Why the best part of your vacation may be had in the most unexpected place

 

DSCN8440There are so many reasons why we travel. Some of us want the structure; the list of destinations, itineraries, and plans from which never to deviate. Others want a one wayticket and a map; a chance to get lost in a new place, and then feel the glory of their success when they find their way out again. We hear the word “wanderlust” get used commonplace nowadays. Those that prefer a traveler’s lifestyle are “free spirits” or “dreamers”. What we don’t realize is that whether we prefer structured vacations, or unplanned journeys, as human beings we crave movement. We seek to leave what we know and understand in search of learning and seeing new things. What unites us all is that desire to see something new. At some point many of us find ourselves on the back roads, hoping to get a unique perspective that others missed, in order to make the most of our travels.

 

DSCN6414Over the years, the term “off the beaten path” has become both romantic and scary at the same time. Many of us are
tired of the package resort vacations and many of us simply can’t afford them. However there is always that hesitation to step into the unknown, and venture out to where our travel guide doesn’t mention. Is it safe? Will I get lost? Will I waste my time and not see anything good? Those are the many questions that we consider before we visit that waterfall that the local restaurant owner mentioned or that dirt road that we debate on taking because we haven’t seen other cars turn up it. The truth is that these locations can be explored safely! We can get to know a country outside of what is listed in the travel agents package! We have come to a point where traveling off the beaten path, isn’t only for the extreme thrill seekers, but for anyone who wants an authentic experience. And finally, what we have learned is that the locals are our best resource for getting there.

DSCN0757 2Panama Road Trip Adventures is a great example of a tour operator that lets you get close to the country you’re visiting. Whether it’s through a conversation with an indigenous woman who makes her living through the sale of artisan goods, or enjoying a relaxing swim in a pristine river with just a few locals, you are bound to return home with stories from the road. If you’re like me, you may be seeking a balance of culture, nature, history, relaxation, and adventure. You might be traveling alone, or with your friends, or partner, or even your family, but that shouldn’t matter. These experiences should be and can be enjoyed by everyone.

 

At the end of your trip, take home more than a souvenir. My travels off the beaten bath here in Panama have given me more than just some good stories and impressive photos. They’ve given me a respect for the people I’ve met, an understanding of the cultural practices that once seemed strange, and a sense of appreciation for the tremendous natural beauty I witnessed. So dare to take an alternative vacation, and get to know Panama through the eyes and experiences of its people.

DSCN9204