My international traveling experience mainly involves exploring Hungary and Transylvania (the more Hungarian area of Romania). What have I learned during my frequent trips over the last several years?
LOOK UP AND AROUND!
There is so much beauty in the architecture in big cities. I love to notice the colors, shapes, and the intricate details and decorations on buildings. By paying attention to my surroundings, I see the simplicity of the homes in the villages, the stork nests and wildlife, the farms and fields, and color of the sky with the changes in the clouds. There are people and spaces all around that are worthy of observation.
Traveling on cobblestone streets can be a challenge so it is important to pay attention to where I am going. My senses are on high alert as I am absorbing so much information on my surroundings. By looking down, I might even be rewarded by seeing a really cool manhole cover!
ALWAYS HAVE YOUR CAMERA READY!
I love taking photographs! I especially like to take the few extra moments framing the subject so I don’t have to edit the picture later. The fun of digital photos is that I can know right away if it is a shot that worked.
LEAVE YOUR CAMERA BEHIND!
Sometimes I get so caught up capturing a moment that I forget to be in the moment, sans camera. Always being behind the lens means I am not an actual participant and there is a big difference between capturing a moment and being present. Occasionally, it is important for me to leave the camera behind and be immersed in the experience.
TRAVEL BY FOOT!
I love to walk the streets of Budapest. It is easier for me to explore the things that catch my eye. I see more closely. I get more connected. I can stop in at a little shop that piques my interest. The aroma of fresh baked goods can lure me in to a wonderful discovery.
TRAVEL BY TRAIN, TRAM, BOAT, BUS, and/or METRO!
I didn’t grow up in an area with a lot of public transportation so the thought of traveling around a city or country in anything but a car is a little intimidating. I have to go by the schedule of the mode of transportation so I am not in control. But it can conserve my energy and give me another perspective and an opportunity to observe as I eavesdrop in on conversations and watch interactions. These “people movers” are moving me along with others. I don’t have to stress as much about navigating the narrow streets or finding parking. I can daydream and watch the world go by at a different speed than walking. Some of my observations are from a protected perspective – those being observed often have no idea that I am peeking into their world.
TASTE THE HIGH LIFE!
Having a higher-class meal or dessert is always fun! I dress up! I act fancy! I take in the surroundings and savor the experience.
SAMPLE THE SIMPLE!
Eat like the locals do! I grab something from a food truck or a tiny restaurant or even grab a roll, meat, cheese, and veggies for an impromptu picnic lunch. A part of the fun of vacation is sampling different slices of life!
HAVE A PLAN!
Knowing the things I don’t want to miss is important. I always do a little homework ahead of time and think about the sights I want to make sure I catch. I schedule them in and use them as anchors for my day.
While it is nice to have a plan, I always allow myself an opportunity for spontaneity. Having some margin in my day allows me to enjoy one thing completely before rushing off to the next. Savoring and reflecting on my experiences help them be more cemented in my memory. Being flexible means I am open to opportunities that present themselves. Might there be a little extra “down time”? Of course, but extra “space” also means I am available to explore some things that strike my fancy in the moment.
Elizabeth Szabó Vos is the owner of Magyar Marketing, a second-generation family business that provides a variety of opportunities to connect with Hungary and Hungarian food and culture. Join us on one of our affordable and engaging tours and see what makes Hungary such a wonderful destination! For more information check out our website MagyarMarketing.com or contact email@example.com and like us on Facebook @Magyar.Marketing.