Most Overrated Pilgrimages

I wanted to share a list of the most overrated pilgrimages.  But instead of me re-creating the list, I found this list which contains 75 overrated tourist traps.  Find the list here .  From what was shared, here is a glimpse below of some of what is shared on the list.

Overrated Tourist Attractions

  1. The Leaning Tower of Pisa
  2. The French Quarter in New Orleans
  3. Stonehenge
  4. Times Square 
  5. Versailles
  6. Mona Lisa at the Louvre
  7. Hollywood Walk of Fame
  8. Pyraminds of Giza
  9. Trevi Fountain in Rome
  10. Las Vegas Strip
  11. South Beach
  12. The Eiffel Tower
  13. La Sagrada Familia
  14. The Blarney Stone
  15. Monaco
  16. Waikiki Beach
  17. Casa de Giulietta
  18. Niagra Falls
  19. Lombard Street
  20. Epcot
  21. Plymouth Rock
  22. Four Corners
  23. Taj Mahal
  24. South of the Border
  25. Westminster Abbey

The authors admit this list is biased, but swear by their list.   “Yet, we feel pretty confident that the overrated tourist destinations on this list are a total wash. Their lines are long, the crowds add hours to your visit, and the chances of having the time to genuinely take in what you’re seeing are very slim.” 

 In looking at the list, there are some places I have yet to visit.  Therefore, I cannot have an opinion on.  Other places on the list, I now vow to stay clear of.  These places may be full of cheap keychains and teeshirts you buy proving you have been there.    Yet, there are other spots on the list I disagree with.   I had a totally different experience with that was not filled with disgust and frustration, but magic.   I believe when pilgrimaging to any “tourist” spot, there are several questions you must ask yourself.  

Intentional Travel Questions

  1. Why am I going? 

Sometimes we choose to go on particular trips due to how well known these locations are.  The city may have been the backdrop of some of our favorite films or television shows.  We can picture ourselves there.  We feel there are certain destinations every human must visit.  Is it part of the collective call to have a particular experience or do you want to simply check it off the box?  What is brining you here?

2. What are you wanting to get out of this trip?  

This reflection question is linked with the previous one, but goes deeper.  Are you hoping to feel moved and inspired in this location?   Do you think you may note how the land and vibrations of the site impact your body and mind?  Or are you going because it’s Instagrammable?  How do you want to feel after pilgrimaging here?

Travel and Time

3. When are you visiting?

The time of year, week, and the time of day can alter your experience.  Of course we want to feel a particular connection to the site we are visiting, and we may be constrained by opening and closing hours.  But you may have some wiggle room at looking at the time of year you visit.  In addition, the time of day changes everything.   I have lived in some of the biggest cities in the world, and I find my favorite time of day in them is Sunday mornings.  It is during these moments, I realize I can interact with the city all to myself.  I am alone, not rushed, and can have a personalized special experience if I get up early and trek to the site.

4. Who are you going with?

If we are travelling alone to these touristy places, we can alter time of day, week, or year.  But if we are travelling to these places with a friend or partner, know their intentions, mood, and energy can impact your experience.  Energy is contagious, good and bad.  Note if this is a truly special trip for you, can you share this with the person you are travelling with?  Can you talk of how to make this journey more sacred and enjoyable despite the crowds?  Is it possible to have some alone time at this site if you feel really pulled by it?  These are all important things to discuss prior to arrival. 

Travel Disappointment

5. What are your expectations?

Sometimes the biggest problem with going to some of the most beloved sites of the world is disappointment.  We expect to have a spiritual experience, but are met by excessive tourists who are all expecting the same thing.  We have seen particular spots immortalized on film, only to be disheartened to see trash and grafitti that surround the area.  I have found that some of the places I had the greatest expectations of, I have been most disappointed.  The countries and cities I have travelled to, which I never dreamed of visiting and therefore expected nothing, won my heart.  Check your expectations, and note how you may contributing to your own disappointment.

Is Travel Worth It?

If you are reading this blog, I know intentional travel is something you value. I hope these reflective questions were beneficial for you in getting closer towards those intentions.  What destinations do you feel are the most overrated pilgrimage spots?  What do you think you need to keep in mind when planning a pilgrimage.  Share your thoughts below, or feel free to pass this on to a friend or travel companion.

 Check out one of my bespoke favorite pilgrimage locations The Shakespeare Bookstore in Paris here

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