One of the best excuses to travel is the opportunity for new experiences, the chance to get out of your personal comfort zone. Outside this zone, an individual meets ‘optimal anxiety’—a sweet spot of human performance and place where we can develop, grow and succeed. Traveling abroad opens us up to these experiences, with a chance to discover something new—not just about a place, but about ourselves. It’s the chance to change, to grow, to adapt.

An article on The Next Web (see here) describes it like this: “Similar to an athlete who has just prepared and warmed up for a big game, optimal anxiety is the space where we are ready to perform at our best.” When you’re ‘in the mode,’ you really feel as if you can do anything, be anything. It’s exhilarating. And sometimes addicting (says the guy who travels for a living!).

Traveling outside your comfort zone—whether it’s a particular place or just a way of traveling—has its advantages and disadvantages. The blog Don’t Worry Just Travel clearly lists them in an easy-to-digest way.

A Game‐Changer in Your Life

Most travelers that have chosen to visit non-mainstream travel destinations (what you might call “off the beaten path”) return home speaking about a “life-changing experience.” An experience abroad they wouldn’t have reached otherwise. Not in school, work or at home. You might roll your eyes hearing about the experience second-hand, but anyone who’s done it—those travelers that have pushed their limits—will know what I’m talking about.

And for those of you who haven’t yet experienced somewhere new, somewhere special, the cure for this existential Wanderlust is pretty easy: YouTube. Working with my friend Itai from 4bridge.org, we’ve put together a guide to some top travel destinations where finding a deeper meaning, a reason for personal development (as long as you’re open minded), is possible. We’ve chosen to highlight these off the beaten path experiences not through words, not even our own opinions, but through one of the most effective means for potential travelers to see a place visiting: videos showing their personal, objective stories.

Top Travel Videos
Off the Beaten Path Destinations

Pakistan

See what happened to this individual girl after visiting the “infamous” Pakistan, the land of alleged danger! She was pleasantly surprised especially after all of the fear coming from her family, friends and strangers advising her not to go.

Musty is a traveller who testifies that it is very important to give an authentic perspective to life. He chose Pakistan to combat any assumptions one may make about the country.

Considering a visit to Pakistan? Visit tourism.gov.pk, the official government tourist portal, for special events or notifications.

Malta

This Russian couple capture some of truly beautiful views as they tour around Malta—an astonishing archipelago in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast.

Jumping off cliffs isn’t probably something I’d personally do, but in the heat-of-the-moment, off-the-beaten-path and out-of-my-comfort-zone, who really knows? It’s that iconic image of every adventure, exemplifying that thesis when you’re off the beaten path, you can get away with things you couldn’t do in most mainstream, super-touristic places.

Considering a visit to Malta? Check the Official Malta Tourism Authority (MTA)’s website, visitmalta.com, for information about holidays in Malta, Gozo and Comino.

Maldives

Off the beaten path doesn’t necessarily mean ‘no perks’ and less-than-perfect conditions. This video shows it can be done in luxury and style. UK Style, in this case, where this beauty and lifestyle blogger shows how she has reached paradise.

Considering a visit to Maldives? Visit tourism.gov.mv, the official website for the Maldives Tourism Board.

Liechtenstein

Sometimes the small things can surprise you the most. This vlogger came to explore Liechtenstein. What she saw was beautiful. A walk through the Idyllic Prince’s vineyard and the stunning views from Vaduz castle can be truly inspirational.

Considering a visit to Liechtenstein? Make sure you check out the country’s new tourism brochure 2016.

Bratislava

Global nomad Hazel Lorraine spent five years living and working in Bratislava. This video above shows why she fell in love with the city.

And like so many of Europe’s smaller cities, Christmas is that special, magical time. This couple shows us how magical the holiday season is in Bratislava.

Considering a visit to Bratislava? Check out visitbratislava.com for travel news, events and some stunning videos of the city.

Serbia

This traveler decided that being unique allows him to ‘freestyle’ and that applies to nightlife as well, so he crawls around a couple of clubs in Belgrade, Serbia, which boasts some of the best, non-mainstream nightlife in Europe.

Considering a visit to Serbia? Check out the National Tourism Organisation of Serbia for useful travel info.

Israel

There’s a lot more to Israel than what you see on the news. Many are afraid to go there, and others see it as increasingly expensive. Last October, I visited with a strict budget of just 69€ a day (including accommodation!). How was it? In the video, you’ll hear my answer: “I had maybe too much fun…”

When you’ve chosen to visit truly unique and special places, you’re going to see and experience things that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. In Israel, that likely means visiting the lowest place on Earth and bonding with some very healthy mud, as shown here in this video blog from Dead Sea:

Considering a visit to Israel? First, don’t take it personally when you encounter possible security checks at the airport. Second, check out the official site of the Ministry of Tourism for important information before you go. Explore more about Israel here on TravelsofAdam.com.

Slovenia

One of the best ways to truly explore a new travel destination, and to grow personally, is by speaking directly with locals. During my first visit to Slovenia, my friends from The Travel Mob covered the capital of Slovenia by learning about it from real people with candid answers.

Adventures in Slovenia, anyone? Chloe Gunning a.k.a. Wanderlust Chloe loves to travel all over the world and has spent the last few years on some serious adventures. In a very pleasant and authentic video blog, she unveils some of the beauty of this impressive country.

Considering an adventure in Slovenia? Hop over to slovenia.si, the government’s official gateway for information on Slovenia.

Nepal

Kyle is a Vietnamese-American traveler that voices his honest opinion of this trip through Nepal: “This is a must visit even if you’re not Buddhist or Hindu. This was definitely one of the most unique experience I’ve ever had.”

Considering a trip to Nepal? Visit the official site of the Nepal’s Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

Germany

Germany is one of the world’s most popular destinations—and rightfully so! Still, touring this great country doesn’t just start and end in Berlin, as Samuel and Audrey show in their travel diary while experiencing nature, wildlife, local artists, healthy sauna experiences and
even… penguins (!) off the beaten path at Spreewelten. Travel can certainly be relaxing and surprising at the same time.

Considering a trip to Germany? Visit the German National Tourist Board to explore the history and culture of the country of Germany. Site includes event information, virtual tours and specials. Explore more of Germany here on TravelsofAdam.com.

Brazil

Populated by a human cocktail mix of Portuguese, Africans, French, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese and German, Brazil is still one of the most popular drinks on the globe. This road trip video diary has a great beat and present the many captivating angles of Brazil’s diversity, freedom, sun and fun.

Considering a trip to Brazil? Check the Visit Brazil website.

Are YOU ready?

These personal video stories show us that there is another way to travel. Another way to seek exploration, adventure and personal growth experiences. So… come on, get up and go do something about it. Perhaps that next unique travel diary will be yours!

This list of off the beaten path travel videos was done in collaboration with 4bridge.

Travels of Adam - It's a blogLooking for a place to stay? I use HotelsCombined.com where you can easily compare hotel room rates and prices. Please note some posts do make me some money but I never sacrifice my integrity in exchange for a favorable review. Read the full disclosure policy.

8 comments

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  1. Thanks for featuring me Adam. Slovenia was a great country to travel in! Means a lot that you enjoyed my video :)

    • No problem Chloe! Glad you had such a great time in Slovenia – one of my favorite places in Europe!

  2. Hello Adam,

    To be honest, I was like you, I used to live in the UK and Travel around Europe but last year I end up my life in the USA. I know Europe is the best for travelling. the good thing about Europe is budget airlines provides a cheap flight fare. Ohhh by the way I am from Nepal I like your trip from Nepal. It’s nice.

  3. I’ve always learned and took a bit with me from every place I visited. Indeed, going out of your comfort zone and seeing the world is a fantastic experience that changes you as a person.

  4. After reading this entire list I couldn’t even pick what my favorite place is! I really want to stay away from the overpopulated touristy place, because these look so incredible.

  5. I think that one of the most interesting things is to realize that no matter where you go, and regardless of what you hear on the news, there are good people to be me at very country, even the ones that may get you out of a certain comfort zone.

    Thanks for posting the individual travel stories on video!

  6. To be honest, I am a little confused by this list. It claims to be a list of off-the-beaten-path destinations, yet 7 of the 11 listed countries are countries which saw more than 1 million annual visitors according to the World Tourism rankings. Germany, for example, was the 7th most visited country in 2014, welcoming 33 million visitors. Only Pakistan, Liechtenstein, Nepal, and Serbia had less than a million visitors.

    Granted, all of this is relative. The 1.5 million visitors Malta received last year is dwarfed by France’s 84 million. So maybe these are off-the-beaten-path destinations after all.

    But as long as we’re talking relatively, if you look at the big picture, most of the entries in this list are Western destinations. Pakistan and Nepal aside, most of these destinations won’t require a sudden shift in perspective. It’s still Europe, it’s still the West, so our standard cultural assumptions most probably apply (I am assuming the target audience for this article isn’t necessarily nomadic tribes in the Sahara).

    Speaking of the Sahara and beyond, what about train-surfing in Mauritania? Or cycling the Yungas Road in Bolivia? I just think there’s way better examples of off-the-beaten destinations than this list.

    But yes, there is a a point you say which I agree. Even in the most visited destination, there are still corners in which it is off-the-beaten-path. There’s still a corner of Paris that is unknown, a hidden part of Berlin that tourists don’t know yet, a street in London you want to keep as your own personal secret. Those exist. The trick is finding where they are.

    Putting aside semantics, I personally think that one can experience catharsis anywhere, off-the-beaten-path or not. I’ve personally found myself bawling both while hiking in the Caucasus in northern Georgia near the Russian border, as well as while crossing the Thames on the Millenium Bridge (that’s how I learned to control my agoraphobia-triggered panic attacks). I don’t think going to an off-the-beaten-path destination is a prerequisite to get out of one’s comfort zone, the same as going to an off-the-beaten-path destination automatically results in getting out of one’s comfort zone. Sometimes, if you want to get out of your comfort zone, you don’t have to travel far. You just have to open your eyes.

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