“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again – to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”– Pico Iyer
There’s something both somewhat nerve-racking and deeply satisfying about traveling with no agenda. To experience a place with what it has to offer with minimal reliance on guide books, and more reliance on locals or fellow travelers (many of whom may have already filtered their findings from guide books). That or I am primarily too lazy to be bothered to get into any meticulous planning.
Either way, this travel philosophy leaves me more excited than anxious, more connected, and more fulfilled from my excursions. And here are some tips from this lazy traveler on how I manage to make the most of my trips with minimal stress.
#1 Leave room for spontaneity in your itinerary.
Rather than being fixated perhaps on visiting every possible tourist attraction, give yourself some allowance to linger longer in conversation with locals or fellow travelers, and perhaps discover more than you might have by just hopping from one site to another.
Too much spontaneity might not be for everyone, but certainly, I believe having openness to experience by not being so bent on a single-minded goal of scratching off every single detail or activity, and not being so fixated on taking the customary Instagram photos for bragging rights and #blessed posts, allows us to have a more intimate understanding of where we are and what we can learn. There are time to capture a moment, and there are times to be content in just soaking it all in.
#2 Connect with people, not just places.
In my opinion, travel (and life) is more about the people you meet along the way to share your journey or experience with. In spite of being introverted, and on many occasions, shying away from human interaction, I acknowledge people’s roles in coloring the landscape of life.
It’s possible that you have your share of good and bad experiences with people, some rich and savory, others bland or uninspired, and other downright despicable, but I also believe that our perception of others also greatly impacts how we interact with them, and therefore, how they interact with us.
#3 Do more with less.
Sometimes “doing more” means doing less. When traveling, it’s important to think about the impact that we create with the people, wildlife and places we visit. When we do our best to respect people’s traditions and space – keeping our voice down or dressing modestly, where appropriate, and to minimize the disturbance we cause to nature and do our best to leave no trace. I say minimize, because while people can be environmentally conscious when they travel, the fact that they’re there already leaves some sort of footprint.
At the end of the day, there are ways to be able to contribute more to a place, and leaving a net positive impact with the community. Whether it’s talking to them to learn about their dreams or challenges, shedding light on their culture or improvements that can be made in environmental preservation, or connecting them with individuals who can help the local economy through travel while staying mindful of an environmentally sustainable way of doing tourism.
And those for me, are some of the best ways to go about traveling.
How do you choose to travel?
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JEN HORN (@nomadmanager) is a wanderer, writer, and designer focused on creativity, sustainability, wellness and design. As founder and Chief Collaborator of Muni, she aims to create a culture of caring where we are more socially and environmentally conscious about how we shop, eat, travel, and more. She is also the Manila ambassador for 99U by Behance, a creative’s resource on Making Ideas Happen, and a member of the Manila hub of the Global Shapers, the youth arm of the World Economic Forum. She is inspired by diving, good design, handwoven textiles, and dreamers who are doers.