, read (or skim) them, generally feel an agreeable sense wash over me. Then something feels wrong, and I go “What/why?”
Here’s my “must-do”:
You MUST DO what you like.
So why am I blogging about this?
Well as much as people hate those who may buy a Lonely Planet guidebook (or Rough Guides, or whatever is accessible & popular in your area/destination) there is a reason for popularity. Just like how people hate cliches because quite a few are true.
If someone says that the must do for an area is a museum or art gallery, but you know they just don’t interest you, then make the choice not to go. Personally, I’m not much for art. I’ve just never gotten into it. I can look at something, think “That’s nice” and it can be out of my head a few seconds later. When I was in Paris, we went to see the Mona Lisa. Why? I’ve got to say I really didn’t care. That may be abhorrent to some people. But from my point of view, we wandered around a building to see something small and, well, it looked exactly what all the photos of it show it to look like. That time could have been better spent on exploring the city or another tourist attraction entirely. Not to mention the hundreds of others trying to squeeze up close to see the painting too.
Naturally, if you are travelling with companions, compromises will end up being made, and that’s just the downside (of many positives) to travelling in a group.
If you are travelling on your own, then you have the freedom to set your itinerary and see what you want to see. Maybe you’re a person who loves to get to know a city via its public transport system. You’d probably avoid cabs.
Travelling on your own means you can see and do what YOU want to.
The biggest problem I see in ignoring a must do list is making sure you try new things. The freedom of travelling on your own may trap you into repeating the same few things in all places. So remember to push yourself to try something new from time to time. It might turn into your new favourite thing.