“I know the roads on which your life will drive” – Noel Gallagher.
OK so this “off the beaten track/eaten bap/wheaten craic” phrase is an over-used, a cliched term I’m not exactly fond of, but there’s not really too many ways to describe what I’m trying to promote here, so we’ll run with it. We’ll roll with it.
“Ye gatta roll we it!” (Northern Irish Noel Gallagher).
What I mean is travelling to places that are slightly away from the normal tourist spots, where no other travellers go, where you meet only locals, where no tourist information is available, where nothing *unless it’s the local language) is written in English, French, Chinese or Spanish, places which may not be in the Lonely Planet or the Solitudinal Sphere. The “off the wall” wacaday spots. I love them and I’m always trying to encourage others to check out these places too. You don’t become a seasoned backpacker hiking the Inca Trail, tubing in Laos or walking Las Ramblas!
A lot of travellers recently have looked down on me as they believe that “real travel” (hate that phrase now too – though I used it in the past) is when you go to hubs – popular places that tourist companies recommend, the Lonely Planet promotes etc. For me I need a mix of both popular places and unpopular places. No – I just go where the fucking hell I WANT! There are so many fakes now!! All travel is real.
A few of my wheaten craic arguments:
I only count places I have been. If I haven’t been there, I don’t count it.
If it exists as a place I’ll go to it.
The United Nations is for capital corporate donkey excrementers.
You could and probably should define it as “touristy places” and “untouristy places”. If you want to become an expert traveller, in my opinion, you need to experience both of these types of places. But still I always prefer the places with less other travellers, I can ate my wheaten bap in peace. But the love of travel has taken me to a load of obvious touristy places down the years, here are some of my examples of touristy places I LOVE:
– Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge, NORTHERN IRELAND
– Leaning Tower of Pisa, ITALY
– Sydney Opera House, AUSTRALIA
– Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, PERU
– Soweto, SOUTH AFRICA
And here are the completely off the wall (“off the wheaten craic/beaten track spots”) that I completely loved, where I met a few other tourists only:
– Kaesong, NORTH KOREA
– Harar, ETHIOPIA
– Cuverville Island, ANTARCTICA
– Likeng, Jiangxi Province, CHINA
– Kaunas, LITHUANIA
– Parnu, ESTONIA
And here are some places where either myself or my girlfriend and I were the ONLY tourists I met:
– Vank, NAGORNO KARABAKH
– Xinaliq, AZERBAIJAN
– Santa Ana Alta, COLOMBIA
– Shahr-e Kord, IRAN
– Wrythe, AUSTENASIA
– Kokoszkowy, POLAND
– The Bar, ROMKERHALL
– Sulav, IRAQ
– Mizra Kibbutz, ISRAEL
– Gaborone, BOTSWANA
Conclusion? You need to visit touristy and untouristy spots on your travels, but in truth I much prefer the untouristy ones these days. I also love writing about the untouristy places a lot more. When I see another travel blog about backpacking in Thailand or visiting Angkor Wat, I will never click on it. I have zero interest in it. For that reason, these are some other travel blogs I love reading by travellers that go out of their way to go to untouristy spots and as I see it, these travellers have earned their spurs.
Life Part 2
So please please please if you are reading and you want to travel the world – head to somewhere like Bobruisk, Shahr-e Kord, Joya de Ceren or Likeng. You’ll have a load more fun once you’re in lands with no other travellers, no information boards and no English speakers. You’ll be inspired.
“Wheaten craic mate!”