Have you ever felt that there is a right and a wrong way to travel? That depending on your circle of friends a two-month backpacker trip to Australia might sound like an excellent plan while a volunteer program with the Mongolian nomads make them question your sanity? After hearing stories of people going against the norms of the society they´re from and end up in wonderful off the beaten track locations befriending the local tribal chief. One can wonder how to best experience the world?
In my case I have, after years of travel, more friends who are true-to-the-bone backpackers than the big-city-touring kind. Friends who run across the world, climb Mount Everest and hike in Afghanistan. And I can find this difficult sometimes because for me, all travel is interesting. Dancing the night away in the underground clubs of Berlin, working with female empowerment in India, skydiving in New Zealand and visiting the British museum all hold the same appeal for me. I do not discriminate when it comes to travel.
Therefore I often find I have to explain myself when I choose New York over Cambodia or a tour covering the most interesting locations instead of going native and finding them myself. My non-traveler friends think I´m crazy for even considering traveling through Guatemala but my traveler friends think I´m crazy for going there with a GROUP. The first I can handle. I always knew I wanted something different than my peers. The second, however, I struggle with. Aren´t my traveling friends supposed to be the ones who understand me the best? With some I feel as if I need to be hiking the Andes with a one-eyed dog to be considered “okay”.
In the end though I have decided to do what I always do; ignore what everyone else says and do whatever makes me happy. I´m fine with not looking cool as I play volleyball with the American friends I made on the tour bus. I´m fine with feeling corny as I sip on a drink on a tourist beach in Greece with nothing but Harry Potter to keep me occupied.
So is there a right way to travel? Yes there is. YOUR way.