Part of the beauty of travel is sometimes the little things we can’t predict or plan for. The little surprises that instantly give you stories you live to tell.
Pasta la vista
Took a wrong turn into an unfamiliar lane, but decided we should keep going in a general direction. Chanced upon a shop that made fresh pasta from scratch. Conversation flowed naturally with the shopkeeper. We got talking about why eggs, salt and flour mixed together makes something so delicious, and how kneading by hand makes the pasta pick up more flavour, and adds bounce in the texture. Bought some of that freshly made pasta. Talked through recipe options – here’s the resulting dish.
Lost and found
Believe it or not, we couldn’t find a cathedral we were planning to visit. Perhaps we were too focused on what was around us, not where we were supposed to go. A vintage trinket pot caught our eye. The shop looked closed, too bad. Two doors down, another shiny thing amid an assortment of knick-knacks: portable phone charger, wooden trays, handmade books, glass-dipped pens…
Walked in, got chatty.
“Really nice trinket pot in that other shop, pity it’s closed.”
“I have the key to that shop!”
Boom! The story unfolded: The other shop had closed its doors for good, with rising rent troubles and bad business in a quiet street. They weren’t sure anyone wanted to buy such “weird” things anymore. We got the trinket pot for $5. Treasure uncovered!
Isn’t that just wonderful! Unexpected finds, interesting conversations, all in a little trip down the lost lane.
Here’s how you can do the same.
You can’t ‘plan’ on getting lost, but you can be prepared and open yourself to chance encounters.
- Get out early. You’ll give yourself less pressure getting from A to B, so that if you do lose your way, you can enjoy the journey while there’s still light.
- Identify destinations, not routes. Move in the general direction of your destination and focus on what’s around you – the routes don’t really matter.
- Do your research. Before heading out, identify the rough neighbourhoods so you can steer clear of trouble.
- Relax and smile. Throw away the what-ifs. Are we not capable of handling contingencies?
- Be ready. If you’re going into the wild, arm yourself with basic supplies (water, snacks), weather-appropriate clothes, fully charged phone, just in case.
Wait a minute…
Why are we encouraging you to ‘get lost’, when our experts are supposed to guide you and help you navigate your way around the culture and history of your travel destination? Because we believe that to reap the benefits of travel, you need to experience the breadth and depth of all that the destination has to offer.
Yes, our experts can provide you with deep insights into the food, architecture, history, crafts and produce unique to a country, city or village. But there’s nothing like interacting with the local people to set it all in context, and losing your way is often a trigger to that interaction.
So now you know. There’s no need to plan every last detail for your next vacation. Leave yourself room to discover something you haven’t read in a guide book. After all, Christopher Columbus wouldn’t have discovered the Americas if he hadn’t miscalculated how far the western journey to Asia would be.
StraitsJourneys is a place for travelers to find and book deep travel experiences tailored to specific interests. The experiences are presented by carefully selected local experts. We expect to launch in early 2018. In the meantime, register your interest in StraitsJourneys and be the first to receive our stories, updates and offers.