Don’t Take Traveling So Seriously

A trend has begun amongst veteran expats and travel bloggers that isn’t very appealing or positive. This idea of #authentictravel is driving me absolutely insane. I worry that it might actually scare off new travelers from making the leap out into the world.

Beijing_Xianyi Shen_www.flickr.comphotosshenxy3614014888Just imagine, a new traveler is at home in America, scrolling different websites and looking at lovely resorts and delicious food in Peru, then she sees the IG pics of a blogger climbing a mountain in Peru on a donkey and suddenly the amateur traveler decides not to visit Peru because according to this blogger, climbing donkeys in Peru is the only way to travel, which doesn’t appeal to our amateur traveler.

Does that make any sense? Shouldn’t the traveler be allowed to interpret the definition of authentic travel whichever way they please?

The following is a list of things I keep in mind when traveling so that I don’t let the idea of #authentictravel overwhelm me. It’s helped me enjoy my adventures so much more than before when I was trying to live up to the hype of being a real traveler.

Not every picture you take needs to be awe-inspiring

There are a ton of blogs and IG accounts out there with gorgeous photos taken during their travels, and while I adore scrolling through them, it put this idea in my head at one point that my photos should look exactly like that.

But, all that creates is the same photo over and over again. We should strive to be unique and let our own personalities show through in our photos. Click To Tweet So, now I refuse to take photos of sunsets and prefer to enjoy them.

If I want a touristy photo of myself drinking from a coconut, I take it without any worry that it’s been done before. Unless you’re a professional photographer, remember that not every photo needs to be perfect.

It’s ok to have fun and be a tourist

Speaking of touristy photos, I’ve decided that it’s perfectly ok to be a tourist sometimes. If there’s a tour I’d like to take, I book it. If there’s a famous restaurant that the locals never go to, I eat everything off its menu.

Traveling for me is all about enjoying myself. And if I think I’ll enjoy the world’s biggest burrito at Casa Del Tourist, I’m going to go and try my best to take it down. Nothing stands between delicious food and me, not even the hashtag for #authentictravel.

Not every trip will be epic

Not every city you visit will be brimming with colorful culture. Not every restaurant or dish will make you hear angels. It’s ok. That’s just part of life, so take the amazing trips with the mediocre ones and just be glad that you had the chance to experience something – even if it was rather boring.

Share your bad experiences too

It’s not exactly a must-do, and I know that professional bloggers will disagree with me, but I think it’s good to share your bad experiences with your friends and family.

It makes for a more honest telling of adventuring abroad, I think. Those bad experiences might even help save a few other travelers from the mistakes you made (like mine did when I shared the story of getting food poisoning on day one of my Thailand adventure).

Some days abroad will call for pizza and a Netflix marathon

You don’t have to get out there and explore each and every day. If you’re living abroad and you’re feeling a little cozy, it’s more than fine to order a pizza and binge on some television shows. I did this more times than I can count during the freezing winter months in South Korea, and I don’t regret it one bit.

Don’t compare your trips to another person’s

Your travels and stories are special because they’re yours. Don’t belittle them by comparing them to another traveler’s adventures.

Calling all world travelers! What are your opinions about just having fun with travel? Share your answer with other expats in a comment below.

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