- Wander Lost -
What can I say? I'm a person who loses things: from USB sticks to house keys, headphone cables to Oyster Cards (for all of you Londoners out there, you're not the only ones) and travel itineraries. Yet, unlike the other items on the list, I’ve always found that the lack of a concrete plan leads to a much more thrilling adventure, to the point that I now make a conscious plan to not micro-manage my trips.
We’ve all been there, your bags are packed (mentally at least), you’ve yelp’d all of the foodie attractions, 500px’d best the snap locations and written all over your printed-out landmark sheets from TripAdvisor. The only thing missing? Some time to sit-back and take it all in.
All too often abroad I see other travellers running circles around me, rushing from attraction to attraction to tick it off their list, battling wind and rain to ‘complete’ the city, too focused on seeing everything to enjoy it. My advice? Lose the itinerary, get yourself lost, wander, randomly engage with locals.
As someone who loves coffee I often find myself attracted to the various cute coffee shops a city has to offer, preferring to indulge in a session of people-watching and chatting to the barista about his/her favourite spots in the city over charging about in the rain.
I find that people forget that about travelling, that the vibe of the location is just as central to the culture as the architecture. Don’t get me wrong, each city has its must-sees: London has Big Ben, New York contains the Statue of Liberty and no visit to Barcelona is complete without a cheeky picture in front of the Sagrada Familia, but, beyond that, you could fill a two week vacation at each location and not see every attraction on your TripAdvisor list so remember to relax, take a break, don’t just charge through the cobbled streets of Barcelona’s Old Town taking pictures just to be able to say you were there, sit down at one of the bars along the road and order a jug of sangria, the science museum will still be standing tomorrow.
I’m generally terrible at taking my own advice, but upon returning from a recent visit to China, it struck me as to how different my trip would have been had I forced myself to go through with all of the activities I’d researched. By slowing down and spend more time communicating with the locals I was able to take part in a traditional tea ceremony at a tea plantation (rather than it just be a picture stop-off before moving on), get filmed for a Chinese docu-series in a temple up a hill (still not entirely sure how that one came about) and, by just getting lost instead of micro-managing, was able to find the hidden gems glossed over by tourists.
- Love your experience, not just the break -
This is the phrase that I’d want to leave y’all with at the end of the first post. Love your experience. A holiday isn’t just about getting away from school or work, it’s a stress-free adventure. Remember to come back to the real world with more than pictures of pretty scenes in your camera, but with a smile having genuinely loved it.
Thanks for reading my first post (things will improve I promise). We at Latte.Wanderer have some fun plans for future articles including our upcoming ‘Visit Like a Local’ series of city guides based on recommendations of attractions, restaurants and experiences from people who live in the city!
and we’ll post on there when the next post is up and tag us in any travel photos you think should be featured!
Until next time, I'm off to grab a coffee..