While perfectly executed vacations certainly have their place, everyone needs a little adventure now and then. And even though it’s always tempting to stick to tour maps, well-known museums, and restaurants with 200 Yelp ratings, we propose a challenge:
Lose your map.
It can be a daunting idea in a new city, especially if you don’t speak the native language. But the best, richest experiences always arise when you’re not looking for them. Instead of planning your day, why not walk out your door and see where it takes you? Don’t search online for your lunch spot, just follow the sights and sounds (of course, a good indicator is how many people are happily dining at any given restaurant.) Maybe while you’re polishing off dessert, you’ll meet a friendly local who’s happy to show you to their favorite corner of town, the shop where they got the first-edition book poking out of their bag, or the theater that shows old silent movies. Or maybe you’ll keep strolling and come across an outdoor performance not written down in any book.
More often than not, locals love to share their knowledge with visitors. Maybe there’s a famous gelateria that all of the tourists love because the owner speaks English, but there’s an even better, lesser-known shop right around the corner where all of the neighborhood regulars get their fix. You don’t speak the same language, but you certainly don’t need to speak Italian to point to your favorite flavor.
From there, who knows? You can be a tourist tomorrow. Today, you are a traveller.