August 25, 2015

This is not a travel blog

Don't ask me for advice

Or do, but be aware that the response you get might not be what you expected or answer the question you had. Never follow my advice blindly. Unless my advice says "always carry tissues when you travel in Asia" because that's actually a good one in a part of the world where you don't always have toilet paper. 

This is not a travel blog.

This is a blog about my passions, about things I feel are important - sustainability, food, equal rights, and a lot more. Yes, there is travelling here as well, because travel is a part of my life, a part of who I am - but don't ever call my blog a travel blog or me a travel blogger. 

It isn't. I'm not.

Nor is it a traditional blog full of "Top 5 things to do" or "How to pack your bag" or "10 things you didn't expect" because that's not who I am. I gave up on even reading tips like that years ago - they never reflect what I feel is best practise for me, or how I travel, or what I have done or want to do. We are all different and we travel for different reasons and with different agendas. I can't even give myself the same advice every time I travel, because a business trip is not the same as a leisure trip, a trip to a big city isn't the same as one to a village. A trip with someone is not the same as a trip on your own. Thinking it is would be as stupid as believing you could cook all food the same way; If you boil your pasta as long as you cook your lamb steak your pasta will be turned in to a sticky dough, or your lamb will be raw.

Yes, sometimes there is something on a list that I can agree on - I can definitely agree on Number 6 in the article"15 Mistakes We've All Done While Travelling" by Greg Dickinson, published on Rough Guides website.  Spending ages trying to find a good restaurant and ending up going back to the first one you saw - I have done that more than once - but then again, I do that at home too.

I have gotten better at it though, nowadays I have at least learnt to grab a snack on the way to food - roasted sweet potato in Taiwan, for example, or a tea egg, or maybe Onigiri, that Japanese seaweed-wrapped rice ball with a filling of tuna, salmon or chicken - anything that keeps me going until I get my food. It's easier to find a place to eat when you don't feel that you are dying from hunger and you are being mean to everyone around you. Now my advice is always "stay hydrated and avoid getting too hungry" - because it's what works for me. 

Other than that I am a useless travel blogger; There is a lot on this blog that has nothing to do with travelling - and that's exactly how I want it. I have been blogging for years, this is not my first blog, and it was never about travelling.  I hope I can inspire someone with what I write but don't come to me for travel advice; Chances are we don't travel the same way, and chances are the things that makes me tick are other than the ones you are passionate about.

There are others that are focusing on travel and travel only and they are therefore more useful as travel bloggers than I am.

I am not fussed about fancy hotels. I don't mind them, but I don't go somewhere to just stay inside, so fancy or not - as long as I can sleep well, that's all that REALLY matters.

I don't go out of my way to see the "must see" tourist spot. Yes, I go and see a few, but I am never ever going to run around like crazy with a list of things I have to do/see, at least not one based on what others say you should do or see, and not so I can say I saw it.

When it comes to planning - I am lousy at it. I don't like to plan my holidays in detail, I create a list of things that interest me and may well end up doing none of them - because you know what, once at a location, I may stumble over new information, meet some interesting people, and feel like doing something completely different.

Just like I do when I am where I currently call home I follow my nose, follow my eyes, and follow my feelings - if one road happens to look more interesting today, then I will take it.

There are really only three tips that I can give people:
  • In a new location, write down the name of where you are staying - and write it in the local language - and carry that with you so you can find your way back to the suitcase. You may pronounce it differently than the locals. 
  • Carry a little bit of emergency cash in a separate pocket - see above, so you can  take a taxi back to the place where your suitcase is, worst case. 
  • Be open-minded and dare to step out of your comfort zone. 
Well, actually, there is a forth one. Have fun.

And remember what makes you stressed when travelling and try and avoid that - for that reason I check the water pressure in the shower before agreeing to take a room if I didn't book before I arrived - I really dislike showers with poor water pressure. 

But other than that - travelling is very much like life; You eventually learn what interests you, what you think is fun, what makes it worth-while for you and what is important to you. Focus on what's important to you. It is the only real advice I can give, in life, regardless of where your life is. Do more of what interest you, more of what makes you happy! And try and bring that passion into everything you do!

Photos in the post have nothing really to do with this post. They are just things that inspire me, the sea, cycling on a borrowed bike along a river, someone making wherever he lays his hat his home.

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