There is something to be said for taking the path less travelled. Getting away from the main drags and big tourist attractions offers an insight to local life that you just couldn’t get anywhere else. Now I am certainly not knocking seeing the big ticket items when travelling, and please make sure you work a few of them into your itinerary. But what I am saying is do not be afraid to wander off the beaten path, because you will not believe what you can find there.
Some of my more memorable travel experiences have been far and away from the big tourist traps. In fact, I can’t even remember some of my more touristy adventures. Obviously there are exceptions (wandering through the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial vividly sticks out), but most of my memories of the big tourist attractions consist of lines, being herded around like sheep, lines, loss of personal space, lines, overpriced entrance fees, and more lines.
Now, my travel memories from the road less travelled are far more memorable. Like having to take a detour through Najavo Nation in Arizona due to highway construction. Or watching two Jack Russell puppies play in the water along Omaha Beach. Or stopping on the side of the highway in Jasper Provincial Park and hiking down some narrow path to find a beautiful waterfall. These memories aren’t groundbreaking by any means, but they helped me experience the local life and culture that I was craving.
Now this is of course my own personal opinion, but I strongly urge you to push your personal limits and strive to experience something outside of the norm when travelling. Travelling off the beaten path is sure to push you to your limits, but it also offers so much more in return than you would get from sitting in line for an hour to get a glimpse of something that you are told you should like. You get a sense for how people live differently around the world, and how beautiful our wonderful planet is. And after all, isn’t that why we all travel? To step outside of our comfort zone and experience something different?
Now get out there! Explore, have some fun! And be sure to take the road off the beaten path.