THE SPIRIT OF TRAVELING
Why do people travel and why do they just love it so much?
When babies are born they begin to, of course, develop their senses. You can watch them improve, very quickly their sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing. At some point developing has come to a certain level where they are familiar with the known senses. Being an adult you rarely improve the senses while living on one’s own ground. To see, feel, taste, smell, hear something new… isn´t that the reason and motivation as to why we travel?
Some people never leave their home country nor do they leave their hometown. They enjoy their apartment and are happy with their known surroundings.
But in a time of so many available opportunities which we nowadays have, wouldn’t it be sad to not experience those thousand, actually, millions of new things you would have missed out on by not taking these chances?
So a lot of people are traveling nowadays, right, but not everybody extends his or her perspective while travelling. There are millions of people who travel to hotels that are located in different countries. However, they’re staying in these hotels most of the time; they shop at the same stores, which they have in their hometown; drink coffee or eat in the restaurant chains they know and they follow the guidebooks, which they bought.
Is this the real spirit of travelling when following the same habits as one has in their home country? Well, this might be the definition for a lot of people being on holidays, but not the real spirit of traveling.
If you have chosen your destination and flights are booked, isn`t the anticipation of experiencing new cultures and expanding your own perspectives, part of the real spirit of travelling?
When the day of departure has finally arrived, you get this very specific feeling of not knowing what you will experience and who you will meet, which makes you happy. Plus, you feel the spirit of adventure that flows through your veins.
It’s then this very specific second when the plane touches the ground and your heart starts to bump faster, which continues to increase while you are waiting for the doors to open and you will gain the first view of the country you´ve chosen.
It`s this very specific moment when the final doors of the airport opens and you smell the air of the country you´ve chosen. Is it the smell of city air or is it clean? Is it salty? Is it dry? Is hot wind blowing in your face? Or is it raining?
It´s this specific first hour which you spend in the country you’ve chosen, gathering all new impressions in your brain and not knowing what is going on in that hour, because you are amazed by all these unknown pictures which your brain receives.
Of course it is prerequisite to inform yourself before travelling to your destination about the culture, like basic forms of politeness or how to give tips in restaurants. Nonetheless you will not experience a culture or country by following the guidebooks. They are, indeed, excellent for seeing all of the landmarks, but the beauty of a country, city or a culture is not defined by its tourist attractions. It is the locals, the unknown areas and the little streets beyond the big ones, where cute cafés or unique stores are hidden; which defines the character of the country or city you’ve chosen. It is the ambiance you will gain- far away from tourism.
Imagine all the stories you can tell your family and friends after returning from your journey. Isn’t it more exciting when talking about encounters and experiences with locals than telling them which sights you have been to? So why not challenge your self and travel without guidebooks? It will enable you to see a whole new side to yourself, as you always have to cope with new situations in order to ‘survive’.
I have never actually seen a baby reading a book in order to cope with all those new things that it faces. So start trusting yourself again instead of following mindless guidebooks. Check the internet for events that you are interested in. Open your eyes while walking through the streets for placards or flyers in shops. Behave like locals and respect their traditions and habits and they will welcome you. Don’t be afraid of language difficulties which might come up at the beginning, they will vanish the longer you stay. Meanwhile a simple ‘hello’ in the language of your destination will always provide a positive echo. Once you explore your destination by trying to adapt to the local environment, you will truly get to know your destination differently as being a tourist. Besides, don’t you grin like a Cheshire cat when even local people ask you for directions?