Why the Small Things are Important When You Travel, Travel Thursday

I know that most of us tend to focus on the big things when we plan our trips; visiting Westminster Abbey, seeing the Eiffel Tower, hiking the Grand Canyon, these are the things that trips and adventures are planned around. While these are exciting and fun and worth the Instagram stories and Facebook posts, the small moments from travel are really what stay with us long after we are back at home and in our normal routine. The little things are what is important and meaningful and today I’m chatting about why!

Small Things Matter Travel

You Can Connect With the Locals 

I find that there can be huge disconnect with local experiences on both ends of the spectrum- some people are unwilling to deal with anything outside of their comfort zone, and some people go to outrageous lengths to try and experience what locals do. Well, locals work and raise their family and pay taxes and generally live every day life there and it’s not going to look like your brief trip. However, taking the scenic route, putting down your phone, and opening your eyes can go a long way. This is a cottage that we passed on the way to the Cliffs of Moher- the other side of this house had the cutest older couple enjoying tea in the morning together, complete with warm wool scarves. Now, I’m a Canadian weirdo and I always wonder how people spend their time outside in a regular climate where people don’t regularly die from hypothermia and frostbite- I spotted people all along the way enjoying time outside. Albeit with scarves and wraps, but just taking a few moments to enjoy the fresh air. Had my eyes been glued to my phone, I would have missed that!

Irish cottage.jpeg

You Find New Perspectives

As a historian, I am a big researcher. I typically visit places that I am interested in, that I’ve read one, if not several books and articles on before I actually set foot in. While I find that it does enhance my own experiences, it can also mean that I get a lot of repeat information when I’m there. However, it’s very much in the quieter moments that I find I will find a new perspective and a new way of thinking that hadn’t occurred to me before! In Kensington Palace, the exhibition in the Queen’s Apartments was on court life in the late Stuart period. I am fascinated with the Stuart and Georgian periods, particularly in regards to court life, and I tend to focus on the excitement rather than the personal aspects. However, this small, small part of the exhibition really stuck out to me- a simple house of cards. Yes, court life would have been exciting. It also would have been unstable and precarious and a simple breeze could have sent everything tumbling to the ground. A new perspective is always welcome, and you never know what might change for you!

Kensington Palace Drawing Room Cards.jpeg

You Can Learn Something New 

I know, I know, after what I just said about the research and everything, learning something new seems like it might not be the most common thing for me when I travel. I tend to learn more “small but interesting facts” rather than entirely new subjects to research and learn about. (Yes, that is fun for me….) However, every once in a while I’m suddenly sparked by something that I see that makes me want to bury my head in the books and learn something entirely new! Another Kensington Palace find- a map of the history of tea. Obviously I’m a huge tea drinker, but I actually knew very little about the history of tea itself. (I’ve got to hand it to the Historic Royal Palaces curators, they are incredibly creative and effective in their exhibitions.) Being given a new topic to explore and get excited about is a big deal for me, and it makes me want to travel for my mind. There will be trips for pure relaxation where thinking is exactly the opposite of your goal, but there will also be trips where it’s all about what’s happening up top!


You Can Rediscover Your True Love

I love Christmas for everything that it can be- warm and cosy and time with loved ones and great food and busy happiness. While I absolutely loved my year living in Dublin and it came to be my second home, I still struggled with homesickness and everything that goes with it. When I’m stressed or tired, I tend to curl up into what is familiar and comfortable (as I think most of us do). Although I had a good amount of time at home for Christmas holidays that year, the lead up to the holidays was very different- no snow to get in the feeling, different traditions, and none of my family there. So, when my mom and I visited Edinburgh together, it was great to travel with her and have someone familiar. And it was even better when we walked by a Nutcracker Christmas shop and it reminded me of everything I love about Christmas. Even though you may be far from home and possibly even feeling a little overwhelmed, you just might spot the one thing to put the wind back in your sails!

Edinburgh Nutcracker Christmas Shop.jpeg

How do you find quiet moments alone when you travel?

Until tomorrow,
The Historian!

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25 thoughts on “Why the Small Things are Important When You Travel, Travel Thursday

  1. Antony'M 37 October 26, 2017 / 1:09 am

    i Like it !
    J’aime beaucoup cet article, surtout ce petit magasin de jouet pour Noel !!!
    Merci beaucoup pour ce bon moment


    • anhistorianabouttown October 27, 2017 / 8:58 pm

      Oh merci!! C’était un magasin mignon et je souhaite désespérément pouvoir y retourner! (Pardon my French, I’m rusty!!)


      • Antony'M 37 October 28, 2017 / 12:25 am

        Ton Français est très bien, ce petit magasin aussi 😉
        Bon weekend et prends soin de toi.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. amindfultravellerblog October 26, 2017 / 5:01 am

    I totally agree with you here Jess. I think as I get older the bigger things, like the Eiffel Tower etc, don’t seem to matter as much. Don;t get me wrong, they are still things I would love to see, but it’s being with the locals or in smaller towns, observing everyday life and appreciating the smaller things, that mean much more to me now.Great reflection here. Xx


    • anhistorianabouttown October 27, 2017 / 8:56 pm

      Thank you, Lorelle!! When I think of London, I think of seeing the dogs running and playing in Kensington Gardens. And when I think of Dublin, I think of my walk to Tesco for groceries each week and watching the leaves fall slowly off of the trees (so much slower than they do here). It’s the little things that define us, and I’m going to keep looking for the little things!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • amindfultravellerblog October 27, 2017 / 9:00 pm

        Beautiful memories. That’s a great way to look back and appreciate the little things in life. Have a wonderful weekend lovely. X

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Emma Jane Healey October 26, 2017 / 5:28 am

    Such a useful post! I study history so like you I often research places before I visit, I love being able to put my reading to use and seeing the sites for myself, being able to use my knowledge to understand the place more!


  4. Traveling Shana October 26, 2017 / 12:57 pm

    I love taking the time to connect with the locals. Some of my favorite travel experiences occured by doing so.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. josypheen October 26, 2017 / 1:46 pm

    I totally agree with you!
    I also find that the relaxed moments, like chilling in a cafe or just strolling around without plans can be really memorable. yay for the old Irish couple and their tea. It sounds like my mum and dad.


    • anhistorianabouttown October 27, 2017 / 8:44 pm

      I’ll totally admit to loving the big moments- Hampton Court, Rock of Cashel, the Fairmont in Banff, all V. cool!! However, the time spent on a quiet walk or a rest in a park stand out just as much 🙂 And I think that I definitely need to visit your parents, please 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Ritu October 28, 2017 / 8:12 am

    I agree! Totally appreciate the little things more than the big when we go out travelling x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lutheranliar October 28, 2017 / 8:18 am

    I’m definitely on the same wavelength! When I was younger, and a runner, I found running through neighborhoods a great way to get ‘granular’, as it were. Now I do the same thing, only walking. Actually, the walking works better!


    • anhistorianabouttown November 11, 2017 / 7:06 pm

      Walking through new neighbourhoods is the perfect way to discover new spots and great photos 😀 When I lived in Dublin, I would go for walks all of the time!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. angelanoelauthor October 28, 2017 / 8:26 am

    Really enjoyed this post! The insight on the house of cards and the simplest glimpse into the lives of the people whose homes you’re passing on the way to somewhere else speak volumes about how connected we all are–past and present, continent to continent.
    Thank you for the lovely reminder to find the small things.


    • anhistorianabouttown November 11, 2017 / 7:07 pm

      Thank you, Angela!! I think we can all appreciate when visitors realise that they are using and enjoying our homes and regular spaces (in the general sense), and that this is our every day. I believe that there are an infinite number of connections to explore!!


  9. You Can Always Start Now October 28, 2017 / 8:31 am

    Totally agree it is often the little things we remember when we travel. Recently in Ottawa with my sister and we did a two hour city walking tour. Talked to lady from Germany and exchanged emails and when she got to east coast we met up for supper and a walk. Now that is part of my Ottawa trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Candace October 28, 2017 / 8:58 am

    Such lovely finds. Like you the little things in life are often the most fascinating

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Em Linthorpe October 28, 2017 / 2:29 pm

    Oh, I agree so so much with you. My favourite memories from my last overseas holiday (to Greece) were not only the day sailing on the seas, but attempting to buy simple things in a little shop with my very dodgy Greek! And stroking all the beautiful cats that wandered around the villages. Or having to stop the hire car on the mountain road for 20 minutes while hundreds and hundreds of goats crossed the road. Silly things that will stay with me forever 💙


    • anhistorianabouttown November 11, 2017 / 7:11 pm

      I have to say, one of my favourite memories of Hampton Court was seeing someone fall over when they turned around and saw Henry VIII (or should I say, his actor) standing right there with a crown on haha! And wandering along the embassies along the road that leads to Kensington Palace and seeing SO. MANY. armed guards when I was just a tiny history nerd walking!!


  12. Dani October 28, 2017 / 2:53 pm

    Hi! I’m coming over from the Blog Party, and love your post! You have some great points and your photos are lovely. Thanks for sharing!


  13. Thewanderingdarlings October 28, 2017 / 6:48 pm

    Such a fab post!!! Really loved the part about finding different perspectives. This is one of my favourite things about Travel and agree it doesn’t make for a social media update but it will remain with you in so many other more important ways. Loved it


    • anhistorianabouttown November 11, 2017 / 7:14 pm

      Thank you so much, that means so much coming from you!!! I would love for that to be a movement, for people to share all of those little moments!!


  14. fragileyetfearless October 30, 2017 / 2:34 am

    I agree! Usually the things I remember most from trips are the small things like talking to locals. I feel like I get a better cultural experience by spending more times in local areas than at big attractions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • anhistorianabouttown October 31, 2017 / 9:09 pm

      I agree, you can get a much better feeling and experience if you try to find the genuine rather than the manufactured!

      Liked by 1 person

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