How Do You Travel? Getting There vs. Being There

What kind of traveler are you? Are you the kind who likes to travel and enjoys the voyage or the kind who would rather skip “getting there” and would prefer to just “be there” already?

I pondered this question on my recent day trip to the Amalfi Coast, and along with notes on the Cherrye molester, I wrote the following in my journal.

I woke up this morning at 4:30 AM, prepared for my stint along the Amalfi Coast, packed a small day pack, threw on a hat and headed to the train station.

“I don’t know how you do it,” my husband told me. “This would not be fun for me.”

“What do you mean?” I ask him, shocked at his revelation.

“It is going to be so stressful … rushing there, spending all day on the train, worrying about catching the last train back … that is no fun,” he explained.

But I beg to differ.

The adrenaline rush you feel when the train pulls from the station – the people watching – the children playing – finding ways to occupy your time in between each mountainous seaside city.
I *love* that.

My husband *so* does not love that.

So it made me think.

He loves the scent of a new city, the taste of foreign food and the thrill of a new destination as much as I do, but while he enjoys these experiences once we are there, I embrace the voyage.

So what does this mean? Am I more of a traveler because I enjoy the travels? Is he more of a vacation-goer since he relishes the destination?

I don’t know the answer, but it’s food for the weary traveler’s thoughts.

And speaking of thoughts … what are yours? Is someone who enjoys the journey more of a traveler than someone who just wants to “be there already?” Or does it really matter, since in the end our travels – while many of us share them with the world – are really just personal explorations of how we see ourselves on the global stage?

So more importantly, I’ll ask you. Which kind of traveler are you?

19 Responses
  1. I’m a traveler but how much I enjoy the trip to my destination depends on how I’m getting there.

    Flying from L.A. to Venice, 15 hours in coach…not excited.

    Traveling from Rome to Positano, very fun. Driving from NYC to Martha’s Vineyard or Maine…loved it! For the latter driving 11 hours or so didn’t bother me because I love road trips and New England is so pretty.

    Air travel has become so unpleasant lately I don’t enjoy flying anymore. When I was younger our family went to St. Martin for the summer. I loved everything about it. Going to JFK airport, flying and arriving at the old SXM airport which had character. Now the planes are over booked, service sucks, you can’t bring anything over 3 oz on board, prices are high. etc.
    I agree things have gone down. I am usually so excited to be GOING somewhere, I can overlook a lot. I havent flown Continental in years but will be flying them in a few weeks. I need to check back in on there rules, etc.
    nyc/carribbean ragazza’s last blog post..What’s Cooking Wednesday – Easy Roasted Potatoes

  2. Joanne at frutto della passione

    Ever since my son was born, making the journey stress free for everyone has meant oddly enough, slowing down. So that means stopping more often on long drives, longer lay overs when flying or taking trains and bringing lots and lots of stuff to do. So we have become people that enjoy the journey and make it part of the holiday.
    Yea! Good for you for making sure you still enjoy the trip. Those are great tips for traveling with kids.
    Joanne at frutto della passione’s last blog post..File these under *WHAT WAS I THINKING?*

  3. I go to the Grandprixs in Europe and always travel by coach..

    because it is a group tour but also I don’t mind travelling overnight on the coach, I actually like stopping at the French service stations on the morning of our arrival, having breakfast, chatting with new the end of the day, we know who to look out for..

    For my husband this would be a nightmare, he doesn’t even get on a bus or train in the UK..
    That sounds like so much fun. I would love that, too.
    anne’s last blog post..Google Map of Our Holiday

  4. I think I am with your husband on that one. I hate the journey when it involves late flights, dragging suitcases on cobblestone roads or rushing on a Friday night to get to the airport to find the flight is cancelled! I would love a time machine to get us to the destination (especially if it is going back home to Australia on a 20 + hour flight).
    But we do have a fun ritual we do where on the way home we go through all our favourite moments, fave restaurants, fave food etc we experienced on the trip.
    Great blog 🙂
    Thanks! I like to talk about all of our “favorites,” too and recapping the vacation. Making sure I remember those memories … ha ha

  5. I’m definitely a person who enjoys everything that comes with traveling…even the 10+ hour flights and long stopovers to refuel 🙂 I live near the airport and anytime I see a plane I think about how badly I want to get on a plane again so it can whisk me away somewhere. I am the happiest person in the world with a suitcase and ticket in hand. The getting there is all part of the adventure in my opinion! 🙂
    I love being in the airport, too! There is so much energy there.
    LuLu’s last blog post..My Family Tree

  6. I certainly enjoy being there more than getting there but there is an excitement about the trip itself as long as it’s a smooth trip. Waiting at the train station in Calabria for a train that’s 1 hour late, then 1.5 hours late, then 2 hours late…. not that fun. Happy Thanksgiving Cherrye!
    True! That sounds like part of my Amalfi trip, actually!

  7. You know, I was thinking about that recently (oh dear, this means my comment will be uber long) – 9-10 years ago, when I first lived in Washington, my parents lived in the Netherlands. I would get such an adrenaline rush from leaving work at 3.30/4pm, with a small carry-on bag, doing a subway/bus trip to Dulles airport and being on the 6.20pm direct flight to Amsterdam for a 4 day weekend. It was so easy at the time — not to mention inexpensive compared to now(the flights were $270 to $330)– and it was very low-drama. I think 9/11 completely changed air travel for me. The prices – gone; 35 min from arriving at airport to boarding an international flight – gone; being able to carry on luggage easily – gone. As a result, my insouciance for the process of travel is gone if it involves airports (even with domestic travel). That said, making things more leisurely (ie taking the day off the day of travel, instead of cramming travel at the end) helps with that feeling – and like NYC/Carribbean Ragazza, train or car travel seems to work better for me. Ultimately, though, I think my love for the travel itself is not quite what it used to be.
    How awesome you used to get to visit your parents so often. I can see how all of these new rules have dampened that. I’m sorry, that stinks for you!
    City Girl’s last blog post..What’s Cooking Wednesday – Whole Wheat Pasta with Bacon

  8. I am definately a getting-there type of traveler. I get the biggest rush at airports, train stations and bus terminals because I know that the journey is taking me somewhere exciting!!Even the journey back home is to be savored because it’s the last connection to the vacation and the memories.

    All this travel talk makes me want to plan a trip!!, here I come! 🙂

    Have a great thanksgiving Cherrye!
    ha. Too bad Orbitz won’t send me a check for those subliminal messages!
    Anait’s last blog post..Love Thursday: Positano, A History: Take 2

  9. Like Arlene I think it depends on how I am travelling. If I were to take the train up or down the Medi or Adriatic coast I would relish the ride to my destination. I love that the tracks move along the coast so much of your ride has a sea view – heaven! A 9 hour transatlantic flight with a cranky husband and swollen feet (because I am old now and my feet hate planes) not so much! In this case I just want to be there already so I can de-swell my feet and un-crankify my husband!!!
    LOL. You actually bring up another point – that people who don’t like the “getting part” part can bring those of us who do enjoy down. That is not fair, is it?
    Paola’s last blog post..Hero worship

  10. My first trip to Italy was for three nights. Now I’m thinking about going to NYC for two nights. When going to Amalfi this summer I chose to fly into Pisa and travel the last part by bus and train rather than flying directly to Naples.

    I guess it’s pretty obvious which category I fall into. 😀
    Yep. You are like me. You just like to “go!”
    Annika’s last blog post..a real wild child

  11. For me it depends. If I have to worry about making connections on a grand scale (I mean internationally) then I don’t enjoy it–same with if I have a lot of luggage (you know, like internationally) 😉

    But if I just have a bag and if I happen to get stuck somewhere I won’t be unsafe, then it’s cool. Bring on the travel!
    Yea, too much luggage can definitely take the fun out of it…
    michelle of bleeding espresso’s last blog post..a message from luna and stella

  12. um, are my kids involved? Because that really changes everything! I love the thinking behind this post though. I’ll have to give it more thought while we are on the road tomorrow… I usually love the first few hours, until the kids wake up, and then I wonder why we bothered leaving the house in the first place! Ciao & Happy Thanksgiving!
    Ha! I’m not saying a daylong road trip through southern Italy with my two (yet to be born) children wouldn’t change my mind! lol
    Karen’s last blog post..Thanksgiving Day Car Trip

  13. I am mostly with your hubby C. Don’t enjoy it if it is stressful. For me, I feel anxious along with the excitement. Unless I am driving or heading someplace simple. But yeah a new place, on long flights or maybe connections. Just beam me up Scotty 🙂
    Actually, I also feel nerves when I fly, too but I don’t know why. It may be because 75% of the time I am leaving people I love, so the “nerves” may be more that than anything travel-related.
    My Melange’s last blog post..Italian Beans on Toast

  14. Mostly, I enjoy the being there more than the getting there. But there are parts of the getting there that I like as well. For instance, I hate air travel days (because air travel pretty much sucks), but I love train travel days (unless I have to run for a train while carrying luggage) and I like road trips (unless there’s a time limit in which I have to get to my destination). So basically, I think I like both parts unless there’s some kind of time crunch. Then, yeah – that’s no fun at all.
    Ops, see … I would even like running for a train … probably!
    Jessica, WhyGo Italy’s last blog post..Sardinia Town Named #1 Emerging Destination for 2009

  15. I wonder if it’s an Italian male kind of thing. As I was reading about Pepe’s response, I thought, “This is Marco to a T!” For example, I love little weekends away, where his philosophy is why go to all the trouble and just be gone for a day or two? Whereas I think — oh it’s so fun and you get a charge just by being somewhere for a little rejuvenation. I’d rather be able to go for a little while than to deny myself the pleasure because it can’t be longer.

    I love packing, all of it. The anticipation is part of the enjoyment for me!

    Your weekend up in Amalfi is the perfect example. Marco, too, would have thought it was not worth the trouble, where I would have luxuriated in the change of scenery and the chance to see friends.

    Fun post!

    Happy Thanksgiving Cherrye!
    That is funny, Kim. There have been other times I’ve wanted to go stay a night in the mountains or something and he doesn’t think it is “worth” the effort/time/money if we can’t stay longer. It *does* sound like exactly like Marco. Mah!
    Kim B.’s last blog post..I’m Thankful . . . .

  16. Vanessa

    I love travelling. I especially love flying, although I have to agree with everyone else that all the new security regulations are a pain in the a**. I don’t generally like interacting with other people while I travel (eg i don’t want to strike up a conversation on a long haul flight with the person next to me) however if i am on a road trip with friends there is nothing better than hours spent chatting in the car/ bus etc. I like watching everyone else in airports and train stations and wondering where they’re going and why. I like being able to read, listen to music, sleep or do whatever in peace. I even generally like airline food!!

    However, travelling with a kid has totally changed all that. Now it takes about 10x as long to pack, and every eventuality has to be planned for. Especially with frequent delays and traffic etc in Italy. I can manage travel fine with my daughter but i need to do lots of planning, packing and then spend most of the trip time ‘entertaining’. It has taken a lot of my fun out of the trip – not to mention how exhausting it has made travel. Is still worth it though, especially now my daughter is as interested in travelling as me!
    I imagine it is a big change to go from traveling as a single gal or young married couple to a couple with children. I think it is great that your daughter loves to travel, though. Great gift you have given her!

  17. I’m a traveler and my enjoyment of the trip starts with the planning part. I enjoy the flight and excitement of starting the trip but missed connections, crying kids, and delays can definitely try and put a damper on the beginning of your trip if you let it.
    I agree with you. I LOVE the planning part, too and I get a thrill when I have actually booked!
    Ice Tea For Me’s last blog they got here

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