Newsweek has carried an article on new trends in traveling. And the one trend that caught my eye — and I must admit made me glad — was that tourists nowadays want to give 10-day, 10-city package a miss. Instead, they (some of them, anyway) want to go wandering, discovering hitherto unknown joys in their own country or county.
My personal motto is: Go slow & keep the cost low.
Keeping the cost to the minimum, of course, is a necessity considering my rather shallow bank balance. But budget traveling has exposed me to (sometimes harsh) realities of the area. During a trip to Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh, my friends and I had to drag ourselves out of bed at 3.30 in the morning in order to catch the 4 a.m. bus. The next bus would be at 6.00 a.m. Fat deal, I’d say… then we would have had to get up at 5.30 a.m.
Now, I know this isn’t would you would ideally call “vacation”. But then, we all travel because we want a break from routine, right? And I’m sure you’d have much more colourful story to tell our friends and relatives once you get back. Something that Newsweek’s article attests: “Today’s tourists view travel as a form of self-expression. They don’t want to come back with an object, or even a picture. They want to come back with a story.”
The idea is quite simple try living like a local. Travel the way do. Eat the food they eat (read local cuisine). Get used to their pace of life (even if it means sleeping at 10.00 p.m. and getting up by 4.00 a.m.!). And most importantly talk to them. Let your curiosity loose, and you the story and memories you carry back from the trip will have all the colours you ever wanted.
Sometimes you can try something really wild: like exploring Goa at 6 in the morning — I bet that’ll be an experience no rave party could ever offer!