Traveling with an open mind. What does that mean to you? This was one question that we got from momondo. For some reason, I found this question super interesting and while writing down the answer, I came up with lots of stuff that represent traveling with an open mind according to us. Do you agree?
Traveling with an open mind
Being respectful of other people and cultures. Meeting new people and talking to strangers. trying new foods and drinks. Visiting new places. Going outside your comfort zone. Laughing and crying with newly made friends. Daring yourself to try something different. Becoming one with the place you are visiting. Being a proud tourist. Visiting places that are famous and finding new things to explore. Be curious about everything new. Say yes each and every day. Only leave footprints, don’t disturb nature, take responsibility for your travels. Share, share, share – share your experience with people so that they also can get an open mind during their travels.
Being respectful of other people and cultures
There is a proverb in Swedish that translates to “take accustom to where you’re going”. An example is that if an American friend visits you in Sweden – they are likely to take off their shoes when they come to your house. In America, people often walk with shoes inside. In Sweden, it is accustomed to taking them off. We had a really hard time when we went to the USA and they told us to keep our shoes on.
Another example of taking accustom while traveling was during a visit to Oman. We were going to visit the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. For me, as a woman, I had to put on clothes that fully covered my body. We were on a tour bus for the day and the majority of women that were on the bus got upset and didn’t enter the Mosque. I, on the other hand, got super excited that I got to try out a new outfit and boy was it comfy! While walking around in one of the most beautiful places that I had ever seen I couldn’t help but think of the women on the bus. They were missing out on a really cool experience. To enter a mosque, you need to wear special outfits – get over yourself and put it on! If we were going to a swimming pool and you needed a swimsuit to bathe, don’t you think that people would put it on without questioning?!
It’s all about traveling with an open mind!
Meeting new people and talking to strangers
One of the best parts about traveling is all the people you meet. Some of our best friends are people that we have met during our travels. Some of them are Swedish (like us) but far from all of them are. There are so many people that used to be strangers and that now are our friends that it is impossible to list them all. Here are some examples:
Hassan in Egypt
A guy that worked in a store in Hurghada, Egypt. We met him our first night and ended up spending a whole week together. He became our dear friend and we traveled all over together. When he had to be at work, we sat at the store with him and just talked and learned more about him and his country.
Ron from America
Our dear American friend that we have had for about 15 years now. We met on a cruise and since then he has traveled to Europe twice and visited us. We have been all over Europe together, both by train and by car.
Yvonne and Lorenz from Sweden
Our Swedish friends that we met in Portugal. They were there with their motorhome and we were there with ours. We kept meeting up in different cities and ended up spending christmas and new years together. We have also visited each other while back in Sweden.
Luba from Sri Lanka
We met Luba while in Sri Lanka and ended up spending a lot of time together. Luba invited us to his family and we ate barracuda that we had caught ourself. I had a bit of trouble since I am left handed and in Sri Lanka, the left hand is considered “dirty”. It made it all worse when we were supposed to eat with our hands.
Boel – a part of our family
We met during a press trip and today Boel is part of our family. We talk pretty often and encourage each other when it comes to daily life and work-related stuff. It said “klick” as soon as we said hi and it has been awesome since then. We consider her a great friend of ours and also a part of us!
Laura and Steven – from the Amazon to Dubai
A really funny story. We met Laura and Steven while in Brazil and out in the Amazon. She was super excited and he was not a fan of bugs (what a great combo in the Amazon). We spent a couple of days together and had a great time. A few years passed and Mini and I were in Dubai. While checking Facebook we saw that Laura had posted that they just landed in Dubai. We ended up meeting up at the worlds largest mall and ate ice-cream together. From the Amazon to Dubai – I wonder where we will meet up next! Most important – traveling with an open mind!
Trying new foods and drinks
I will eat (almost) anything. I don’t want to eat things that are still alive but otherwise, I’m up for trying anything. We believe that people often miss out on some really good stuff because they’re not open-minded and a little bit afraid of trying new things. Open your mind and at least try out new food. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to finish it but at least you will know.
We often try the things that the people at the restaurant recommend. And I also make sure to check “what is this region or country known for“. While in Peru, I ended up with a gunny pig on my plate and while in Portugal I ate Tripas, a stew that is made out of intestines and cows feet. And trust me when I say that it was all good! Traveling with an open mind is the keyword!
Visiting new places
If you end up at a destination – check what cities are around you and go visit them to. There is a reason why companies choose certain destinations and send tourists there. However, there are often other cities outside the regular ones that are worth visiting. When you travel with an open mind, make sure to check out those destinations that are not mentioned in the brochure to.
Find some path that you follow for a while and maybe try out a restaurant that is not on the main street. We found a super nice house that was covered in glass, just of the main street in Lodz, Poland. If we didn’t explore we would have missed it and just walked right past this amazing place.
Going outside your comfort zone – dare yourself
According to us, traveling with an open mind includes daring yourself. While in South Africa I ended up doing the worlds highest bungee jump at Bloukrans Bridge. 216 meters of rope around my feet. Was I afraid? YES! And to be honest, my fear of heights started after the jump. But I loved the adrenaline rush after I did it and I noticed that I survived. After that, we went to Durban and I ended up doing the worlds highest swing = also super cool!
Diving with great white sharks, trying out the worlds fastest rollercoaster in the United Arab Emirates – if it is there, we are on it! Sure if you have an extreme fear of heights you don’t have to jump out of an airplane but sure there are other things that you can do that pushes you out of your comfort zone?!
Being a proud tourist – traveling with an open mind
We get frustrated when we keep hearing the same things all the time. “I’m no tourist, I only do the things that the locals do”. Come on! If you travel, you are a tourist or a traveler – as simple as that. Why do people try to hide the fact that they are tourists? We are proud tourists, every day! And we recommend you to try that to.
Stop trying your hardest to be something that you’re not. Be a tourist and be proud of it! That is traveling with an open mind according to us.
Visiting places that are famous and finding new things to explore
This kind of merges into being a proud tourist. There are certain things that you need to see. While visiting Brazil you have to check out Christ The Redeemer. While in Paris, the Eiffel tower is a must and while in Egypt – check out the pyramids. Don’t dismiss things because they are “too touristy”. There is a reason why they are so famous and well visited.
Make sure to visit all the “touristy stuff” but also make room for finding new places that you can explore. When we were in Peru, we went to the middle of nowhere and there we found the most beautiful church we have ever seen. From the outside it looked like any other church but once we went inside it was really magic. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take any pictures inside the church but it was really incredible.
Only leave footprints – don’t disturb nature
It is hard to travel without leaving prints. However, you can take responsibility for your own travel and try to not destroy anything. And try to be as eco-friendly as you can. If you book your stay at an eco-friendly hotel but you spend twelve hours getting to your destination, are you helping nature? Sure you are! If you ask me it is better to do the small things than not to do anything. Make sure that you don’t change towels each day while staying at a hotel. If more people do some responsible travel our world will become a better place.
We had an eco-experience while in the Amazon. We spent about five hours getting deep into the amazon and then we had a survival week where we spent our days in the jungle, fishing for food and waking up in the amazon. Sleeping in hammocks and only leaving our footprints. Traveling with an open mind is also taking responsibility for your travels.
Share your experience with people
This is a huge part of our travels. We want to share our experience with people and hopefully make more people travel with an open mind. If you find a great spot – be sure to share that with your friends when you get back. In that case, more people can enjoy the same experience that you had or create their own!
And thank you momondo for making us share our opinion and thoughts about traveling with an open mind and what it means to us! What does traveling with an open mind mean to you?