The famous Brazilian “pilgrim” knows how to bring the most valuable things from a tourist trip. In his blog, the cult author gave some advice to those who go to uncharted cities and countries.
1. Avoid museums
At first glance, this is absurd, but let's think a little. Since you ended up in an unfamiliar city, is it not better to get to know it today, alive, and not the city as it once was, centuries ago?
We feel obliged to go to museums. We were accustomed to this, we were hammered into our heads, as if this was the meaning of the phrase “touch culture”. I will not argue that museums are important. But their visit still takes time, thoughtfulness and preparation. You have to understand, for the sake of what you looked at the museum walls, what exactly you want to find in them. Otherwise, this visit will turn into a thoughtless wandering and loss of precious time. Visiting the museum for a tick, you will leave it with the feeling that you have seen several fundamentally important things, but soon don’t even remember which ones.
2. Look into the bars
City life is revealed here, not in museums. I’m not talking about nightclubs, but about small bars, diners, where people drop by after a job to overturn a glass or two, exchange a few words about the weather, chat with the bartender.
Buy a local newspaper and enjoy watching people. If someone starts a conversation, join, even if the topic at first seems to you not too interesting. In appearance, the door is not always possible to guess what lies behind it.
3. Connect with people
The best guides are the locals. Those who were born here, live here, walk along these streets every day, know everything about everyone, are proud of their city, but do not work for a travel agency. Just go outside, choose the person you want to talk to, and ask him about something (where is the cathedral? How to get to the post office?). If the first will be laconic, try with the second, with the third. I am sure: by the end of the day you will find yourself accompanied by a great local companion!
4. Travel alone
Or, if you are in a relationship, with a partner. Everything. Only in this way will you really leave your own “roots” behind. Traveling in a foreign country with a tourist group of your compatriots, constantly communicating in your native language, going where your guide points you, you will not be able to feel the full charm of the journey and pay attention to the place you were trying to visit.
5. Try to avoid comparisons.
Do not compare anything - prices, standards of hygiene, standard of living, ways of movement - nothing! You did not go on a trip to prove that you live better and more correctly in your homeland than other people. Your goal is to find out how these others live, what they can teach you, how they cope with reality and the extraordinary.
6. Do not be afraid to get lost
Even if you do not speak the local language, do not worry. I have been to many places where I couldn’t say a few words, and always found support, necessary recommendations, useful tips and even girlfriends. Some people think that going out in an unfamiliar country means instantly losing the road and getting lost forever. Although it is enough just a business card of the hotel in your pocket: if you really get lost, you can always stop a taxi, show the driver’s address and return to the room with comfort.
7. Do not buy too many things.
Spend money only on the fact that you do not have to carry on yourself: theater tickets, visiting restaurants, excursions. If any thing you really liked, remember: in our time, the global market and the Internet, you can buy almost everything you want online, and not pay for extra baggage.
8. Do not try to see the whole world in one month.
It is much better to stay in one city for four or five days than to visit five cities in a week. Unfamiliar cities, that capricious women: it takes time to seduce them and discover for themselves completely.
9. Take every journey as a great adventure.
Henry Miller said that it was more important to find a church that no one had ever heard about than to go to Rome and feel obliged to go to the Sistine Chapel, about which you buzz all ears, along with two hundred thousand other tourists. Yes, of course, visit the Sistine Chapel! But do not forget also to wander through less tourist streets, explore the alleys. Feel free to search. The search for something that you do not even know, but that, when found, can turn your whole life.