Off The Beaten Track Holidays You Never Thought of Having
For the ten billionth time, a friend has excitedly messaged me that he’s off to explore the world and get off the beaten path! Backpack! Adventure! At first glance I was stoked for him, enthusiastically asking where he was off to. Is he going to explore the steamy jungles of Myanmar? Will the trek to find head hunting tribes in Papua New Guinea? Is he going to hitchhike through Tanzania?
No. He’s going to Thailand. The exotic land of Thailand where you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere not overrun with the same few backpacker characters, all of whom are on two to three-month trips if that.
I swear to god, if I read one more backpacking South East Asia guide, I may well throw myself off a damn cliff.
Want to get off the beaten path? Then stop following in every-damn-backpacker-ever’s footsteps, and find somewhere new. It’s a pretty giant world out there, you know. Here are just a few ideas of places where you won’t find hordes of so-called travellers.
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me I was going to die in Venezuela, well, it would have paid for my trip to Venezuela which as it turns out was ridiculously cheap. Travellers are scared shitless of this gorgeous land, which means you actually get to interact with the locals rather than with swarms of tourists. The beautiful spots are mostly unspoiled, unlike places run down by the huge numbers of people coming to visit. Sure, a certain level of precaution is required, but as long as you have some cool locals to show you the ropes (and they’re ridiculously pumped that you’re not scared off, and recognise that their country is awesome) you’ll be just fine.
Epic ruins, a ridiculously gorgeous area called the Cloud Forest (aren’t you intrigued just by the name alone?), and more carpets than you can handle, Iran is an awesome place to backpack through. Hell, I even have it under good authority that it’s a great land for hitchhiking, albeit this may be more so for the menfolk than the ladies. While backpackers are drinking their faces off in South East Asia, you’ll have a hard time finding a drop to drink in Iran. Why is this actually a god damn amazing thing? Because then you get to meet real people, with real stories, who aren’t purely on the road attempting to score while shit faced.
For many, Ethiopia sadly only conjures up an image of desperate famine and worst of all, of Bob Geldof. That really is a shame because there is oh so much more to Ethiopia than this. Ethiopia o where it all began the first humans came from the area. Therefore it boats a load of history which will blow your mind from rock monasteries to the ark of the covenant! Culturally, the country is like nowhere on earth and the way of life here is simultaneously ancient and futuristic. Perhaps most novel of all though is that they have there own calendar so it’s only 1990!
Republic of The Congo
Poor Congo, everyone keeps confusing you with your neighbour, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (aka Dr Congo!) “ an entirely different (and not the safest) country. While most of the population lives in the south, the rest of the country is inhabited by glorious wildlife. Want to get up close and personal with some gorillas? Okay, maybe not that close, but you get the point. Check out Aardvark Safaris for some ideas of what to do here, because let’s face it, you’re probably going to want to arrange some things in advance â€“ please don’t go trekking through the jungle alone and tell people The Broke Backpacker told you to.
Thousands, upon thousands of islands. Did I mention there are bloody thousands? How do you even choose which one to go to?! Personally, I’d probably head down to a dock somewhere in the vicinity of these islands, and find myself a boat to work on so as to explore as many of them as I possibly could. Because of their isolation, you can easily find locations that other travelers just aren’t headed to. Plus, this land is an ecotourism gold mine, so if you’re keen to help out, you can get involved with ease. Need I even mention the ridiculous diving experiences to be had there? You get the point.
Papua New Guinea
I’m obsessed with this place, hence making it my end goal for my two year, no flights journey from the UK through 30 odd countries. Recently a fellow traveller informed me that if I see a skull on a stick while trekking through the jungles of Papua New Guinea, turn back; death awaits. While some may be turned off by crazy insight like this, it just intrigues me more. Here is a land that few adventure to, and many know absolutely nothing about. This is a place where ancient tribes still thrive deep in the jungles, living a life you and I don’t know a damn thing about. The only way to learn about it? Jump in head first. Hell, most of the country doesn’t even have roads. Talk about off the beaten path.
These are only six random destinations but do you know how giant this planet is? Yet everyone seems to think there are only a few good places to explore. This is so very wrong, guys. Use your imagination, and if all else fails, throw a dart at a map and hop on a flight to wherever it lands. Well, maybe within reason; I am not recommending Syria here (or am I?), but you get the point.
Now get out of here and start planning a mind-bogglingly awesome trip to somewhere no one you know has ever been! If you come across any out there destinations that you think we should know about, then use the comment box!