I have continually made reference to my obsession with reading online travel sites and magazines. One of the sites I frequent is BootsnAll which is geared toward indie travellers and those planning for RTW travel. Since a RTW adventure is on the top of my list, you can make the connection why I value you this site.
The year they have put out a year-long challenge to their readers. I am not going to go into a lot of details since they do a fabulous job explaining here: http://www.bootsnall.com/events/indie
I am going to participate. I usually just write whats on my mind so I am excited to try something new and put myself up for their challenge. I am starting a bit late but hey, better late than never. Each week there is a prompt, question or challenge. I will be answering and posting it on my blog each week so I hope you enjoy. Find my first 2012 Indie Travel Challenge post below.
What do you think? Are you an indie traveler? What do you think makes someone an indie traveler?
There is no doubt that living abroad has changed me. I value different things and see things through a new light. Although I have always been on a constant search of making connections to those around, my experience in Europe has expanded my horizons of possibilities. I believe I am more culturally aware as well have increased my knowledge of the world. During my travels, I am able to take away something from every trip. My taste buds have awoken with the new cuisine, my brain has tried to wrap its self around the new language, my ears have created a playlist of the city filled with new noises and sounds, my eyes have taken in not only the unique architecture or art works but also the faces of locals passing by. To me it is simple. To travel is to experience.
I have a very defined travel style. I am not “list-crosser-offer.” This is somewhat bizarre because in all other aspects of my life my to-do list is my best friend however it goes on holiday just like me when I am travelling. I am not saying I don’t try to see the various tourist attractions, frequent museums, or buy guide books. I have been a regular participant in all of those things. What I am saying is those things are not what makes me value travel. It is the moments I spend feeling not seeing the city. It’s the shared table with a German family over liters of beer at the Hofbrauhaus. It’s the schnitzel and pommes lunch enjoyed with a wonderful Austrian family in a little village. It is the smell of orange blossoms while sitting in the shade on a warm day after climbing the Giralda Tower in Seville. It’s the raclette dinner and bottles of wine consumed in a little flat with some French friends in the outskirts of Paris. To me, it is these moments that change me and I remember most about my travels. I have seen wonderful things and been incredible places but it is the moments that I have made meaningful connections or learned something new that I believe travel is all about. I love being put up to the challenge to adapt to something new and embrace the differences I am experiencing. I want to feel immersed in the culture, whether it is for an afternoon or a week, and feel what makes that city tick.
This is indie travel in my eyes. I have much the same ideas about indie travel as represented at BootsnAll (which is obviously why I am a loyal reader!) Living in France has taught me the joie de vivre. I take the French way of life with much admiration. It is all about pleasure and enjoyment. Taking time to enjoy a nice meal while catching up with loved ones is not a luxury but a must. Spending extra time on your regiment each morning before work isn’t seen as high maintenance or meterosexual but rather part of your daily routine. Slowing down. Sometimes it is this very pace that drives me crazy while waiting at the poste or sitting patiently for the check but it also wonderful. Enjoying the simple things in life and slowing down enough to be grateful for the world around you. When your head is buried in a map or guide-book, how are you going to notice the top of the Magasin du Nord in Copenhagen is modelled after the Louvre or the pixel art on the corners of buildings around Chatelet? When scheduling an hour for lunch will you truly be able to taste the hint of truffle in you pasta dish or the way the red wine tastes after its longer exposure to air, or will you be focused on how long it is going to take to walk to the museum? I am not saying that all styles of travel besides that similar to mine are wrong. What I al saying is that so much more can be experienced at a deeper level when you slow down. And this doesn’t just apply to travel. This can apply to your morning walk to the office. Look in a new direction or take a different route. Spark a conversation with the same person you pass every morning but have yet to say hi too. You will be surprised what you find and learn. I have always thought you can learn way more on the street than in the classroom. Take advantage of where you are and learn something!
And hey if all this babble is nonsense to you just listen to Lennon:
“Life happens when you are busy making other plans.”
See the prompt here: http://www.bootsnall.com/blog/indie-travel-this-week-on-bootsnall.html