Explore the unknown
Rebecca Day reflects on the importance of exploring the unknown, with some unique backpacker experiences in the UK and Europe.
Venturing off the down-trodden path and exploring beyond the more conventional routes can seem daunting – but with it comes a mountain of unique and memorable experiences, and far-flung adventures. Intriguing local folk are the source of interesting conversations and knowledge, while unexplored landscapes and historical sites provide original photos and content for your travel journal.
I’ll never forget my backpacking adventure around Greece. Rather than heading straight to the islands (which beckon many backpackers during the summer), I decided to explore the country’s northern reaches. Unfamiliar territory filled me with apprehension, but I was equally excited to discover a territory I’d heard little about. Meteora and Delphi were my calling; both offering an insight into Greece’s religious and ancient history respectively. Delphi – an archaeological site dating back to around 1000 BC – boasts ancient theatres and temples, set against a backdrop of awe-inspiring valleys, while Meteora possesses gigantic, dream-like rock-pillars jutting out of luscious greenland, with ageless monasteries perched neatly atop. I spent my days exploring these Grecian gems with a 65-year-old couple from Australia, who poured out fascinating stories of their travels and recommended numerous cool places to visit. Experiences like this just can’t be had when sticking to the usual, touristy routes.
And you don’t have to go far for adventure! In the midst of the great British countryside, you’ll unearth unusual and quirky accommodation. Gumber Bothy, a converted barn on a working sheep farm in Sussex, and Tarset Tor, a secluded spot at the heart of the Northumberland National Park, offer an alternative to the usual hostel with their cosy and equipped bunk barns and bothies… Overnight stays can be had on the Wandering Duck – a canal boat that meanders through the Peak District’s tranquil surrounds. If you really want to immerse yourself in the country’s culture and embrace their customs and values, try WWOOFing or POOSHing. Work on an organic farm, and be rewarded with accommodation and food for your efforts. Try your hand at something new, whilst meeting like-minded people in the process.
As poet and philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”. Now there’s a challenge… so, who amongst you is up for some trail blazing?
By Rebecca Day