Travelers tend to make quick judgments about the places they visit as soon as they arrive. It’s a practice that allows one to quickly adapt to different environments and puts a focus on first impressions. The first differences you see, hear, and experience as you leave the airport or drive across a border. We’re told that first impressions are the most important but much of what we learn about a place occurs when we’re getting ready to leave.

goodbye stop

Suddenly the destination behind us becomes familiar while the road ahead is the unknown. Don’t neglect the final moments and make the most out of your last impressions by slowing down to notice them.

Focus On The Process

man with SLRReflecting on the changes of your perceptions about a given place from the first moment to the last, lets you to appreciate the familiar before you leave. You can experience sites, restaurants, and towns more like a local by revisiting places you’ve been and not cramming your final moments trying to see everything you haven’t. It’s tougher to do on shorter trips but spending some time to reflect before you jet off will extend and enrich your experience.

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Reconnect Before You Disconnect

Explore the things you haven’t tried, foods and places for example, in those final days. Those are the things you’re most likely to remember. Don’t be satisfied with first impressions or base you conclusions on them alone. If you happen to be staying in a resort get out of it to see the area just outside or visit a local market and chat with people. How many times have you been somewhere and not spoken in depth with someone who lived there?

  • Frequent travelers strive to absorb all they can in constant motion but can neglect to see the things only visible when you slow down or simply stop.

The process and change that occurs between your first and last impressions – and observing that process – will give you more insight into the local culture and yourself as well. Your final moments in a place are the best ones to look back right before you have to look forward, don’t disregard them.

[photos by: Peter Kaminski (goodbye stop), [Magec] (man with SLR)]

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