Why I’m choosing in-depth travel over country counting

When you’re backpacking it is so easy to get caught in a conversation that involves a mention of the amount of countries a person has been to.

Sometimes people feel like they need to one up everyone else but proving how much of a better traveller they are (because it’s a competition apparently).

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A roadside stop in Norway

I think if people are out of their comfort zones and traveling – whether solo/backpacking or on a tour – then that’s fantastic.

It shouldn’t be a contest.

If you’re in any major European city during the summer chances are you’ll see a coach bus packing with a tour groups which aim to take in the best sites in X amount of time.

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Admiring the night lights in Portugal

Certain individuals don’t have the time or funds to be overseas for a long time, or they simply don’t want to.

That’s their choice and that’s cool.

However, the one thing I really took away from my 7 month trip in 2014 is the love I have for in-depth travel and spending as much time as I can in each country until I feel like I’ve really gotten a glimpse into what life is like there.

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Henna beachside in Morocco

This year I have a five week break between semesters for university.

In travel addict terms this means of course, how can I possibly use this time to full capacity?!

My first thought was returning to Europe and seeing more of the Balkan area in depth.

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Partying it up with other travellers in Greece

After planning a rough itinerary I realised if I cut out a few things and spent a few less days in some destinations then I might just be able to squeeze it all in.

But then I realised what’s the point in that?

I hate being rushed and after having done a few tours myself in the past and really enjoyed them, what I want most now from my travels is the freedom and flexibility backpacking offers.

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A beach day in Montenegro with the locals

So I scraped that idea and decided to go off to Malaysia for three weeks next month!

When I booked my insurance with an old travel agent friend of mine she was like…3 weeks in just Malaysia??

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Tapas in Spain

But honestly I am so excited and feel this may not even be close to enough time to get to everything I want to there however I think it’ll be a decent effort.

When I was away last year most of my favourite memories came from the countries I managed to spend at least a couple weeks in (France, Italy, Greece, the UK, Croatia, Morocco and Spain) and even if it takes me longer and I’m not ticking through the country counter as fast I really don’t care because traveling deeper is what I plan to continue doing from here on out.

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A wedding in Montenegro 

Of course even a few weeks isn’t enough to really get to know a place but being able to get to a few different destinations in a country and see more than just the major sites is what is important to me.

Because I believe there should be more to see than just a capital city and saying you’ve ‘done’ a country since in my opinion these are rarely the jewel of a country.

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Local transport in Dubai

A lot of people could do without worrying so much about how many countries they tick off a list quickly and focus instead on learning about and enjoying a new culture more.

I can’t wait to share some stories and pictures (I just got a GoPro too so I’ll be playing with this new toy while I’m away) from Malaysia when I return at the end of July – stay tuned!

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The vespa life in Italy

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3 thoughts on “Why I’m choosing in-depth travel over country counting

  1. This is so funny because my friend and I have a two week holiday coming up and we thought about where to go and went for Malaysia. And then we realised that two weeks were nowhere near enough and we had to cut out half of the places we would have wanted to see. We only have those two weeks so we don’t have a choice but I totally get how you could spend three weeks or much longer than that in that country!

    • So well put! I originally thought I could manage with two weeks in Malaysia but you’re right, there is just so much to do there. With a fortnight you’ll still have a good time and see a lot. Definitely don’t miss Penang though (and the Perhentian Islands if you can make it all the way there)! Hope you have a great trip 🙂

      • I really wanted to go to the Perhentian Islands! But it’s the other side of the country and no matter how long and hard we thought about it, we had to scratch that place from our list. We are planning on going to Penang, though, and spending a couple of days there so we have enough time to visit Georgetown, do a cooking class and explore the island.

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