Thursday, July 23, 2015

By Matt Long
Too many travel articles start with the premise that most people
don’t know what they’re doing, that although they lead
productive lives and manage to not catch themselves on fire or get eaten by a
bear, once they leave home on a trip they lose all ability to function.
I’m guilty of writing these posts, so I’m criticizing myself as
well, but I think it’s time to tell travelers what they’re doing
right instead of wrong, patting them on the back for a job well done and
hoping they get out there and see even more.
I’ve spent a lot of time watching my fellow tourists and above
everything else, I’ve been most impressed seeing these wonderful traits
exhibited in folks from around the world.
1.
Trying new things
The bobsleigh experience at WinSport in Calgary, Alberta — one of
many travel experiences that can help you push out of your comfort zone.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)If you’re like me, being at home
isn’t exactly about breaking down barriers.
We tend to do the same things, eat similar meals and in general just fall
into a routine.
When we travel though, something changes; a switch is flipped.
I’ve seen in myself a willingness to really push my own comfort
envelope when I leave home, and I’ve noticed the same of others many
times.
Whether it’s flying on a zip line for the first time or trying a new
food, I’m always impressed by the ability of my fellow travelers to
take chances.
That’s the real advantage to travel of course, more than seeing nice
buildings and enjoying the scenery, it really is about becoming better people.
 2.
Having funWe tend to put so much pressure on ourselves to enjoy the perfect
vacation that we can become our own worst enemies.
Either we overplan to the point of exhaustion, or we stress about details we
can’t affect.
Either way, it’s always refreshing to me to see people out there
traveling and having a great time doing it.
While sailing on a river cruise recently, there was an extended family
onboard of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins.
They were all ages and when I first saw them I groaned because I thought the
kids would get bored and start acting up within a couple of days.
I was very wrong though, and instead of ignoring their kids, the parents
engaged them.
They had fun and by the end of the trip the entire family was about as
content as any I have ever seen.
It was great to see teens put down their phones to play Scrabble and for
their parents to take time showing them around new cities.
Travel is a gift, and that family knew how to deliver it — with a
smile and a few laughs.
When we travel it’s always meant to be fun, so open yourself up and
allow for some opportunities to relax, go slow, and enjoy the moment.
Related: In Defense of Tourists3.
Being respectful
</b> Wake up early to participate in the monks&#x2019;
alms giving ceremony in Luang Prabang, Laos.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)For some reason, I&#x2019;ve noticed an
unnatural tendency amongst my fellow travelers to treat the rest of the world
like an amusement park.
They seem to forget that they&#x2019;re not in Disney&#x2019;s EPCOT (If you
are, then ignore this) and have expectations for locals that are just bizarre.
Leaving aside the man I once saw in a hotel screaming for two croissants and
coffee, I also mean respect in terms of local traditions and beliefs.
I&#x2019;ve read a lot of articles recently about tourists thrown out of
Cambodia or Myanmar for disrespectful behavior and I was shocked by it.
Just as in Luang Prabang, where I saw dozens of tourists harass Buddhist
monks just to get a photo, these individuals had no care or concern for the
country they were visiting.
Travel is all about personal and intellectual growth, so take some time
before you even leave home and learn more about the places you are visiting.
While most destinations forgive accidental rudeness and taboos, you
don&#x2019;t want to have to be in the position of being forgiven.
Don&#x2019;t give anyone the chance to feel insulted by your actions and do
all you can to be respectful of the new country where you are but a humble
guest.
Related:&#xA0;Are Americans the Rudest Tourists? The Worst Things Travelers
Have Done4.
Going local
</b> An eating tour, like the one I took in London&#x2019;s
East End, can be a way to sample a neighborhood&#x2019;s local flavor and
feel.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)I&#x2019;ve only recently begun to see this from
my fellow tourists, but I love it.
Instead of holing themselves up in a resort or hotel, more and more people
are at least trying to get closer to the communities they visit and to learn
more about them.
Experiences are the new luxury, and from what I can tell the average tourist
has become a quick convert.
It doesn&#x2019;t mean that you have to plan a voluntourism trip to India in
order to really go local, it can be almost anything.
One of my favorite ways of quickly learning about a new community is by
taking a great and hopefully slightly unusual walking tour.
While in London I joined the Eating London tour, which took us through some
beautiful neighborhoods in the East End.
During the four-hour walk we learned a lot about the food culture, why
it&#x2019;s important, sampled many delicious morsels but we also experienced
the neighborhood and local life in a way that would have been hard to do
independently.
By the end of the tour, I walked away full, but I also walked away with a
much better understanding and appreciation for London, a city that has taken
me a long time to enjoy.
No matter what it is you do, be sure to get out into the local communities
and learn as much about them as you can.
Related: 20 Things Every Smart Traveler Should Know5.
You&#x2019;re traveling!I remember a couple of years ago while traveling in
South Africa, I was amazed by one fact &#x2013; Americans were everywhere.
Don&#x2019;t get me wrong, I love South Africa and think everyone should
visit, but I was shocked that so many of my countrymen had made the admittedly
long journey to a country they knew little about.
It made me proud, and I&#x2019;ve since seen it around the world (and not
just Americans, of course).
Every year around 1 billion people cross a national border &#x2014;
that&#x2019;s a lot of people on the move.
And while only some are on vacation, enough are getting out there and facing
their travel fears that it is actually changing our culture.
As much as we may complain about it, the fact is that international travel
has never been as accessible as it is today.
Flying halfway around the world isn&#x2019;t the chore it once was and we are
seeing an entire generation of travelers exploring the world.
Who knows what the implications of this will be when they return home and
start their lives in earnest, but whatever they are they will certainly be
entirely positive.
Travel is a lot of fun, yes, but it also makes us kinder, smarter and more
tolerant people.
We understand other cultures in ways that are impossible to learn in books,
and these are the important experiences that don&#x2019;t just change lives,
they change the way we all view the world around us.
Watch: How to Go Full Local in Jordan
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and&#xA0;Pinterest.
Watch World traveling club Travel&#x2019;s new original series, "A Broad
Abroad.
"&#xA0;
I've spent a lot of time watching my fellow tourists and above everything
else, I've been most impressed seeing these wonderful traits exhibited in
folks from around the world.
.
For some reason, I&#x2019;ve noticed an unnatural tendency amongst my fellow
travelers to treat the rest of the world like an amusement park.
They seem to forget that they&#x2019;re not in Disney&#x2019;s EPCOT (If you
are, then ignore this) and have expectations for locals that are just bizarre.
Leaving aside the man I once saw in a hotel screaming for two croissants and
coffee, I also mean respect in terms of local traditions and beliefs.
I&#x2019;ve read a lot of articles recently about tourists thrown out of
Cambodia or Myanmar for disrespectful behavior and I was shocked by it.
Just as in Luang Prabang, where I saw dozens of tourists harass Buddhist
monks just to get a photo, these individuals had no care or concern for the
country they were visiting.
Travel is all about personal and intellectual growth, so take some time
before you even leave home and learn more about the places you are visiting.
While most destinations forgive accidental rudeness and taboos, you
don&#x2019;t want to have to be in the position of being forgiven.
Don&#x2019;t give anyone the chance to feel insulted by your actions and do
all you can to be respectful of the new country where you are but a humble
guest.
Related:&#xA0;Are Americans the Rudest Tourists? The Worst Things Travelers
Have Done4.
Going local
</b> An eating tour, like the one I took in London&#x2019;s
East End, can be a way to sample a neighborhood&#x2019;s local flavor and
feel.
(Photo: Matt Long/LandLopers)I&#x2019;ve only recently begun to see this from
my fellow tourists, but I love it.
Instead of holing themselves up in a resort or hotel, more and more people
are at least trying to get closer to the communities they visit and to learn
more about them.
Experiences are the new luxury, and from what I can tell the average tourist
has become a quick convert.
It doesn&#x2019;t mean that you have to plan a voluntourism trip to India in
order to really go local, it can be almost anything.
One of my favorite ways of quickly learning about a new community is by
taking a great and hopefully slightly unusual walking tour.
While in London I joined the Eating London tour, which took us through some
beautiful neighborhoods in the East End.
During the four-hour walk we learned a lot about the food culture, why
it&#x2019;s important, sampled many delicious morsels but we also experienced
the neighborhood and local life in a way that would have been hard to do
independently.
By the end of the tour, I walked away full, but I also walked away with a
much better understanding and appreciation for London, a city that has taken
me a long time to enjoy.
No matter what it is you do, be sure to get out into the local communities
and learn as much about them as you can.
Related: 20 Things Every Smart Traveler Should Know5.
You&#x2019;re traveling!I remember a couple of years ago while traveling in
South Africa, I was amazed by one fact &#x2013; Americans were everywhere.
Don&#x2019;t get me wrong, I love South Africa and think everyone should
visit, but I was shocked that so many of my countrymen had made the admittedly
long journey to a country they knew little about.
It made me proud, and I&#x2019;ve since seen it around the world (and not
just Americans, of course).
Every year around 1 billion people cross a national border &#x2014;
that&#x2019;s a lot of people on the move.
And while only some are on vacation, enough are getting out there and facing
their travel fears that it is actually changing our culture.
As much as we may complain about it, the fact is that international travel
has never been as accessible as it is today.
Flying halfway around the world isn&#x2019;t the chore it once was and we are
seeing an entire generation of travelers exploring the world.
Who knows what the implications of this will be when they return home and
start their lives in earnest, but whatever they are they will certainly be
entirely positive.
Travel is a lot of fun, yes, but it also makes us kinder, smarter and more
tolerant people.
We understand other cultures in ways that are impossible to learn in books,
and these are the important experiences that don&#x2019;t just change lives,
they change the way we all view the world around us.
Watch: How to Go Full Local in Jordan
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and&#xA0;Pinterest.
Watch World traveling club Travel&#x2019;s new original series, "A Broad
Abroad.
"&#xA0;
I've spent a lot of time watching my fellow tourists and above
everything else, I've been most impressed seeing these wonderful traits
exhibited in folks from around the world.

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