Thursday, December 15, 2011

Accidental Tourism and Random Adventures

While travel is amazing, tourism is rather lame. Nobody likes to be seen as a tourist, even when they are traveling in a strange place they have never been before. Even if they are there to see sites. Nothing produces such generic results as the guided tour. People who take the tour are certainly informed, but they end up knowing the “official” version of a place that everyone knows—the one that they could have gotten from Wikipedia.

The antidote to generic tourism is to simply explore. If you get the chance, when you go to a new place you should first seek to get lost. If you have enough time in a place, you should spend the first day or more with no agenda and simply explore. If your time is limited, or the area you are visiting is huge and overwhelming, do some research to get an idea, but do not plan an itinerary.

The results of such travel are discovery and a unique experience. You will never forget the things you find this way and often they will be treasures that only you, the locals, and no “tourist” know about. Even the famous sites, when stumbled upon this way, are more interesting and special because you have found them on your own. Every city visit is benefited through exploration; you don’t need world famous sites to discover things worth seeing. Traditional or more informative travel has its place, but if you get a chance to wander first you will gain far more appreciation for the places you get to go.

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