Discover Hidden Gems You Won’t Want To Miss
In his poem The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost closes by reminiscing about taking the road less traveled. There is a certain amount of ambiguity to the ending of that poem. Is the difference better, worse, or just different? Traveling the Great Wall of China is much the same. If you take the well-traveled trail you will get the same experiences everyone else has. If you decide to get off the beaten path and go the less-traveled way, the experiences will be shared by few. Will they be better? Worse? No one can know, but they will be different.
Tours Are Safe and Predictable
It is easy to get into the habit of visiting only the routine places. This is especially true when you have limited time and resources. If you are visiting a place for the first time it might be a good idea to take a packaged tour. There is nothing wrong with packaged tours and planned excursions. Tours offer good highlights and a nice introduction to a new place. If you will never return or are uncomfortable with the potential safety risks, tours are a fine way to go, safe and predictable.
When traveling out on your own, there is still the temptation to stay with the tried and true guidebook recommendations. Following a guidebook is not necessarily a bad thing; most of those places are in them for a reason. Hiring a private tour guide is sometimes a good idea. They know the area and have the flexibility to go where packaged tours can’t. Even then, you are only seeing what is known.
The Risk Is Part of the Experience
Getting off the beaten path is risky. There are no guarantees. The risk itself is part of the experience. If you want to have an experience few others will have you have to go where most others won’t. The willingness to take a chance and find unconventional places is what can make a trip unique, exciting, fulfilling. This isn’t walking out into a rain forest without being properly prepared, it is turning left where the guidebook says to go right.
Imagine driving along a highway and seeing a small sign no one else seems to care about. You exit and find yourself on a winding mountain road. You cross a one-lane bridge and round a corner to find a small beach hidden between mountain slopes.
A river flows into the ocean where waves crash against exposed rocks and travel up the river to break against the shore hundreds of yards inland. You see trees growing from near-vertical rock walls. You hike along the river bank and walk on a beach where no footprints except yours can be seen. As you enjoy the view and take in the salty air, you realize this is an experience few others will have. And it all happened because you saw a small sign and took a chance.
Getting off the beaten path isn’t about extreme adventures; they have their place and time. This is about taking a different road, following the other trail, and stepping away from the crowd.