Wednesday, August 31, 2011

3 Best Kept Travel Secrets

I never am satisfied with the toned-down, manicured aesthetic of tourist attractions attempting to play the role of a sippy-cup lid to your glass of authentic foreign experience, filtering the chunks and making sure you don't swallow more than you can handle. I, along with many other I-am-not-a-tourist kinds of travelers, are in constant search for the "real" (insert travel destination here)-- going where the locals eat, getting around by public transportation, and keeping the lifestyle of the local population. We are not easily deceived by the overpriced trinkets, not easily amused by the planned tours, and not easily content with simply being comfortable. Travel becomes a challenge, a research investigation, a game. This propels our  sense of urgency to go, go, go, get lost in a new land where no guide book can get you out of. Get lost and get yourself out. All over the world. You will never be done. You can never beat the game. Finding the "real" for yourself is overwhelming, frightening and makes you feel alive. This just furthers the wanderlust. It's like a drug.

With that in mind, here are my 3 travel secrets:
  1. Ask questions of those around you: Ask your waiter,taxi driver, hotel concierge, shop owner, and anyone you come in contact with in your new destination about themselves and their suggestions. People enjoy talking about their experiences and everyone's opinion will be different. Even if it is uncomfortable or you do not speak the local language, engaging in community with a local--however brief-- will provide useful insight and a perhaps memorable connection.
  2. Take out the headphones: Listen to local radio stations, sidewalk conversations, street noise, and cafe murmur. By hearing the vibrations of the city's soundtrack, you will be able to better understand the local way of life.
  3. Expect to be uncomfortable: Going to a new place can be a scary thing, and truly immersing yourself into a new place when traveling is not easy. However once you accept this, you will be free to push yourself to discover the best of what the new place has to offer, even if it requires conversing a language other than your first, getting lost along the way, or eating a food you have never tried.
Happy gallivanting! 
-KK (


  1. You are so very you, and I love you.

  2. Gallivanting.....sounds like a hoosier word? Nice perspective and having traveled with you, it is all so true.