Off the Beaten Path Travel – Seeking and Finding that One of a Kind Experience
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I’ve had a few people recently inquire how I plan my trips, specifically how I find some of the lesser-known places to visit. I’ve briefly touched upon this, but I’m going to elaborate a bit.
First and foremost, you have to be one for the off the beaten path. You can still enjoy doing touristy things like the Empire State Building or Hollywood Boulevard, but you have to ask yourself what makes you tick? What kind of stories do you want to share upon your return?
Do you want tell friends and family that you stood in line for three hours to go stand in another line for another hour before you finally reached the top of the Empire State Building? Or do you want to tell them that you pulled off the side of the road to sample a traditional beverage made by a local who didn’t speak the same language as you? That you communicated with hand gestures and facial expressions? The thumbs up told your host you liked what you just tried and a small tip later solidified the finger. No, not that one – The thumb!
My literal and figurative thirst for the one of a kind experience is the fuel I need to do my research. And really, when you think about it, the world is at our fingertips. If you know how to use a computer, you can pretty much find any and everything you’re looking for, even the things you don’t know you’re looking for. Like the time I learned that it’s legal to drink in public in Japan! It wasn’t exactly something I expected or thought to research. In my hunt for other information, I discovered that I could enjoy a glass of wine on that long trip from Kyoto to Kamakura that I’ll be taking at the tail end of my upcoming nine-day trip.
It’s true that not everything can be found with that six-letter well-known search engine. Google, is it? I believe that those experiences, void of technology’s spoils and disruptive nature, are even that more special. May they remain as such.
With that being said, let’s use Japan as an example. The place can be changed to anything; anywhere your heart desires to wander. Some of my favorite key phrases and words when doing my trip planning and research are as follows:
- Japan off the beaten path
- Lesser known things to do Japan
- Tokyo obscure things to do
- Top ten things to do Japan
- Local experience for Japan traveler
- Less Touristy things to do Japan
- Quirky Japan
As I stated earlier, it’s okay to enjoy the touristy things too! Maybe you want to be dressed like a Geisha doll and parade around the historic streets of Kyoto! Go for it! Maybe you despise crowds and the sometimes, tacky behavior of out-of-towners in a foreign country. That’s okay, too! The more research you do, the more you’ll notice that touristy things often end up on off the beaten path lists, as well. This is usually due to the “not to miss” factor, in which case, I usually recommend looking into it at the least.
For the Foodie in Me, er, You
If you’re a big foodie like me, then check into any of Anthony Bourdain’s travel shows. I made reservations for my first dinner in Japan by watching Bourdain’s Parts Unknown on Tokyo. I’m sure there will be plenty on The Road Linds Travels after my dining experience. I also like to use Trip Advisor for hotel and restaurant ratings. For food, a few of my researched key phrases include:
- Tokyo ten best restaurants
- Kyoto traditional breakfast restaurant
- Where the locals eat Tokyo, Japan
- Best Sushi Kyoto
- Michelin rated restaurant Japan
I hope this helps those of you wondering how I stumble upon the odd, unknown, and unusual. On a side note, I received my Japan Rail Pass exchange voucher in the mail today! It’s getting real and tangible. I’ll be in Japan in seven weeks!
The Japan Rail Pass allows me to travel throughout the country on designated JR train lines, so that I’m not reserved to only Tokyo. I will be visiting several cities and prefectures on my trip, including Hakone, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and the holy area of Mt. Koya-san where I’ll be staying the night in a Buddhist temple. Stay tuned to The Road Linds Travels to Japan!