On Being Off the Beaten Path- Ready to Get Shipwrecked?

Submitted by mumunmumun on 24 May 2011   •  Opinion

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Let me ramble about traveling off the beaten path in Indonesia just a bit.

It’s always hard to help people find the authentic experience. Everyone defines it differently.  Usually, they want the pristine beaches, virgin forests, and tribes living the lives as our ancestors knew it. But of course, most of these luxuries are found off the beaten track. So why is it so hard to recommend the uncommon? Well first of all, we’re not the extreme ‘off the beaten path’ kinda gals. We like our luxuries of meeting just local people, using our cell phones to contact friends, family and work, and very clean toilets (although taking a crap out in nature is a soul satisfying process). So yeah, in that matter, we’re poor of experience. Second of all, are we all really ready to take that off the beaten path? And what the hell is it anyways?

Off the beaten path destination - Tanjung Puting National Park

Not long ago, amongst the travelers that are tapped in to the virtual world, we heard that Adventurous Kate got shipwrecked. It was big news! You can read all about it here. Thankfully Kate is so adventurous and can rise from this experience. We’re also grateful that everyone survived. Yes, the biggest point here is that Perama was far off their safety procedures and they handled the aftermath badly. But has anyone considered that this can be the price of traveling off the beaten path?

The Komodo Island is an island that is poorly populated, with a population that could be authentically kind, but ‘developing’. It has a jugged terrain with very bad weather during December-March. Your cell phone isn’t any more valuable than its dummy in glass display. So you’re basically relying on the person next to you should anything go wrong. Nevertheless, it has pristine beaches, gorgeous views, to die for beaches, all which could fall in the category of ‘off the beaten track’. But once shipwrecked, it’s a worst case scenario. Are you ready for it? Are you ready to be pulled in to the core of your human instincts and survive?And when you survived to tell the story, would it be full of hate and regret? Are you ready as Kate was?

And so we return to, what is an ‘off the beaten path’ experience?  Could it be something that not all people have experienced? Should it always be those areas that are untouched with people that can bring you back to the basics? Areas that has minimum facilities? Can it ever be an off the beaten track if someone is looking for it online or if somebody recommended it to you after visiting the area? Or seriously, is it about experiencing something that no a lot of people have?

For me, the later is more likely. I can tell you a bunch of things I experienced while living in Jakarta, the most populated city in Indonesia, and still guarantee that only a handful of people would have experienced it. I’ve heard so many wonderful stories of authenticity from travelers visiting the most touristy places in the world. With all the effort you have to put in, I consider traveling the whole of Indonesia to be off the beaten path! Like Kisar, have you heard of it? But that’s just me.

Off the beaten path in Indonesia - Lampung

Not meaning to burst any ones bubble, but it’s a small world people. The population has grown exponentially and we have to face the fact that we probably can’t be the first person to set foot on a certain land. We probably can be the first amongst a limited circle of people, but highly doubt from the world population. So maybe, being off the beaten path is an absurd concept. It is pretty weird to ask about it. Wouldn’t you want to discover an uncharted place on your own? Maybe, it’s not a myth after all, maybe there are places that mankind has yet to explore (for instance, the deep sea or my dirty laundry pile after a long travel). Maybe it’s a state of mind.All places are different, and if you’ve visited an somewhere for the first time, it surely is off your beaten path. I’d like to know what’s the deal with being off the beaten track and does it really exist? Cause, it sure can help me help you find it when you travel Indonesia.

What is traveling the off-the-beaten-path to you?

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2 Comments on "On Being Off the Beaten Path- Ready to Get Shipwrecked?"

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4 years 11 months ago

Being off the beaten track is a strong word for us since we’ve never been the first human to reach earth’s frontiers. We prefer the mild one: a lonely road.