To best understand how I travel it is best to go back to the beginning. In my childhood I learned to love travel through a series of adventures called "Kesler family vacations." Growing up, I thought it was all normal... 15 hour road trips without sleep, sleeping in the car when we couldn't find a hotel, skiing 8 hours a day for 5 days straight, hiking to a different waterfall everyday, the list goes on. It wasn't until my siblings and I started getting older and inviting friends on our vacations with us that the "Kesler family vacation" became a description in itself. "Oh, how was your trip?" "Oh you know, it was a Kesler family vacation."
You see, the Kesler's don't take breaks on our vacations. The Kesler's have never spent a vacation on a beach, ever. The Kesler's hike and camp and have twelve hour days. My brother's friend, the first outsider (that I remember at least) to join us on a ski trip often recalls the trip by saying that when we went to the lodge for lunch he was relived that the day was over and he could relax... Only to find that we were only eating for thirty minutes before skiing for another four hours. My dad, the doctor, got limited vacation time and so we were determined to make every moment count.
And so here I am, an adult, venturing into the world, mixing the Kesler family vacation with my own adult personality and those of my friends. In some ways my travel style is my own but the cornerstone of the Kesler family vacation remains--- see everything, miss nothing, never rest (for too long).
Whenever I travel, I want to see everything. Often with limited time, I overbook my schedule making sure that I get the chance to see every attraction and museum that heard about in a place. The problem I'm now finding is how this type of travel wears you down and doesn't really help you to understand a place outside of its tourism hotspots.
Which is why I am aiming to slow travel more, only go to one city per long weekend trip, etc. This past weekend I went to visit a friend in Copenhagen. I set aside four days for this trip and we spent the entire time in Copenhagen. For many people, this might seem perfectly reasonable. But in the Kesler family vacation bible it states, "One may not spend more than 24 hours in an urban center." So, I was committing a cardinal sin. But you know what, it was great. We sat at cafes and slept in (another no-no on a KFV) and walked around a bunch and I truly enjoyed myself. I feel like I really got the chance to see Copenhagen unlike other European cities I have flown through in less than 48 hours.
So that's my new goal. To take it slow. To practice hygge, a Danish word which involves enjoying life through little things like candles and cuddling, to not try to "tick countries off the list" and to take the time to explore each and every place I visit. I don't want to stop the Kesler family vacation style completely, there are many aspects that I love and I would not have traded a single road trip for a weekend on the beach (even though when I was 13 and a brat I would ask "when can we go on a NORMAL vacation??). I still want to hike and camp and see everything but I want to do it with more purpose.
What do I really want to do and what am I doing just because the guide book told me?
Am I going here for a reason or because I want to add the country or city to the "list"?
Am I taking time to breath, reflect, and just enjoy the journey?
If you are familiar with slow traveling, please send advice this way. I need it. XOXO. And here are some ~~not seen on Instagram~~ pictures from Denmark!