For those who follow this blog, it is clear that long texts are something not really common around here. It’s simple: I am more comfortable with images than with words, with showing the world rather than telling people how it looks like.
But this morning I had a very nice surprise. Julie Klene, from Les Petits Pas de Juls, a lovely person I got to know through the WordPress world and whom I’ve also helped on her travel plans when she was visiting Brazil (see some of her amazing posts here!), proposed me a challenge. She wrote me to ask what are the 9 things I CAN’T do while I am travelling, and that sounded very inspiring to me. I barely never talk about it with people, so I took the chance to look inside and reply to her question. Go check it out!
1- I cannot spend too much money
I travel on a budget. Always. That begun when I moved from Brazil to Italy, at the end of 2012, when I saw myself as a student again and with a few bucks in my pocket. Despite of learning how to leave with few bucks, Europe also taught me that travelling can be fairly cheap, and you can go anywhere you want if you know how to plan it properly and how to smartly manage the few resources you have. Usually I stay few days in a city, but enough to do everything that has to be done. I stay in hostels or B&Bs and I completely don’t mind a 25-bed dorm with shared bathroom. I also like to travel following my 1-day trip methodology – taking a train, spending the day taking pictures and coming back at night, in order to avoid accommodation expenses.
2- I cannot avoid taking free walking tours
My ideal travel plan involves scheduling a traditional, historical or whatever-you-call-it free walking tour right in the first morning. Yes, that type of traditional tours that explain you in 3 hours the history and important aspects of that place, in which at the end you pay a tip for the guide if you really enjoyed it. That’s what helps me to find myself in the map I have been holding in my hands since the moment I arrived in the city. However, usually those tours are not the funniest ones – as I said, it’s good for the amount of information you get. Recently I started to take also a new type of tours – the alternative free walking tours, which guide you through the city’s underground spots, graffiti, abandoned places and interesting spots out of the touristic hub. I’ve done it in Berlin and Belgrade already, and it was amazing from the photography point of view!
3- I can’t help, but waking up early
Even if that means sacrificing the previous night out. Since my travels are photography oriented, I sort of don’t care too much about that part of the day when the sun is not shinning for me anymore. Of course I appreciate the night and all the nice things it brings to someone looking for fun, but I would rather not get myself into a crowded nightclub in order to enjoy the sunlight the next day, especially if I am travelling alone.
4- I cannot resist trying lots of local food
Food started being part of my travel routine, at the moment I found out how amazing and different each city and country can be in its cuisine and how it helps to understand its culture and its people. Just in 2013 and 2014 alone I’ve seen 17 different countries, and the variety I’ve encountered while getting myself lost among food markets and street food trucks was incredible. So food is always one of the first things I look for when I’m just arrived somewhere new, and I usually do it by trying real local food in the streets and avoiding restaurants.
5- I can’t have my camera’s card full
Oh, this is quite obvious – is this a photography blog or what? It doesn’t mean though that I am that kind of tourists that go out of control with their camera shutters and cannot stop shooting at anything they see. Photography is my passion and I am very selective with the things I shoot. If I don’t think something or some place is worth a photo, sometimes I don’t even take my camera out of my backpack. But if something looks interesting to me, I am able to stand still in the same place for minutes in a row waiting for the perfect shoot until I get it. And that’s when the free space in the memory card becomes precious.
6- I can’t take ordinary pictures
I just can’t photograph monuments, squares, statues and museum pieces, no matter how famous it is. At the end of the day that’s on Google Images, right? I have an extreme resistance on pressing the shutter against this type of things, and I might confess that sometimes I only do it for knowing that I need to “keep that memory” somehow. I hardly make those shots public if they don’t have a specific purpose. The image frame should be an interaction stage scene. So it makes no sense for me to photograph Mona Lisa, if Mona Lisa is there on the very same position and in her very controversial smile as she’s always been. If an unexpected and unknown actor cross my way leaving half of his face matching half of her face in the frame instead, maybe Mona Lisa will start looking more interesting to me.
7- I can’t forget buying myself a keychain and a postcard
My updated TripAdvisor travel map confirms that I visited 93 cities in the world already, which means I might have nearly the same amount of keychains in my house. It is sort of a stupid gadget, I know, but since I’ve started this project, I must go on. Just like the keychains addiction, I’ve got the postcard obsession as well. I am aware about my weak memory, which means that some years from now I can be not able to remember how a certain city looks like, or even if I have ever been to that place before. “But you have your own photographs!” – one can say. Right, but I am also aware of my lack of organization on keeping files and backups updated, which means that from one day to another I risk on having an empty computer if some technical problem happens. So, postcards! And I do plan to have a photo wall someday, in a house that I will (also someday) call mine.
8- I can’t avoid bringing lots of papers
“10 things you have to see” kind of lists are always among the papers I bring along with me when I travel. Even if I am going to the smallest city on Earth, or even if I am staying there only for one day, I always need to bring a “to-do” list with nice places to visit and interesting things to do. I am not talking about a ranking with the most important touristic spots – especially because this point had already been solved with the traditional, historical or whatever-you-call-it free walking tour I mentioned on my number 2. But a list of hidden treasures instead, unusual places, bike routes, and relevant tips given by locals. This research is always tough, tiring but worth it and exciting, and I always find my answers to be a mix among various blogs and websites (welcome to the wonderful and helpful blogging world)!
9- I can’t help but being picky about my travel companions
Travelling with photography purposes can be really boring for the person travelling with you. I like street photography and details, which means I am able to stop each 30 seconds if the place is interesting and if I feel myself inspired to shoot. Then I run, I step on something higher than me, I get on my knees, I sit on the floor, I hide myself behind a wall, I pass my camera’s lens through a hole while waiting and all the strange kind of behavior photographers adopt while dreaming about the perfect shot. So what does your travel companion do while you’re doing your creative acrobatics? He/she complains and says: “Come on, enough!”. And that’s exactly the two things I can’t stand in this world: complaining people and lack of freedom.
Let’s backpack and travel alone! Or go find yourself a travel soulmate – that could also work! 🙂
What about you? Anything in particular you can’t do when you travel?
Blogs I love to follow: