“Wow, you went to so and so heavily touristed spot? Me too!”
“Wow, you went to this remote, off the beaten path spot?!”
I love both forms of travel.
I follow the travel herd to places like Chiang Mai, Thailand and Ubud, Bali. These are fun, enjoyable, “me too” trips.
But I also spent 6 weeks in a remote jungle by Bribri, Costa Rica. So fellow world travelers say….“Wow, you did that?!” sometimes….and other far more adventurous travelers nod, such Indiana Jones types doing more dangerous, death-defying things. No right or wrong answer exists. We all travel how we wish to travel. Reserve judgments as much as humanly possible. Highly visited spots are highly visited for a reason; these places are amazing! Visit Angkor Wat; yep, thousands of people will visit with you, but no place on earth is like this wonder in Cambodia. Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar was bananas. Mesmerizing spot. Crowded as hell in some places. Naturally, throngs of tourists visit eye-popping, world-renowned, awe-inspiring spots.
These places are phenomenal. Visit, but prepare for big crowds. Embrace how we share eye-popping travel spots with fellow human beings.
But once, or twice, or more, visit way off of the beaten path spots too. Nice sense of contrast. Experience what the world has to offer.
For me, Exhibit A of an off the path tourist spot was a 6 week trip we made to a jungle hut outside of Bribri, Costa Rica. Kelli and I hiked 2-3 hours into a remote area – no humans around for miles, save one pig farmer – and lived a simple life for 6 weeks, save treks into town for worldly living every Friday into Saturday morning….along with buying provisions, of course.
Outhouse. No electricity. No internet. No phone reception. No plumbing. Water running from a jungle stream, via hose. Forget the fridge, fan and air conditioning. Urinate into buckets at night to avoid trips to the out house, said out house sitting 3 feet from the deep jungle, home to the deadly fer de lanz and eyelash viper snakes, the thing of nightmares they are.
Each of these 6 weeks served as among the:
- most liberating
- most maddening
- most enlightening
- most depressing
time of my life. I felt ALIVE. No humans around to project fear onto me. I felt LONELY. No humans around, to….shit….be around. Unreal experience. Do it once. Even for 1 week. Live off the grid, a 2-3 hour hike away from humans, in a remote jungle. Nature offers a stable, perfectly balanced, delightful vibe that allows you to see yourself and your mind as you really are.
Kelli and I also enjoy the midway point between “me too” and “wow you” travel. Take 2 trips to Chiang Mai, Thailand. We actually lived in a village 15 minutes outside of Chiang Mai, called Pong Noi. Everybody knows Chiang Mai. But not everybody lives in a house bordering a national park as the rainy season sets in. You know what that means in tropical Thailand? Bugs. Lots of BIG bugs…like these guys I saw inside the house during a one month stretch:
I calmly batted this centipede outside of the house.
I showered beside this spider for 3 weeks.
I peacefully escorted this chap outside of the house, with a broom.
Travel to your heart’s content. Really, look within, be open and travel how your divine center guides you. I’d suggest at least one short, remote trip, to face fears and to feel liberated, but that’s your call.