Really interested to find out the variety of lessons learnt on the road with regards to your travelling style or mantra. Do you live by a set of values when on the road
My wife and I travelled Europe in a van for 6 months back in 2009 and we found our selves with travellers burn out after just 6 weeks of trying to pack everything in possible. We reevaluated our travelling style and motto numerous times during the trip, but never seemed to get the balance quite right.
We are taking off at the end of December for a 12 month journey through Asia. So it was a great time for me to reflect on a travelling mantra for the trip.
I call it action packed slackpacking
. Please read some more on this mantra in our latest blog our travelling mantra (this time 'round anyway)
Please share your mantra here also.
Good Question. I think my travel style would best be described as chaotic hit and run island bum...dont know that i have a mantra other than the same as I have in life....you get one shot at it.
Great question, and blog. I think nearly every long-term traveler goes through the stages you described: starting out trying to cram in as much as possible, burn out, and then take things more slowly. Thankfully, my burnout occurred on shorter trips so by the time I took a truly long one (9 months) I had gone through the transition.
My mantra, such as it is, is "explore what makes a place exciting and unique". My style now includes the following:
1. Taking things slowly and in depth. I try to stay in one place long enough to truly experience something about it, which takes time.
2. A careful balance between planning and spontaneity. Certain areas require detailed planning to do properly. Campsites in Yosemite Valley sell out within minutes of becoming available, so I need to know when I'll be there months in advance. Visiting a major amusement park without a plan means spending the entire day standing in line. I tried to determine what areas required planning as best I could, and let the rest happen as I went.
3. One day per week to do nothing. I deliberately took one day per week to do travel chores (laundry, etc.) and relax. They saved my sanity.
4. Finding areas off the main tourist routes. I love finding things overlooked by the tourist hordes. Some I found by deep advance research (the web is great for this), some by talking to locals, some in really good guidebooks, and others I just stumbled upon.
5. Trying to familiarize myself with a place ahead of time, so when I get there I understand what I'm experiencing. I read up on the history and culture; a good guidebook is often sufficient.
I thought that nancic123
had just the right mantra...renting an apartment for 2-3 months in a different city of a different country, in this case Mexico and Central America, learning all they could about the city and surroundings before moving on. Then they tried SE Asia. A month in Bangkok was brief for their normal stays, but then they moved at a hectic pace. Lack of their own transportation, was a major reason. Anyway, they learned their lesson and are back to their usual pace in Baja, Mexico.
So I will be interested to see if you can slow down...to really get to know the people and culture you can't stay in hostels and hotels...you have to rent, pay utility bills, shop at the local market, learn some of the language, and make local friends among those who are not in the tourism or volunteer related businesses.
As for my mantra, I usually do a quick overview of a country or continent, and then return on a follow up trip to spend more time at my favorite places. This eventually can mean living there for years!