By now, most of the planet has heard of the hit Spanish song “Despacito” (which means “slowly” in English). Thanks to Justin Bieber, the Canadian crooner who helped it go viral (especially with its English translation remix), the track has become the most streamed/downloaded hit EVER.
Meanwhile, the song’s success has caused a unprecedented and unexpected tourism spike in Puerto Rico, where the video was filmed. It seems that everything associated with this Bieber kid goes viral, right?
However, for the purposes of this blog, I want to explore the meaning of the word “despacito” itself rather than the sexual connotations it embodies within the lyrics of a hit song. I want to delve into the idea of what it means to travel slowly, purposefully and with intent.
So how do we maximize the limited travel time we have, without being everywhere and seeing everything, leaving us tired and burnt out (the exact opposite of what a vacation is meant to be)?
To help you travel despacito, I’ve compiled a list of the top three tips I’ve learned while traveling—juggling time constraints, and yet doing my best to never miss a moment of the magic!
1.Never follow the crowd
One of the biggest mistakes a traveler can make is choosing to follow the crowd. Whether you’re spending the day at Disneyworld or at Machu Picchu in Peru, make a point to forget about what everyone else is doing.
Just because others are willing to wait in the hot afternoon sun in order to go on all the rides (with a two-hour wait line per ride) it doesn’t mean that you have to as well.
Maybe you prefer people watching, or eating an ice cream on a park bench. Maybe this means you’ll only get to enjoy a few rides or a leisurely stroll along the mountainside versus a jam-packed afternoon rushing to see every possible tourist attraction there is.
Personally, whenever I see a crowd go one way, I prefer to hightail it the other. This usually leads me to a quiet cafe, a picturesque landscape, or an opportunity to engage in interesting conversation with the locals.
You’ll feel a lot more content (and calmer) when you decide to do things your way versus shuffling along with the crowd doing what tourists are “supposed” to do.
2. Plan for the fact that nothing goes to plan!
That’s right … the more you travel, the more things will likely go wrong. Now, I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer here and put a damper on your travel plans, but it’s important to realize that the more we put ourselves out there in the world, the more opportunities there are for the unexpected to arise. Flights are potentially going to be delayed, baggage lost, tours canceled or someone in your group may even get unexpectedly sick.
I’ve traveled extensively, which means I’ve basically experienced all of the above. My best advice is to acknowledge that these things may happen, so allow extra time that you might not have previously factored into your itinerary … and breathe.
If nothing goes to plan (and remember, it likely won’t), relax and take a moment to laugh about it.… As they say, it’s not what happens to you in life, but how you react to it that matters.
3 Experience SMS
Let’s discuss SMS, and I don’t mean “short message service” or what most people refer to as texting. I’m actually talking about the recently coined term for SMS, which basically means taking a social media sabbatical.
Hands up if you’re addicted to your phone. I’m pretty sure most hands in the virtual room would be raised here (myself included).
Whether it’s checking emails, answering work calls, or simply scrolling through social media, most of us have fallen victim to being on for most hours of the day.
However, think about it for a minute: If we are staring at our screen, how can we be truly present wherever we are? The sad fact is that we may very well be missing the breathtaking landscape (or person that is sitting directly before us).
Take a moment, a few hours, or even a few days if you can while traveling and simply unplug altogether. Your body, mind, and traveling companions will be eternally grateful for fewer distractions and your undivided attention.
Finally, to travel despacito simply means to travel slowly and be present wherever you are. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and traveling the world shouldn’t be expected to be experienced in one vacation either.
There will always be other opportunities in life to revisit the places you truly love, or instead, you may prefer to create new and exciting adventures along the way. As they say, if there is a will (and strong determination) there will always certainly be a way.
Stay in your pursuit of magic!