Lemmings are fuzzy little critters that were rumored to commit mass suicide by following one another off the edge of a cliff. Although Snopes and Wikipedia have proven that behavior to be a myth, I still think of lemmings whenever I travel. I believe tourists are more prone than most people to behave like Lemmings and whenever I travel I do my best to travel "Lemming Free."
To travel by the Lemming Free mantra does not mean you need to pull out a machete and cut your own path through the jungle. In fact it can be as simple as walking by all the security lines in the airport to find one at the end that most people do not see and saving yourself some extra time. In essence, it is not following the group but making your own decisions.
I wanted to share a few recent examples from my most recent trip to France. The first was at the airport where there was a long winding line of travelers waiting in line for security. I think some people might not have even been traveling but were just compelled to stand in line as there must have been something fun at the end. I instead walked to the other end of the United terminal in Chicago where there is another security check-in. Sure enough, there were only a handful of customers and I breezed on through.
If you have ever visited Paris for more than a few days you likely took a day trip out to the Palace of Versailles. It is easy to get there by train. The morning my wife and I arrived, we were close to the last people off the train which gave us a great vantage point of the tourist migration out of the station where tourists one by one looked at the sign pointing the direction to the Palace, a short walk away.
Every single one of them made the decision to follow the line drawn on the map. When I looked at the map it was obvious there was a street running nearly parallel to the one selected for the tourist migration and we broke ranks and went that way alone. Surely we were no pioneers, but we did enjoy a quiet, peaceful walk down a beautiful street. Our photos of that neighborhood were tourist-free and with the lack of crowds we arrived before the mass of tourists.
One of the reasons I love working at iExplore is because we focus on providing privately guided tours. We believe your best travel experience is not following packs of people on and off buses and listening to a tour guide from the back of the pack. Instead we believe in a more personalized tour that can be fully customized to your interests.
Wherever you travel next I hope you will go "Lemming Free". In case you needed any motivation check out this video of Lemmings hurtling themselves of cliffs.