One reason we travel is to gain inspiration. We take in the sights and smells, clear our minds, and begin to see things differently – But we are all short on time, so how long does it really take to absorb our surroundings? And does anyone really need to spend more than one night in Bangkok? To determine the answer for yourself, I’ll give you my secret formula.
Travel is unpredictable. I’m probably the only person to have ever woken up one morning without knowing that by the end of the day, I would be going to sleep 6,000 miles away in New Zealand. Even though I left Auckland the next morning, I still remember my first impressions. Have you found that when you visit a town for a night or two and keep your eyes open, you can get a real sense for a place that you never would have from any other way? What do you remember from some of your shortest visits?
In order to double your understanding beyond your initial impressions, try to stick around for ten days, meet some local people, and get immersed in some kind of activity. I’ve learned more about the Caribbean people from trying to get a flooded underwater camera repaired at the harbor than I ever did from other travelers on a dive boat. What events have caused you to learn something unexpected from spending 10 days in a foreign location? The rule of ten follows and another doubling of knowledge comes after the first 100 days -think about the last time you moved to a new home, did it take about three months to get mostly settled?
If you are logarithms enthusiast, you may appreciate the name I gave to this phenomenon “the Log of Travel,” which states: To double the value of your initial experience, you need to increase the duration of your stay by 10.
As the moss begins to grow, there are fewer novelties and it takes longer to get much of a gain. The next doubling takes about three years, and may involve finding a job, making some friends, and subscribing to the local paper before we can reach another plateau. After that, I have not tested this on mice, but I suspect the next doubling will probably take three decades. Maybe this is the amount of time it takes to truly master your craft too. To truly get inspired, talk to a centenarian, but that’s another story.
Everyone says to travel to gain new inspirations – but few think about the effect of the length of their stay. Please double check my math and comment about how travel has inspired you!