There are so many different ways to travel and every traveler have their own preferences and travel style. During the last years I have mainly traveled in two different ways:
Living like a local
This is what I do most of the time. I move to a city, find an apartment or room and live for several months in that city like a local. Now and then I set out on road trips to explore the country further.
Usually I get local friends which become my “base” group of people I hang out with. I meet new people now and then but the base group is important to build a relationship and a “normal” life, as well as getting past the standard subjects of discussion. These people are much more difficult to leave than the ones you meet while being on the road.
The “living like a local” approach is really convenient because this allows me to have a place to store my things and to relax between the explorations. At the same time I have the time and the possibilities to really get a feeling of the culture and every day life of the city, something that is difficult on short travels or while carrying a backpack.
Some examples of these “micro lives” I have lived are:
Party life in Berlin
Working with scuba diving in Egypt
Surfing in Gran Canaria
Outdoor sports in Bulgaria
Being on the road
Whenever I have a vacation I like to be on the road. This should ideally be in a period where I don’t need to check my mail or answer the phone. The trip usually starts with a vague plan: either just a starting point or an idea of a goal point, but with no guarantee or requirement to reach it. This is total freedom for me, just going with the flow and improvising depending on the events that happen on the way, from moment to moment. A perfect way to do it is to hitch hike, making it impossible to know your next destination or who will be the next person you will meet. When you don’t plan, you meet amazing people and open your eyes even wider to new small realities hiding in this big world.
One negative thing with being on the road is that you need to carry all your belongings with you at all time. Because I am traveling with everything I own in my backpack this can be inconvenient and take away a bit of the feeling of freedom that this travel style is otherwise giving. Whenever possible I try to leave the things that I don’t need at a friends place if I know I will return to the same country after being on the road, or if I know I don’t need the things in my near future. When being on the road the ideal is to only carry clothes for the current weather in the area/s where you are passing by. Also there is no need for a lot of the things that you use in your every day life living like a local. The amount of packing should be connected with how far you will travel, and how. If you travel short distances from time to time and with no plan to cover a big distance, then that hammock can be worth packing. But if you are moving on every day with the idea just to see how far you can get then only pack the most life saving things and put away your comfort zone for a while.
Another big difference between living like a local and being on the road is that on the road you meet new people all the time. This is exciting for a period of time but tiring in the long run. If you travel together with somebody the situation is more easy as you have the option from day to day to either spend time together or to meet new people, as well as taking a timeout from each other. When you travel with somebody you have the opportunity to share all the experiences as well as having a person that will understand what you have been through after the trip is finished. If you instead travel alone you can enjoy making all the decisions by yourself and being totally self dependent with unlimited possibilities to improvisation. I try to mix them to have a nice balance.
Examples of excellent “road trips” were:
Living and traveling in Greece
Road trip to Swaziland
Road trip through Israel, Palestine & Jordan
So what is your travel profile?