In the world of travel guides, trip advisor, lonely planet, and a host of other “top 10” and review websites, almost every place you travel comes with a list of preconceived notions of what you should be doing on your vacation: the must sees, the not to forgets, the best things about that place.
And those things are super helpful. I use them all of the time. It’s great to know the major highlights of a place.
But make sure you don’t lose yourself – you the traveller – in the process.
The whole point of experiential travelling is to experience while seeing. You will have the best authentic experiences when you are being true to yourself.
CASE IN POINT:
Right now I’m in Kata Bay in Phuket, Thailand. The place is beautiful. When my husband and I were in Thailand 2 years ago, we stayed in Nai Harn, so I wanted to stay somewhere different. And I wanted a quieter less party place than Patong. Kata Bay has definitely met these expectations!
It’s the off-season, so it is less crowded. The weather is pleasant, the locals are very friendly and helpful, and there’s no shortage of activities (as I’ll write about in another post!)
Let me tell you how I was supposed to spend my day…I should have had a lovely morning stroll along the beach, had pad thai or a curry for lunch, and spent my afternoon doing some water sport.
It’s now 4 pm. I slept until 11:30 (don’t judge me – I’m still getting over a 3:30 am flight), and I spent my afternoon going from small restaurant to tea shop, finishing my term-end marking, reading, and now writing this. I came prepared for a day at the beach. I did. I’m wearing my swimsuit, my sunblock’s with me, my sun hat is on the ready…
But as I sat at the water first thing, I realized “I don’t really feel like doing this today.”
So I put aside my shoulds and musts and supposed tos and was true to my authentic self.
And I’ve had the loveliest day! A highlight was having interesting conversations with fellow travellers – including a woman from Qatar who works at a Phuket school – and local residents. The tea shop, ReKata, is so small and uncrowded that there’s lots of time for small chit-chats with travellers and residents alike.
And now I’m enjoying hearing the beat of a warm spring rain under a restaurant’s awning, sipping red wine, writing this post, and watching life in Kata Bay happen. It’s peaceful. It’s beautiful. It’s what I needed today.
I’m not surfing. I’m not parasailing. I’m not walking to Big Buddha. I’m not going to the Sunday Market. And I’m regretting absolutely nothing. I’m loving today’s experiences!
Do read tips and advice for travel, but make sure you first and foremost listen to your own needs and desires. After all, the travel writer is trying to write for you…but only you know your true self!
Want authentic travel experiences? Start by listening to your authentic self!
What about you? Any times you listened to yourself rather than what you should be doing on vacation? Were you grateful?