24 Mar Rules for Intentional Travel: Walk
Rule #9: Go For A Walk
How can you really connect with a place from the whizzing view from the bus/ plane/taxi? It’s often not until you are on the ground moving at a human’s pace that you can smell the smells, hear the sounds, sense the sensations. How can you truly appreciate the nuances of where you are if you don’t ever see beyond the view created by the hotel and restaurant your guidebook points you to? Tourist infrastructure generates an image of how they want the place to look and feel to you. Which is fine, but it’s only one facet of a place. Is your hometown hotel in a place that fairly represents your entire region? Is that popular bar indicative of the personality of all the neighborhoods nearby? Probably not. So go explore a bit, and get beyond the scene laid out for you by the tourist industry.
In other words, put down the camera, unplug the smart phone, put a map in your back pocket and start walking. I went for some wonderful walks in Bangkok, Thailand. Backpackers often snubbed the city, calling it loud and dirty and crowded. But they never saw further than the taxi to the tourist ghetto. I found quiet vegetable markets, lush green parks, breezy canal rides. You don’t even have to get too far off the beaten path to find the benefits of walking around. The classic example in the U.S. is at the national parks. Most people drive through them, getting out at vistas and panoramic photo-ops. But walk even five minutes from the road and you’ve got nature to yourself.
About Ingrid: Ingrid is a wanderlust at heart. She’s lived all up and down the west coast, studying environmental science and Spanish at the University of Portland and studying how to grow vegetables in Colorado and Washington. Her favorite activities include rock climbing, eating ice cream, and writing letters. Her travels have taken her from the Caribbean to East Asia and many destinations inbetween. The next places she hopes to travel to are New Zealand, Japan, and Norway.
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