This is your first time abroad. You want to see everything, as in all of it. This was the mentality that I had when I studied abroad for the first time in London. There was so much to see in Europe, and I wanted to see everything!
How would people know I was in Paris if I didn’t take a picture in front of the Eiffel Tower? It didn’t happen if you don’t have a picture on Instagram or Facebook, right? This is partially true; you should definitely take as many pictures as you can. However, the pictures should be more than just boxes to check off. They should be renderings of the laughter, tears, and the feeling that one day you could look at and laugh about. Worry about that perfect lighting and pose for that “candid” picture, but make sure your smile is also genuine because you are enjoying the city.
While I studied abroad in London, I was able to travel to Bath, Stonehenge, Windsor, Paris, Scotland, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, and Barcelona. It sounds very impressive when I say it fast. I went to the last eight cities in two weeks. It was as exhausting as saying the entire list. I spent two days in each city, and I felt like I spent that much time traveling between each city. I did see the world, but I didn’t get to experience it. When I got to a city, exhausted, I walked and explored because I wanted to see as much as I can. After the two weeks of backpacking, I wanted to sleep for a week.
During my second time studying abroad in Australia, I chose a few cities to visit and spend at least three days in each city. The first day was to recover from traveling, the second day was for exploring and enjoying without worrying about getting up early to leave the next day, and the third day I was content with my time in the new city and ready to leave.
So when you are planning you travel plans, consider the experience not just the picture with that monument.