Germany and France: Travel Recovery and Reflection
It's been nearly one month since we returned home from our vacation to Germany and France and I am finally feeling like I have my life together. Only seven days into our trip, my body rebelled in ways it never has before. I'll spare you the horrible details, but I would not wish that illness upon my worst enemy. Once we returned home, I was still less than 100%. A quick trip to the doctor informed me I experienced a particularly vicious case of Giardia - a type of food poisoning. (Fun fact: I most likely picked up here in America before going abroad.) A week after returning, all I wanted was to sleep and watch TV. Laundry - forget about it. Cooking - hell no. Luckily, just in time for Halloween, we mustered up the energy to decorate the house for all the little characters around our neighborhood.
During the time of recovery, when I had no motivation or optimism, I had quite a bit of time to reflect on our trip. How was this trip different from others? What was the same? What would I tell my friends and you, my lovely readers, upon my return? I couldn't gush about Germany's amazing food scene. I didn't want to lie and tell you that Paris changed my life. But that's what many people expected. And yes, it took me a month to dig deep and find the words to tell you the truth about Germany and France.
We spent 10 days in Germany and 7 days in France. By the end, exhaustion both fueled us and wiped us out. Illness, extensive walking, cigarette smoke, and crazy weather really took the wind out of our sails. We packed in quite a bit of sight-seeing during our time in each city and while we loved it, it brings me to the point of my post today: It's okay to dislike a destination.
What's to dislike about Germany and France? Well, that's just it. There was nothing I inherently disliked - no experience or single moment in time to seal in a specific feeling. Digging deep into my vocabulary here, something about this trip was very meh. Of course there are some stand out moments, but they did not outweigh the average. Some of you might think we're jaded after all our adventures. A small group of you might even think I'm elitist for not liking these two countries. But after quite a bit of reflection, here's what I think: At some point, all the things you feel are obligatory, are not the experiences you need.
At some point in your travels and even in your life, you start to wonder, does doing this make me a better person or enhance my happiness? If the answer is no, don't do it. And definitely don't do something you don't truly want to do, especially while traveling. Sure, that may seem selfish, but one bad experience can leave quite the sour taste in your mouth. Following our trip, the hubby and I realized the things that motivate us to travel and the reasons we continue to explore and experience new places. Whatever your motivations are, stay true to them. Both while traveling and in life.
Overall, I really did love our trip and our experiences in Germany and France. Some of my favorite memories happened on this trip. But during my reflection, I realized some people aren't that lucky. They take a trip or have an experience and they hate it. I'm glad that hasn't happened to me. And I certainly acknowledge my sickness and stress over family events back home played a role in my over all mood. Regardless, it's important to share feelings about travel: good, bad, and ugly. Those of us who have been bitten by the travel bug need to find our community to share our stories and experiences. We need to know it's okay to not like a place that everyone else seems to love. Because understanding and accepting differences is what travel is all about.