Most people have a particular aim when going abroad on holiday. The term ‘holiday’ evokes thoughts of relaxation and sightseeing. However, although that is the general idea, when it comes to choosing a destination as a target where to spend one’s time, and not to mention one’s money, other factors start to come into play.
Some individuals just want to get away from it all.
They want to leave behind the incessant, boring, almost ritualistic routine of everyday life. They need to take off their shackles and turn their backs to the myriad of hassling minutiae which, little by little, build up towards that indomitable mound of mood swings and nerves, more commonly known as stress. It’s easy for them, since not having any other aim, they might as well log onto the first low-cost airline they find, and choose a place at random.
Others have something more concrete in mind. Perhaps they’ve had enough of the sea and sun for a while, especially if they’re Maltese or Mediterranean, and prefer to spend their free time in some mountainous cold country. Or perhaps they love the sea, but would like to experience some different version of it, and so jet off to other climes, such as Tahiti, the Himalayas, or the Seychelles.
And what about those whose target is to party, party, and then party some more? These usually choose clubbing destinations like Ibiza, Aiya Napa in Cyprus, or Barcelona.
Then there are those who simply cannot spend a year without going to London, Paris or Milan at least once, especially during the sales period, in order for them to stock up on the latest fashion and revamp their wardrobe.
These, I am sure, are all worthwhile intents for the holiday maker. However, I personally feel that the most interesting and enlightening objective for undergoing any kind of voyage is what is called historical travelling. It’s not hard to deduce what this kind of expedition entails. If you’re planning a trip to Versailles, the Pyramids of Giza, Dublin’s Trinity College, the Vatican or Stonehenge, and if you’re interested in discovering a historical path which traces back the origins of humanity and its steps and evolution, then, like me, you are one of those culturally thirsty individuals who, apart from viewing the beauties of nature itself, are also fascinated by the greatest riddle ever put upon this planet – humanity.
Unlike those who merely pick any location for its tranquillity, or its number of clubbing venues or shopping centres, historical travellers have to plan their vacations carefully. Not only do they go about this geographically, but also according to the given time frame. Generally, when a historical traveller plans a trip, s/he firstly chooses accommodation which puts him/her at the centre of things; at the cultural centre s/he is staying in. On the other hand, if a car is being rented, it is important for one’s main accommodation to be at an equidistant spot where the sought-after castles, cathedrals, and monuments are relatively close. The target with culturally-oriented holidays is to sightsee as many locations as possible in the time allocated.
Image: Coliseum, Rome
When I’m about to travel to a country which is very rich in historical sites, I usually try to plan a day-by-day itinerary. Apart from taking into account the distance of the site from my initial starting point, I also check the opening times of the places I want to visit, as well as ticket prices. This is very important, since it would be terrible to drive for two hours in order to visit a particular castle on a Saturday, only to find that it’s normally closed during the weekends. Blessed be the internet, for its wisdom allows people such as myself to check such things beforehand.
It is true perhaps, that historical travelling takes more time and energy to plan than any other kind, since one must consider more factors and issues, such as the specific protocols of certain venues. The rewards however, are well worth the effort. In the end, even if you are not a history or a culture-buff, and have, for example, travelled to Rome mainly for the shopping, I bet you would still not pass by a chance to visit the Coliseum. After all, some opportunities only pass by you once, and certain wonders are well and truly not to be missed.
Do you like to travel?
What kind of traveller are you? Let us know in the comment section below.