I actually like to just wander in the street without paying attention to the touristic spots. Because I prefer to meet locals than tourists. What’s the point of travelling if you don’t meet the people ?
Social (media) pressure
However, nowadays, with mass tourism, you kinda have the injunction to do the must see. Who would go to Paris without taking a picture of the Eiffel tower ? With social media and its buzz, you have to upload some pictures on social medias to show your friends you’ve been here and there. To prove them you’ve been to your destination country. It’s kind of sad, that when you visit a place you keep in mind those parameters. Isn’t it best to just wander in the streets, immersing yourself in the new spot ?
Don’t get me wrong though, I love social medias, it allows me to keep in touch with my friends all over the world. But like with everything, the benefits come with flaws. And it’s true that internet 2.0 changed the way we travel. By shrinking the world to anything accessible as long as you have a connected screen, we lost the capacity to be surprised. There is a very high chance that even before putting a toe in a foreign country you already saw pictures of its touristic highlights. Because you’re curious and it’s understandable, but thinking about it, it’s sad that you won’t be surprise by the beauty of the Hungarian Parliament because you simply expect it. You go there to tick the box you have in mind. And your travel has lost one of its essence along the way : to surprise you.
Time and friends are the secret
This is why I like to spend time in the places I visit. This way I can do both : ticking the boxes and seeing so much more, places I have never heard about before ! But anyways, once I’ve come to a certain destination, in my mind, it’s not like I take it off my bucket list. I know I can come back and why not ? If I come back in 1, 10 or 20 years, things will have change. It won’t be the same anymore because every trip is unique. And it’s also good to wander in the souvenirs you made in the past. It’s so special when you come back to a place you loved and remember what happened there.
My favorite way of travelling is by visiting a friend in a foreign country. It’s really the best, because you get to know the local culture way better and also your friend has some tips for the best places in town. And of course, you get to see your friend again and you discover his or her universe, s/he can show you around. And at the end of the day it strenghtens your relationship because you get a better understanding of the person you have in front of you by discovering his world. You know, context is always important.
Not long ago, I got the chance to visit a friend in Budapest, Hungary. I had a great time there. Traveling by visiting your friend is also less tiring than sleeping at ho(s)tels. Su casa es tu casa !
I was very lucky during that week end that she invited me to have lunch with her family on a sunday. It was my best memory : I learnt so much by visiting her parent’s house and experiencing a family hungarian meal ! Eventhough I could not really communicate with her mother as she doesn’t speak english, I am so grateful for that time. It felt a bit home in a context so different. It was an authentic hungarian experience, impossible to find if you don’t know at least one local.
That’s my current problem : I don’t have friends everywhere. Yet.
This post was inspired by this article
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