Travel, but don't just be a tourist.
The best places I have ever been were the places where I just lived as the locals did. You know, the stuff you do here: going to a grocery store, taking a long drive and wasting gas with no particular destination, eating at fast food restaurants, or taking walks around the neighborhood. Some of you might be judging me and thinking, why spend money or why waste your time to go somewhere else if you are just going to do the same at home? It's just different. You stand out, the smells, the people, the language, the customs. It's all so different.
The best tip I could give about traveling is to get in touch with an organization or a company that you may be curious on how it's done abroad. When people ask me which countries I would go back to my mind goes back to the places I loved living a normal life or built relationships with.
Here are my top countries in random order:
- South Africa
Why though? Because these are the countries that I was able to invest relationships and authentic experiences.
The summer of 2014 my sister and I traveled throughout Europe and to this day I don't have a huge desire to go back. We were mainly tourist on that vacation. We saw a lot and checked off everything we wanted to see, but I wasn't too happy. It could have been a combination of being nervous to travel completely by ourselves, that my sister and I bickered for the majority of it (sorry Gaby), or the fact I was thinking of home rather than enjoying the destination that I was at. I was young and dumb and we have to live and learn.
However, I would say I was most happy when I finally arrived in Spain. I have reflected and asked why and the answer is because I spent authentic time with my cousins, ate were the locals ate, and just lived life. It breaks my heart to hear what happened to Barcelona recently, because that is one of my favorite cities that I was able to visit.
I can't deny that tour groups are convenient and I also realize that not everyone has connections around the world. I'll be the first to admit that I have played the tourist card. All I'm saying that from my personal experience I have had more fun when I don't. I encourage you the next time you go somewhere, call up a local orphanage, school, health facility, and just see how life is different or maybe the same. If you think that you have to get special permission or authorization to do a short term visitation, well maybe you haven't traveled far enough, because there are many places in developing countries that I have been too that just would love the help :)
Tell me blog followers, where have you traveled to and what tips can you share about being more than just a tourist?
These are the things I had to say.
Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/p-442942/?no_redirect