GUEST POST: How Experiential Travel Has Changed My Life by Emma Lawson

Emma Lawson travels different places and discovered how real traveling should be done if you want to have a full experience of the culture of the place you are visiting. Read on and you might want to try this the next time you go places. =)

I’ve always loved travelling. Seeing new things, tasting different foods and meeting new people was always my thing. When I was younger, I would sign up for many travels when I had the chance and I wanted to see the famous structures, monuments and buildings all around the world. However, there was always one problem – I could never experience the authenticity of the places I visited. This is mainly due to the organized tours where they take you to see a certain monument and you go back to your hotel. That’s why I decided to change things a bit and now I only sign up for experiential travel tours.

I’ve been an experiential traveller for years now. Even my kids and my husband enjoy such travels with me. We’ve travelled all around the world, experiencing cultures and we don’t plant to stop soon. The reason for that is that experiential travelling has taught me many great things about other people and myself.

When my family and I travelled to France our focus wasn’t primarily set on seeing the Eiffel Tower or Louvre. Rather, we wanted to see how it is to be a French family and we tried to connect with the locals. We did go and visit the famous landmarks but we didn’t stop there. We visited many authentic French restaurants to taste the real French food. One entire day we spend on the Montmartre in order to experience the intriguing life of painters, musicians and other artists who spend their days there.

In Tokyo, we joined the urban life and tried to experience days of busy locals. Also, even if we are from Melbourne, we travelled across Australia in order to become more familiar with our own culture and see the amazing locales we have. Basically, we wanted to see, feel, taste and experience everything that is unique for each country where we travelled.

Ditch the hotels

Choosing a hotel is a mistake number one, since there you can only experience the life of other tourists. When we travel we look for something real. Usually, we try to find cheap rental houses or, if the place offers it, house sitting. We have even placed ads for house sitting in Melbourne where you simply describe your house and needs. Other tourists can stay there and take care of your plants and pets for free. This way, we try to support and help other fellow travellers experience the true nature of Melbourne. That’s exactly what we did when we travelled to Cape Town. We left our home and a pet with a trusted fellow traveller and signed up for house sitting for a lovely couple who had to leave for a business trip. We spent our vacation taking care of their energetic and friendly dog, while we had the chance to experience the lively atmosphere of Cape Town and their culture.

“Bad” experience is not that bad

Spontaneous and unexpected things that happen during travelling are the best. This way, you manage to experience the reality of the place you are visiting. When we were visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina, we had to meet with our new friend who was going to show us around the town. It was a rainy day and we didn’t really know our way around so we decided to get a taxi. Since most of the vehicles were already taken, we decided to take the bus. It seemed like a torture to find out what bus we actually needed. We ran around asked the locals to help us and we actually met a lot of friendly and interesting people. When we found the right station, locals were mostly quiet, but there were some who wanted to help us get off at the right stop. I have to admit that this wasn’t something we were used to, but it sure was fun. Even though this day started off badly, the whole bus adventure offered us a glimpse of one ordinary day in Sarajevo, along with an interesting tour.

Mass tourism doesn’t offer the true unique things about cities. That’s why I stick to experiential travelling since I know that each time I go somewhere I will manage to experience authenticity which can greatly affect the way I live my life, my way of thinking and the way I spend time with my family.

 If you want to know more about Emma’s travels, Follow Emma Lawson on:

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