The famous Brazilian “pilgrim” knows exactly how to get the most valuable experience from a tourist trip.
In his blog, the cult author gave some pieces of advice to those who go on a trip to the cities and countries they have never been to before.
“I realized early that traveling for me is the best way to learn something new.” – Paulo Coelho
1. Avoid museums
At first glance, it’s absurd, but let’s think about it a little bit. Since you are in an unfamiliar city, is not it better to get acquainted with a city as it is now, modern, alive, and not the city that it was a long time or centuries ago?
We feel obligated to go to museums. We were accustomed to this, this idea is hammered into our heads, as if going to the museum means “to touch the culture.” I will not argue that museums are important. But a visit to them still takes time, thoughtfulness and preparation. But you must understand why you came in museum and what exactly you want to find there. Otherwise, this visit will turn into a thoughtless wandering and loss of precious time. Visiting the museum just “for a tick”, you will leave it with the feeling that you saw several fundamentally important things, but soon do not even remember which ones.
2. Visit the bars
The life of the city is revealed here, and not in museums. I am not talking now about nightclubs, but about small bars, eateries, where people are courting after work to have a glass or two, exchange a few words about the weather, and chat with the barman.
Buy a local newspaper and enjoy watching people. If someone starts a conversation, join, even if the topic at first seems to you not too interesting. The general appearance of the door not always says what is hidden behind it.
3. Communicate with people
The best guides are local people. Those who were born here, live here, walk these streets every day, know everything about everyone, who take pride of their city, but do not work for a travel agency. Just go out into the street, choose the person you would like to talk to, and ask him ot her about something (e.g. Where is the cathedral? How to get to the post office?). If the first one seems to be too shy to talk to you, try the second one, or even the third. I’m sure: by the end of the day you will find yourself accompanied by an excellent companion from the locals!
4. Travel alone
…Or, if you are in a relationship, with your partner. That’s all. Only in this way you can really leave your own “roots” behind. Traveling to the foreign country with a tourist group of your compatriots, constantly communicating in your native language, going where the guide points you, you can not feel the whole charm of the trip and will not pay attention to the places that they were eager to visit.
5. Try to avoid comparison
Do not compare anything – prices, hygiene standards, standard of living, means of transport – nothing! You did not go on a trip to prove that you live better and more correctly in your homeland than other people do. Your goal is to find out how these others live, what they can teach you, how they cope with reality and with the extraordinary.
6. Do not be afraid to get lost
Even if you do not speak the local language, do not worry. I’ve been to many places where I could not say a couple of words, and I always found support, necessary recommendations, helpful pieces of advice, and even girlfriends. Some people think that going out in an unfamiliar country means instantly losing the road and getting lost forever. Indeed just having a hotel business card in your pocket you wil not really get lost. You can always stop a taxi, show the driver the address and return to the room comfortably.
7. Do not buy too many things
Spend money only on what you do not have to carry: theater tickets, restaurants, excursions. If you came across some thing you liked very much, remember: in our time of the global market and the Internet you can buy almost everything you want online, and not pay for excess baggage.
8. Do not try to see the whole world in one month
It is much better to stay in the same city for four or five days than to visit five cities in a week. Unknown cities are like whimsical women: it takes time to seduce them and discover them completely.
9. Perceive every journey as a great adventure
Henry Miller said that it is more important to find a church that no one has ever heard of before going to Rome and feel obliged to go to the Sistine Chapel, which you’ve heard about before, along with two hundred thousand other tourists. Yes, of course, visit the Sistine Chapel! But do not forget to wander along the less tourist streets, explore the alleys and local parks. Feel free to search! Looking for something that you do not even know about, but that being found can turn your whole life around.
Take all these pieces of advice into consideration and have a wonderful trip!