A Travellerspoint blog

Reluctant Tourists

What We are Doing These Days to Learn & Prepare for the Big Trip.

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about how we can be less "touristy" in our travels. I aspire to be a visitor, or even better, a guest in the countries we explore. So, how to make that happen? We want to tap insights from as many sources as possible. Do we know people who have spent time (or live) in Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia, China, or Japan? How can we open up those lines of communication? My extended family and friends are great resources. We just need to ask, and make time to listen.
There is a world of knowledge out there to be tapped. I've found that I can download podcasts from "The Amateur Traveller" and have started reading a mix of blogs, "how to" travel books, fiction, and memoirs. A good friend was thoughtful enough to give me Book Lust To Go by Nancy Pearl. I've found quite a few excellent travel memoirs and fiction thanks to Nancy's advice.
Memoirs include:
Monkey Dancing by Daniel Glick (Dad and 2 kids travel the world), Travels in a Thin Country by Sara Wheeler (Chile), One Year Off by David Elliot Cohen (Family World Trip), Dream of a Thousand Lives by Karen Connelly (Thailand), All the Wrong Places by James Fenton (SE Asia), The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux (Asia), In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson (Australia), and Behind the Wall by Colin Thubron (China). I've also been seeking out fiction from or about the countries we will be visiting. My mom introduced me to Colin Cotterill who writes a wonderful mystery series set in SE Asia. I've started with The Coroner's Lunch. I've been told that The Tale of the Genji by Murasaki Shikibu is a great book set in Japan. I'm also planning to reread The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende for the descriptions of life in Chile. I'm always open to more suggestions.
The blogs have been especially enlightening and fun.
My favorite Family Friendly Travel Blogs so far include:
Wander Mom (Local Seattle Family Currently on RTW trip)
Travels With a Nine Year Old
Travels with Phillip and Three Kids
Vagabond Kids
Six in the World
The Wide Wide World
Travelling With Our Family
Mother of All Trips
Family Adventure
I've found practical travel advice and stories at:
Jack and Jill Travel Blog
Lonely Planet
Vagabonding: The Art of Long Term Travel
360 Degrees Longitude
The Road Forks (Travel and Food)

Our other main learning curve item is language. Ideally, if we are to get the most of our experience, we should be able to understand and speak the local language. I doubt we will be able to learn Chinese, Thai, or Cambodian in the next 14 months. We could, however, make a concerted effort to improve our Spanish skills for the almost 5 months we will be spending in South America. I'll let you know how that proceeds in a future entry.

Thanks for reading!
All the Best!

Posted by annevl 22:15

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