Hours on treacherous roads, non serviced areas in the middle of nowhere and potentially dangerous situations are all part of off-the-beaten-path adventures. People that like staying on the tourist trail can’t fathom why such adventurers would risk life and limb just to stay away from the crowds. Tricky, uncomfortable travel may seem like a terrible way to spend a holiday, but true adventurers know what rewards come with this kind of travel. Here are seven reasons why true adventurers do what most won’t.
1. You experience the excitement of the journey
It’s not just about the destination, but the journey. On any epic off-the-beaten-path journey, you are more likely to a little lost: your GPS gets confused within a deep valley or high mountaintop; your map has little detail about which way to go because nobody expected a tourist to take the horse route. The magic of getting lost is ending up in a small village which may just consist of a few houses.You get to see landscape that isn’t in the guidebooks but is equally as stunning as what you’d see on the tourist trail. You’re more likely to see wildlife that would otherwise be scared off by crowds of tourists. You can skinny dip in a river, sleep under the stars or yell from a mountain top if you want because no one else is around.
2. You Meet More of the Locals
When you travel off the beaten path, it’s quite likely you’re the first person to come through a village from some other country. You get noticed right away and people will have a genuine interest in you. If you stop, you’ll often be greeted with warm hospitality. While lost in Montenegro, a family welcomed us to join them on their farm. Even with the language barrier, we had a wonderful afternoon and they fed us goat’s cheese and homemade bread. They gave us hand gestures to guide us in the right direction afterwards and sent us off with food. I still feel a sense of warmth when I think of the kindness bestowed to us.
3. You have a grander sense of the culture
As you weave your way through the quiet roads of a country, you’re not going to see the polished versions of a culture. You see the raw and real life aspects. This can be graphic at times, but an adventurer dares to delve into even the darkest realities of a culture. For those who want to learn about a place, going off the beaten path has a way of revealing what people stand for. You get to know what they eat traditionally, how they live and what they do for fun. Even with language barriers, there can be sense of welcome and joy among the people. Staying around other tourists doesn’t teach you as much about a place as when you venture off on your own.
4. You have incredible photo opportunities
When you take a photo somewhere few travel to, it gains a lot of interest. If you hiked, climbed or drove to a difficult place, you will have a photo that will intrigue all those who look at it. If you’re an Instagram fanatic, this is a great way to get some more followers. You might even be one of those people that makes money travelling, otherwise you just have incredible pictures to be proud of. The best part is you don’t have strangers in photos of your epic destinations.
5. You experience the bliss of the environment
With no distractions from other tourists or elaborate attractions, you can be with the environment. The peace and tranquility of being on a road or in a place virtually alone is worth everything for an adventurer. No matter how difficult the road was, it’s worth it. You camp alone with nothing but nature in the background. You stand on top of a mountain with nothing but your thoughts. You swim in water undisturbed. Everything feels more beautiful when there’s nobody around and you find your perfect spot with nobody trying to sell you souvenirs or people fighting to see what you see.
6. You meet like-minded travelers
When you do meet other travelers off the beaten path, you’ll actually be pretty excited. An adventurous person has certain qualities in their character, meaning you’re likely to get along really well and have a lot to talk about. Adventurous people in their element are at peace and happy in their own skin. It makes for great company and you can talk about the perils and obstacles you face in amusement. Along any quiet road, running into someone traveling is like running into “your people”.
7. You find hidden gems
One of the best things about going off the beaten path is finding those amazing places that have yet to be commercialized. Maybe it’s a National Park, a waterfall, a lake or a beautiful spot above everything. It’s likely your way to these places was treacherous, otherwise the masses would be going there. When you have the courage and experience to deal with the obstacles, you are rewarded with beauty that you don’t have to share with many. There are no food concessions, tourist maps or crowds. You feel so blessed to have made it to these places – it’s where the magic lies and why we travel.
The road to a peaceful paradise isn’t always easy. It can make you want to quit and give up sometimes but the reward of standing on a mountaintop alone is worth it. You will have incredible memories of what you accomplished and really get to feel alive. For those that crave adventure, going off the beaten path has many gifts to give.