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I love to travel. I am a wanderlust at heart! I love to broaden my perspective on life and deepen my knowledge of history and culture with firsthand experiences. For me, travel represents an enlightening experience. I seek to see the country and destination filtered through the eyes of a local whenever possible.

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When I travel I really want to have genuine experiences, so I steer clear of the tourist traps because I want to be able to really experience the culture in a way that is going to enrich my life and I want to fully be a part of what that place or destination has to offer. I get excited about the opportunity to adapt to the way that particular society lives; I want to explore the way they worship, I want to get around to see every crevices and tiny charming street of the town or city. I want to immerse myself into what life looks and feels like for them everyday. I crave a glimpse into their world and cherish the opportunity to escape my normal routine. I want to explore. For that moment in time, I want to weave myself into the fabric and vibrancy of the destination.

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These types of travel experiences have been humbling, rewarding, informative and inexpensive. As a rule of thumb, I make it a point to avoid all the pricey tourist traps and I avoid restaurants and attractions with huge bright signs covered with English translations that scream “we are overpriced but you don’t have a choice!” and it just happens to be far less expensive that way! And, while we all can all appreciate a little guidance on the ground, I have found myself frustrated with tour guides booked through a big tourism company. I have had some of the most authentic and inexpensive guided tours from locally owned family businesses. Truth be told, most times, I don’t use a tour guide at all. I read and research the destination, map out my own itinerary and welcome the opportunity to venture around and allow myself to get lost a little. I have stumbled across some of the most breathtaking people and places when I least expected it.

Lauren Maillian Bias is the author of the business memoir, “The Path Redefined: Getting To the Top On Your Own Terms.” She is a serial entrepreneur, investor, advisor, and CEO of LMB Group, a strategic marketing company.