Have you ever spent time traveling alone? Have you ever spent time traveling on your own, without a tour guide, deciding for yourself, what to see and visit? I’d like to invite you to joining me on my way of traveling – ‘off the known paths’!
What does she mean by that, you might ask yourself on a blog dedicated to traveling and coffee or coffee shop related traveling?
Skipping touristy spots
Well, I guess in general it means, to explore a travel destination not by its known paths, i.e. its tourist attractions, sightseeing and photo spots. It means not heading to the restaurants, bars and hotels a travel guidebook would suggest.
Individual vs. group traveling
People that are traveling on the known paths might be traveling with larger groups and a tour guide; with a strict itinerary.
Their reasons might be as diverse as there are travel guidebooks on the market. It can be to not wanting to travel alone, especially if it’s a country far away from home; or they might not speak the local language and need someone to translate while being there.
Your very own itinerary
What traveling ‘off the known paths’ does mean, though, is, to discover and explore your travel destination, be it a country, a city or a larger area around a city, seaside or mountain, based on your very own itinerary.
An itinerary that only you created for yourself, and your partner, friend, etc, who is accompanying you while traveling. With your very own preferences in terms of places to see and to stay at, your favorite places to eat & drink.
With the locals
For me it also includes individual traveling, either alone or in small groups. It includes not booking a guided tour with a travel guide, but being on your own most of the times – maybe having some local to show you around, when you’re Couchsurfing.
‘Off the known paths’ for me is traveling based on suggestions and recommendations of locals. Seeing a city or country through the eyes of a local is what it means for me to truly get to know my travel destination.
Most of the times when I was traveling with a larger group, a tour guide and a fixed itinerary in the past, I felt rushed and forced to do and see what everyone else had to do and see.
In many cases, I wasn’t really interested in the ‘known spots’ and tourist attractions. When traveling now, on my very own itinerary and in most cases alone, I feel most comfortable, when being among locals.
Exploring on foot
Traveling off the known paths for me also means doing most of my explorations on foot. I’m not taking those tourist buses and other options for making your way through a city as a tourist on purpose. I see and discover so much more, when walking.
Street Art and Culture
Because I’m a walking person most of the times while traveling, my personal preferences when exploring a city are its street culture and street art/mural art.
A city’s small shops, boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops, but also parks and gardens locals like to go to. Often these shops and places aren’t places that travel guidebooks would feature in the first place.
I’s these hidden gems you might get told from a friend visiting the city before… Or from a local you got to know while exploring the city.
How is she doing that, you’re wondering?
How am I getting in touch with locals? Well, this is the second part of traveling ‘off the known paths’ for me and the reason why I actually created that website:
Exploring my travel destination based on its specialty coffee scene and within the local coffee community.
This is my way of getting to know locals besides the people I’m staying at when doing Couchsurfing or hitting an Airbnb home.
Each and everyone of you might have different approaches on how to travel ‘off the known paths’ and how to get in touch with locals while making your very own way through a country or city.
But it always includes this individual part of exploring, that part about not doing and seeing what every random tourist would do, see and visit.
The good thing, when traveling based on coffee, though, is, you don’t necessarily have to know the language of the locals of the country you’re visiting, the international specialty coffee language is English anyways! ;-)
It’s a small world and the specialty coffee community is even tinier. You get to know each other quickly and will get even more recommendations and suggestions for the next city you might be heading to…