Finding Local Adventures through working abroad!!

Check out the Adventure’s of my Brother Dan who’s been working and travelling abroad for the last 7 years!!   Dan is not only working abroad, he’s travelling and writing about his “Local Adventures”!!!!

Artists at work, Tanzania!

Artists at work, Tanzania!

Over the last 2 years I’ve written many posts and articles about local adventures that I’ve found in my own back yard, here in Grand Rapids Michigan. Those little pockets of woods, a creek, river, or a private stretch of beach that one would only find if they live here. If I can find that many fun adventures my own backyard, I can only imagine all the backyard adventures that can be discovered in other countries. When I travel to another country, I make it a point to seek out those local spots. Even with the internet, today’s social media sites and travel blogger sites, it can be hard to find those special places.   When I was younger, I had the opportunity to live abroad while serving in the Military, where I was able to get to know an area and the people and explore!  Today I don’t have the luxury of living overseas and my trips are from 5 days to 2 weeks.   Whatever the time period I try to enjoy the experience.

Enjoying the sunset at a local Ottowa County Park!!

Enjoying the sunset at a local Ottowa County Park!!

Typically when travelling abroad, time is limited to two, three, or if we’re lucky, four weeks to see and experience as much as possible.     Trips are planned around the major cities and sites that are a “must see” while you’re there, such as Rome, while in Italy, Paris in France, Shanghai, China or London and Castles in the UK.   All of these places are great to see, I mean it’s what we’ve read about, and seen photos of throughout our lives.   It would be a shame not to see them, especially if we’re spending the time and money to travel that distance, right?    Personally I haven’t seen too many of the well-known attractions, or big cities overseas and even though they are great places to visit, I haven’t been convinced yet that I’ve missed much.  

Fishing in Kosovo!!

Dan doing some fishing in Kosovo!!

Often when I talk to friends and relatives, who’ve returned from a European tour,  where they’ve  packed in all the sites into 2 or 3 weeks, they sound more relieved that they’re back home, than excited to talk about their adventures.   They sum up their entire experience in a few sentences that reflect distaste for crowded tour buses on tight schedules, tiny overpriced rooms, and rude people.   They snap a few pictures of the towers and streets and maybe a cathedral, all of which will end up in a file on the computer or photos in a box.   If I hadn’t asked how their trip was, I’m not sure they would have never brought it up, maybe they were disappointed or the trip didn’t live up to their expectations.    I always feel sad, thinking that they missed out on  experiencing the culture, food and adventures that truly represent the people who live there.   Sometimes it’s easier said than done, especially when on a timeline and schedule.

Market outside of Dar es Salaam!

Market outside of Dar es Salaam!

To me, the best adventures are those found off the beaten path, those small towns in the countryside, villages along the coast or even camping in a remote region, meeting the occasional rancher or fisherman.   It’s those simple relaxed experiences of being submersed into another culture, spending time talking with locals, eating the same foods they eat and enjoying those hidden local spots that are in their backyard.      Fortunately I’ve had the opportunity to see parts of the world, spending a few months living and working overseas, while I was in the Navy.

Land owner of one of the missions in Baja California and Wonderful Host!!

Land owner of one of the missions in Baja California and Wonderful Host!!

For the past few years I’ve been following my brother Dan, who is currently working in Tanzania, a country that I’ve always wanted to visit and hopefully I will have the chance, during the time he is there.    For the longest time, my reason for wanting to travel to Tanzania is to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, The tallest mountain in Africa. To commit to climbing Kilimanjaro, I’d have to take at least 9 days for the adventure, not counting the travel time to get over there.   After reading about my brother’s adventures , I’m debating whether or not I want to spend the time climbing Kilimanjaro, or spend the time exploring the country, and getting to know the people and culture.      I’m working with a highly recommended local guide and considering spending time on foot or bicycle, travelling across the countryside of Tanzania or around Kilimanjaro.    Whatever I decide to do, I know that 3 weeks won’t be enough.    I’ll keep you posted, for now I enjoy reading about my brother’s adventures while he’s working in the country.

If you’re spending any time travelling or working abroad make sure you take the time to find those “Local Adventures”!!

JJ

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