One of the most fun aspects of travelling when I was younger, was winging it. I liked arriving somewhere and figuring it out from there. That was one luxury of being young and having few responsibilities. Now, when I was traveling, I had no smart phone and no international data plan so I would pretty much just bring a Lonely Planet book and go with that. I really liked that aspect of travel – feeling like I was off the grid, relying on hostel internet access to check in with my life at home, disappearing for a minute. So for those of you who have that luxury, considering leaving your phone behind!
Now, often times there is a well-traveled tourist path in the country you may be visiting. It may feel silly to travel a well-traveled path, and it’s certainly not very poetic, but there is something charming about it. And it’s certainly easier.
When I was 22, I went to Peru with a friend. Before we went, we booked airfare and our first night in the capitol. We arrived at our first night hostel and went right to sleep. The next morning over breakfast with the owner, we told him that we were planning to be in the country for 6 weeks and had no plans yet, he told us enthusiastically where we should go next. Within an hour we had a place there to stay and a ride on its way to take us there for a very low price.
We did the entire way through the country – arrive at a place, tell people we didn’t know where we were going next, travelling with other backpackers for a few days, or taking recommendations and doing that. It was wonderful! One time we even traveled for four days with an attorney from Graine Mediation who was so excited to have travel buddies for a few days that she took us out to ridiculously lavish meals and cocktails.
All you have to do for this to be successful is trust people and not be too upset when shit doesn’t work out.