Life is not meant to be lived in one place. This great and vast world awaits with its hidden treasures to be grabbed and experienced by all of us. It’s so thrilling to realise that how easy and convincing it is now to travel across oceans only to arrive in unknown lands with diverse cultures.
But what’s the point of a good travel experience if you don’t qualify as an explorer? Are you a traveller or merely a tourist in your travels? Is there any difference between a tourist and a traveler? Well, the answer is yes. There is a huge divide between a tourist and a traveler.
Here is how to be a traveller and not a tourist:
1. Ask questions
One of the prerequisites is to ask as many questions as you can about your trip. Do your interests align with your trip? Why are you travelling? What do you want to get out of it? Do you want to plan it or just go for it?
All of these questions are subjected to how creative and driven you are to have a memorable travel experience. One that you will never forget. Remember, your purpose drives everything you do in life. A life without purpose is a life without a destination.
2. Be a denizen
Research everything. Why? Because it helps. Knowing about the culture, customs, speaking local lingo and reading on what the country is like will help you be more local and more in touch with the people there. It is a very impressive trait of a traveller.
3. Get Lost
“Not all those who wander are lost.” said J.R.R. Tolkien. Don’t just go as you’ve have planned things to be. Knowledge about the place is important because you don’t want to feel like you are lost in the woods. And it’s important to know about the amazing things that the place has for you. But don’t box yourself in. Go wherever the wind takes you. As hysterical, dangerous, reckless and exciting as it sounds, it actually is. Just wander off on the streets and interact with strangers because you can’t help it. You have been bitten by the travel bug.
4. See what you’re supposed to see
Take the road not taken, my friend! It does not always mean that when you are travelling then you must see all the major landmarks and attractions without fail. You can always go for what your heart desires and see what you want to see. Make the trip your own beautiful experience.
5. Locals have it best
If you want to be a traveler then you have to be social. Interact with the locals of the country that you are in. Don’t stare at them in a weird way. They are humans too. The more you interact with people, more enjoyable the journey gets. People are similar all over the world. The only difference is the place and the language. So if you get social then you are one step closer to be a traveler. The locals are the best resources to make your experience better. They are the eyes of the place. If you create a friendly environment and respect them then they can enhance your trip all the more. What better way to explore different cuisines then at the place they were given birth. Authentic recipes, rich flavors and cultural garments. Try everything.
6. Break the Stereotype
There is this stereotype that if you go to Paris then you must see “The Eiffel Tower.” Forget about the must-sees. Well, is it really so important? Don’t worry if you have missed some of the most famous places because of the limited time. Be slow and enjoy whatever you see or wherever you go. And in the meantime, don’t think about anything else. Just enjoy yourself and break all those stereotypes and feel the difference.
7. A memento of your moments
It’s a great feeling to go back to your memories if you have something tangible from your trip. A local handicraft, a photograph, a ticket, a local product etc. ‘Materials materializes memories’.
Sounds like a boring and nagging process but it is the best way to keep a record of your beautiful experience. A journal or some polaroids or a vlog if you have the equipments. Just writing in your journal on the trip or right after the trip will help record fresh memories accurately.
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” Terry Pratchett . Cheers to all the travellers of this world!