Guest post by Garrett from @hosteldog
Is it really always the right choice to go somewhere that no one else goes? If a traveler knowingly goes with the easier, more popular destination, should they be thrown the proverbial stone?
These are questions that every traveler asks of themselves. We all hope that we have the capability and strength to go where no one else goes. But should the goal of the independent backpacker really be to pick the road less traveled?
When you first start traveling, most likely, it will be to some place closer, cheaper, easier.
The likelihood that you take the road more traveled happens because, like any leap, travel is easiest to do with beginner baby steps.
But right after that first trip to Paris, London or New York, I’d bet that most of us started asking ourselves – shouldn’t I now be setting my sights on some place more adventurous? Laos, Cambodia, Turkey all jump to mind.
Any chance these locations are on your list?
And for the even more off-the-grid, throw Tunisia, Colombia and Belarus in to the mix. These places, well off the main travel grid, wet the mouths of most folks who yearn for a sense of adventure.
But what does it REALLY mean to go somewhere less traveled? In a place like Paris, Amsterdam or Auckland, you’ll find well-organized hostels packed with travelers and people of similar interests. Drink specials are common and it’s all too easy to find a new friend on the hostel bed across the room.
In the less traveled destinations, you’re going to find things a tad bit more different and, probably, more difficult. It’s more likely that you’ll be a novelty, so you’ll attract a tad more attention.
Add on to that the likelihood that your native tongue is most likely not spoken and you’re starting to see the challenges of venturing away from the tried-and-true haunts of the main backpacker trails.
On top of that, you’re more likely to encounter spotty internet, unpredictable travel, less trustworthy hostel owners – you make the list. Along with adventure, comes relative discomfort.
Far from being a travel curmudgeon, I embrace the uncommon destinations. As someone that has visited the more popular destinations, I’ve got my fair share of off-the-grid spots as well – Bolivia, Malaysia and Latvia dot the list. I went to these locations mainly because they were as different an experience I could find as possible from the hostel haunts of Western Europe.
But once I visited, I realized that I missed the sense of community that I found in those great hostels. I missed the friendships that grew over happy hour beers but lasted so much longer.
The only way to find out the type of traveler you are is to try both the popular and unpopular destinations. Get your sense of adventure and realize what that experience is like first hand. And it’s true, the grass is sometimes greener on the other side.
You just have to decide if it’s your type of green.
“Our inspiration for our shirts comes from remembering the idiosyncrasies of travel: the overnight trains, the packed hostel rooms, the late nights.Traveling isn’t just a momentary experience, it’s a way of life. When you come back from your travels abroad, it’s the little things that went right (and wrong) that you remember down the road.” (taken from www.hosteldog.com)
Be sure to follow Garrett on Twitter (@hosteldog).