As much as I like travelling, it can be such a hassle with all the things you have to do in preparation and all the things you have to remember.
Printing out flight tickets, noting down hotel names, making sure you’ve packed your passport, have enough of the right currency and the list goes on. With all these on your mind, it can be easy to lose track of what’s important: Having fun and building new experiences and memories.
So here are 5 things I like to forget about on my adventures:
1. Forget The Time
I hate that we live in a world so governed by time. Why should numbers dictate the way we live our lives? We’re constantly checking our watches, phones, computers, to make sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing, at a particular time. 6 am means waking up, 11 am means that work meeting, 3 pm means that appointment with that very important client, 9 pm means gym and 11 pm means sleep.
To truly discover and appreciate a place, I like to be present, fully and completely. We can’t have our mind focused on sticking to a schedule and rushing off onto the next to-do. Take it slow!
Breathe in the smell and taste the street food, look high above the buildings and admire the clouds, squint at the little details of that thousand-year-old landmark, listen to the locals speak, watch the way they communicate, take in as much of this place as possible.
2. Forget The Map
At least for a day.
Or if you’re up for it, forget it your entire trip!
When your head’s not buried in a map, you’ll actually look at your surroundings. When you don’t have a clue where you are or where you’re heading, you’ll notice the things people tend to look past. You’ll find the ordinary, like an old wooden door or a seagull cleaning itself by the water, to be more beautiful, more wondrous.
Best of all, the most memorable experiences you have when travelling are often those you stumble upon. So go, explore, wander, get lost! (Among other travel cliches)
Of course, don’t venture off into that dark alleyway with the strange people yelling over the sound of breaking glass. Just, bring your common sense with you.
3. Forget Your Native Language
Unless your native language is spoken widely by the locals, take some time before and during your trip to learn their language. A few common words and phrases can go a long way in not only helping you get around, but to show you care about and respect them and their culture. Perhaps the first word you should learn then is “Thank you”. After all, good mannered people are valued and welcomed everywhere.
Check out this list of how to say “Thank you” in 50 languages, from one of my favourite travel and lifestyle blogs, World of Wanderlust.
4. Forget You’re A Tourist
While you’re at it learning and communicating with the locals in their language, go a step further and live like one! Forgo the comfy tour bus and take public transport. Forgo the touristy (and more expensive) restaurants and eat where the locals eat. And if you’re up for it, forgo the 5-star hotels and live among the locals in apartment buildings or in the suburbs.
Platforms like AirBnb and Couchsurfing make finding local accommodation easy. This is not only, usually, cheaper than hotels, hosts are also often happy to help and answer any questions you have. Best of all, you can learn more about their language, culture and truly immerse into the country in which you’re travelling.
5. Forget Gift Shops
Instead of buying generic key chains and photo frames to remember your trip by, collect a piece of every place you visit and experience you have. This is personalised, meaningful and free!
For example, collect the business card of this cool café where you had this really good cup of hot chocolate, the cap from the bottle of water you picked up from the airport convenience store after a dehydrating flight, the train tickets with the dates, times and destinations marking your journey, fallen leaves from this beautiful park where you spent a whole afternoon strolling around, and don’t forget, some leftovers of the local currency.
It could be anything that means something and years from your travels, you’ll look back on these items and remember exactly where you picked each one up.
I think that’s a special thing to have.