We all love to travel and discover new places along the way. Travelling is in our blood since the ancient times. Just think for a second about those nomads who crossed whole continents in search of better living conditions. Nowadays traveling is a way to relax and enjoy the time of our lives but once it was a way of life. But hey, jumping on the airplane and going from A to B in just a matter of hours is boring. That’s why I decided to offer you some alternative ways of traveling, which I find much more interesting. I’ve tried some of them and believe me, slow is better.
It seems somewhat odd to just hit the road without a vehicle. In fact, going by foot is perhaps the less demanding way of traveling. Here’s why – you can stop anytime, anywhere and check that art museum, the cave next to the hiking path, the café in the center of Mexico city and practically anything that draws your attention. My point is, you don’t have to worry about flight schedules, check-ins or whatsoever.
If you think that there aren’t any routes specifically designed for ramblers you are wrong. You can walk for thousands of kilometers, exploring different countries and landscapes just following one single route. Perhaps the most popular are Camino de Santiago (France and Spain) and the Pacific Crest Trail (Mexico, USA, Canada) but there are astonishing hiking routes all over the world. Honorable mentions include Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand and The Sultans Trail, which crosses nine European countries (Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey) connecting Vienna and Istanbul.
Of course, there are many more alternatives but I just trying to convince you walking is cool.
Hitchhiker’s guide to the…
If you are into walking but you like to skip particular sections hitchhiking is a good way to take your adventure to the next level. In fact, hitchhiking may exclude walking since many travelers go from city to city just be jumping in strangers’ cars.
Hitchhiking has its own charm as you completely rely on your luck. There are no guarantees that you are ever gonna make it but this is exactly what it is all about. Besides, it’s a great way to meet the locals and explore their culture. However, pay attention to the country laws as in some places hitchhiking is forbidden on motorways.
I personally have both super positive stories as well as situations when I prayed for my life. Probably the best experience I had was crossing Bulgaria in just under eight hours from Velingrad to Varna. Me and my girlfriend hit the road at 7 A.M. hoping to make it to Varna before sunset. Luckily, a guy picked us up in Plovdiv and it turned out he was going to Varna, too. We arrived at around 3 P.M. and had plenty of time for sightseeing.
Now here’s the less pleasant scenario. Once I got in a car with two guys who started smoking weed while driving. To make things more interesting the driver was speeding like crazy and maneuvered between lorries and buses. What’s more, I had drawn the short straw. There were no seatbelts in the vehicle. My God, I was happy to get out alive.
What I find fascinating about bicycle touring is the freedom it gives you. You get the chance to cover large distances while meeting the locals and share your stories with them. Those slight and quiet country roads are something I cannot resist. Besides, cycling cures melancholy but it tends to make your butt sore, too. Anyways, you get all the time in the world to visit local attractions and still enjoy the nightlife in the nearest city. If you are new to bicycle touring and don’t know where to start from, click here.
One of the best places to tour is Europe. Currently there are fifteen mapped cycling routes crossing the continent west to east, north to south, covering vast territories and different landscapes. For more information visit the official EuroVelo website, where you can find the best cycling route for you. And one more thing, these routes are quite popular in Europe so feel free to take your family with you 🙂
A boat is better than a yacht
Come on, there is nothing challenging about cruising around with your posh yacht. On the other hand, paddling your wave is something different. When I was in a campsite on the Danube river in Austria I met an old couple from Germany who were going to Vienna with their kayak. I was stunned how much luggage they carried and the distance they were going to cover. Before meeting them I never thought that boating is that cool. So yeah, I put that on my wishlist as well. Besides, if a couple in their 70s can do it, everyone can.
Catching the train
Once the railways were the main way of traveling long distances. However, somewhere in the middle of the 20th-century airplanes took over. Still, railways offer more than you expect. Yes, they are far slower compared to flights and even buses but there are some epic railway trips that you should definitely try.
Perhaps the most famous railway route ever will remain Orient Express. The epic journey used to connect Central Europe with The Ottoman Empire. Unfortunately, after the Second World War, the route was abandoned but luckily, in recent years the European Railways are trying to resurrect this legendary route. Today’s successors of Orient Express are Paris-Istanbul and Zürich-Istanbul.
Speaking of epic railway trails we cannot miss the Trans-Siberian Express. Enjoy the world longest uninterrupted railway, crossing Russia all the way from Moscow to Vladivostok. You will go through six different time zones and pass over 9000km.
Of course, there are tens if not hundreds of railway classics but the point of this article is not to cover them all. Instead, I want to start a fire in you. Travel slowly, stay curious, stay with the locals (Here’s how to do it the right way), have a glass of wine, discover everything and don’t be afraid to go back to the places you’ve liked, don’t be afraid to skip. Follow the road and trust your guts for they know what’s best for you.