Travel itself is a good book, which one should read often. If traveling to known destination is a good book then going and living in remote places is like mastering that good book. Remote places, Distant places and offbeat destinations may literally mean same, but different in a travellers book. While from your perspective these places seem to be distant and remote, in actual they are not the same for the people living right there. They will call your home town as a distant place.
Lesson-1: Distinguish between peaceful mind and empty mind
I lived in remote places in india, where there was no access to movie theatres, internet, no clubs, or any other form of entertainment. People come here to work and after completing their work, they leave these places. No body want to settle here, because people think there is nothing to see. I was born and brought up in a metro city and then I was posted in this place for two years. I longed for a peaceful place whule i lived in a city but when i got posted, i realised that a fighting life is better than a dead life.
What made this place so deserted? The place has seen many wars. Many kings wanted to seize this place to make an empire. There are are two rivers running in this place and why the hell did this place become so deserted, so remote without any entertainment.
After struggling for a while there, i started to look around. There were too many birds. I developed my photography skills by shooting the birds. I improved my bird recognising skills. Identifying bird while on flight is a challenge.
Peace of mind and empty mind will resemble each other. But over lapsed time you can distinguish between the two. While a peaceful mind will keep you satisfied, empty mind will make your life bored.
Lesson-2: Explore on your own.
Had i been prepared, i could have handled so many things, i could have seen much more beautiful places. Since i was new to the place I asked people around me about ‘places to see here’. People mentioned a few temples, a deserted fort. Apart from that nobody was able to tell much. Since everybody is migrant, nobody explored the area. Listening to the words i too did not explore much, only to later realised the time and oppurtunity i had wasted. There were numerous forts buried over time. They are visible over a hill, yet people dont see them. We are burying our history by neglecting to see these structures. From that day i started exploring the area.
Lesson-3: Have a cycle or Bike or car if you are going to stay long
I relied on rental cars for exploring these places. The driver will have no interest in locating new things and he will take you far away simply to increase the meter reading. You cannot also get your travel as you wish. You will have to pre-book, schedule the time and make a plan, which is not possible while exploring for these unnamed forts.There will be no roads leading to these forts/ temples and sometime even trees and bushes would have covered them completely.
Lesson-4: Learn the local language as early as possible
When you are looking for something which is not famous among locals, not in the maps, no details are even available in google or wikipedia, your only hint is clues from strangers. In this case you are a stranger to a local person and to get information from him you need to talk in his language and not yours. They will be very helpful in locating, as sometimes they themselves may be living right over these abandoned forts/temples.You get to learn new stories / myths / legends which may not be written or even known elsewhere. The biggest mistake of mine is that i did not learn the local language.
Lesson-5: Be open minded
Try local cuisine, absorb cultural shocks, go to places where people spend their time, observe, socialize, listen to their stories, enquire, collect information, and in the end you find something or may be not. I was a bit conservative at that time and that costed me a lot.
Lesson-6: Be prepared for surprises
Once(2015) i was in place where there will be power supply only for twelve hours. I had too many gadgets, ipad, iphone, two cameras. How do i charge all of them? I cannot wake up and replace the cable for the other device and then sleep again. Going to a beautiful place, which is remote, and returning without any pictures is not going to be good. And the real surprise came where my next stop is going to an uninhabited island, where i wont even have water, how can i think of charging my gadgets. Now i am always carrying an USB distributor with me when traveling to distant places.
Learning is a life long process and traveling to a new place is like reading a new book. So keep traveling.