From a Seeker of Culture, Atmosphere and History

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What do you seek when you visit other countries?

Baudelaire wrote of escaping "anywhere out of this world" and Proust pondered our longing to get out of our own lives, frustrated by discovery that they follow us wherever we go like our shadows. Enlightenment travellers are less concerned with the experience there are having than with understanding the places and people they visit, but it takes time and patience and modern tourists are short of both.

Asked by Beata Stasak.

I Like to Travel for Culture and History

I like to find the atmosphere of the place. I'm not a social butterfly, but I push myself a bit and talk to people when I travel. I ask about things that interest me. Sometimes I find out about a great place to visit while I'm there. Sometimes they tell me about a local group I could join in with. Often I get a new perspective on my old, taken for granted ideas.

I like finding culture and history. I will go to things like local museums and flea markets and those farmer's markets where they really do still have produce as well as crafts and such for sale.

One thing I always do it get out very, very early so I can be out people watching as the town/ city wakes up for the working day. I like to see the place start fresh and come alive around me.

There is something special about getting away. First you have that flash of horror at being adrift in a new place. But, once you get over that the adventure starts. It's only when you travel that you can really be free, reinvent yourself, try something new and waste a day doing nothing, guilt free.

How to Enjoy the Trip

Remember you're a tourist and take the day (or week, however long you are away) off.

Write about your adventures. Draw, doodle and illustrate if you can. Add postcards if you can't draw anything at all. Save ticket stubs and other bits of things which you can add to your travel journal.

Have one planned destination each day. Maybe a tourist spot, maybe a restaurant that sounded too good to pass up, or a place you planned to see long before you left home even. Don't plan every step of your day. Give yourself room for unplanned adventures, changing your mind and wandering.

Talk to people. Even if you don't usually talk to anyone, put forth a little effort and talk to a couple of people each day. A real conversation. See if you can get past the regular small talk about the weather.

Take photos, lots of photographs. We are past the days when you had to pay for photofinishing and film. Now, the digital camera sets you free to make a fool of yourself being a tourist with a loaded camera. Go all out and put your thumb in a few pictures too, it's traditional.

Take the time to send postcards while you are still away from home. Write them with a new pen while you enjoy coffee, tea or something else in a lovely location with a great view.

The hotel, motel, bed & breakfast, or hostel you are staying at is a good (easy to find) source for great places to see, what to eat and things to do.

Do some of the things you like to do when you're home. I like browsing at bookstores. It's a great way to spend an afternoon when I'm in another town, another city, province (state), or country. I look for second hand bookstores too, not just retail.

Do something you don't make time for when you are home and busy or just don't have the energy. It might be something like getting a pedicure for the first time ever. You might get tickets and go to a live theatre performance, evening or matinee. Be open to new experiences.

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Peanutritious 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

What a great hub! I love to travel. Even when I was sweating on a delayed bus in the middle of Asia for hours I would say to myself 'Yes it's hot, yes, all I can smell is sweat but you're having an adventure and you're not at home! I always keep a journal on my travels and love to read them when i'm back home in a warm, clean bed! You have to try and enjoy the moment as you'll be back home in your day to day environment soon enough! I did a lot of travelling in the 90's, sadly, the noughties weren't quite so free financially or otherwise! Travel really does broaden the mind and i'd recommend people do as much as they possibly can.

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