“Corie: And you’re not. That’s just the trouble. Like Thursday night. You wouldn’t walk barefoot with me in Washington Square Park. Why not?
Paul: Very simple answer. It was seventeen degrees.
Corie: Exactly. That’s very sensible and logical. Except it isn’t any fun.”
“Barefoot in the park” is an interesting movie where the characters engage in simple but thought provoking conversations. Years before when I watched this movie for the first time I was captivated by the significance of being unplanned at times. Since then quite a few times I have made it a point to enjoy the fun of being unprepared in my travels.
How to ‘Unplan’ your trip ?
There are a zillion articles on web describing you how to plan your travel, but not many which tells you how to ‘unplan’ your travel. That makes me think, are we overkilling the travel by the planning ?. Are we planning it so well to the extend that we are taking out the element of surprises (and at times shocks ) out of the travel ?. Agree that a planned travel help us to enjoy it in a better way . But isn’t travel supposed to take us through experiences , good and bad ?, expected & unexpected?
Here are my tips on how to ‘unplan’ your travel to experience a different perspective (Word of caution! – don’t try all of them at once. One tip at a time).It is quite interesting that most of these tips are just to ‘unlearn’ some of the mechanical routine tasks (or muscle memory) which do not ring a bell when you involuntarily do it.
Disclaimer:None of them are comfortable , neither do they suit all weather conditions . Choose wisely .
Go Beyond the boundary of time
I was in Yosemite Valley trying to take a photo of the Bridal Veil Falls. A man, patiently waited on the side making an effort not to get in to my frame. I quickly clicked the shot, thanked him & apologised for making him wait. He laughed out loud and said,
“No worries, I am on vacation, I have got all the time in the world! “.
It was a realisation for me on how much of my time on vacations have become time bound. “If I leave so & so location by so & so time, I can make it to the so & so activity at the next destination “, sounds familiar?
Sightseeing & Relaxing often fails to strike a balance for the travellers like me who tries to make the most out of our precious breaks . It is reviving to have some trips or at least few days of a trip planned (?) with no time limits. Get up at your own pace, enjoy a slow coffee, take a leisure bath or go for a swim in the beach, stroll around the city … Most importantly, avoid doing anything which is time bound.
No booked ticket
The first step of almost every journey is to book the tickets . What if you don’t ? Be bold and brave and set off on a journey where you have not pre-booked the tickets.
You can even take a bus to an unknown suburb or Buy a ticket to the last stop. Get down in new locality, roam around the little townships/markets , have a coffee or watch the locals running errands.
Switch off the Music
Too much of anything is not good, even music. Tell me how many times you listen to people cribbing about how they cannot live without music .In fact they can , every one can.We were not born with earphones plugged in to our ears, this is just an acquired habit.
When you are hiking the most beautiful mountain on earth, isn’t it worth taking your earphones off, so that it is just you and the mountains? Or listening to the streams , sea or even the local people having conversations. Isn’t a better for indulgence ?
Try it , Iam sure – you will feel the difference because, some times silence is better than music.
When was the last time you have felt the rain on your skin? Yes, you need an umbrella or a rain coat when it is raining so that you don’t get wet. But then, how do you feel the beauty of getting drenched in the rain amongst the tallest woods and darkest shades?
Often you end up removing your sunglasses to take a good look at the picturesque scene. Then why don’t you just travel without shades and embrace the nature? You don’t want to ruin the beauty of the blue sea or the lush green forest with a pair of shades. Do You?
Eat street food
Personally, even I get paranoid about having street food because to the stories around the unhygienic conditions in which street food is cooked in many places. However go by your instincts and make sure to attempt the street food as that would be the best way to get under the skin of a region!
Digital Detox (A break from your Gadgets !)
Traveling is often the best time for digital detoxification. Let us agree we all suffer from gadget addiction. At work and home you have better access to electronic media where as when you travel your easy access is limited . So take advantage of the situation to stay away from emails & social media. Honestly nothing would happen to the world if you are away for few days, sun will still rise in the east . Moreover it will be rejuvenating and therapeutic for us considering the amount of time we spend on gadgets ( liking & unlocking & following & unfollowing !)
Wear No Hat
Sun is good. Getting your head warmed up on a nice sunny day is not bad either, unless you have a bad migraine. It might be a little less comfortable to expose your head and feel the heat. But remember, that is nature. When we brag about experiencing nature to its fullest, why to turn our face against the sun?
Barefoot in the park
We live in a time where we absolutely have every single accessory specifically made for each purpose. But do we really need it always?
Let the grass kiss your toes.Walk barefoot in the park. This helps in rejuvenating your senses and also is scientifically proven to be a healthy measure.
Or for a change , even wear a pair of comfortable sandals and go for a hike. It might hurt a little, feet might get dirty. But remember those days when you were a kid and how you enjoyed playing in dirt and spoiling your clothes?
So what do you think ? Are we overkilling the joy of travel by too much of planning ? Is there anything which you would have done different to experience travel with more authenticity ? Please share you comments