Playing Elite prepared me nicely for not using fast travel.
I think what happened is that they filled the world with junk to scavenge, just like lots of other games, and then had all the junk be *actually useful* for making stuff. So it's scratching the same exploration and hoarding itch as something like Terraria. But is also a decent RPG in addition.
They also have some mostly optional mazelike skyscraper or underground bunker areas that are more of a metroidvania feel, occasionally with some bonus treasure at the end.
And you get to take lots of drugs. Who doesn't love taking drugs?