How long does it take to acclimate to a place? Not just the climate or the language or the way people drive, but also the way you think about the place you left behind to go there, and the way you feel about what you’ll regret leaving when you return. For aren’t these the truest indicators of acclimation? When you’ve lingered in a place just long enough that it seeps into your being?
Most travel is a dalliance with a destination. We swoop in, check the box and dash off to our next destination to check the next box. There’s no acclimation—there’s barely a chance for more than a surface-level awareness of where we are. We see the site, stay in the place, snap the Instagram photo and move on. How can this possibly be considered immersive travel?
It took a full 24 hours to figure out the bells in Italy. It took another two days before I stopped looking at my watch to confirm the time. I imagine another month or two and I’d just know what time it was without ever hearing the bells at all. When we travel we swim in that place’s unique environment either way. Should we stay in the shallow end or dive deeply?
We ought to linger more. Get a feel for the place. Acclimate.