Exploring Not Following: An Anecdote With Pictures!
Spontaneous Travel Has No “Must Dos”
“Top 10s”, “Best Things To Do”, “Must Sees”, the list and titles of said lists are seemingly infinite. They streamline our lives and help narrow things down. Forget em’ all. Worry less about checking a particular place or thing off and leave yourself more open to travelling anywhere.
A Ticket To Anywhere
During my angsty teenage years queuing for sh*t and being part of the crowd was lame. As a 20 something year old adult millennial human being… my sentiments remain unchanged and I’ve got more ways to describe it.
It could have been any country; anywhere would have been fine. With my tickets to a destination (relatively untraversed by foreign travellers) booked, there was no need to sift through articles and videos (because they didn’t exist) to create a checklist.
From our flight into the more prominent city in the area, we made our way towards what many would call “nothing”. An area relatively devoid of information that was readily available. Even I had my doubts about what I’d truly experience, if anything at all, during this trip.
The fact is that going down the roads less travelled in search of experiences will not always lead to the most pleasant or uplifting moments. And like the great “Rocky” Balboa said “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows” but also, silver linings and stuff.
*Related Post: Destination X: On Learning From Falling (Literally)
Discover What You Love And Hate About Local Culture
Greeted with a degree of hospitality that seemed a bit overwhelming, my latest adventure started off on the right foot. Nothing like an excess of food to make you feel at home. With tickets and a shared taxi to a town 5 hours away settled — we waited for hours. Not every country and culture adheres to strict timelines and accepting that will save you from looking like yet another ugly foreigner.
As our journey overland began, it came to an abrupt halt way too soon. Not due to engine troubles but the rumbling of our fellow passengers' stomachs. By the side of a two-lane highway peppered with potholes, a swanky rest stop drew travellers to it like moths to a flame. Upon returning to our table after visiting the restrooms boasting fountains, we were greeted by a spread of dishes laid out at our table. As we tucked in, I found my feet tapping along to the tune of the live — yes live — duo. Sometimes it’s nice to stop and smell the roses. Or in our case fill bellies and enjoy live music.
Take Adventure Up A Notch
In my quest for adventures and pushing my limits, attempting to scale mountains of all shapes and sizes has become a constant when I find myself abroad. The famous peaks are often marketed heavily, with routes well marked and even if they aren’t, a pool of very knowledgeable guides will ply their trade bringing people up and down safely.
Which is great! Don’t get me wrong. But equally picturesque, challenging peaks fall to the wayside. Forgotten and never heard of by even the most intrepid travellers… all because the hype train never pulled into town.
Experience Raw Human Nature
At these obscure mountains, you might not find “professional” guides as I discovered during my latest round of spontaneous travel. We never expect much from guides and are more than willing to rough it out. However, when going in search of adventure, especially in destination unknown, expect to be bitten once or twice. Note that my trip was not planned by Anywhr, thus there was no trusty and informative Travelogue to guide me nor warn me about what to expect.
Arriving at the mountain town early in the morning, we didn’t begin our climb till late in the afternoon. While our guide pegged the blame on local supernatural beliefs (and I’m all for respecting that), I couldn’t help but feel he was full of sh*t.
Chain-smoking the entire time, falling behind us and taking numerous breaks, we made it to the summit at 1 a.m. as a storm ravaged the mountain. The few other climbers up and around the peak experienced Mother Nature untamed.
Battered by rain and hail, we stumbled through the darkness and came across fellow climbers who had their tents pitched way before the storm had hit. Wet, dirty, disoriented and not speaking their language we were offered shelter in their already packed tent.
A Lifetime Of Memories
Within the span of this quick getaway, I experienced ups and downs of all sorts. I got the unadulterated version of the destination’s local culture. And how people, when placed in less than desirable situations bring their best sides to bare. It isn’t for everyone and many moments had me wondering why I chose to make this trip.
You don’t have to go in search of hypothermia inducing adventures to experience the same things during your spontaneous travels. Because in any other case, there’s Anywhr.
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