Travel Quote Tuesday | Preparation

“As with most things in life, what you get out of a trip is equal only to what you put into it. Learning about a place is part of the excitement of travel. Without prior preparation your experience is diminished because you miss the significance of what you are seeing and doing.” ~ Barrie Kerper

This sentiment is a central tenet of the way Pete and I like to travel.

Whether we’re visiting a city or place with a rich history, or an area known for it’s wildlife and natural habitat, or a country with a culture very distinct from our own, our trips are enriched by investing some time preparing for our visit, a large part of which is learning more about what it is we’ll be seeing and experiencing.

I’ve always loved history, so city break holidays often include reading up on the city’s past – allowing us to not only put historic sites into context, but to appreciate the different waves of influence on cuisine, culture, and architecture. As I’m particularly focused on food, learning about and trying local ingredients and dishes is a huge part of many a trip.

When it comes to wildlife and nature, it’s not just about spotting a particular animal or appreciating a pretty landscape, but learning about and observing typical behaviours for the different animals, seeing how various aspects of a habitat are key to an animal’s survival, watching how the individual interacts with others of its own kind as well and with other species… or discovering why ice bergs in the Antarctic are such a deep blue and how the amazing shapes and stripes are formed… or seeing (and feeling the heat of!) volcanic activity after reading the theory.

Cultural learning is another joy, whether it’s understanding the significance of different elements of a Japanese temple or shrine, or why the life and culture of hill tribes in Thailand differs from cultural practices elsewhere in Thailand (and properly appreciating just why the Thai people have so much love for the late King Rama IX).

Are there places you’ve visited where your experience was improved by learning more about the significance of what you saw and did?

Braga Old Town - “As with most things in life, what you get out of a trip is equal only to what you put into it. Learning about a place is part of the excitement of travel. Without prior preparation your experience is diminished because you miss the significance of what you are seeing and doing.” Barrie Kerper

Braga and nearby Porto are both wonderful cities for travellers who love to learn about history, not to mention enjoy excellent local cuisine. This photo is of the Episcopal Palace of Braga, in its historical old town.

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18 Comments to "Travel Quote Tuesday | Preparation"

  1. toti

    I completely agree with what you are talking about the cultural learning. I love to know more about things, places and people. Looking not just at places but at the architecture and the tradition are the best things to do while travelling. I want to discover Southeast Asia because I am in love with their way to go forward with the traditions even if the World is changing.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Apart from some short visits a couple of decades ago, we’ve only properly visited Thailand and Japan, with a short trip to Taiwan and a few days in Hong Kong. I’d love to explore more of South East Asia too!

    Reply
  2. Dallas Prevost

    What a fantastic quote and post, Kavita! I completely agree. Your trips are enriched by investing some time in learning more about what you’ll be seeing and experiencing. It adds context and a deeper level of understanding and appreciation.

    Both river and ocean cruise lines – especially the premium and luxury ones – understand that many travelers want activities more stimulating than poolside lounging or shuffleboard. To that end, many offer onboard enrichment programs so you have a way to engage your brain between ports.

    Cruise ships commonly provide destination-themed enrichment programs for their passengers that provide insights and information intended to deepen your understanding – and enjoyment – of the time ahead, and perhaps encourage you to engage with your destinations in a way you otherwise would not have. They provide onboard lectures designed to shed light on your destination’s art, architecture, music, geopolitics, natural world and more. Guest lecturers could be regional destination specialists, naturalists, sports and entertainment stars, authors, archaeologists, former diplomats or news correspondents. The lectures end with a question-and-answer session, allowing you a bit of interaction with these esteemed guests.

    Most river cruises, and many of the premium and luxury ocean cruises, routinely include a complementary tour in each port with expert local guides who lead the tours and inform you about the local customs and sights. The provided audio headset frees you to listen to the commentary without having to crowd around the guide.

    As a fellow foodie and gastronaut, you would love one of the many culinary themed cruises! Most of these enrichment programs offer hands-on cooking classes led by a professional chef from world-class culinary institutes. Several ships offer an onboard cooking school where you will experience firsthand how their chefs bring distinct, local flavors from market to table. While at sea or on the river, you’ll learn to cook dishes highlighting an upcoming destination. On port days, you’ll accompany the chef to handpick ingredients at a local market, then learn how to prepare regional dishes and create elegant three-course presentations. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to shop, cook and eat with the masters!

    One cruise line also offers an enhanced culinary arts program featuring foodie tours uniquely designed around 25 individual ports. These culinary discovery tours may include a visit to an artisan cheesemaker, chocolatier, vineyard or fish market. They also incorporate mini-lectures, demonstrations or lunch before returning to the ship’s culinary center or a local restaurant’s kitchen for a hands-on cooking class related to the tour’s theme.

    Wine sailings feature knowledgeable instructors, certified wine sommeliers, winery owners and professional winemakers. During these wine cruises you are immersed in engaging wine seminars, wine-pairing dinners, and wine tasting events. The world of grape varietals and classifications, terroir and tannins are explained by wine masters. On shore you’ll visit famous chateaux and private vineyards.

    So, you might think of the buffet, pool, and shows when you think of cruises, but some offer wonderful learning experiences as well. Plus, there’s the added bonus of only having to unpack once yet awaken to a new destination and experience each morning!

    I’ve already pinned your post. I’ll also share it in my Facebook travel group of 4.5K members who particularly enjoy travel blogs. Thanks for making my job easier and for inspiring the theme of my next blog post(s)! Best wishes and happy travels.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Thanks for your amazing comment! I can’t wait to read your next post, I look forward to it.

    We’ve done a few cruises where instead of the usual entertainment of shows, casinos etc. the experts on board give lectures on various aspects of what we’re about to see, including history, geography, anthropolgy and lots and lots on wildlife. We’ve done this kind of trip to the Galapagos Islands and also twice to Antarctica. Much more our style of travel than the dressing up for dinner type cruise with those big shows. No criticism to those who enjoy it, but they just aren’t our cup of tea.

    Reply
  3. Shane Prather

    Agreed! Totally have this mentality about all aspects of life. Especially when seeing the world that it becomes important. But I don’t like too much preparation because it’s fun to be spontaneous at times!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    What we tend to do is research and plan in advance, the itinerary and accommodation being organised in advance. Then for sightseeing and activities, I’ll create a shortlist of what is there in each place, and we decide on the day what we feel like doing according to our mood and the weather. In a few cases, we’ve done last minute switches to the itinerary if we want to stay a day extra or leave a day early and can sort the accommodation out so we don’t pay twice for the same night.

    Reply
  4. Aisha

    I absolutely love this quote and agree with your sentiments exactly. Everyone wants something different out of a travel experience but their experience can only be a rich one if they put the time and effort into learning about their destination.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Hi Aisha, I think it’s great to have what you see and do and experience enriched by knowing the context!

    Reply
  5. Vaisakhi Mishra

    I so agree with you! Ticking off touristy points or just appreciating beauty of a place (nature or architecture) can be fun, but getting the story behind the place can make the place memorable!

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Exactly so! Of course many travellers can and do have wonderful experiences without that background research or knowledge, but for me it helps me appreciate it even more!

    Reply
  6. Michelle M

    I am a huge planner, and I like to make sure I don’t miss out on experiences in a city. I have a lot of friends who will just wing their travels, which is also fine, but I’m worried that without careful planning, as the quote mentions, you may miss out on the significance of where you are.

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Yeah there’s something to be said for spontaneously winging it, but for me, I would miss from that than I’d gain I think… especially since although I plan heavily, I don’t schedule a daily itinerary, so we have plenty of scope to go with what we discover and feel like on the ground!

    Reply
  7. Linda

    We try and research places before we visit. It makes us a bit more engaged when we are looking for specific things. Or talking to the locals about things we are interested in learning more about. But sometimes it is nice to just be surprised! When we were in Beijing last week, our tour included a stop at the Forbidden City. We were so busy that I had no idea what this was. Imagine my total awe and delight when I saw acres of imperial palaces. So sometimes, getting surprised can add a little too!

    Reply
  8. Tami

    It’s true. Even though I had studied a little about what I would see in Florence, Italy, I wished I had learned more about the art and the Renaissance artists. I later read a book about the building of the Duomo there and I was so sad I hadn’t read it before I went! The more you learn before you go, the more you will get out of your visit.

    Reply
  9. Medha Verma

    Although I completely agree with you, I know so many people who love to just land up without any prior preparation and research and just, you know, wing it! I cannot ever go on a trip like that however. I love reading up about it, it’s history, what to do and see there, etc. Else I’m afraid of missing out on some really key experiences.

    Reply
  10. Vicky and Buddy

    I think it is a good idea to research before you go. I feel like while you’re in a city, you may get a bit of information while at attractions, but usually you’re rushing to get to the next place too, so you might not fully understand what you’re looking at. I understand there are some people that like to be spontaneous and “wing it” but I definitely think you get more out of your travels if you know a bit before you go.

    Reply
  11. Christina

    I think it’s certainly true you get back what you put out in life and travel. But, sometimes, the joy of travel is in the unexpected things that happen too. Going with the flow can create some amazing experiences.

    Reply
  12. Kate Flores

    I can feel this quote and very true with me. I always JUST care about taking photos when I travel on the first, second and third time. Looking back to my misadventures, of course I can always go back to THOSE places but the excitement of the first chance was all gone. Ive learned a lot and now I even have notes with me to point out the historical sites, etc’s of everything!

    Reply

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