I guess I am at the stage in life when I am questioning everything. What was once a given is now under serious scrutiny. I don’t wonder about who I am, that much I know and I’ve kind of decided on my purpose at least for the time being. I have trouble defining what I’d like to become or let me rephrase, how can I become a better version of me, not just as an example for my girls, but to be content. Because my free time is suddenly very limited, heck, with a job, two kids, a blog and taking into consideration my not only love but need for many hours of sleep, it is surprising I get to do anything, let alone question it all. Well, I do.
So, recently I’ve been wondering about travel – my absolutely favorite thing to do. I’ve traveled since I was a kid – thanks to my parents. We’ve done most of the great capitals of Europe from the museums to all the famous architectural buildings. And I’ve loved it. When hubbs and I started going away and exploring the world we too wanted to see everything, trying to squeeze all the sights in the little time we had. We were tourists, knowing where we have been, but not staying anywhere long enough to really get the feel for the place, to in a away become locals.
With the arrival of Stela, our firstborn, we needed to change the way we traveled. Of course we could stubbornly and no doubt unsuccessfully try to convert Stela to fit our schedule but we decided early on that our trips had to be fun for all of us. On our fist trip we rented an apartment in Provence, France and we spent the whole week exploring the region while returning to our “home” away from home. While I was skeptic how this will work out – it was awesome. We had all the luxuries of a home while being far from it. We woke up every morning and went to the same store and bakery to get the local produce we then prepared in our kitchen. We got to know what was good and who the locals were – not by name, but by the end of the week we greeted each other as if we did.
The next trip, to Switzerland, proved to be even better, when we rented a house in the mountains, overlooking the beautiful quaint village of Gruyer. So, with all this positive experience from our recent travels, since having kids, we have abandoned the old ways and we actually plant a bit of roots when we get away, I’ve been wondering what is the right way to travel, to explore. Is there a right way? I guess there many different possibilities – something for everyone, right. I have come to realize, I like the fact of a more leisurely pace of travel. The realization that there is no need to do it all, but rather experience the things you choose in full, made our vacations less stressful and more like a true holiday.
This Saturday we went to visit a little seaside town of Porec, Croatia and we spent most of the day playing in the playground, walking by the sea and sitting at the beach – no historical buildings, no sights, but just stuff you’d do if you lived there and went out for a walk. In the beginning the whole thing upset me, because I thought we are doing it wrong. But how can it be wrong, when it feels right, so then I let it go.
I don’t want to be a tourist rushing through, I want to be a tourist who does it the local way. Recently I found a really interesting page explaining responsible travel and in a way that is actually how we do it. While on some points we need to get even better – aha, a challenge! There are already some of the points we will continue following: doing our research before going on a trip, supporting and getting to know the locals (food, accommodation, tours, transportation, products), respecting the local natural environment and cultural heritage, thinking hard before voicing our opinion about our experience of the country, people and of the whole trip. I am no expert, our way is not the best, but in the end it works for us.