I was fortunate growing up to have parents that valued experiences more than objects. They took us to New York and Paris and Rome. And I remember as a child being fascinated at just about anything: the taxi rides, the street performers, and the over abundance of Chinatown’s.
But as I’ve developed my pallet for the travel experience, I have realized that my ideal adventure doesn’t include visiting the main tourist attractions. It doesn’t mean getting a picture of me holding the Eiffel tower in my hand. For me, it’s all about blending in while I am abroad.
I love feeling like a local — walking around a new city with authority. I love finding my niche on a street corner. To visit the same bakery, same coffee shop, and to sink into the wallpaper. It’s becoming part of a world unfamiliar, and I think it is what travelling is all about: removing yourself, and everything about your culture, and learning what life is like for others.
And that doesn’t go for travel, only. We should always expose ourselves to other peoples’ daily rhythms. We are most comfortable when sheltered and stagnant, but we are most ourselves when subjected to change and experience. If I have learned anything from seeing other cultures, it is that there is so many other ways to life than mine or yours. It doesn’t end with whats at hand. People a million miles away are getting along, too.
And I think the most effective way to soak it all in is absolute immersion. In the very thick of it do those questions that have to be asked begin to surface. In the middle of it all do we truly begin to travel. Try it.