What’s the Best Way to Travel?

There are a lot of ways to get around this great big world of ours. Some like to hit all the hot spots, tagging all 897 of the self-proclaimed “eighth wonders of the world.” Others will literally go to the ends of the earth to place the first human footsteps on an unnamed mountain or observe a village tribe untouched by the outside world. Some prefer cities and manmade relics, others naturally formed structures. And some travelers will preach to all who will listen that their way of traveling is the best.

The reality is that there is no right or wrong way to travel.

The heavy tourist destinations like Angkor Wat and Halong Bay are frequently visited for good reason. But getting off the beaten path and riding in pickup trucks with pigs and babies breastfeeding can be rewarding as well.

It's easy to see why so many people flock to Siem Reap to explore the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat

It’s easy to see why so many people flock to Siem Reap to explore the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat

But getting off the beaten path to see the ancient ruins of Sukhothai was cool, too!

But getting off the beaten path to see the ancient ruins of Sukhothai was cool, too!

It took us some time to figure this one out (not the babies breastfeeding). When we arrived in Thailand, we thought a year on the road would be plenty of time to see and do everything we had set our minds to. So we started super slow. Then we realized it was impossible to see everything so we sped up in order to see more sights and sounds. Then we got tired of moving around all the time and slowed down again.

All the while, we’d meet people who would say things like:

“OMG you must go to [some random town in Myanmar]!”

“What? You’re not going to India?!”

“Kazakhstan is the coolest place I’ve ever been. I spent a year backpacking there and it was the best! You HAVE to go there!!”

We loved Maumere in eastern Flores because it was untouched and incredibly beautiful

We loved Maumere in eastern Flores because it was untouched and incredibly beautiful

But getting there wasn't without its hiccups (like 3 hour delays from random mud slides on the only road there)

But getting there wasn’t without its hiccups (like 3 hour delays from random mud slides on the only road there)

So some may prefer to battle the crowds in places like Mt. Bromo, which is more touristy but much easier to get to and just as beautiful

So some may prefer to battle the crowds in places like Mt. Bromo, which is more touristy but much easier to get to and just as beautiful

Similar to human personalities, every traveler’s preferences are different. We’ve tried to mix things up a bit and see what feels best for us. Although still a work in process, we are realizing a moderately slow pace seems to work well.

Going slow allowed us to take in some cool sights in Flores, like the brightly-colored acidic crater lakes of Kelimutu

Going slow allowed us to take in some cool sights in Flores, like the brightly-colored acidic crater lakes of Kelimutu

And this rocky beach in Paga, a town where we felt like complete aliens

And this rocky beach in Paga, a town where we felt like complete aliens

This process of finding a “travel groove” can sometimes be stressful. Given that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we sometimes have conflicting thoughts about wanting to see everything but also trying to take advantage of the time we have to really take a deep dive into the culture and people everywhere we go. It’s a balancing act.

We recently spent two weeks on the island of Flores in Indonesia, exploring Komodo and some off the beaten path places like Moni, Paga, and Maumere. Slowing down a bit allowed us some more flexibility to smell the roses and get used to the local arak rice wine. It was one of our favorite places yet. But we rushed through Bali to get there, which might have made us not enjoy Bali as much as we could have. Again, it’s a constant balancing act.

So I guess what I’m saying is take whatever we (and anyone else) says about how and where to travel with a grain of salt and figure it out for yourself!

We couldn't get enough of Kanawa Island near Komodo national park

We couldn’t get enough of Kanawa Island near Komodo national park

Epic Kanawa sunset

Epic Kanawa sunset

How do you prefer to travel? Do you find yourself trying to do everything sometimes? Any advice for us or others who sometimes struggle with that?

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5 thoughts on “What’s the Best Way to Travel?

  1. Great post – I think this is something I will struggle with next year. I always want to be on the go and doing something but I know I’m gonna have to accept that no matter how long I am gone for, that I just won’t be able to fit everything in! Beaut pics – kanawa island looks gorgeous!

  2. I am waiting for your most exciting travels, the one with your family! I hope the natives found Larry amusing like we do. Maggie and I are in morocco right now, enjoying the history, food, people, and souks. The only draw back is the lack of bourbon.

  3. Pingback: Discovering the Culture of Argentina: The Gringos Get a Hometown Tour | Beaches & Backpacks

  4. Pingback: Discovering the Culture of Argentina: The Gringos Get a Hometown Tour | Beaches & Backpacks

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