Travellers of all ages, resources, and experience are looking for more engaging and meaningful experiences. People are seeking a travel experience ‘with a human face' where the key element is authenticity and the desire is to get as close to 'the real deal' as possible. Travellers are looking for human encounters that create moments of great emotion whether they're immersing themselves deep in culture for weeks or months or planning their one or two precious weeks of vacation time. Don't we all want more than a manufactured tourism experience and the ability to hear the true cultural narrative of a place?
But how to obtain such things? Let's explore ways to experience a new place to the fullest by making a real connection with others - a genuine, local, and authentic relationship. And not surprisingly, it all starts by looking at our own attitudes and practicing self-awareness.
Leaving our Ego Behind
Egocentrism has no place when seeking authentic travel experiences. Besides, on a journey we tend to become strangers while exploring lands unknown to us. Forgetting for a time our identity, our roots and our social status. We forgot our certainties and rest on the same pedestal as the people whom we meet, without judging values of inferiority or superiority. Respecting each other's differences with empathy and kindness is already a great step forward.
Listening Rather Than Speaking
Because listening is the basis of all relationships, dialogue is essential for fostering meaningful travel experiences. To listen with altruism and humanity and to argue without imposing one's certainty is an opening for dialogue, an essential element in the relationship with others. Without dialogue, we cannot fully experience our encounters with others. The journey begins when we allow ourselves to become fully immersed in a place, by listening to what it has to tell us.
By Taming the Unknown
When travelling in a new place, our certainties are questioned and our habits are shaken. This new place scares us, and modifies our vision of the world, especially if one wishes to travel alone. To travel and discover unknown lands and cultures and to observe the plurality of worlds, is also to confront one's apprehensions and weaknesses and to go beyond one's comfort zone. To expose yourself to the unknown and the unpredictable, opens you up to the unveiling of yourself, often repressed or unexploited. The trip makes you grow!
By Indulging in Slowness
At work and at home, ‘taking the time' is not a common practice. It is necessary that we go fast! But it is all about the art of living slowly; of stopping, of taking the time to listen, to gaze, to feel and not to conduct visits at high speed while simply accumulating photos, memories and numbers of places visited. Slowness is wisdom.