Have you ever gone on vacation and heard the locals complain about ‘tourists’? Typically they have a good reason, but let’s face it, tourists really do help the economy. The problem is that being a tourist doesn’t really help you that much in the long run. A tourist is looking to escape from their own problems. They visit the locations, they suck in the atmosphere, but at the end of the day, they aren’t better for it.
Let me ask you a quick question: how many times have you visited a location and could tell your friends nothing about it? Maybe you remember a building, or maybe you liked how the food tasted at that one restaurant- who knows? The problem is that you just didn’t take the time to smell the flowers, so to speak. If you want to become a traveler, rather than just a tourist, there are a few ways you can get started, and it’s not as hard as you’d think.
The Road Less Traveled
Every town and city has a tourist area- a spot where they intentionally draw you to, and as we said in the opening paragraph, the economy is probably fueled by those areas. What if you could manage to get away from them? Instead of sticking to the familiar, try the unfamiliar. Head to the areas less traveled, spots where tourism isn’t the driving force of the economy – it’s going to require some research ahead of time, but it’s definitely worth it if you want to be a traveler.
Interact with People
Architecture and food are great, but when it comes right down to it, you just can’t beat the interactions that you’d have with native people. They know the land, they live here, and most importantly, they have a lot to share with you. Can you imagine everything you could learn about the area and the culture just by talking to the people? It’s kind of a novel idea, we know, but it’s definitely something that you should try.
See it All
One of the biggest mistakes that make when they are visiting a new area is to use the transportation readily available to tourists. It’s nice, yes, but it doesn’t let you get to know the soul of the area. So many people have been to destinations but they haven’t been there. You want to get away from the heavily commercialized areas, so try walking on foot or event taking the local transportation. This will give you the raw, uncensored look at the area that you’ve really been dreaming of.
Become a Local Traveler
Even if your home is elsewhere, you can still become a local for the time being. Eat the local food, learn the basics of the language, and get to know the area. It can be difficult to learn the area in this way, but it does a great job of turning your vacation into more of an adventure, and that’s what it’s all about.