Rural versus Urban Travel

Or why a trip to the village is just as important as a trip to the city

I’ve been lucky to travel around quite a bit and having family spread out in multiple countries definitely makes that easier to do. One thing I’ve noticed time and time again during my travels is how different life is in the city as opposed to the countryside. And that’s an important factor in travelling that we should all be aware of.

Obviously, urban living in a large city is going to be different than rural living in a small village. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. But what does seem to be often overlooked by adventurers is just how much of an impact that difference can make on a travel experience.

You see, spending your time in a city and going to museums and visiting historic sites and other tourist attractions is important. It gives you a chance to look at how the particular culture you’re visiting organizes itself in a big metropolitan centre. You can see how people interact in the city and what the hustle and bustle of city life is all about.

But you definitely shouldn’t skip the view from the countryside on your trip. Although it might be a bit more difficult to find transport to more remote parts of a country and communication might be a bigger challenge as English (or another common language) will be harder to come across, what you get from visiting a rural area of a country is definitely worth the trouble.

Visiting villages away from big city centres offers you a simpler, subtler view at that culture and its people. Life moves a bit slower in the countryside and it’s lived a bit more authentically, away from the distractions that a big city can provide. People tend to be friendlier, even if they don’t speak your language, and there is a greater sense of community because everyone knows everyone else. I’ve found that people in villages are much more accommodating and much more willing to go out of their way to help a stranger out, something that is harder to come across in hectic city life where most people are in too much of a rush.

This strong sense of community that comes from living in a small village somewhere provides visitors with a look back in time. If the city is the culmination of our society and of all that we’ve come to know and be, then the village is the starting point of that evolution. It shows us the calm, slow, quiet progression that has helped us construct these incredibly developed cities that we all love to explore. Paris, London, New York, Hong Kong, Cairo, Sao Paulo, and all the other great names that come to mind when we think of cosmopolitan centres need the towns and villages surrounding them. In the past, they needed the villages to provide the resources that the hungry cities consumed. And now they need them to maintain the roots of the cultures they have produced.

So what does all of this have to do with travelling? Well, the next time you’re planning a trip, consider dedicating a day or two to exploring the quieter side of the country. Visit a village or a small town, even if it’s just on the outskirts of a giant beating pulse of a city. See what life is like from a different perspective and revel in the simplicity that we’ve all come from. Appreciate the quiet and the calm that a village offers, just as much as you appreciate the intensity and the adventure that a big city provides. Remember that our cities are constructed and that they have modest roots in the villages and towns that surround them. And don’t forget to acknowledge those roots because they are just as important when learning about a new culture and country.

Making sure that you take the time to visit both sides of the spectrum will result in a much richer and complete experience in your travels. It will also provide you with a fuller look at the part of the world you are exploring and that’s something every traveller should pride themselves on.

Written by: Sonia Motisca

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