The other day someone sent me this article: “In Praise of Wandering ‘Over There'” by Fuzz Hogan. It’s essentially all about how travelers, with so much technology, aren’t really “wandering” any more. He says that with the help of Google Maps and Yelp travelers are ensuring they don’t have “an unexpected experience.” When travelers can ask what restaurant to eat at, what place to go or what hotel to stay in travelers are experiencing “the familiar, free of surprises, free of mystery and free of accidents.” Hogan seems to think that by using these resources we’re missing out on the great parts of travel…. Is he right?
After reading this article I thought back to my past few trips and how much or little I really used my iPhone, and what I used it for the most. Not being a ‘Yelp-er’ I didn’t use it at all, but I did rely pretty heavily on Google Maps to get me from place to place. Looking back I thought did that take away from my trip?
Zach using Google Maps to get us around Montreal
I think that Hogan does have a point. I think if you get too set into a schedule with a list of every museum to visit, every restaurant to eat at, etc. that it is, as Hogan calls it, “two steps removed from a cruise“. I think it’s very important to just get lost in a new city, to drive and pull off at things you see along the way, stay in that cute hotel, talk to locals, eat at that hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Set your way of life on your trip apart from the way you live at home. Try new things! Eat new foods!
The hotel my dad and I found on a tiny drive on Route 66 by using our eyes, not smartphones!
I don’t think that it’s necessary to not take any advice, though. There are many things that I would have never seen if it weren’t for travel-bloggers who share things they’ve found or friends who had the “world’s best pizza” or that tiny museum or site that a fellow-traveler told me about in passing.
Another thing to consider is where you are. There are places that you can wander easily, and places that you don’t really wander through. For instance, wandering in NYC, Florence or Paris are easy to wander in because they’re vast and there are a million things to see all across the city. However, other cities, like Chicago, aren’t cities that you really get that wandering spirit in.
I think I will keep asking for some advice and using Google Maps to get around, but I still think it’s unbelievably important to turn off your smartphone, close your guidebook and open your eyes! Like Hogan says, “Getting over your instinct to structure your time leads to so much more fun. Accept that two of three times will be strikes, but if the third time is a hit, then it was worth going up to bat. The wonders of the world await your accidental arrival.“
What do you guys think? Is wandering dead? How do you decide where to go on your trips?
Photo from Pinterest
For more posts and travel articles I find interesting ‘like’ the For the Love of Wanderlust page on Facebook. Simply click HERE.