Travel is fun !
Sometimes adventure. Discovery of those different lands and cultures, tastes and mentalities.
Travel can become our teacher and the best friend.
I love the moment when we change atmosphere, the feeling of being on holidays and do exactly what we want at the moment.
We need this escape.
Just travel. Don’t be a one more tourist.
Make friends, not just photos all-over the world. No photo is better than the one taken after a smile, a few words, some tea or wine. People are happy to spend some time with us but they don’t want to feel as they were only an exotic attraction.
Do you make more photos during holidays than in the standard part of life? We do. There are colours, that we want to remember. There are faces never seen before, new traditions, strange architecture and people living in a different way. We need to have it all in our camera. Then, would you appreciate being taken photos by total strangers in the street each time you go out? In really touristic and exotic places it became normal.
At first tourists were something new to local people. They were curious and happy to see those pictures, to have those strangers at home for a cup of tea or coffee. With time and regular touristic groups it became a business.
It’s always good to ask if others want to be on our photos. Some will answer ok and smile, others response will be “no”. Still they won’t feel as in a zoo.
A few words in the local language can change everything. It brings a big smile, some advice to our pronunciation and helps during negotiations. I do note some basic words and phrases before going somewhere. I feel much more in contact with people living there.
Showing that we love the place and people also helps in travels.
Some years ago I went to Smara in Southern Sahara region. We were three friends, working in Morocco and as it was the Aid el Kebir (the most important Muslim holiday), so we had some days off. The region is still far away from being a touristic attraction. The owner of a small pension invited us for a family dinner. Mutton guts were the special festive dish. My two friends declared being vegetarians. The eyes of the family were on me. The preparation was far from tasty for me. Eating with smile I was making everything possible to show I liked it. The family was happy.
Have you ever give a coin to some local children, looking really poor ? I did. Still I know it’s not good for them. It gives those children the impression that every tourist is obliged to give them something. They grow getting used to those easy money and then it can become a way in life.
A coin is nothing for those children. It won’t change their lives. It will only give us the feeling of making a good thing, when it’s exactly the opposite.
If you want to give something to locals, give it to a school master or a local foundation. They will know who should receive it. They can also tell you what make the children happy.
Stay a bit longer than planned in a places you really like. The smallest the city, town or village the more you’ll ll discover.
If you rent an apartment you’ll be living there. You will find not only monuments but people and their lifestyle.
Being a local means eating like locals do. I love tasting even when the taste seems strange, even when I don’t really know what is in a plate. Most of the times it’s delicious. Observing which restaurant or a street food trolley is ful of clients, we know what place is most popular in town.
This way mostly we find the really traditional, local dishes. I had some surprises a few times, staying in a huge line to finally buy a rather normal sandwich. Still it was fun and a discovery:)
Going to a local market just to buy some food it’s a different form of visiting, it makes us living somewhere.
Travelling is fun. Do what you really want, not only what it’s written in a guide.