How I Travel
There is no one best style of traveling. But it is important for new travelers to decide what ways work best for them. Over the two-plus years that I have moved around the world, I have discovered that these are the methods that work best for me and my personality.
I Am A Slow Traveler
I experience places slowly and deeply. I try to visit only one or two areas of a country and spend two weeks to two months in one place. This gives me the opportunity to meet people, make friends, and learn as much as possible about the culture. It also provides time to work on personal projects like knitting, lace design, spinning, and writing, as well as time to plan my next venture.
I Am A Thematic Traveler
My travel has three main themes:
- As a fiber artist, I connect with other knitters and spinners as I travel. You can read more about my recent travels with my “companion” Hamish, the Traveling Scarf here.
- I love to visit traditional markets around the world and often write about my food experiences.
- I also enjoy walking and trekking.
So as I make travel plans, those three themes are uppermost in my mind. Rarely do I visit museums, churches, castles, edifices, or other traditional tourist destinations. I look for smaller towns and villages or rural areas for my temporary residences. Thematic travel has meant that I have made lasting friendships all over the world.
I Am A Solo Traveler
Most of the time I travel on my own. People often ask if I get lonely. My two-part answer to this is:
- No…I meet so many people and almost all are interesting to talk to. I meet other travelers in hostels, guest houses, and cafes. We exchange travel stories and suggestions for more places to travel. I have stayed connected to some of these people and become good friends with others. I often linger in a homestay, where I socialize and eat with my hosts. Again, I have made life-long friends and returned to visit them when I can.
- No…And this is more complicated. My personality type is such that I probably enjoy more time alone than many people. That helps me during the days when I don’t encounter anyone to visit with. Not everyone is like this and there is nothing wrong with that. The main thing is that you understand where you are on the “aloneness-tolerance” spectrum before you travel alone.
Traveling solo provides an automatic conduit for meeting people. When you travel with others, the tendency is to focus on your own group. Even without meaning to, you sometimes end up excluding strangers around you—and possibly a missed opportunity to learn about the culture you came to experience.
I Am A Frugal Traveler
Because my pension income is small, I must make choices that will not break my bank. I stay in hostels and inexpensive guest houses. I prepare a lot of my own meals. I do not shop for souvenirs (well except for yarn, maybe), not only to save money, but because my luggage only has so much room. I choose travel experiences that don’t require a great deal of expense. I look for knitting groups to join in the communities where I travel; I look for the free walking tours found in many cities; I hike through the countryside; and, I walk through city streets away from the tourist areas. I spend my money only for venues that I am particularly interested in—such as the Lace Design Center in Kenmare, Ireland, and the Lanark Cotton Mill UNESCO Heritage site near Glasgow, Scotland. And…most importantly, I engage with people—asking about their travels, or their way of life, community, or culture.
I Am An Independent Traveler
This means that I mostly make my own travel plans without the assistance of a tour agency. There are several reasons for this:
- I usually save quite a bit of money.
- I focus on just the experiences and places that interest me.
- I can stay as long as I want at a venue—or leave if it is a disappointment.
- If I learn about an experience or place to explore at the last minute, I can change my plans.
- If I want to take a day or two and just knit or write or read, I can.
- And this is important: I really enjoy travel planning and the control it offers me.
I Am A Working Traveler
…well, kind of. I am semi-retired, which means that I have a small pension. Occasionally I take on jobs that I can do on-line and remote from my client. This supplements my income and allows me to continue traveling!
I am a book designer and I once worked on a hiking book for a client while I was walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain!