While there are always the usual fantastic aspects of travel that you’d be looking forward to before you travel; The food you’ll be eating, the fantastic locations you’ve only ever seen on TV, experiencing the culture of the location, etc. You may not know of some of the following little hobbies and ideas that may make your travel experience that little bit more exciting. Travel is of course already exciting, but what’s the harm in a tiny bit more?
Take care with your photography
This being a photography blog, naturally this has to be the first in the list right? It’s not really the least known activity while travelling. Hell, it may even be one of the more known activities. But usually the photos taken by the casual traveller aren’t anything to write home about. You might look at them on your computer, print a few out for the heck of it but otherwise never think of them again. Try to make a point of taking great photos all the time while travelling, this way you’ll have an excellent record of your adventure you won’t be ashamed to show your friends. I don’t know about you, but showing 10 billion ‘selfies’ of yourself in front of places blocking the view does not make a good representation of your adventure. Don’t do this! Your friends are probably more interested in the people of your place, try to capture the living culture of the location through what the locals are doing. Or if you are going to post selfies of you at landmarks or whatever, make sure it provides a sense of scale, take photos of your whole body in front of the Taj Mahal, don’t get too close to the camera. Also be original when holding up the leaning tower of Pisa, perhaps take photos of everyone else doing it and laugh as how stupid they look?
Your photographs need to illustrate your stories as animatedly as you tell them. A picture says a thousand words right? You shouldn’t really be talking back to it though, a simple ‘wow’ should suffice. And that’s what your photographs should do. Try to capture vivid colours from the location you’re photographing. A Japanese shrine should have plenty of red, look for blues and yellows in India, etc. Couple these with simplistic patterns and lines spreading throughout your frame without over complicating the scene. Simplicity here is key, you don’t want to be looking at psychedelic pattern of nothingness, what’s your focal point? That painted African dancer, or the flowers in a field from Europe? Make sure they stand out from the background.
Also remember just having a camera in your hand could cause you to have adventures you wouldn’t normally have! if you have a camera in your hand, you’re allowed absolutely anywhere! Well not really.. but it often ends up that way. Just don’t be afraid to make a bit of a fool of yourself while capturing the best angle. Climb the pole there to get a higher shot, get on the floor to shoot that weird looking bug. You’re a tourist! YOU’RE ALLOWED TO!
Really the motivation behind this blog entry. Geocaching is really an incredible game playable all over the world and can be really enjoyed as a secondary thought to your real motivation of visiting the place you’re travelling to. It won’t distract you from your goals in travel, but will make the trip that much more rewarding, you’ll also be likely to discover places you hadn’t thought of before arriving; I know I have.
Geocaching is a free real-world outdoor treasure hunt. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using a smartphone or GPS and can then share their experiences online. Say for example I want to visit Tokyo tower, I can plan my entire day and visit down to a ‘T’ but no matter what there will always be down time. Perhaps a member of your travel group needs to have a rest, or maybe your group is taking too long eating lunch or shopping? What are you going to do? Rather than waste your precious time in this amazing foreign country, you could go find a geocache. A good example of this is when my family recently visited the Big island of Hawaii. We travelled up the slope of Mauna Kea, (the largest mountain in the world from base to top). We spent some time in the visitor’s center waiting for it to get dark and revel in it’s famous starscape visible from the mountain. So while waiting I got out my GPS and went geocaching. We discovered an impact crater that looked a little like the wormhole from ‘Star Wars’ that wasn’t marked on any tourist maps. We would never had visited it if it weren’t for Geocaching.
The real fun thing about Geocaching however is the treasure hunt; just finding a little container, or even something elaborate like a pirate’s chest is just so much fun, especially if you have kids in tow. You can even take this one step further and use what’s known as ‘trackables’ and see them being logged as they travel in other hobbyists’ hands around the world. A fantastic hobby you can even enjoy around your local area, good fun too.
While buying suitcases full of souvenirs can be fulfilling, how much of it do you associate with the actual travelling part? and not just for personal use like clothing, home furnishing or whatnot? Personally I collect keychains. I have a keychain for every new location I spend more than a night in I then can conveniently combine them all and label them per trip I take. Others collect postcards, which I guess can be easy to display in frames, or flat stowed away somewhere. Other ideas are pins, spoons (although this seems to be a Europe or Australian thing), stuffed toys, stamps. You can probably think of something that’s relevant to you, perhaps it’s even geocaches? 🙂
Purposely get Lost
Seriously, get lost! You’ve travelled so far to get to this new amazing spot you’ve never been to before, and yet you’re not adventurous enough to go off the beaten path? You’ve probably planned your trip quite well, so you might be hesitant to experiment a bit and wander off unexpectedly, but sometimes for me these are the times I get to experience some of the better locations I’ve been to. Great opportunity for different photos too.
Have some fun with travelling! Try new things, you’re travelling to see and experience the places you’ve only heard of before, why not make the absolute most out of the experience?