When I first went to France, I couldn’t understand why the Parisians would pay so much and spend so much time sipping coffee at expensive outdoor cafés. But over the years I’ve come to understand why, and I think these quotes from Anthony Bourdain in TIME capture it:

  • “You can’t take it in, driving by stuff. That’s not satisfying. Don’t be afraid to just sit and watch.”
  • “One of my great joys in places that I love, and have come to love, is to sit and watch daily life.”
  • “You learn so much. You learn so much more about Saigon, for instance, sitting on a low plastic stool, drinking coffee or eating some spicy noodles — just watching the Vietnamese, how they live, where they go, the rhythms of daily life. It’s deeply satisfying, enlightening, and instructive.”

When I travel, I still fight my urges to go, go, go and see as much as I can. But I continue to remind myself of Tony’s sage thoughts on the subject, and to make time in my travels to slow down and take it all in. Hopefully, his thoughts help you, too.

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