I have always thought that touring Europe or South America on the cheap sounds like the best way possible to tour. You have to be brave of heart to do so though. Perhaps that is why doing so is something more for the young. The young have so much less fear of things.
Why is it that as we grow older and supposedly wiser that instead what we become is more fearful. Is is wise to be afraid of things that might never happen? Perhaps it would be wiser to accept that things might be a bit dodgey at times and use our wisdom to take the proper precautions. Reasonable precautions.
I think that would probably be wise. Imagine it you can regain your young heart and bike your way across the continent, staying at hostels and eating places that normal people eat. How can you truly get a feel for a place when you only view it from the third floor of some swanky hotel, or through the windows of a moving train?
I guess it’s a bit of reverse snobbishness to assume that the best way to tour a country is to do so in a way that has the best chance to keep you where you will mingle with the common folk. Still, it is an opinion that has validity. Unless of course, the people you want to mingle with are the hoity toity.
Still, a person might not to go so far as to stay at hostels. Or at least to be very careful when vetting which hostels to stay at. It sure seems that there is trouble to be had at hostels (even not counting the movies), but the truth is that they are not bound to all be that way. And the experience, if you can stand living in a community setting like that for a night or two, is bound to be an interesting one. So get a bike or a hiking outfit and prepare yourself to enjoy the experience of other cultures in as real a manner as can be.