It seems that more and more travelers are looking beyond the glimmering tourist attractions of their destinations and are trying to uncover the heart of where they’re visiting. So, for this week’s discussion question, I want to know, how do you get to know a destination?
For me, I like to do a couple of things.
First, I think a great way to discover a destination is to get as lost as possible. This works especially great if you’re in a large city with a good public transit system because you’ll be able to easily get back to your starting point when you are done wandering.
Getting lost is a great way to get to know a city because it’ll let you get away from the tourist hordes and wander through the real city, where people actually live and work. It also gives you a chance to find unknown sites. I’ve discovered several beautiful statues, temples, and churches while lost; I even discovered one of the most amazing beaches I’ve ever seen tucked behind some houses on a South Korean island. I would have never found these beautiful and peaceful places if I hadn’t gotten lost.
Of course, if you get yourself lost in the countryside it can be a bit difficult to find your way home, but at least it makes a good story.
Another way to get to know your travel destination is to explore the local markets and grocery stores. This is another thing that I always make a point of doing when I visit a new country. I always find the different types of products they sell to be fascinating, and enjoy seeing what American food pops up in their stores (you can get a Coca-Cola or a Snickers bar just about anywhere in the world).
What about you? What do you think is the best way to get to know a destination? Let me know in the comments section below.