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 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!!”
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.
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!
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?