What is the downside of travel made easier? Tourist crowds interfering with eco systems and speeding up the climate change, to mention a few. My intention in this blog is not to inspire people book more trips but to travel better and make the most of it when they do.
A holiday in the sun is nice, in the full meaning of the word. But does it give you the feeling of living fully, or does the feeling fade with the memory during the long Monday hours right after return? Do you feel guilty each time you fly?
You can travel to beautiful, insta-perfect destinations, only to notice they are packed with tourists and ugly hotels. Just plain ruined, are they not. You photograph the same spot millions did before, trying to come up with a little different angle (I do see myself here).
So your next destination is somewhere no-one heard of. When you get there you are the only tourist locals have ever met, so you feel awkward for being treated like a queen or a witch, plus you feel guilty again for interfering with the life of the locals.
Then you travel to one of those places that makes you feel like "everyone should come here to open their minds and learn to appreciate what they have". You go home and tell your family and relatives to donate money to this or that cause. A year later you listen to your friend tell you the same story from the same place.
Traveling can be an empty, useless and exhausting guilt-trip. It can also be deeply moving, life changing, pro-active and have an actual impact. On this blog I will share ideas and experience on how actually connect with a place and the people in it. Here's a couple tips to get you started.
I love to think that we never pay with our money, we pay with our time. I know it's trendy to say you're busy. It's somehow a must, something that proves we have a right to be here. I tell you there's nothing like sitting 24 hours in a bus just dreaming away while moving from Stockholm to Paris. It doesn't have to be that extreme, there's many alternative ways to travel if you only take the time. The same goes when you reach the destination. Instead of running through spots to take pictures with, sit down and spend hours on a park bench to look at people, engage and enjoy. Also instead of getting wasted within three hours of arrival and waving your charm in front of local faces, spend quality time with the locals.
Make it count
If you're gonna fly anyway, it's useless to feel bad about it. Just make it count. Do something so good for the chance to get too see the world, that it make it a tiny bit more okay. More about this topic coming up.
In traditional travel media you are sure to get tips on where to a) eat, b) lodge, c) take your tourist pics, d) shop and e) go out. I'd say focus on all the rest of it (except focusing on food always tends to be worth it). Talk to locals, let them invite you for a tea, make art, do yoga in a park, help someone rescue a cat from a tree, go see your neighbours grandma. Did I mention talk to strangers?
And just please don't say no. Unless they offer you cooked brain and even then only if you're a strict vegan. Or if it's a creepy ride home they're offering. We all know what happens outside of comfort zone.