Traveling Vertically Rather than Horizontally - Sean and Mittie
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Traveling Vertically Rather than Horizontally

Traveling Vertically Rather than Horizontally

Arriving at a destination, most people spend a few days and then go home to friends and family, telling them they’ve “been there”. But, what if we treated destinations as multi-faceted objects with many levels to explore rather than bullet points on a checklist? Instead of trying to see how many places we can visit, why not see how deeply we can experience a place, its customs and people.

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Plan to Stay

Looking for extended stay housing will help keep your budget down, while often affording you intimate personal interactions with the locals who run and frequent the establishment. Renting an apartment or a room in someone’s home will provide you with more insight about how people live in the area your visiting, cutting down on costs and open up a world of local suggestions and insight into experiencing your destination. Many longer term rental situations include meals with the family, which can be a wonderful way to try authentic cuisine and interact with local folks in a more relaxed environment.

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Ask Around

What are the locals’ favorites? Where do the shop, eat or spend time? What events do they attend? What kind of transportation do they use? What do they recommend? By making yourself a temporary part of the community and not just a tourist passing through you can experience the activities and places that the locals cherish, along with whatever grand touristy things your guidebook suggests. Trying to live as the locals in the area do will give you a totally different perspective on the destination. Often, you’ll learn about festivals, celebrations and events that you wouldn’t have otherwise found.

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Be Flexible

Part of having a deeper travel experience is allowing for flexibility in your schedule. Perhaps your arrival and departure dates are fixed, but permit yourself to feel out a location and make spontaneous decisions. Perhaps a recommendation of a nearby town really calls to you and you want to investigate it – let yourself go. Perhaps you find that the quaint town you thought you were sure to love doesn’t really do it for you – leave. By allowing for flexibility you can follow suggestions and get the most out of the trip.

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Try New Things

We all say we want to try new things, but truth be told – we’re afraid of what we don’t know, haven’t experienced and often shy away from new experiences. Breaking out of the comfort zone and doing foreign activities, trying unfamiliar foods and rituals can give us a fresh perspective on not only a destination, but ourselves and how we fit into the world. Pushing boundaries gives us the chance to ask big questions, challenge our beliefs, and grow. We may feel uncomfortable or confused, but by letting ourselves go with the flow we become more flexible people, open to spontaneity in our own lives back home, more creative, less fearful and more daring.

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Have thoughts about how you can travel vertically instead of horizontally? Questions to ask? Share your ideas in the comments below.