I have a firm belief that a person should never stop learning. I also have a deep passion for travel.
On a recent trip to New York, these two loves in my life combined in a unique way as I experienced the joy of learning through travel.
Not only did I discover exciting things about my destination, but this time, my travelling companion opened my eyes to the new way to travel: by using technology. (Of course, those who know me well are aware I am very nervous of managing technology; yet, I was surprised by my excitement at using these new aids.)
For me, travelling to a new and energising city always has certain challenges, especially when navigating the city using cumbersome street maps – especially because I now need to find my glasses to be able to read the map! I am often unsure about which are the most exciting places to visit within our limited time.
In addition, I appreciate good food and feel it is a waste to spend dollars on a disappointing meal.
On this trip, thanks to my tech-savvy friend, these problems miraculously disappeared.
No longer lost …
I learned to use my mobile phone to log onto Google maps, identify my current location and target destination, click on the “walking” icon and follow the instructions. Access to the internet required wi-fi, but this never seemed to be a problem. Most large stores offered free wi-fi and there seemed to be a Starbucks on virtually every corner in the city.
Ditch the bus
I discovered walking tours instead! In New York, there is a seemingly infinite number of these and you can choose one to suit your needs.
I simply love food, so we chose the China Town walk.
The guide made the experience so interesting by explaining the culture and history of the area we meandered through. The food was great too: we sampled from the best restaurants in the area (I will remember the dim sum and Peking Duck for a long time).
Food, glorious food!
We used the Bib Michelin app and Trip Advisor to identify restaurants with fine food at reasonable prices.
Bib is the rating system used by the world-renowned Michelin judges; here the establishments are not awarded Michelin stars but still need to be of an acceptable standard and price to get a rating.
A non-negotiable for me when travelling without my husband and three children is to call home regularly to share my experiences. Normally, this results in a huge bill at the end of the trip, but not this time.
I called home on Whatsapp Call, a brilliant new way of chatting across continents. There was no delay and the reception was crystal clear. I could even send images so my family could see where I had been.
So, fellow travellers, remember to embrace technology on your next trip. It will make the learning experience so much easier and more memorable.
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