I’m been thinking a lot about different ways to travel – and I have some suggestions on how to make your travel experiences different (if you want it that way) – so head’s up These suggestions are coming your way.
Suggestion #1 – Pick an interesting place to go!
In other words – Get out of your comfort zone.
I once attended a lecture on Eco-Travel – and the speaker suggested that there are 3 ways to travel – The Accidental Tourist, The Eco-Traveler, and The Adventure Traveler.
To his mind – the Accidental Tourist wants home in some other place. Same pillows, same bed, same AC, same food – just a different local. Not my way of travelling of course, but I admit to a touch of envy of those to whom this method works. It’s so easy! Cruise Ships are the ideal for this of course – one room that is yours for the entire trip, a different place to quickly check out each day – but no fear. Nothing really surprising is going to happen – well, maybe the restaurant on board you want that night is booked – but nothing truly annoying.
The Adventure traveller is also not quite ‘me’ anymore. I’m too old to take serious chances – I’m not going to climb Everest, I’m not likely to want to kayak up the Amazon, and I’m certainly not going to sleep on the ground if I can help it. Nope – I draw the line at not having my own toilet. The days of climbing ladders in the middle of the night to go to the oh so public bathroom are behind me – I’m a fan of ending the day in a place I can call my own. But again – I envy those who are willing and able to do serious adventure travel – 24 hours on a train in 3rd class sounded like a lot of fun when I was 55 – but it’s not going to work now that I’m 66. Nope – train travel, while huge fun, is no longer on my bucket list.
Which of course leaves the 3rd option – Eco-Travel. Going off the beaten route a bit – for longer – but not crazy. I chatted yesterday with a gal who hated Bali. She had taken a cruise ship that included Bali – and spent 5 hours on the island. Long enough to find out that the main city is just a big main city – and not nearly enough time to experience any of the magnificent culture, see any of the real rain forest (it’s about 4 hours inland from the port – trust me – she didn’t get there), nor even enough time to decently visit a museum or eat a good meal. 5 hours on an island isn’t even enough time to walk past the touristy shops that clog the area near the port. I don’t blame her for not loving Bali – but I do think she should have realized that the issue isn’t Bali – it’s the result of being an Accidental Tourist!
Ok – so where to go, and how long to stay. The 2nd question is the easiest to answer – as long as possible of course. But I’m guessing like me, my readers have lives outside of travel – and there’s a limit to what you can and can not do. So my suggestion – a week is a bare minimum. If there’s a guide-book to your destination that’s thicker than a 1/2″ – you are going to need a week. If the guide-book runs over an inch in thickness – 2 to 3 weeks is a much better plan.
The guide-book for Bali was about 3/4 of an inch thick – but the culture was so unique and wonderful that 3 weeks was really cutting it short.
So – optimum – 1 week to 3 weeks if work schedule allows. Per city. Not per trip. Don’t try to see a city in a day. Impossible to meet anyone in under a day – isn’t going to happen. And it’s meeting people who live where you are the tourist that makes fun stuff happen!
Now – as to the where… Ah – the Where. My next trip is to 3 cities – none of which are on the ‘unusual’ list – but all 3 of which offer tons of things to see and to do. I’m going to Berlin for a week, St. Petersburg, Russia for 3 weeks, and then Brussels for a week. Not as adventuresome as Bali perhaps – but giving these 3 cities enough time will, I hope, result in interesting experiences.
Time will tell
Signing off – The Soup Lady