How to Master The Art of Travel
One of the core philosophies of Shefari is something we like to call the art of traveling. We believe travel is an experience meant to awaken our senses, help us connect more deeply to other humans and cultures, and find inspiration. Travel isn’t just tourism. Rather than playing tourist and attempting to see (and Instagram) as many of the top sites as you can, we suggest a very different way of doing things. If you’re reading this, you’re likely already interested in the immersive experiences afforded by smaller group trips and the little luxuries that come along with that. Read on for ways to experience the #artoftraveling, as well as a few trip ideas you can take!
1. Use your senses
Travel with your eyes, ears, heart, and NOSE open. Did you know that smell is heavily linked to emotion? It’s why certain smells spark intense memories. As you visit markets, bakeries, restaurants, or even hike, let your nose linger and take you on a journey. You may remember the smell of fresh bread from a French bakery longer than you remember rushing to get a perfect selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower. On a hike, stop and smell the herbs. You can even plan specific experiences around this idea (more on that below). Travel this way to indulge your senses and experience the real art of traveling.
2. Plan thoughtfully
We aren’t saying you should skip every major site, but practicing the art of traveling means your approach is mindful. You’ll never experience the pure essence of a place without making space for its magic to unfold. If you need help planning a trip that simply oozes #artoftraveling, Shefari is happy to help!
3. Make time for spontaneity
Speaking of a mindful approach, the art of travel takes time. Your itineraries should include space for flexibility and unexpected discoveries. As mentioned, you don’t want to pack every major site into one trip, especially if your time is limited. Even if you manage to “see it all,” it’s rarely worth it to try. You’ll spend most of your time in transit, rushing, and missing out on the details that make a place special. Master the art of traveling by making time for to do nothing at all, or at least for more mindful activities such as wandering a city with a notebook so you can pause to sketch a scene or journal. You never know when an encounter may lead to to a spontaneous afternoon with locals or new friends!
4. Connect with people
Speaking of connecting with people over lunch, don’t be afraid to make friends along the way. Locals appreciate it when you take an interest in their communities. For example, look at the city of Barcelona. It has become so touristic that its locals are actually protesting the number of tourists. Remember that wherever you are, even if it’s somewhere incredibly touristic such as Rome, there are still people who live, work, and make their lives there. These same people are the ones with all the insider information. Make a point to connect with locals rather than seeing them as workers in some theme park you’re visiting. Remember: a local is more likely to tell you the better place for pasta in Rome than your hotel concierge. Human connection and the activities you discover as a result of connecting with locals is the very core of the #artoftraveling.
5. Choose small hotels over large chains
We can’t preach this one enough! Shefari always makes a point to partner with thoughtfully curated hotels. When you can, choose locally owned over chains. The hotels will have more character, the experience will be more authentic, and you’re bringing more of your cash to the economy and people of the place you’re visiting.
A few unique activities that ooze art of travel.
Now you may want to take your trip to the next level by planning some activities that capture the art of traveling. Read on for a few of our ideas!
Become a Florentine merchant for a day ~ Florence may be touristic, but it’s that way for a reason. Known to breed and host world-class artisans, craftsmen, and artists of all sorts, this is the perfect way to fuel your own creatives juices. Historically, Florence was the hub of creation during the Renaissance. To this day, it remains a center of creation. Across the Arno, a little quarter called Oltrarno is filled with small boutique shops and studios. Take a workshop and immerse yourself in trades such as jewelry making, leather processing, sculpting, and more.
Heal with an Amazonian Medicine Man ~ Learn about healing remedies indigenous to the Peruvian Rainforest from a local medicine man. You’ll learn how to naturally heal yourself via the gifts of Mother Nature.
Take a Greek Lover’s Tour of Athens ~ Discover the archetype of Eros, the Greek god of love. On this tour, you’ll explore the meaning of “erotas” and how Athenians have expressed it for centuries. Stroll the Athenian streets to learn about the people who invented drama. Your senses will be ignited by histories of Greek passion, famous affairs, and homoerotic scandals. It’s a fun, unconventional way to see the city and hear unexpected tales. The guide tells some steamy stories, so be prepared to blush!
Spice up your life in Morocco ~ Morocco is known for its open-air markets and many, many incredible spices. You can plan an entire afternoon dedicated to just this! Learn about the many cultures that have cross-pollinated to produce Morocco’s legendary scents and flavors. You can take a planned tour, or simply do some reading in advance, then set out on a tour of spice markets where you practice mindfully engaging with all the sights, scents, and sounds!
A French perfume experience ~ What’s a top note? Did you know that perfume makers are, in a sense, both artists and chemists? Take yourself on an olfactory journey with a visit to a real perfumery. The French are known for having mastered the art of perfume, and France is home to many smaller perfumeries where you can create your own signature scent. For something off-the-beaten-path, we love this perfumery in Grasse, a town now famous for its perfumes with a legacy of scent-making that dates back to the 16th century. For Paris, check out Le Studio des Parfums (which uses ingredients from the aforementioned town of Grasse) or Candora for an immersive, intimate experience.
Ready to plan the ultimate experience that captures the #artoftraveling? Reach out to us at Shefari! You can also share your photos and images for a chance to be featured by tagging us and using the hashtag #artoftraveling