In that last moment before leaving home to go on our adventure, we all go through that mental checklist to confirm we have remembered everything needed for our journey. Well on top of that, here’s a mental checklist of things to remember to forget on your travels.
1. A Plan
You hear it often—some of the best plans are spontaneous. When you travel, why should it be any different? In my experience, the best plan is to not have one because you are not bounded by an itinerary or absorbed in crossing items off your list. Without a plan, your greatest resource is the locals. Inquire about their recommendations or their favourite spots. Forget your plan, forget that guidebook. The reward is a more authentic and intimate trip that becomes less about the next destination and more about the present experience.
2. Your Preferences
We all have our preferences. Whether it is your daily schedule, the food you eat, or how you take your coffee, we build routine and comfort into our lives. While there are many benefits to having regularity in our lives, travelling offers you the chance to forget those preferences and explore new habits, ideas, routines, and norms. Abandon your preferences and discover that what you thought you needed were simply comforts that readily languish with your newfound freedom. Eat like the locals and find your favourite spices. Dance late into the night and learn you love salsa. Trek through mud and rain to discover a raging waterfall in the jungle. Engage your senses in a new way and find satisfaction in forgetting your preferences.
3. Your Attachment to Social Media
We all enjoy sharing our experiences with others. There is something so satisfying in exchanging our thoughts, experiences, and adventures with others on facebook, twitter and the likes. But for a moment, forget your computer, your phone, and your tablet during your travels. If not for the whole trip, for a few days or for a week. Find satisfaction in sharing your adventures with someone in your hostel, with a stranger at a coffee shop, or simply by writing it down. Enjoy reflecting on your experiences without the noise of social media. Forget posting for just a bit and enjoy the moment.
4. What you Have Heard
With the advent of the internet and globalization, we are familiar with places before we even arrive. We know the local customs, we have read about the history, we are familiar with the current events. Even with all this information, you can still travel and forget what you have heard. Instead of regurgitating the history of lost civilizations to a local, ask them about their family history. Instead of heading to the most popular tourist attraction, ask a local their favourite place to get a bite to eat and relax. Instead of reading about the current events in the news, ask a local about recent occurrences. When you forget what you have heard and start asking instead, you will be surprised how much more there is to learn than what you have read on the internet.
5. Fear of the Unknown
Travelling can be intimidating. Combine a new place, a different language, unfamiliar customs, constant change, and you have a mixture that tastes of both excitement and fear. Forget that fear when you travel. It is all too easy to avoid the unknown and opt for the familiar. We want to stay in hostels because we know what to expect; but try couch surfing. We want to take taxis because we know how they work; but take public transportation, whether it is the bus or metro. Relinquish your fear and find that other options may be better, cheaper, and more of an adventure.
6. That you are Travelling
Take a day (or several) and slow down. Your trip may be short, which makes it is easy to get caught up in the need to constantly be on the go. While sightseeing and activities constitute a sizeable part of travelling, there is also much to be said about slow, languid days at coffee shops or in the park. The slow pace may be alarming at first, but once it settles, the unplanned day is a welcome respite from the normal travel chaos.
7. Pressure to See it All
It is all too familiar to the avid traveller that plans do not materialize as expected. When you miss your flight, your bus is delayed, or the attraction you were headed to is closed, there is an overwhelming sense of frustration and dismay. Do not let that dampen your experience. Forget that pressure to see it all and settle for an alternative plan. Avoid the traveler´s blues and find an unexpected way to spend the day. When you travel, your only expectation should be to experience something different. It may not have been your first choice, but when things don’t your way, shake it off and embark on a new adventure.
Hopefully I’ve been able to provide you a couple useful tips that will give you the life changing experience around the world that you were looking for.