Why I Love Independent Travel – Senegal Travel Diary #13

After a really interesting day exploring Saint Louis, Senegal I stop for lunch and share a lot of very honest thoughts about why I love to travel the way we travel.

Independent travel for Tim and myself is not quite full on backpacking, but it is self-guided, no-tour way to travel. Honestly, if tours are your thing, I say go, and enjoy yourself. Travel anyway that makes it enjoyable for you. However, I do have some sage advice for everyone that comes from years of independent travel that will enrich your travel experience anywhere.

Travel of any kind is a grand experience that enhances your life through enjoyment, experience and a leveling up of skills you never knew you had. You will always gain something from travel.

What’s your favorite part of travel? I tell you mine in the video, but I want to know what turns you on about going to new places.

Let us know in the comments.

Video Transcript

I actually just wanted
to talk for a second.

I have been out all day in Saint-Louis.

I did a live at the very
beginning of the walk,

but I’m in this really
simple little diner,

and I’ve been walking
around, and I have been just,

this is the first time in a
while we’ve been in a place

that has a really good walk-around space.

And this is one of the
things I love about travel.

And this is just what
I wanna share with you.

It’s not anything I can
really show you all the time.

I can show you the cute
little diner I’m in.

In fact, I’ll do that.

You know, I’ll show you around.

But, you know, this is
just a simple diner.

It’s in a tourist area, so
they do expect tourists.

You know, but this is
where I’ve ended up today.

But, today, I went out with the intent

of going to the tourist
agency for Saint-Louis

’cause I was told it was the
best way to arrange a tour.

We’re going to the bird sanctuary,

the Djoudj Bird Sanctuary,

which is about 70 kilometers away,

and I was told that’s the
best way to arrange the trip

so that you don’t get ripped off,

and you have to bargain with this person,

and that person and that person.

This is just easier.

And I was gonna maybe get lunch.

Tim’s back at the hotel.

He’s set up with food, but
he was a little too tired,

and this was not the kind of
walk he can do all day long.

It’s too much for him.

But then I just started exploring,

and this is my favorite thing to do.

I love path finding.

I love exploring.

I love walking around and
finding this and finding that.

And I’ve picked up some things.

I’ve picked up some apples

that we have really enjoyed around here.

I stopped a guy with a cart

who was just pushing a cart along,

and I said, “Oh, hey, I need some Q-tips.”

And he had some Q-tips.

And I picked up, oh, some
toothpaste and all that.

I’ve been trying to find a place.

I have money from Mauritania

when we went a couple years ago,

and I found a place
that I can exchange it.

You know, I’ve been
trying to find some glue

’cause my sandals fell apart

and I have one hope for saving them

and that’s some two-part epoxy.

And I’m not finding it,

but I’m going in and asking places.

And anything, you know, it’s
a little bit of shopping,

and then I’ve had a million people

of course approach me and
try and sell me stuff.

But they’re pretty low stress here.

Most of the people are nicer here,

and they’re not pushy, pushy, pushy,

compared to some places we’ve been.

And I’m telling you all this.

And the thing is, I’ve
just been wandering,

and I’ve been truly wandering.

I’ve used Google Maps a little bit

just to kinda keep me going
towards a specific spot,

but I’ve been wandering
all the way in between

and I love it.

I just love it.

I love a little of this, a little of that,

you know, a little culture, a little,

I mean, I ran through a wedding party.

There was a wedding party

that was leaving a fancy restaurant.

I went in to see what their prices were,

if Tim and I wanted to
splurge and have a nice thing.

It’s right on the river,

so you have this river
view and everything.

It’s nice.

But then as I was leaving,

and I was taking some
pictures of something else,

and there’s this wedding party

that comes out of the restaurant

and they’re getting into
the horse-drawn carts

that go around Saint-Louis,

’cause they do these
horse-drawn cart tours.

And they’ve got a couple people drumming,

and they start dancing and
I’ve got the video of it.

And, you know, you can tell this couple

was just having a blast and
having all sorts of fun.

And I just walked through that.

And then, at the same time, I’m passing,

you know, a small herd of
goats on the side of the road,


you know, horses,

some that are working
and doing carriage rides,

and some that are just having lunch.

And then the village of fishermen.

I’m doing all of this in a
couple hours of just wandering.

And I have stopped in here for some lunch,

and I just asked her
what the best thing was,

and I’m getting yassa crevettes.

And yassa is a thing they do here.

It’s rice with spicy onion mix.

Depending on where you are
depends on how spicy it is.

And crevette is shrimp,

so I mean, I’ve had yassa
poulet, which is with chicken.

I’ve had yassa poisson, which is fish.

Now, I’m doing shrimp.

It’s a real good standard thing here,

and I’m curious to see
how they do it here.

But, as I said, I’m not
having something specific,

other than say, this is why
I love independent travel.

Sometimes, tours are okay

for seeing a lot of
things in a short time.

But to me, this is what travel is about.

It’s about meeting people.

Oh, and that was the other thing.

This morning, I made two sets of friends,

this morning at breakfast,

I went out and I found the
guys selling the coconut donuts

and Touba coffee and I had a
nice little chat with them,

and they’re expecting me back tomorrow.

And then, there’s another
lady down the road,

that she also has Touba coffee and tea,

which is for Tim.

And she had baguettes, but
then she put this mix on it.

And she has two different mixes.

I tried one today.

It was a little spicy.

It’s perfect for me, little spicy for Tim.

And I had no idea what I was getting.

I had onions and some beans
and I tried it and it was good.

You know, and I’m gonna try
the other one tomorrow, and,

but I made some friends this morning.

For me, this is what travel is about.

This is what independent travel is about.

Just discovering and finding.

And even if you do a tour,

try to leave yourself a few
days on either side of the tour

so you can just go out
and explore on your own,

whether it’s a touristy area

and you need to try
and find a local space,

or you just do a good
job of planting yourself

in a local neighborhood instead
of a touristy neighborhood,

try and get out and and not
worry about seeing so many sites

and just see a place for what it is,

and it’s so much more fun.

And I don’t know, I was enjoying
and having such a good day,

I wanted to share it with you
and maybe help you understand

why I advocate independent travel.

And I’ll tell you, I have
felt safe the whole time.

Woman walking around Africa alone,

and I say Africa generally,

but completely safe, no problems.

This is Saint-Louis, Senegal.

In Senegal, in general,
very safe, no worries.


just do it.

You know, it’s not as dangerous and scary

as some people make it out to.

It’s not.

Just do it.

It’s a lot easier and more fun

and surprising than you realize.

There’ll be surprises around every corner,

and that’s the cool part.

And most of the surprises are good.

Occasionally, there’s bad stuff,

but most of the surprises are good.

So thanks for joining me.

Thanks for listening to
my little philosophy.


I hope dinner’s good.

We’ll see.

I’m not gonna make you wait for it.

This is not about the food today.

This is just about me
talking to you about travel

and why I think you should
travel independently

whenever you can.

And as I say, even if you do a tour,

try to work yourself a couple days

of just being able to
goof around the town.

Okay, I’ll see you next time.

Thanks for joining me, and
more adventures coming.

Team Hazard

Old, fat and disabled and traveling the world anyway. Join Trina and Tim as they wander around the planet bringing you honest stories about the people and places they encounter.

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