The virtual world is full of inspiring ideas to travel, and people are busy tagging themselves as ‘Travelers’. Even though it sounds as fancy as it can, are you really traveling like a Traveler? Well, if you are not, then you might not be looking at the world closely enough. Do you remember a place so minutely that you can go back there alone without getting lost? Can you guide another visitor without a guide book? Can you guide people to places that are unexplored by many? If not, then re-look deeply into your travel habits and see if you are willing to change. And if you are, then simply follow these tips below, to ‘Travel the world like a Traveler’…
LEAVE THE APP & READ THE MAP
The most basic lesson you need to teach yourself to look at a place like a traveler, is to start following a physical map. Keep your smart phones aside, and go find yourself a local map of the city or the area you are visiting. Follow the directions and explore the roads marked. Somehow with the advent of technology, people have forgotten the simple pleasures of reading a map which gives a sense of knowing the place deeply. As you will walk the roads to find your destination, most likely you will come across some hidden treasures, old shops, and unexplored spots which your apps will fail to direct you to.
TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Its always more convenient to take a quick cab or rent a car at your ease when you are visiting a new place. But in order to take a traveler’s tour of any city, you will have to use the public transport. Take the tube, bus, train or subway to go from one place to another. Its natural to get confused and get lost, but as wise men say – it will only help you to find yourself.
On your way you will come across the real culture of the place, and will get a sense of the local lifestyle such as the local roads, architecture, local clothes and dressing style and also the local feel of the place – the smell, the music, the vibe you get from people. Taking the public transport is the most unique way to educating yourself about the place you are travelling to.
DONATE TO A BUSKER
Most of the times when you visit abroad, you will find a burgeoning busker culture on the streets. Talented locals perform to earn a living by dancing, playing instruments, showing entertaining acts and presenting street performances. Make it a point to stop and experience as many of such activities that come in your way. Be a part of the group and cheer for them. Dance to their tunes and enjoy their music. Donate whatever you can and take pictures for memories. These will be the most memorable moments of your trip and will make you a part of that city’s local cultural vibe.
TASTE THE LOCAL FOOD
Every place is known for its own unique cuisine. In earlier days people used to cross oceans to taste a pizza from Italy, or lust over the luxuries Parisian macarons from the bakeries of Paris. But with globalization coming our way, its easy to get all kinds of food today, everywhere we go. So, break this norm and hunt for the local food throughout your journey.
Try the local drinks, be it a local beer or a drink that is homemade and locally popular. Try the menu that is known to be exclusive to the place and taste the local spices. Make notes of what you ate and how it tasted like. Was the place bland in taste or was it super spicy? What was that one ingredient they put in all their dishes? Get the local recipe if you can. You will be surprised to discover how much the world differs in food and taste.
ASK FOR SUGGESTIONS AND DIRECTIONS
The biggest difference between a tourist and a traveler is defined by the amount of local interaction one makes in order to see a place. A tourist has a set plan of places to see and another plan on how to reach those places. But a traveler takes a map to explore and then asks questions from the locals. Start from asking for directions to reach a place of interest and then extend the conversation by asking for other viable suggestions. If you are looking for a place to eat, then why not ask a local shopkeeper of good food nearby?
These local interactions help you know a destination a lot better than others, as you would know a plenty of hidden attractions that travel companies will fail to put in their guidebooks. And also you never know, who you meet on the road and where these local adventures will lead you to…!
TAKE BACK SOMETHING LOCAL
Tourists take back bags full of souvenirs for friends and family. But a traveler takes back a local memory. Look beyond an inscribed key chain, a fancy fridge magnet or a miniature of a popular tower, and instead hunt for something that is truly local in make and approach.
Take back something that will remind you of the culture of the place, like a carved wooden block from a local wood-smith or a dream catcher made by a local tribal resident. Take back a craft from a cluster in that area or a locally made product from an artisan. Indulge in the process and the making of the product and hunt for something that it truly collectible.