Whether curiosity killed the cat is irrelevant, because Park and Petersen say curiosity is one of the top five character strengths (2009). They define curiosity as “taking an interest in all ongoing experience.” You should take that interest with you when you travel.
Curious people are able to enjoy more of life, including vacation. Curiosity while travelling is the difference between having a pleasant experience and having an interesting experience. Curiosity causes you notice Parisian café chairs set side-by-side, facing the street—the passing parade is the entertainment. It makes you ask, why? And when you experience this, it leads to more curious things. Did you encounter anyone local in Paris who wasn’t wearing a gorgeous scarf? Curiosity has you noticing the way Austrians stack firewood—perfectly—like the stacker used a micrometer. Could it be pride, or plain function?
Talk to the locals, order the daily special and drink what is on tap. Locals know the best spots to eat, what to see, and what to drink. Introduce yourself, ask a question, demonstrate curiosity. Curiosity will have you listening more keenly, tasting more intently, and feeling more deeply; in short, it makes your vacation more interesting. You will seek more answers, broaden your understanding of new surroundings, and discover more about yourself. You will uncover patterns, unpack history, and intensify your understanding of how and why things are the way they are. These logged observations, answered questions and fresh experiences can inform both your work and personal life. What you learn travelling might unlock some sticky business problem or help you unravel a knotty challenge just by applying what you learned while traveling.
All because of curiosity.
Curiosity, as a way of life, can apply to daily interaction with family, friends and colleagues. It applies to your daily routine, your evening and weekends. Park and Petersen say it will build your character. I say it will give you an amazing vacation and help you collect many curious stories.
Rather than a switch-off on vacation: switch-on to curiosity.
By Timothy Fowler
Before Timothy was fulltime freelance writer and traveler, he led a team of professional managers at a fortune 500 global company. He remains curious, and he writes about experiences. You can read his blog at www.timothydfowler.ca or follow him on Twitter @Timothydfowler.
Nansook Park & Christopher Peterson (2009) “Character Strengths: Research and Practice,” Journal of College and Character, 10:4, DOI: 10.2202/1940-1639.1042 Link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.2202/1940-1639.1042 Accessed February 17, 2017
http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/11/01/cure/ Accessed Feb 17, 2017
http://www.samueljohnson.com/curiosit.html Accessed February 17, 2017