I grimace at the thought of all-inclusive cruise packages and tours that take you from their point A to their point B in a frenzied compression of time to complete predetermined itineraries. Traveling like that may be comfortable for some, but it will invariably keep you in a bubble that prevents you from having magic happen to you, something to write home about. Why would you travel to stay in a fenced resort, far away from the local community where your contact with the local people is reduced to superficial talks with the cleaning lady and bartender?
This is my take on allowing yourself to be blown away while traveling. It’s not a one-size-fits-all to do list.
Leave excess baggage home
Travel light. It allows for flexibility which will come handy if you decide to take a side trip especially on public transportation. Most importantly, dump all mental baggage you may have. Stereotypes and preconceived ideas about places, people and their customs will cloud your ability to immerse yourself in the unknown.
Avoid jam packed schedules
Avoid whirlwind and punishing schedules of “must-see tourist stops” which will surely prevent you from having a real time. Instead of visiting every city, choose to know one or two places well. When people see you a few times in their neighborhood or establishment they will open up to you and have normal conversations of their daily lives.
Let your curiosity run wild
Horse milk, wolf blood, crickets, worms may be just a bit too adventurous, but eat at the local market, try the street food. Go watch a local show in the park, visit a karaoke bar, find out where the locals hang out. See the beauty in the strange or unknown. Be proud to say that you were the only tourist around.
Plan time to just sit and watch
Don’t rush time. Instead of burying your face in your mobile phone or tablet sit down, have a cup of tea and just watch people go by. There is a lot of fun in people watching.
Widen your world
A major airline uses ‘widen your world’ as its slogan. I think it’s genius. Let’s create our own paths in places others have overlooked. Don’t settle for the same old routines but find joy in the unfamiliar. Dream more, dare more, dig in and let magic happens during your travels.