Since we both retired, my husband and I have done quite a bit of traveling. Sometimes we take a quick drive somewhere close, other times we are away for several weeks or even a month.
Two years ago, a month-long road trip took us through several western and midwestern states, and included a journey along a good portion of Route 66. Last year, we flew to Montreal, rented a car, and traveled through parts of south eastern Canada, and the north eastern United States.
Although we thoroughly enjoyed these trips and relished visiting a lot of different places, each time we moved on we regretted not being able to stay longer and experience all that a specific location had to offer.
This time, we decided to travel in a different way, one that allowed us to slow down, breathe, and relax into life in a foreign country. For a little over five weeks, we rented a private home in Oaxaca, Mexico and enjoyed the luxury of unpacking our bags just once. The house was within walking distance to the central area: close to activity, shops, and restaurants, but far enough away to provide us with a place to enjoy our own company and recharge our batteries.
By staying in one location for an extended period, we found that our pace slowed and our appreciation for this beautiful city and its culture was allowed to deepen and grow. Because we weren’t on a tight schedule, we started to match – at least somewhat – our rhythm to that of the city around us.
This isn’t to say that we didn’t take a few tours or enjoy other “touristy” pursuits – we did. But, because we knew that we had a lot of time to engage and explore, we also could make discoveries that most short-term visitors would probably miss.
What type of travel do we enjoy more? Our answer is that it really depends: it depends on the location, it depends on our curiosity level, and it depends on the time we have to devote to a particular trip.
We just returned home yesterday and I have already found my pace quickening. I have hundreds of photos to go through and pages of notes to organize. Although I promise to not share everything, I do have enough post ideas, along with pictures of doors, murals, churches, architecture, archaeological sites, celebrations, and many other delights we found in this UNESCO World Heritage city, to keep me busy for a while.