By the time I reached Quebec City I’d been on the road over a month and a half, visited five provinces and, aside from two weeks working on a farm, had been in a different place every two days or so. I was exhausted and had burnt through a significant chunk of my travel fund. (I know, I know, first world problems!)
I was ready to do nothing for a while. And the fact that Quebec was in the throws of a heat wave just fueled my conviction.
So I walked around, drank coffee, read books, bummed around at the pool (free entry, yeah!) went to street festivals…and generally had a great time!
But after a few days of this, “traveler’s guilt” started to set in. I felt like I should be doing more, seeing more, meeting more people.
I decided discuss this internal conflict with my hostel roommate, Zoe, as she was doing even less than me but seemed completely unperturbed.
This is what she said to me:
The best way to enjoy a city is to just soak up the atmosphere – notice how the air is different, discover what makes the city tick, get a sense of what everyday people do. Relax and take your time to get to know the city.
This is probably one of the best pieces of travel advice anyone has ever given to me. It reminded me that traveling is about observing, feeling and learning and this can only happen when you do things slowly and reflect on your experiences.