One of my favourite things to do when I first arrive in a new place, is drop my bags somewhere safe and go on a walk with no time restraint, plans or specific direction in mind. I let my senses guide me in the direction of excitement and adventure. I stop and chat to people I meet along the way, take in my surroundings, and test my willingness to try new things. Walking allows you to go places that a car can’t and makes you vulnerable to passerby’s who love to talk (this is usually a great thing when traveling). It’s free, it’s good for the environments, it’s healthy, and it’s a new experience every single time.
Some of my most memorable moments from all any of my travels have been when I decided to walk instead of taking another form of transportation. Some of the people I’ve met and the places I ended up would have never happened if I didn’t choose to let my feet lead the way. One instance, was one night in Greece when I was playing with one group of street dogs and decided to interact with another group of street dogs in a dark parking lot. Yes, it sounds pretty crazy for me to even think about approaching any street dog, especially two different packs at the same time, but my instincts told me it would be okay. The two groups of dogs growled and showed their teeth at one another. However, when I started to play with both packs, they all started to get along and play together. Both packs of dogs (about twenty), ended up walking me all the way home. For about an hour along the way, I played with them and gave them some love that I’m sure they didn’t often receive.
Another great thing about walking, is there are so many different, and sometimes hidden, paths you can take. When I was taking my daily walk in Rishikesh, India, I decided to take a different path than I would normally take on my way home; even if it took a lot longer. Along the way, I ended up meeting a Baba who was washing his extremely long dreadlocks in the Ganga. I stopped to watch him and say hello. He was so happy to engage in conversation with me that we ended up talking for thirty minutes! He told me about the importance of yoga and how he practices every day. He taught me about the necessity of fasting and how it is vital in order to maintain excellent health. He showed me some yoga poses and invited me and friends to come to his place for yoga classes free of charge. I would have never met this interesting being if I had not chosen to walk a different path.
No matter where you are in the world, you don’t have to wait for your next trip to take a long walk. Go out now and explore the place you live in. Even if you’ve lived there your whole life, there is a good chance you haven’t seen everything that your city/town has to offer. Take a different direction. Get lost. Walk alone, or with a friend. Interact with someone you normally wouldn’t. Just go! Take a take a no time restraint, no specific direction, no plans kind of walk right now. Let me know how it goes.
What’s your favourite way to explore a new place?
Kristen Sarah is a full-time traveller, tiny home owner and adventure junkie. She has one of the leading YouTube travel channels and is the head honcha of award-winning travel and lifestyle website, Hopscotch the Globe.