How much do you research about a destination prior to travelling there?
I work, I save, I travel. As a result, between my trips, I have plenty of time to read about a place and to get to know it from a theoretical perspective. My idea of recreation is to do geeky things like reading history, looking at maps, memorizing train timings and redrawing archeological sketches. No wonder that, as soon as I saw an opportunity to travel to Turkey, I excitedly jumped into a full-fledged research mode.
↑ 3 travel guidebooks, 3 books on history, 3 “fun” novels, 1 book on archeology, and a Turkish language course. I have nearly finished reading all of this, bring on the next round!
Study, conceptualize, research
I am fully aware that not many folks are obsessed with familiarising themselves with theoretical frameworks before starting a project; any project for that matter. There are several pro’s and con’s to this approach but the biggest advantage I find is the fact that it makes travel more “efficient”.
“But you are missing the surprises and the joys of discovering a place!” says a travel buddy who is big on going-with-the-flow and slow-travel.
But, since I only get to travel for a few weeks at a time, I’d rather spend my travel time on actual travelling and seeing places, everything else done in advance. 😉
This spring I’m going away for seven weeks, traveling to Turkey, India and Nepal. Turkey is one of the countries I was always fascinated with. In addition to some probable genetic connections to this land, I am very excited to checkout the arena where several empires battled their fates. I am even learning the language, look:
“Evet, biraz Türkçe biliyorum. Topkapı Sarayı nerede?”
(Yes, I know a little Turkish. Where is the Topkapı palace?)
Where do I wanna go? Besides Istanbul which straddles two continents, I want to hike in the Mars-like topography of Cappadocia and checkout Aegean ruins along the Mediterranean coast. I have little over a month to plan this trip and to learn to carry a conversation in Turkish for two minutes. After Turkey, I go to India and Nepal where, unfortunately, there is no language learning involved. 🙂
Thanks for reading!