Why You Should Visit Off the Beaten Path Countries Plus Some Real Gems
Recently I shared the benefits of visiting both tourist spots and off the beaten path locales during your globe trotting forays.
I dig both for various reasons.
Today I wanted to share a little about why you should visit off the path spots.
I also want to give some shine to a fabulous blog post that I enjoyed from Daniel at Passport Symphony which highlights the 15 least visited countries on earth.
Why Go Off the Beaten Path?
Although I have visited fairly well-traveled tourist countries I have lived in quiet, sleepy and less-traveled spots in these lands a few times. I even visited an extremely remote jungle in Costa Rica, 3 miles away from civilization, a 2-3 hour hike through almost impenetrable jungle in some spots.
Peep those buzzwords above.
Being where few travelers have been feels exciting, thrilling, fun, freeing and fulfilling. Like opening a Christmas present but having no clue in hell what you’re gonna get because your parents are a bit cheap – hehe – or perhaps your folks were really good at hiding their hand. I mean, perhaps Santa was cheap or held his cards close to the vest.
Anyway, the chief benefit of visiting the countries on Daniel’s list or even visiting places like Bribri in Costa Rica, or Savusavu in Fiji, or Koh Lanta in Thailand, is because you get to experience something very different than your home country or home town in most cases.
I am used to seeing squirrels, birds, deer and maybe a fox or two in New Jersey.
In the jungles by Bribri Costa Rica I saw:
- bullet ants
- poison dart frogs
- Mealy Amazon parrots
- Howler monkeys
- Capuchin monkeys
- 3 toes sloths
- 2 toed sloths
- jungle oppossum
- a praying mantis that looked like a leaf
- wasps killing and eating tarantulas
- golden orb spiders
- 7 bats that lived inside of the house/hut/haha shack
- and much, much more
Being in a hut with no electricity and outhouse, some 3 miles away from humans, was like living in a National Geographic show.
Thousands of army ants marched into and out of the house one day, only to retrace their tracks west to east 3 days later. Smart guys. Picking up the scraps.
Ya ain’t getting this experience in heavily or even lightly traveled areas because nature and somewhat inhabited spots do not match.
The Flip Side
The fun, excitement and freedom of visiting a remote spot or least visited country is life-affirming. Thrilling!
But the excitement, newness, fun and thrills come attached to something that many travelers resist; you will be leaving your comfort zone on a daily or sometimes hour basis in off the beaten path spots.
Example; all the magical experiences in the jungle were of course complemented by me dropping Texas Yule Logs in an outhouse for 6 weeks, sitting over my shit for a month and a half. Not too pleasant but it was part of the course.
If I had to do doodoo at night, being afraid of the pitch dark conditions beyond a few feet behind the flashlight beams – which did not travel far – and the fact that notoriously aggressive fer de lanzes and sinister-looking eyelash vipers (seriously, Google these guys) were often spotted in the area, I would simply drop an Arkansas Steamer in the yard and bury it.
I did not cherish these experiences, nor the super cold water flowing from the water pipe funnel jungle stream water to the house, nor having not much to do, but to just be, for 6 weeks, nor walking an insanely charged and incredibly stubborn, fun but cyborg-like athletic and thrill-seeking Rhodesian Ridgeback named Thunder for 1-2 to 4 hours daily in a hilly jungle environment where I once fell into mud that went up to my knees, being stuck suction-cup style in the ground until I shimmied my way out 5 minutes later.
Cosmic balance guys.
Embrace these uncomfortable situations along with the joy of being off the beaten path. Look at the tough moments as an energetic tax ya gotta pay to play in these lands and you will be A-OK.
Whether you’re talking the rough natural elements to face or zero tourist infrastructure or political instability, accept some resistance along with the fun and freedom of uncovering these off the path spots and you will enjoy experiences few human beings enjoy.
15 Least Visited Countries in the World
Daniel did a smash up job covering these 15 least visited countries in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed this fascinating post and learned a few neat facts about these off the beaten path countries.
I chuckled at his recount of how the folks at the consulate had a tough time believing he wanted to travel to Bangladesh as a tourist, slowing down the visa process. I do recall hearing about Kiribati when we watched TV in Savusavu, Fiji, learning how the tiny island nation will be underwater in less than a generation.
A few of these countries are new to me and a handful more are begging to be visited as political stability and the infrastructure slowly expands.
Click the link and enjoy the read:
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