Happy Travel Tuesday everyone! It’s been a crazy day at the office, but I got to spend my lunch break looking at my client’s travel photos of the UK, so to steal his phrase – “it’s all good.” (smile). This month’s Travel Tuesday prompt puts country against city in terms of travel preference. I must admit I’ve had to think about this one a bit. I feel when it comes right down to it, it all just depends on the mood.
I grew up in the country and couldn’t wait to live in a big city. When I was young, Paris was my dream and I simply couldn’t imagine a better travel destination! I’ve visited Paris and quite a number of other large cities in the intervening years and now, oddly enough, I find myself longing for countryside more and more.
When I plan a trip, I normally plan on flying into and spending at least a few days in the city. Not only does this strategy offer cheaper airfare, it also allows me an opportunity to get my bearings. Cities offer a great deal of culture and convenience in one nice package. It’s generally easier to maneuver and, if you’re in a hurry, it’s a great way to get a feel for a place. They also offer a lot of history – the buildings, streets, and sometimes even the form of public transportation available tell you a story about the evolution of a place that can often be surprising. While a countryside may have been settled for years prior to a city being formed, the city generally has a more concentrated feel to that history. It’s also really nice to have options for food, lodging, and meeting people nearby!
But if I have the time or I really want to get to know a place, I plan excursions outside of the city. People who live in the country are different – the lack of city “conveniences” creates a different way of life out of necessity I think. In some cases, it also makes people much friendlier (or nosier, depending on where you are – smile). But aside from the local charmers, the landscapes are as much of a cultural or historic experience as anything found in the city. The landscape could very well be the reason the cities are located in certain areas. I’ve also found that some of the strangest things to see and/or do are often located in the countryside (and we all know how much I love strange things – smile). As an introvert, I find a particular freedom in the wide open spaces that speaks to some deeper part of me. I also prefer landscape photography, so there’s that too (smile).
And in a best-of-both-worlds scenario, there’s my favorite compromise – small towns! I grew up in a small town so there’s a certain level of comfort there. They all have their own stories, societal drama, and beauty to keep things plenty interesting. These days I try to spend a few days in whatever city the airport’s in and then promptly take myself off to a conveniently located small town/village/etc. to use as my base. I get the sense of people and community without being overwhelmed, and those gorgeous countryside sunsets are generally just a few minutes away! In Arizona, one of my favorite weekend activities is to go exploring one of the many small towns nearby. These “outposts” all have their own unique personalities and, on occasion, I’ve certainly felt like I traveled to a different country altogether (smile). They’re great mini-trips that keep the wanderlust at bay and it’s the perfect way to learn about the area I live in – win/win!
How about you? Are you more of a city, country, or small town kinda girl/boy??