Packing and the diminishing returns of traveling

Packing and the diminishing returns of traveling

On Saturday, I start a 10 day trip to Kyoto and Hiroshima. Different from most trips I take, I’ll only be spending the night in two different locations – 6 nights in Kyoto (probably too many) and 3 nights in Hiroshima.

But beyond a few sites, I haven’t done much planning and I’ve been trying to figure out why.

For one, the appeal of cultural sites has certainly died down since I’ve moved here. Part of the reason is because I don’t have much of a connection to Japanese culture like I do Europe. It’s difficult for me to fully grasp the significance of a Japanese temple or shrine compared to sites like Notre Dame in Paris or the Pantheon in Rome.

On top of this is, the temples and shrines are everywhere. In Kyoto alone, there are thousands. It becomes very easy for visitors to get ‘templed-out’ and each site seems to be slightly less significant than the one before it. Traveling certainly isn’t immune from diminishing returns.

If it comes across that I’m not looking forward to my trip, that’s not true. There’s plenty of things to see in each of these cities so I doubt I’ll be looking for things to do. I’ll just have to be smart on how I plan my time.

I’ve got packing tonight and then the gym on Friday before boarding a 7:15 am train on Saturday. I’ll be taking a small suitcase mostly filled with clothes and of course my camera backpack and tripod.

My budget for this trip is $1500 – a large part which is taking the bullet trains. My hostels are cheap at around $28/day, but it adds up over ten days.

Golden week expenses

At $150/day it’s pretty expensive, but I likely won’t be returning to Japan anytime soon, if ever. It’s a lot cheaper to do it now than return on another trip. Gotta make the most of it while I’m here

4 thoughts on “Packing and the diminishing returns of traveling”

  • Mark: Your photos and blogs have certaintly not lost or diminished in their appeal.
    Being a photographer at heart you probably are aware of this but some advice anyway. Look for the simple things that are different to make each site a new experience. I find I get joy and sometimes amazement by the simplest or tiniest differences from site to site. These can also make for some of the most memorable photo shoots. But enough of the nostalic reminiscing.
    Keep up the great photography and humorous/introspective blogs.
    Living a virtual reality thorugh your lens and “pen”.
    Have a great trip.
    Domo Arigato

    • Thanks Don – that’s really good advice. I could definitely work on my candid pictures of people too so I might use this trip to practice. If anything, I’ll come back having seen some great sights and hopefully a few good pictures.

    • Haha there are three main holidays each year which last about a week long, I just got lucky and happened to be here for one of them. Other than that, it’s a M-F job with lots of personal travel on the weekends.

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