How to build a travel itinerary that takes you beyond A to B
When travelling, we often see more than we will ever remember and, after resting our weary feet, we forget the number of steps it took to get there. Yet, it is the experiences along the way that stay with us forever. While building an itinerary for your next adventure, here are some ways to enrich your journey and connect with the place you’re exploring.
Enjoy the ride
After a long week at work, you race home in record speed. But, when you’re going somewhere completely new, it’s an amazing chance to see how the local people get around. Try carving out time to walk between the city’s sites on foot, getting lost en route. Instead of jetting over the landscape at 20,000 feet, catch a coach and discover the scenery that connects points on the tourist trail. Take a small, local bus along rural roads, with only the name of your destination to guide your direction of travel. It will give you a rare opportunity to speak to your fellow passengers and find out more about their daily lives. It might not be the speediest route, but it’s an experience worth making time for.
Be present in the moment
Studies have shown that taking a photo can weaken your memory of the moment itself. Whether it’s a video from Machu Picchu or a snapshot of the Sistine chapel, there are sounds and sensations that simply can’t be crystallised on screen. Capturing the moment in digital pixels will never be the same as breathing it in for the first time. Being mindful and present in each new experience will create lasting memories. To keep a record of the places you’ve seen, try taking a Polaroid and scribble on the back how you felt when it was taken.
Connect with the culture
There are over 6,500 languages spoken around the world and 4,200 religions practiced each day. When we travel, we realise that our lives are a tiny fraction of the world’s history. While most travel itineraries pinpoint the cultural hotspots and landmarks, there are infinite ways to find out about a place and the people who call it home. Learning the language and speaking to street food vendors could teach you more about their culture than any guide book. Buying groceries from a bustling food market might introduce you to ancient recipes you never dreamt of tasting. Take every opportunity to interact with the people around you, whether it’s sharing a communal table in a favourite café or taking part in a live music night, there are any number of ways to form deeper personal connections with the country you’re exploring. Travelling expands your worldview and opens your eyes to life beyond anything you imagined.
Take the challenge
Ibn Battuta once said “Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” In life, there are few moments that awe inspiring. Travelling is the perfect time to find them. Challenge yourself to form that unforgettable story. From watching live Portuguese folk music in the Alfama region to soaring through the sky on a zip wire in Ras Al Khaimah, there’s more than one way to take your breath away. Building these experiences into your travel itinerary will make an average trip extraordinary.
By venturing somewhere new and stretching out into the unknown, you never know what you might learn about the place or about yourself. The destination will dictate your path, but the journey may lead you to an entirely new one.
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