Operational hours: 9am to 9pm
Objectives: Visit everything that is to visit in a short timeframe/ Search, find and book accommodation, attractions, transportation for the next day/ Still get a sense of the local culture/ Satisfy our taste buds with local food.
Wandering when you travel is the obvious thing to do! Get your camera, your travel guide, comfortable shoes and here you go, wandering in Bangkok, Saigon, Washington DC or Osaka, walking all day long to see the main attractions, eating a Po’ Boy sandwich or a nasi goreng on your way and enjoy the place you’re in, as much as possible. Those days, you basically cross things off your To Do List and go to bed exhausted, after having organized your next day, of course.
The wandering can be relaxing though, if you choose to settle down on an island for a couple of days and just enjoy yourself. That’s what we did in Con Dao, Koh Rong or Batu Karas, where we lost the notion of time, rested and relaxed. Usually, beaches are required for this kind of wandering!
Or you can wander with a theme: food for instance! Learn how to choose fresh products at the local markets, make your own curry paste, discover local specialties or dive into the local street food! For sure you’ll develop new tasting abilities… and get a little fatter but hey, you’ll never find tastier ramen back home!
Operational hours: 7am to 6pm
Objectives: Get out of our comfort zone/ Discover new landscapes through physical efforts/ Experience new ways of living and interesting values/ Live an adventure/ Revisit history.
The second way of travelling would be to wake up early, put your hiking shoes on, and start hiking on active volcanoes, or spend 3 days on a boat and get to know the underwater wildlife. It often implies physical effort, and you’ll need to be ready to walk for hours with a full backpack under the Hawaiian sun but it’s usually worth it! Or you can buy a car, put a tent on top of it and ride for 7000kms, crossing desert places, bushes and sand dunes without any human activity around.
Exploring involves either a physical effort or an emotional one. When you get introduced to history through a local perspective, it definitely affects you. We cannot forget about the Khmer Rouge awful period that still haunts Cambodia, the Vietnam war, Hiroshima heavy past, or the civil rights movement that changed today’s US landscape. Exploring is also diving deep into the local past to understand how and why a country evolved the way you see it today.
Exploring can also be a way to rediscover yourself, think about your way of living and integrate new values and habits in your life. We explored our inner selves in Cambodia through yoga and meditation, but also got humbled by the way people in Lao or Cambodia live, or got determined to work towards a cleaner environment as we saw the terrible state of nature in South East Asia.
Operational hours: 6am to 4pm
Objectives: Earn money/ Get a different experience hands-on/ Integrate a community for a little while/ Get back a sense of routine.
Obviously, you need some time to be able to work during your travel but you find time if you need cash or a free accommodation! Many online communities can help you out, we tried HelpX for 6 weeks in Hawaii, what allowed us to have plenty of time exploring Big Island for free.
In Australia, we worked for the money, lost in the middle of nowhere with nothing else to do than picking beans! Despite the backs’ pain and our fingers full of blisters, we’re glad we did it as we earned some nice Australian dollars to go on with our travels.
Working is also a mean to stay at the same place for a little while, getting back kind of a routine and integrate a community. Other workers from all over the world sharing the same experience is a good way to make new friends and have some good laughs.
Operational hours: 12pm to 2am
Objectives: Meet new people/ Discover a culture through its people/ Hang-out with locals/ Get an experience that is not on travel guides.
As you’re travelling, and especially if you’re wandering around at a fast pace, it may be difficult to meet locals and socialize, what could be a hard feeling after 10 months on the road as you were used to see your friends/family and spent time with them.
Hopefully, we met old friends on our way, and really appreciated spending valuable time with them. Crashing on their couches in Philadelphia or Los Angeles, or meeting them while visiting Bali or Hanoi, it was so nice to find them on our way!
CouchSurfing is another wonderful way to meet locals and experience a place life. We had so many good memories of our time with CouchSurfers all along the US or in Japan, where we even joined a Japanese Zumba class and spent a night in a Osaka student dorm. We are convinced by CouchSurfing, it is, according to us, the best way to travel!
In South East Asia, the language barrier was an obstacle, so we couldn’t get to know as many locals as we wished to, but we still managed to socialize a little bit. By joining local initiatives, or meeting other travelers along the way. It was nice to share travelling stories and destination tips!
Between the US, Asia Australia, we wore many hats and adapted our travels to the most appropriate pace, one that would let us discover the world on our own terms!