Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Off the beaten path

 
I recently read an interesting online article in a travel publication. The author was gently mocking travelers who claim they are exclusively exploring places “off the beaten path”. She had a point: somewhere between the crowded tourists’ hot spots and the (supposedly) unexplored territories, there is a place for us, ordinary tourists, who rely on guidebooks, word-of-mouth and gut feeling to take up their next (humble) adventure.
Strictly speaking, “off the beaten path” can mean as much as boring. I grew up in the north-east of France, an area largely ignored by guidebooks, partly for good reasons (although the region has its hidden gems about which I will certainly report in future posts). Monotonous landscapes of endless sugar beets fields, small and lethargic villages that were hastily re-built after WWI…
On the other hand, tourists’ hot spots can be exciting places to visit with children. Paris’ Eiffel Tower is still on my to-do list of family excursions: I was a child myself the last time I climbed up the “old iron lady”.
That is the beauty of family travel: every adventure, small or big, that you undertake with your kids is an excitement. Traveling with children is by definition “off the beaten path” and each step you will take with them is a unique moment of joy.