If you’re a seasoned traveler, you’ve probably done all sorts of activities to keep yourself amused while in a faraway place. You’ve likely seen most of the wonderful places this world has to offer, even the most underrated ones. You thirst for new things to try. You spend considerable money for airfare and accommodation and you want every cent you shell out to be worth it. So you wish you could do more exciting stuff.
Well, anything can be exciting depending on how open-minded you are. There are activities that don’t usually find their way into travel itineraries, but they’re still worth trying out. Think of these unpopular but potentially rewarding travel experiences.
Go to Google and find the closest bowling alley to your accommodation. Schedule your visit at a peak hour. That’s when you’ll see the most action. Chances are you’ll find groups of friends who’ll gladly take you in. And they’ll be locals to boot. Consider this cultural immersion but not the kind that borders cultural appropriation.
It’ll be fun seeing the locals do things you and your friends like to do back home. That makes them more like you, less of another. If there’s no bowling alley nearby, consider a table tennis joint. Or a billiard hall.
Watch a movie
Watching a movie in a dark cinema with hundreds of people is a communal experience like no other. And it’s one way to get up close and personal with the community of your present destination. Just make sure you watch a local movie so you get the most of the experience. If there are no subtitles, it does not matter. You can get a hint from how the people around you are responding.
You can do this in Mumbai, for example. It’s a city whose movie culture is embedded in the very fabric of people’s daily lives.
You don’t have to be an academic to enjoy this activity. You can be a school dropout and still get a kick out of it. That is if you’re curious enough. Consider this activity as another cultural immersion. If you want to get to know a community, one aspect to look into is how its academic community goes about its daily routine.
But don’t act creepy. Don’t stare at people. Just soak up the surrounding activities. If you can, learn the school’s history. Know how it serves the community. You’re doing research for nothing in particular.
Check out the local library
That is if there’s a local library. If you’re in a poor town or city, that might not be the case. Now, if you’re in Singapore, for example, you have many libraries to choose from. Your top option should be the National Library.
Regardless of which city you’re in, or what library you’re visiting, see if they have books written by authors from your home country. Or just soak up that soothing sound or non-sound common to libraries. Or you can just admire the architecture, the interior design, how the people enjoy the books they are reading. Even if you’re not a reader, there’s something to feel here.
Visit a prison
When you travel you want to have fun and excitement. Going to prison is the opposite of fun and excitement. But there’s a case to be made why this activity might be a fulfilling addition to your typical travel itinerary.
You do not want human suffering or misfortune to be a source of your amusement. So you better have your motivations in the right place. Maybe that motivation is to feel the human condition up close and personal, especially if you’ve lived a privileged life for most of your existence.
Traveling is one of the few things you spend for that make you richer. It’s a privilege unlike no other. If you are physically, financially, and politically equipped (in possession of a passport with very few visa restrictions) to travel, you must be thankful. Not everyone has the same privilege as you do. So enjoy every experience you get, even if they seem cheesy and overrated.
However, don’t limit yourself to the usual stuff travelers do. Run wild with your imagination. Get creative. There are many ways to see a new town or city. But you must get out of your comfort zone if you want to get the most of your time in a particular destination. Consider doing the recommendations cited here. And make a list of your own too. You might just surprise yourself.