Many people say a picture is worth more than a thousand words. The easiest way to travel while capturing every moment is thru taking the road slowly, enjoying one’s culture, living life to the fullest, and feeling beyond sheer seeing the most wonderful sights even at the shortest time possible.
Several months ago, travelers became acquainted with the infamous “Slow Travel” concept so that they could veer away from the usual sight-seeing peek-a-boo itinerary in the hustle and bustle of the place they’re visiting.
Slow travel advocates were not adamant in the success of their spiteful proposition: one only needs to travel at a slow pace much like what Armstrong did when he stepped his feet on the Moon way back in 1969. Instead of spending his or her holiday spree around France’s entirety, a faithful follower of the Slow Travel would spend a number of weeks perhaps months, inhabiting random areas, roaming around through cab or train and not thru plane, building a routine, and residing temporarily in selected areas. One could only wish to never let this dream end once getting back into the reality of life.
The slow travel proposition may really be that demanding but don’t fret if you can’t achieve every bit of its ideals—try educating yourself about the place’s heritage and culture, commune with their daily living and most importantly, “feel and breath” their air and not just get your eyes full with wonderful sites in their place— all these and more even at the shortest yet most satisfying trip.
Choose your home base
If you have nothing to do with your savings left in the bank, instead of just keeping them for your future plans in life, try spending and spoiling yourself a little by visiting at least two or more cities just beyond your local residence. The only downside is the hassle of checking in a hotel, packing up your bags, moving things past your other baggage and then checking them out, packing out and moving things out from your travel bag. This is especially so when your precious time is too consumed in framing a good itinerary for a much-deserved city-hopping activity, not to mention, your trip wouldn’t be that relaxing.
One place is enough to sooth your vacation. Make it your own home base and make yourself busy by exploring the little things there are around the cities and nearby areas. Simply knowing that you get to sleep on the same bed in the same place where you woke up that day helps you in becoming more aware and familiar with the environment. Take a quick look of the citizen’s daily activities and become worry fee with the logistics of your safe and happy vacation.
Get an apartment
Now that you finally have a place to lodge in perhaps within a couple of days, it’s better to choose staying in a hotel over staying in an apartment. By doing so, you get to see how people in the nearby areas operate their lives and how they perform their daily activities.
With too much luck in your hand, you might get to know the most interesting person in your neighborhood and gain some friends along the way (unlike hotel employees who often boast of the glitz and glamour the city you’re visiting has). Dining tops off the grand vacation get-away; why not try to cook and prepare your own meals and feel guiltless about the life’s most wonderful surprises? These are all available in the nearest market area in your place!
What are the pros of renting an apartment? Besides from the fact that you get to pay your lodging at a low price, it also caters a wider space versus other types of inns. One another reason is the security to your privacy that gives you a feeling of coming “home”. You would always want to have the same things around you in your home when you leave them–that is something a hundred of artist-inspired hotels can’t give.
Develop a routine
One might find it weird to create his or her own routine for a well-deserved travel adventure. Traveling is about making new paths; about walking–it is something experiential. You get to love the idea of walking the streets as if you’re a local and not a tourist bidding hellos and his to every people you meet along your way.
It also doesn’t mean going back and forth to the same spot where you were for the past several days—what it means is that regularly doing so makes you more than a tourist in that tourist place, thus becoming a “regular” along the streets of your place.
When you go out, make it a habit to introduce yourself to people you meet in places such as pastry shops, coffee havens or even short drink bars. In this way, you get to earn a good friendly conversation enough for you to be able to make them help you make the most out of your stay by simply allowing them to spill the beans about the city’s best.
Be on a first-name basis with the bar tender and he may give you directions to a “hidden” hot spring and may result to an invitation for a free stand-up paddleboarding lesson.
Out and away from the center
It’s no mistake that the city’s center is the main event of a good visit in a foreign land. Spending most of your time in the city’s center is not a surprise but don’t be too be blinded with the city lights for there are more wonderful places to visit beyond the city’s center. A good mixture of people from all levels of the social class can be found beyond the city’s center; this way you get to have a good estimate of a larger population’s customs, beliefs and practices.
Indulge yourself with some paper works by checking on local blogs and checking available online resource, where available, like the Yelp or ask for pieces of advice from local residents to get an idea of their “beyond-the-city-center” lifestyle.
Cliché as it seems, you need to move out from where the usual things are; the place is a nicer place to visit when you get to see how the locals celebrate their wonderful lifestyle while happily communing with all the other tourists interested beyond the glory and gold of the city’s center.
Get to know the locals and ask for their advice
It is not comfortable when tourists ask hotel concierge for information and recommendations about where to stay best and where to go best; that’s the job of the locals of a certain place. Hotels only know the market of the city; but we know its life. Half of the time, hotel staffs are instructed to give only minimal information about other places and inns in the city to benefit their own markets.
If you want to know about the best meals in town, the locals are the most reliable source.
Pick the best destinations and activities
One thing you need to accept is that you cannot see and do everything when you slow travel. On the brighter side of good things, missing few museums on your way or cutting one of your activities in your itinerary will not crash your game plan.
Every single day that you’re out to explore the place, focus on one thing that highlights the day’s plan. Then trick yourself by not following what’s on plan, go downtown and discover what anything that interests your tour savvy soul.
Choose just one thing that really makes you happy and that which wisely consumes your time, rather than seeing bits and pieces of the whole thing. Why not enjoy a short cooking class along the streets of Barcelona’s Boquiera bazaar? You have your camera but don’t just point and click at the Recoleta cemetery, it’s not too good to just dash in the interior and exterior walls of the place. You can imagine yourself as a laboratory mouse traversing a maze within its high walls, decode inscriptions and know more about the locals who first lived in the place where you’re at.
Take your time, stop to explore, make conversation, and ignore the clock. By going slowly, you might find you’ve made more memories on a short trip than you would trying to squeeze long list of to-do’s into several more days.
Create an illusion of your own time, pause and explore, find someone to converse with and forget about the ticking of the clock. Through doing these, travelling is more worthwhile for you make more good and wonderful memories by simply knowing that you didn’t rush yourself just to see what you want to see to meet the demands of your travel plan.
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