Each and every one of us has our own travel style. Some of us prefer luxurious all-inclusive vacations, while some of us like survivor-style wilderness adventures. I’m somewhere in the middle – some trips are made for backpacks, hiking boots, and bug spray, whereas other trips are all about the beach, margaritas at the swim-up bar, and unlimited chips + pico de gallo.
I happen to love the spectrum. I’ve done the seven-lake-portage canoe trips and I’ve also done the all-inclusive resort trips, and I couldn’t tell you which I liked better because both were amazing. That being said, though, the more I’ve travelled, the more I’ve been able to figure out my preferred style of travel. I like being active when I travel and I also like being comfortable…but I also like going out and dressing up – basically, I like balance.
I have a lot of friends who’ve gone on amazing trips for months on end, where they’ve trekked through several countries, climbed numerous mountains, ridden on the backs of elephants and camels, and flown by the seats of their pants. I know people who are comfortable camping their way through Europe and couch surfing their way through the Middle East. I’m a little less adventurous – and that’s okay.
I also know people who pack their suitcases to the brim and shop so much they have to purchase another bag while travelling just to bring souvenirs home (I won’t name names, but you know who you are – no shame!). I know people who dress to the nines, shop ’til they drop, and go to shows every night while on the road. I’m a little less ambitious and a lot more laid back – and that’s okay. Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping (every year, my mom and I go on a trip purely to shop – it’s so bad but so good!) – but I like to break up what I do when I travel with different activities. Variety is a good thing!
You may know your travel style right away. You may need to take a few trips before figuring out what you like best. And what you like now may not be what you like ten years from now (incentive to keep travelling!). But that’s okay! One of the best things about travelling is self-discovery – getting to know more about who you are, what you want, and what you want out of life. Whether you travel as a lone wolf or as a part of a big group, you will learn a lot about yourself. The more you travel, the more you’ll learn. And the best way to do this is to walk your own walk.
“Walk your own walk” is a mantra inspired by backpacker and adventurer Francis Tapon’s book, Hike Your Own Hike. A lot of people I know have hiked or biked El Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage from France to Spain, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Over the past month and a half, my family and I have followed the journey of a friend as he traversed the Camino, and I’ve loved reading about his experiences.
Inspired by his friend’s adventure, my dad started doing some of his own research of the Camino. He came across a post online that alarmed him somewhat – written by Tapon, it’s called “10 Reasons Why El Camino Santiago Sucks”. Tapon argues that the Camino really isn’t this amazing walk everyone says it is and goes through a list of why it isn’t worth it. The article could have been a very discouraging read if Tapon hadn’t also included the caveat that what he may have found sucky on his walk may not be something you or I won’t really enjoy or prefer.
Toward the end of the article, Tapon reminds his readers that, at the end of the day, the most important thing on your travels is to hike your own hike – something I recommend every traveller does on every trip. Travelling is something you should do for you! As much as possible, try to walk your own walk and truly savour every moment of your travels (and of life! Aw!). The more you walk your own walk, the more you’ll get out of your experiences, and that, my friends, makes it all worth it.