Just to tie everything together, a long trip gives the traveler something that short trips can not give - time. I realize that most people with jobs are unable to do something like this, but many students and retired persons have that essential component, and can take advantage of it. Following are some of the benefits.
NOTE: Due to some health concerns and an unforeseen permanent change in my geographic location, I will have to postpone my 2012 trip (I'm moving). The medical condition will allow me to receive a refund for my airfare ($543.00 RT Chicago-Warsaw), but I hate to miss a super fare like that. I will finish the journal and I will have 15 months to think about whether or not my plans worked. I'm pretty sure that they would.
Moving Day cont'
Moves take time. More importantly, moving days take energy, a calm state of mind, and sometimes, luck. Even in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland where the trains and buses are almost always on time, there can be delays which can be than a little irritating. If I miss a train, it is just about always my fault, and I still struggle trying to maintain my cool. It always seems to happen when the second leg of that day's journey has only two trains per day and they are about six hours apart, and... Well, I'm sure that you get the picture. Things happen...
Moving is work; it's that simple. It is physical effort! First is packing. That is when my suitcase or pack seems to have become smaller. Of course, it's no problem because I can just use a shopping bag or two from Aldi for the stuff that won't fit. That means that I am now carrying my overweight and too full backpack, my camera bag, my netbook case plus my Aldi bag (or two). That is pure insanity and I remind you again, do not return home carrying more weight than you carried when you left! I cannot stress the importance of keeping weight down to a minimum. Even though you will probably be in better physical condition at the end of your trip, you will also tire more easily and quickly after four to six weeks of being on the go. Keep the weight down!
Back to benefits of longer trips. Longer trips allow you to spend a full day moving and a few hours relaxing after your move. Each year I see people burning the candle at both ends trying to use a travel day as a sightseeing day. It doesn't work, and both your body and mind wear down and eventually, out! If you want to do something on a moving day, after you have registered and gotten situated, buy a bottle of beer or wine or soda, and just go to a park, sit or lie on the grass, and relax.
Remember that on long trips or short trips, it is not the cathedrals, monuments, museums, or churches that make a country or city or town what it is. It's the people! We learn more from people, and we learn faster from people. For me, the longer the trip, the more I can learn from and about the people. I do have to continuously remind myself of the old adage: you don't learn anything when you're talking!