Namaste ! I’m Tobi, the blogger behind I TRAVEL FOREVER. My travel philosophy is my full-time passion. It involves traveling spontaneously, arriving anywhere and connecting with the locals. This way I experience travel to the fullest for maximum happiness and on top: I have so much fun. My personal mission is to inspire others to travel the same way and to live life to the fullest. Here I share how I travel, share some recent local experiences and the benefits from it.
Welcome to I TRAVEL FOREVER !
“Going anywhere, anytime and anyhow ! Just turn up and spontaneously discover the unknown whilst connecting with the locals !”
Travel like I TRAVEL FOREVER:
Wherever I go in the world, I arrive without a plan – none whatsoever. The less I know, the happier I am. I find the cheapest flight or hop on a bus with no advance research or arrangements. I am very happy to do it this way because I don’t create false expectations beforehand. It creates a feeling of real adventure. Let’s just get lost !
Off-the-beaten-track: Finding the best hotspots, accommodation or restaurants
Without guidebooks, I listen to the locals. I might find out about accommodations through other travelers when I ask where they stay or by just walking around and checking out places. When it comes to food and entertainment, I like restaurants frequented by natives and hotspots unknown to tourists. I let people know that I don’t want to spend much – locals always know where the places are – and I am accommodated with perfect choices—in fact, places where the locals themselves gather.
Connecting with people ?
I talk to strangers while wandering the streets. I am not hesitant to approach anyone who crosses my path. I don’t judge anyone in any way because I’m a person open to the world and see myself as a world citizen. I am always positive when approaching a person with a smile on my face; I am ready to try to connect by saying “hi” in the local language or cracking a funny joke. I learn where to go when talking to different people asking for their knowledge of the best spots. It’s odd that they always seem overwhelmed and intimidated because they worry that they can’t give me what I want. Of course, I try to make it easier for them, so I ask where they love spending their leisure time on days off or where they go to meet friends.
Why is it so hard for them to reveal their personal secret places? Maybe because they feel it’s nothing special for others or they want to keep their spots for themselves (also possible and understandable) – but trust me, these places are always special, non-touristy and the very local hotspots that will make for a unique travel experience. It is so important to tell them about my interest in local habits, secret hotspots, and other high points of the culture.
Local hotspots tailored to my interest
If I have time constrictions, I seek help in doing the best things first. Budget, of course, always matters. I want to hear the good stuff tailored to my interests. It is amazing what I find out from locals. If I hear about a destination many times, then I write it down on myMy Places to Visit list.
Continuously connect with many people
Most of the time, this process involves repeatedly asking several people, and you would be surprised how quickly you acquire amazing and useful information–so it’s worth getting in touch with the locals fast, and immersing yourself in the cultural experience. Isn’t this what we all want when we travel? I love it!
Avoid the tourist’s spots
One thing you should know is that the locals never or very rarely hang out in places where tourists go. This is why they are the best source of information. What is the probability that another traveler will end up doing the same thing after connecting with the locals? It doesn’t happen, which makes my travels so awesome since I have more off-the-beaten path adventures than most others. Okay, don’t get me wrong, I do some touristy things because they are touristy for a reason–they are incredible–but I appreciate the other things more!
Other valuable resources
I use resources such as the local information office, hostel employees, other travelers and anyone else available. There are a couple of other things I do to connect with the locals like asking the time, the typical taxi fare and anything else I would like to know. The locals are my first choice of information – always ! These tips are unique and give me the local feel better than any travel book. No guidebook could ever teach you what I learn with my free-wheeling travel style – trust me. The locals know the best of what’s going on in their area and the places to avoid. In short, they know where it’s nice any day of the week. So follow them rather than other tourists.
Get a map / Draw your individual map to get an overview
Later, when I feel I have enough information, Itry to get my hands on a map todiscover where all the places are and to get an overview of the location. This helps mein my spontaneous exploration.
In some countries, the spontaneous style is hard to implement, but the harder it gets, the better the connection with the locals. You would be surprised what opportunities arise from meeting the locals or where you might end up. It may sound like a lot of effort to talk to the locals, but it opens doors you wouldn’t have found or ever imagined – so worth it, I promise you!
Connecting with the locals has brought me many positive experiences and benefits, 10 of them are listed as follows:
- Talking to a local in Tokyo, asking where it is good to go. Funny, he was on his way to a bar where he worked, so he told me to come along. I got free drinks all night; and trust me, this was great in an expensive city like Tokyo. The night was incredible because I randomly met four Americans on the street, finding out later that they were from the US Marines; we had a sick, crazy night together.
- Randomly stopping the car after watching the sunset on the beach on Skopelos Island in Greece. It was getting dark and my girlfriend and I were too lazy to walk back to the bus station. So I stopped and asked a solo guy for a lift. He was so nice and gave us a 5-minute ride; and in this five minutes, we found out about one of the most secret islands (Alonissos) where we decided to go in the morning, and it was an incredible romantic place for two, off-the-beaten-track !
- In a bar in Durban with some people from the hostel. I ended up loosing everyone somehow, but then I met some locals, started drinking with them and 12 hours later, I was lost on the outskirts with no money in my pocket and no idea where I was. I can tell you that it was an incredible experience walking around the local market, with one local pointing out to me that apartheid in South Africa still exists. At the end of our stay together, I was invited to a wedding – crazy right ? Full story: JUMANJI
- Visiting a school in South Africa was awesome because it gave me a different angle on the culture when I just spontaneously turned up and the best part was little kids singing a song for me “singing melodies in my heart” – so emotional.
- In Israel always asking local people on the street and in the hostels about places to eat, and they were always the very best restaurants. Locals just know !
- On the Galapagos Islands: I had just arrived and had made my way to a little bay where I snorkeled. I started talking to some locals; this was the moment that made being there alone turn into the best time of my life, at sunset right after snorkeling, being invited to a house to cook dinner together (platano) and have pre-drinks before going out. For the entire time of ten days, I was with these locals going to different hotspots and finding out about cheap local street food and met even more locals. So, you experience your travels in such a different way with locals– it’s incredible.
- Hitchhiking after I watched Wolf Greek – from Melbourne to Perth (ca. 3,400km). It was one of the best decisions I made because I was lucky to get picked up by some generous locals, who sometimes also just led me in the right direction when I was standing to hitchhike on the wrong side but that already helped. Other travelers who gave me a ride were from France and Taiwan.
- Hitchhiking again in the South of WA. Americans that gave me a ride the day before dropped me off along the highway on the street, where I was about to write my sign with the name where I wanted to hitchhike that day. Whenever a car passed, I showed the unfinished sign and used my thumb. A car drove passed but didn’t stop. Five minutes later, the driver and his wife turned around and picked up me saying: “I saw you and I felt bad, so I had to turn around!” The married couple and I spent all day together at Cape Le Grand National park having an incredible time. That day they even offered me to pick me up the next day and take me to another stop where they were going along my route. The next morning they picked me up at the hostel where I was staying and brought me breakfast from their hotel – how nice! Next stop was Wave Rock.
- In Panama City, I went out at night without a plan and not knowing anyone. I first stopped at a square where a live band was playing salsa, so I joined this local event. Then I randomly went to a party recommended by myself. I easily connected with other travelers and ended up swimming at the Trump Tower of Panama at 3:00am.
- Getting a lift share seems so easy and connects you with locals or with people with a good heart. Example: Thailand to Myanmar border, lift from hostel to Muay Thai Boxing, Tegernsee city centre to the train station, Israel from Masada to El Geidi, Walchensee to Kochel, Greece from the beach to the bus station, two guys in Jordan, and many more during all my road trips!
I, in turn, give hitchhikers a ride: In Canada from Whistler to Vancouver, in Macedonia randomly picking up this American guy going to Movrora. I stop now and then and ask people if I can give them a lift.
Read more about all my other unique local experiences from my 1,200+ days of traveling by clicking www.itravelforever.com/local-travel
Fun facts: Sometimes, I’m quite surprised and think it’s funny when people to whom I talk don’t even know what’s in the area where they work and live. As for me, I always like to know what’s available because why walk 20 minutes to a bakery if it’s just around the corner?
I hope I have been able to illustrate the kind of experience that the I TRAVEL FOREVER style brings and how incredible it is. I have no greater wish than to inspire you to do the same! Soon, I’ll be sharing a couple of videos to show you what I do in action!
With I TRAVEL FOREVER, you can carry the travel spirit with you in your everyday life even if you don’t travel. Are you ready to go and get lost? Get out and discover? Do it now! Message me: I would love to hear about your feedback and travel plans in the comments section below, or just say hi.