I always want to make the most of my time when I travel abroad. I try to avoid the tourist traps, and I’ve learnt to ask myself: “am I taking a photo right now for myself, or just to show other people that I was here???”
I’ve learnt not to rush things, not to buy meaningless souvenirs, not to do things just for the photo op…
but to take my time, experience the parts of the culture that would be most memorable for me, and to let myself just be wherever I am. That means trying the food, soaking up the atmosphere, meeting the local people.
Some cities are good for just wondering around, but I also like to put together a rough guide of things we can do when we get there, so we can see what options we have and go for it when we feel like it.
I put it in a Google doc that I can download and access from my phone whenever. Here’s the one I made for Athens (yes, it’s a very rough).
When putting together the rough guide, I visit multiple travel blogs, looking for:
- Hidden gems
- Local events
- Potential day trips
- Gay district/ bars, because in my mind that’s the most open-minded and art rich section of any city.
- Social dances (because I know Lindy hop, this is a great way for me to meet the locals & have an instant family wherever I go – I message the city’s swing dancing facebook group to ask about dance events).
If you like these travel sketches, check out the beginning of my travel blog webcomic about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, which I creatively called The Climb Diary :’)