Take a Walk – The Best Way to Enjoy a Place
Slow down and take a walk. It is the best way to enjoy any place in the world.
When I first arrive in a country, I am usually suffering from jet lag. So my first instinct is to get to my hotel (that I booked before leaving), check in, and drop off my backpack suitcase. The worst thing I could do would be to jump in bed and go to sleep.
The best thing would be to stay up the rest of the day and go to bed at the normal time of the place I'm visiting. To do this I need fresh air, sunshine and exercise.
So I take a walk.
I open the door and step out into the world. I'm usually so excited about being in a new country that I can't wait to see it. I don't want a cab or a bus or anything that will slow my movement.
I want to walk around and see what I will see.
All of a sudden I am greeted with the sights, smells and sounds of a brand-new world, of an undiscovered culture, of unfelt feeling. New, rosy fingered and pure magic.
I scream to myself in quiet joy, “I'm in Paris! I'm in Rio. I'm in Mexico City.”
I cannot believe my luck. I'm overjoyed, dancing with the world. I've escaped. I've conquered. I enjoy the triumph.
The sounds are magic. I buy an espresso. It's delicious. I grab a local pastry and it's mine.
I read words that I mean nothing to me. I hear conversations, I don't understand. I see cars, trucks and buses that I hope won't hit me. I take care not to walk in front of any of them.
This can be difficult when the city I'm in is London, and they drive on the left side of the road. I've trained myself to look both ways and back again every time I step off a curb so that when I'm in England, I can take a walk in safety.
But also remember there are lots of places where the drivers are not as good as you think or there is simply no space to maneuver in.
In Amsterdam a passing car grazed my hand - it hurt. Yet I realized that there just wasn't any room for us in those streets without extra caution. And walking in the street of Egypt or Morocco is just plain crazy for everyone.
So walk and be safe.
Take a walk in a park, a forest, a market, a neighborhood, a village, a mountain valley, a shoreline, or tiny wine festival and enjoy real travel.
Again and again, and maybe go for a real walk for the first time...
Here is a quick list of Travel Secrets I found out about on my trips. I hope it helps you in your search for better travel:
Go to the Page on My Way to Travel
Nervous about travel?
Travel is Scary
Learn to Like Yourself as You Are
Time Slows Down when Traveling
KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid
The Power of the Open Question
Ask the Unbusy Police Officer
Ask the Locals - They know
Listening - An Important Skill in Travel
Contrast the Old and the New
Some Unusual Travel Insights
Be a Good Guest
Take a Walk - Relax - Enjoy Good Travel
Get Lost on a Bus - I Dare You
Change Course - Follow Someone Else's Idea of a Good Trip
Good Exercise is a Travel Bonus
Interacting with Children in a Foreign Land
Treatment of Americans Abroad
After All - It's Your Vacation