My Travel Style
I wrote this page to hopefully give you a better idea of what my travel style is like, so that you know what to expect from my blog when I write about my travel adventures.
Although my current lifestyle does not allow me to travel long-term, I do enjoy staying in one place for a longer period of time and traveling at a slower pace (when possible), in order to more fully immerse myself in a place, explore and understand the culture, sample the traditional local foods, and get off the beaten path to discover locally-known, hidden gems. As a slow traveler, I have a strong desire to explore fewer destinations and re-visit them over time in order to explore deeper, connect with the people, and immerse myself in the culture while gaining insights into the way of life.
I am not the type of traveler who makes an extensive bucket list of places and experiences or keeps a running tally of how many countries or cities that I have been to (not that there is anything wrong with that though, it’s just not my style). I crave deeper and meaningful travel experiences and thoroughly enjoy re-visiting my favourite cities and countries in order to explore more while delving deeper to learn more about the culture, history and language and have unique experiences and adventures, while exploring off the beaten path hidden gems and connecting with a place through its people and foods.
Responsible and Socially-Conscious Travel – For me, traveling responsibly is about understanding and being mindful about how my actions affect the local communities and people at the places that I visit and explore and about doing my best to make a positive impact. I attempt to be a more socially-conscious and responsible traveler in the following ways:
- Immersing myself in the culture and daily life of the places I visit – Researching the local culture before I travel somewhere and learning about the locals’ daily lives, culture and traditions while traveling in my destination through observation and interaction with the locals.
- Finding or creating opportunities to interact and chat with the locals and learn about their lives.
- Staying in accommodations that are family/locally-owned, employ sustainable/eco-friendly practices, and are situated in authentic, local neighbourhoods.
- Gaining a deeper understanding and knowledge of my destination(s) through learning about the cultural traditions and history of the places I visit before I arrive there and during my stay.
- Making an effort to learn some of the native language and practice speaking it when interacting with the locals.
- Respecting the people, culture, local traditions, and natural environments of the places I visit.
- Shopping at Local Markets and Buying from Local Businesses/Shops/Restaurants –
Healthy, Gluten-Free & Vegetarian Travel –
Ethical/Responsible/Socially Conscious Travel
- Shopping at Local Markets and Buying From Local Businesses/Shops/Restaurants – It makes me feel good inside to support local businesses and individuals and to purchase locally produced food, drinks, handicrafts and souvenirs from markets and/or independent shops instead of chain stores. One of my favourite things to do, both when I am at home and traveling someplace new, is to browse and shop at the local markets and to “travel like a local.” I love the smells, the vibrant colours, and the sights. It always ends up being an interesting cultural experience and I enjoy finding unique locally sourced products and foods and directly supporting the individuals who made or grew them, where possible. In terms of restaurants, I enjoy eating at family-owned restaurants selling authentic local foods as this often lends itself to a unique and interesting experience. The local restaurants often serve traditional, well-prepared and homemade dishes using fresh and local ingredients and the prices are cheaper and I love sampling dishes with new flavours. I would much rather dine at a hole-in-the-wall eatery than a chain restaurant any day.
- Using Public Transportation – Using the public transportation is my favourite method of getting around in a new place. I love the opportunities that it provides to mingle and interact with the locals and also to observe and learn from their culture and daily life.
- Staying in Locally Owned Accommodations (Hostels and B&Bs) –
- Seeking Unique Cultural Experiences & Authentic Adventures –
- Researching a Company’s Mission & Values – I usually research companies and businesses before purchasing from them and then choose to support the ones whose mission and values are aligned with my own personal values. This could be anything from a tour company, airline, booking website, travel planning/organizational tool, travel clothing/gadgets/gear, and more. I like to support companies that are environmentally-conscious, ethical/sustainable, and those who believe in giving back to the local community in some way (like donating to a cause, planting trees, employing local individuals, or improving the community and/or the peoples’ quality of life in some way).
- Giving Back to the Community – I find satisfaction in giving back to the communities and places that I visit in some way, even if it’s only in a small way. After encountering so many extremely thin-looking, malnourished and unloved dogs while traveling through Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, I was heartbroken. Upon returning home, I decided to donate some money to a small group of women in the village of Ek Balam (near the Mayan ruins of the same name), working to improve the lives of the stray dogs living in the village by feeding them, giving them water, and providing them with much-needed medications. I enjoy researching charities and non-profit organizations that are actively working to improve the local community and the locals’ quality of life that I could support after I travel there. In doing this, my travels become more purposeful and meaningful.
- Researching and Learning About My Destination – I always conduct detailed research about my destination(s) before I travel there and I love learning everything that I possibly can about a place before visiting there, in order to gain a better understanding of the culture, history, food, people, etc.
Exploring Off The Beaten Tourist Path
Exploring Locally in Your Own Backyard
I believe in exploring locally in my own backyard, so to speak. I love discovering new places in my hometown.
- Eating at Socially-Conscious Restaurants That use Fresh, Local, Organic, and/or Whole Food Ingredients –
My Travel Interests
These are the interests of mine that I prioritize and seek out when exploring new places.
Culture and History
I am fascinated by foreign cultures and I enjoy experiencing and taking the time to learn about the local culture of the places I visit, through immersing myself in it.
One of my favourite activities when I travel to a new destination, is simply sitting on a bench in a local park and observing the daily life and culture of the locals around me. I find it to be such a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
In addition, I enjoy researching, reading about the history, traditions, political situation, social issues, customs, and culture of my destination before my visit there. In addition to reading articles and books about these topics, I also find it interesting to watch documentaries (if there happens to be one or more) that delve deeper into the culture of a particular place.
One of my favourite things to do when I am exploring a new place, is to discover some local neighbourhoods with character, culture and history by simply wandering the streets. I enjoy immersing myself in the culture and everyday life of the places that I travel to and exploring the local neighbourhoods is a great way for me to do this, while observing the lives of the locals, genuinely interacting and connecting with members of the community, and seeing the authentic and real side to a destination. I have discovered many hidden gems through my neighbourhood explorations including non-touristy parks, incredible street art, beautiful houses, and more. I also always manage to find some animal friends along my wanderings – like cats, dogs, and even chickens!
I love discovering and admiring historic and modern architecture.
I love exploring the variety of incredible natural beauty around the world. From jungles to mountains to forests to cenotes to volcanoes to lakes to oceans and more – I love admiring nature and God’s amazing creative works when I travel to new places and explore more locally.
I enjoy hiking through a variety of landscapes including mountains, forests, jungles, meadows, and more and always try to find places to hike when I travel somewhere new. I also love hiking during the summers in a variety of provincial and national parks within my home province of Manitoba.
Plant-Based, Organic, & Gluten-Free Healthy Restaurants
I eat a vegetarian and gluten-free diet and I love discovering conscious-minded and charming restaurants serving gluten-free and plant-based cuisine made from organic, fresh, local and/or whole ingredients, both when I am traveling and at home.
Off The Beaten Path/Traveling Deeper
Although I enjoy a balance between visiting major tourist attractions and lesser-known hidden gems, venturing off the beaten tourist track is what truly excites me when I travel. I absolutely love finding secret spots that few other travelers know about and which are mostly frequented by the locals. I have discovered some amazing hidden gems through both detailed pre-travel research and planning, by asking the locals where to go once I am at my destination, and by simply getting lost while aimlessly wandering and exploring a place. I take pride in finding these types of places and exploring off the beaten path often lends itself to more authentic, unique, and meaningful local and cultural experiences, which is generally what I seek when I travel.
Unique and Authentic Experiences
When I travel, I find fulfillment in seeking out unique and authentic cultural experiences, which are often off-the-beaten-path.
Finding vibrant, colourful and thought-provoking street art and murals is one of my favourite things to do when exploring a new place.
My Healthy Living Philosophy
Eat Real Food
I enjoy eating a vegetarian and gluten-free diet filled with lots of plants (often organic and fresh/locally grown in the summers),