“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard
Most people here in the US think that traveling is just too expensive. Some think it’s a luxury–something they could not afford.
Allow me to disagree. It is a myth that traveling have to cost a lot of money. And, can you really afford not to enjoy your life and see the fascinating world we live in at least once in a while?
The problem is our belief or perception that traveling has to cost a fortune. So we end up doing nothing–putting off our happiness until… some day.
Interestingly enough people in many other countries make less yet they find a way to make travel happen because experiencing life to the fullest is important to them.
It’s all about being creative and resourceful!
“OK”, you say- “I’ll go to France to see the Eifel Tower, then I’ll go to Rome, and then…” Yes, your to-do list is impressive! Being a tourist is certainly an option. But at the end of you trip, will you really feel fulfilled having spent your precious time rushing from one object or country to the next?
Truthfully? Don’t be a tourist or you’ll miss out on the experience of what it’s really like to live there as a true local! When traveling, do not overschedule yourself with things to see or do. Leave plenty of room for spontaneity, adventure and exciting new acquaintances.
Let me share how Europeans think when it comes to travelling.
For them, it’s not so much about the fancy hotel, or even about a hotel at all. Sometimes, it’s just about the people they know who happen to live in their desired destination. Or it could be someone they don’t know who offers a place to stay (given that it’s safe, of course). Now, you can easily book a room over the Internet anywhere in the world in a stranger’s home using sites like Airbnb.com. The price depends on how fancy you prefer your stay to be. You can stay in someone’s apartment overlooking tropical beach or even stay in someone’s medieval castle!
Or you can simply go Couchsurfing.org. There is a large community online of people who travel who offer their sofas or spare rooms to other travelers for free.
Europeans are totally okay to room with someone else to share expenses. Privacy is not a big deal for them. What if I told you that most people in other countries are happy to have someone stay over? They are happy to connect, to get to know someone new, and especially someone from another country. They love sharing, telling their stories, showing travelers around. What’s their reward? They enjoy feeling needed and appreciated.
Meet the locals. In this super connected high-tech world, you can even book a meal in a stranger’s home. You can find a host or a family who’ll cook or teach you how to make everything from Spanish paella to Brazilian feijoada. By using www.EatWith.com you can arrange to eat with locals in more than 160 cities in 32 countries.
There is something else I’ve discovered while traveling a lot: people are very private here in the US compared to those in most parts of the world. It is understandable – when you’re overworked and over-stimulated, you don’t feel like handling a stranger in your home or taking the time to show someone around. So, when locals invite you to come and visit them or even stay at their place it might be natural for you to think you’re intruding, or that you don’t want to be a burden on anyone.
However, in most countries, people don’t have as many opportunities as we do here. But one thing they have more of is time! It is also their pride and joy to host someone from a foreign land and show them around. Whether you were in Spain or in Central America you would hear the Spanish greeting: ”mi casa es su casa” – “my house is your house” meaning – make yourself at home. It’s their pride and joy to show you how they live. They’re happy to introduce you to their friends and family. They know how to make you feel like you’re part of their special circle. I’m talking from my own experience here.
Remember, you’re there just for a little while, so your presence is refreshing to them. You offer excitement. And for you? You get to experience a different way of living, and a different way of being. You can get a new perspective on life. And… maybe even a friend for life.
And then, when you return home, you’ll have a better awareness of what you may want to change in your life. You will see more clearly what’s working and what’s not, or make better decisions of what to keep, and what to let go of.
“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson
Travel. Get away from your familiar surroundings and routine. The new experiences will awaken you to new senses, bring new insights, and help you see the bigger picture.
This is your adventure… Lose track of time. Indulge your senses. Savor the moment!
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