40 THINGS WE LEARNED DURING OUR TRAVELS:
a. I’m guessing you wouldn’t want to have to face the time when you need to drink your own pee.
2. ALWAYS KEEP A PEN & PAPER HANDY.
a. Important especially if you have a memory of a goldfish. (=US.)
b. You will encounter a whole truckload of names, places, dates, times, etc. It wouldn’t hurt if you need to write an I.O.U. in desperation either.
3. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.
a. Do as much things in as little time possible but don’t forget to smell the roses.
b. Don’t be scared if it seems to stand still or fly by. Live in the present… live in the NOW. (Haha. Ekhart Tolle tells it like it is, bruthaman.)
c. Try not to make a moment pass by while you’re just there to watch. Or sitting on your butt. Or doing something you could just do at home. i.e. watching TV on island cable.
4. NEVER SET HIGH EXPECTATIONS.
a. Don’t assume anything.
b. Disappointment is as horrible as regret.
5. EVERYBODY HAS A STORY TO TELL.
a. Traveling is a chance to embrace humanity. Get to know the locals. Bond with your fellow travelers. Listen to their stories & learn pieces of their heart.
6. KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR OPPORTUNITIES.
a. This includes temporary earning prospects for sustenance. You never know when you will need it.
b. Never be afraid to ask around.
c. Take freebies. As long as they’re safe… & legal.
d. When given a chance to experience something new, bizarre or scary… do it!
7. SCRIMP. BUDGET. SAVE.
a. Travel agencies are there for comfort & convenience but can cause constraints in your itinerary as well as your wallet.
b. “Couchsurfing” is a great way of scoring free accommodation while making friends-slash-personal tour guides along the way.
8. KNOW YOUR TRAVEL COMPANIONS WELL.
a. Strengths & weaknesses
i. Everyone has something they’re really good at & you can all use that to your advantage.
ii. They are your support system.
b. Values & belief systems
i. Not everyone is a Catholic. Some people don’t eat meat. A number of us need good luck charms. Etc.
c. Health conditions
i. Allergies, acute & chronic issues
9. SHORTCUTS CAN MORPH INTO LONGCUTS.
a. Stick to main roads or close to them. They have been paved for a reason.
a. Leave a place in good faith.
b. Even if you are a traveler, it doesn’t mean you are a stranger. You will always have a connection on a personal level with whoever you meet, regardless of good or bad blood.
11. APPARENT FAILURES CAN BE BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE.
a. There’s always a reason for everything. There’s always a workaround too.
12. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.
a. It could save your life.
b. It could save your cash. (You were expecting that, weren’t you?)
c. It could save your face. (Save-face, yeah!)
13. DO YOUR RESEARCH.
a. As much as we would like to patronize whoever started the “Follow Your Heart” slogan, it won’t do any good if one’s traveling on a tight budget & an even tighter schedule.
b. This allows you to have a to-do list which in turn feeds your sense of accomplishment.
c. This also maximizes your travel experience as you will have an idea of what you will want to see & where you will go.
d. Brush up on news & current events… especially if you are headed to a highly risky area involving political strife, warfare or Mother Nature spewing out PMS.
14. A SMILE CAN GET YOU PLACES.
a. This is the one universal language that people of all cultures can understand & accept happily.
b. A way to meet a potentially good friend who can become an essential part of your trip… or else a lifesaver.
15. GET A GOOD REST.
a. Never take a rejuvenating nap for granted.
b. Make use of long travel hours by land, sea, or air.
c. Fix your bio clock especially if you’re prone to jetlag.
16. CONDENSE YOUR BACKPACK.
a. A pack shouldn’t way more than 25% of your body weight.
b. Leave valuables at home if possible.
c. I once read somewhere that to be happy one must condense their ENTIRE LIFE in a backpack. If that is possible, please me a message & tell me how it goes.
17. BRING A FIRST-AID KIT.
a. This includes a list of emergency contacts.
18. TRY A LOCAL DELICACY.
a. 3 words: Epic Gastronomic Adventure
19. LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE.
a. Try to compensate for your otherwise growing list of foreign curse words.
20. BRUSH UP ON SURVIVAL SKILLS.
a. Life out there is full of surprises. Like potentially life-threatening ones.
b. You could train up in your local Health Center or Rescue Unit. Media works just as well (Hello, Nat Geo.)
21. PARTICIPATE IN ANY LOCAL EVENT.
22. DON’T SEEM LIKE A TOURIST.
a. Locals are not your servants.
b. If you look lost, this makes you look vulnerable & is a big red sign on your safety.
c. If someone asks you if it’s your first time, say NO. They could be sizing you up.
23. CARRY A COMPASS, NOT A MAP.
a. From the book “Live Your Life On Purpose” by Claude Hickman.
b. THAT street could be non-existent on THIS map but NORTH is always NORTH.
24. BE HUMBLE.
a. An ‘Ego’ is a traveler’s worst foe. You can’t do everything on your own & you most certainly can’t afford to make enemies.
b. This includes gratitude & appreciation.
25. LEARN HOW TO SWIM OR RIDE A BIKE.
26. DRESS APPROPRIATELY.
27. GET TO KNOW YOUR GEAR FIRST.
a. What’s a swiss army knife if you don’t know what each individual tool is for?
b. Some gear needs assembling (i.e. tents)
28. DON’T STOP CREATING NETWORKS.
a. Let me reiterate, people are there to help you in any way possible & you will also be a valuable asset to them as well. Sharing ideas, opnions, stories & knowledge will definitely be golden in the future.
b. But do be careful of sharing your travel plans to strangers.
c. Don’t be too quick to trust a seemingly friendly face.
29. ALWAYS HAVE A SAFE PLACE TO RETURN TO.
a. Regardless of comfort.
b. For the valuables you need to carry… i.e. passport, cellphones, etc.
c. If the weather goes bad, you won’t have the option to die helplessly.
30. GET RID OF STEREOTYPES, BIASES, & PREJUDICE.
a. Second hand information usually turns into opinion & this is the worst thing you can believe in.
b. Experience things & know people for yourself.
31. RESPECT LOCAL CULTURE.
32. OFF-PEAK SEASON CAN BE A GREAT SEASON!
a. Accommodations, fares & goods come cheaper.
b. Less tourists to compete with especially in well-known, most-visited spots.
33. TRY NOT TO BRING WORK WITH YOU.
a. Unless of course traveling is mainly what you do.
b. This will piss you & the others off.
34. TECHNOLOGY IS FLEETING.
a. Remember that the city is just that… the city. It is not the entire world. There are still places around that don’t carry a hint of mobile phone network signals.
b. Laptops, portable music/video players, or any other pluggable devices only work with an actual power source. This would be near impossible if you are out in the middle of nowhere unless you’re willing to carry around a manual generator.
35. BRING A PIECE OF HOME EVERYWHERE YOU GO.
a. Believe it or not, the word “homesick” has an inevitability to appear at some point. No matter how much we try to get away we will always have deep rooted ties to where we come from. We are only human after all.
b. This will help keep our mental & emotional stability in check.
c. Whether or not it is a photograph of a loved one, a rosary, or a bottle of cinnamon… it will bring feelings of comfort & tranquility.
36. BRUSH UP ON YOUR CONVERSION CHART.
a. Kilograms-pounds, kilometers-miles, milliliters-ounce, feet-inches, Centigrade-Fahrenheit
37. EXERCISE & MEDITATE.
a. You HAVE got to be as fit as a lab rat to endure this type of hobby. Ever wonder why those guys & dolls on “The Amazing Race”, “Survivor”, “Dual Survival”, “Don’t Tell My Mother”, “Man Vs. Wild” (I could go on ‘til next year) look as good as they do? And it’s not just for TV.
b. If there’s exercise for the body, there’s meditation for the heart, mind & soul. Some alone time with nature would revive a weary traveler more than a power nap could ever do.
38. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IS YOUR FRIEND.
a. This helps you know your way around more.
b. Might be a bit dangerous, so put your street smarts on high alert.
39. BE CREATIVE! KNOW YOUR ALTERNATIVES.
a. This not only includes making full use of available resources around you for basic necessities i.e. boiling an egg by burying it under the sand, but also for getting to where you want to go… have you ever heard of traveling by courier service? Or taking a military jet? Or becoming part of a crew in a private yacht?
40. DON’T FORGET TO TAKE PICTURES.
a. No matter how hard you rely on your memory… a picture will always take you back to where it all happened. Always. Just like a piece of music.
b. Invest in a good camera. Remember, it’s not the body that matters… it’s the lenses. And to top it all off— it’s not the quality of the picture, but the eye. As long as your photographs have heart, you can never go wrong.