TRAVELING DIFFERENTLY. By Paulo Coelho.


I realized very early on that, for me, traveling was the best way of learning. I still have a pilgrim soul, and I thought that I would pass on some of the lessons I have learned, in the hope that they might prove useful to other pilgrims like me.

 

  1. Avoid museums. This might seem to be absurd advice, but let’s just think about it a little. If you are in a foreign city, isn’t it far more interesting to go in search of the present than the past? It’s just that people feel obliged to go to museums because they learned as children that traveling was about seeking out that kind of culture. Obviously museums are important but they require time and objectivity – you need to know what you what to see there, otherwise you will leave with a sense of having seen a few really fundamental things, but can’t remember what they were.

 

  1. Hang out in bars. Bars are places where life in the city reveals it’s self, not in museums. By bars I don’t mean discotheques, but the places where ordinary people go, have a drink, ponder the weather and are always ready for a chat. Buy a newspaper and enjoy the ebb and flow of people. If someone strikes up a conversation, however silly, join in: you cannot judge a beauty of a particular path just by looking at the gate.

 

  1. Be open. The best our guide is someone who lives in the place, knows everything about it, is proud of his/her city. But does not work for any tour agency. Go out into the street, choose the person you want to talk to and ask them something. (Where is the cathedral? Where is the post office?).  If nothing comes out of it, try someone else – I guarantee that by the end of the day you will have found yourself an excellent companion.

 

  1. Try to travel alone or – if you are married- with your spouse. – it will be harder work, no one will be there to taking care of you , but only this way can you leave your own country behind. Traveling in a group is a way of being in a foreign country while speaking your mother tongue, doing whatever the leader of the flock tells you to do, and taking more interest in group gossip than in the place you are visiting.

 

  1.  Don’t compare.  Don’t compare anything – prices, standards of hygiene, quality of life, means of transport, nothing! You are not traveling in order to prove that you have a better life than other people. Your aim is to find out how other people live, what they can teach you, how they deal with reality and with the extraordinary.

 

  1. Understand that everyone understands you. Even if you don’t speak the language, don’t be afraid. I have been in lots of places where I can not communicate with words at all, and I always found support, guidance, useful advice and even girlfriends. Some people think that if they travel alone, they will set off down the street and be lost forever. Just make sure you have a hotel card in your pocket and – if the worst comes to the worst – flag down a taxi and show the card to the driver.

 

  1. Don’t buy too much.  Spend your money on things you won’t need to carry: tickets to a good play, Restaurants, trips. Nowadays, with the global economy and the internet, you can buy anything you want without having to pay excess baggage.

 

  1. Don’t try to see the world in a month. It’s far better to stay in the city for four to five days than to visit five cities in a week. A city is like a capricious woman. She takes time to be seduced and to reveal herself completely.

 

  1.  A journey is an adventure. Henry Miller used to say that it is far more important to discover a church that no one else has ever heard of than to go to Rome and feel obliged to visit the Sistine Chapel with two hundred thousand other tourists bellowing in your ear.  By all means go to the Sistine Chapel, but wander the streets too, explore alleyways, experience the freedom of looking for something – quite what you don’t know, but which, if you find it, will, you can be sure, change your life.

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About klungiwe

Katherine Lungiwe is a Sales executive. One of my best quote is “If it’s going to be, it’s up to you”.

Posted on September 15, 2008, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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