MilesAstray was born along the road, five years into a journey that started in 2012. Travel has been a muse that breathed life into my passion for writing and photography.
Yet, in the end, the journey wasn't all that much about traveling. My soles brought me places, but immersion taught me places, taught me people and lives. It helped me experience rather than just see, or, worse yet, turn a blind tourism eye on the vastly diverging lifestyles and local cultural normalities in different parts of the world, and the conspicuous similarities underneath it all.
Even though not its main purpose, MilesAstray might be travel inspiration for some. However, it is not a destination guide or advice-dispenser à la “Top 10 Things to Do in Xyz,” “Why Travel Makes You Awesome,” or “Adventurous Western Me Finding Myself While Roaming Exotic Countries and Inspiring You to Do the Same.” There are no "hacks" to be found here, no oversimplified generalizations. From where I'm standing that would defy the purpose of traveling (and living your own life).
I think you’ll do great out there without anybody shrinking your leaps of discovery to baby steps in their footprints. I believe that the more you do your own thing, the more interesting your journey becomes. This isn’t to say that you should never read up on anything. But, if you plan every destination and vantage point with grim determination, you leave little space for individual experiences.
Throughout these years of traveling and living abroad, I’ve found the most captivating worlds miles astray the paved roads, touristic facades and generic adrenaline thrills. That’s why I want to advocate travel (if any) that is more individualistic (humming your own melody), holistic (looking beyond easy pleasures), sustainable (being aware of your footprint), and much much slower (time for immersion rather than dashing through). I’m talking raw horizons, putting exploration back on the map and taking uncharted steps of discovery, may that be in rural areas no one has ever heard of, in a part of a famous city no tourist ever sets foot in, or simply by immersing yourself differently while in touristy places.
I am not part of a hypocritical indie traveler syndicate that belittles touristy places and experiences. They typically are what they are for a reason and well worth being part of the trip. But, if you were to go beyond, chances are you’d stumble upon some unique and unforgettable keepsakes.
Furthermore, if travel merely caters to hedonistic sun and fun cravings, it can have a devastating impact on a given place and people; may that be on the ground (e.g. excessive party tourism) or by spreading falsehoods based on the limited insights offered in a touristic context.
Ultimately, travel might open eyes or backfire with the arrogance of thinking to have seen and done it all; oftentimes it will foster the presumptuous belief that everybody should travel. But despite being a choice for some, travel is a privilege for most and certainly not the only road to finding wisdom and a home within yourself.
If any of my thoughts resonate with you, you might enjoy these articles: