Traveling is sometimes a perpetual fish-out-of-water moment to the next. Overstimulating sights and the glamour of exciting experiences can often lead you to falling prey to tourist-driven businesses who claim to know exactly what your trip needs in order for you to get the most of your time. Certainly some of these trips and excursions are meant to be had… but they’re just not for every one.
Repeat after me: You are not just any tourist. You are you. And your experience traveling should be tailored to your passions and interests as it should be. Here are a few simple ways to staying true to yourself while traveling.
Know What You Love
What is it that makes your heart race? What is the reason your wanderlust took you over to buy your tickets here in the first place? Is it the food, the culture, the history, the colors, the artists? Knowing what you love and is knowing your own strength. Hone in on that… whatever it is.
If you love the vivacious culture of the country’s people, go visit a market where locals are uninhibited and lively. If you love the food of your destination, sign up for a cooking class or ask your host to teach you a meal or two. You get the idea. Know what makes your heart race. It’s as simple as that.
Embrace Your Limitations
Real life moment. You’re not a superhero with boundless energy and infallible strength, and that is okay. There are certain individual traits that hold us back and it’s not because you’re a stick in the mud, it’s because you’re human. Know yourself. Know your strengths, but also know your limitations.
For me, it’s my fair skin. This woman can burn like you would not believe! Knowing this, I’m able to make clear headed decisions on how I want to spend my time. You can often find me suggesting things like, “let’s avoid the midday sun by stopping at a coffee shop or stopping at this shop where there are fans and we’re covered.” I never want to be a naysayer of fun, but I also never want to put myself in a situation where I’m paying the price of peeling skin because I chose to ignore my limits.
Knowing that you are imperfect is a hurdle we all have to overcome. But embracing your limitations and being honest with yourself is the clearest way to avoid getting in those sticky situations you’d rather avoid to begin with.
Now, there is a difference between knowing your limits and choosing to not risk anything. That’s the fine line us travelers all have to learn! Staying true to yourself while traveling doesn’t mean avoiding all unnecessary risk. It means being confident enough to adjust to those opportunities that come up and maybe, just maybe, suggest an alternative plan.
Choose to Learn
A big benefit of travel is all that we learn from it. Coming into your adventure suited up and excited to deepen your understanding of the destination’s culture, people, food and traditions is a great way to stay true to yourself. When saying yes to learning you are only are you expanding your mind, but also developing your own understanding of yourself and how you fit into the larger scheme of this world.
So hop on your Google search bar and start searching!
Know How You Operate
Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you prefer following a schedule day to day or are you more of a fly by the seat of your pants person? Understanding your daily routines and how you like to spend time and adapting it to suit your travels is one huge way to feel less like a mess when adventuring.
I know that I’m most productive in the mornings from seven to ten, but right after that I’m normally itching to get out and move. Knowing this, I always try to wake up on the earlier side, get to work while the day is starting and then head out of the door for a day’s worth of sight seeing, exploring and eating afterwards. This routine helps me feel productive and makes the strangeness of a new location seem a little more manageable, at least in my head.
Staying true to yourself while traveling is a guaranteed way to have a happier adventure, to avoid headaches and to tailor your trip to your individual, beautifully unique self. If you’re about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime, be sure to know thy self, embrace thy self, have fun, but more than anything, be true to you. Because you’re the best kind of awesome.