One thing people often tell me is “I wish I could travel with you!” I’m flattered, honestly. When someone says that, I hear “You know what you’re doing and you know how to have fun.” Great! I’ll take that any day.
The fact is, though, I like traveling with as few people as possible. The odds of me opening up my travel time to just anyone are slim to none. The odds of our schedules aligning? Even worse (though I did get to travel overseas for work this year, and had a phenomenal co-worker with me).
Here’s some good news, though: I’m going to give you my best travel travel advice to help you check out the world the way I do. I’ve learned much beyond these, but I think these are the most important to me.
Better Fitness = Better Travel
Some people love tweeting from the gym, or taking selfies at the yoga studio. I am not one of them. My exercise routine is personal, almost solitary (with the exception of hot yoga classes) and always kind of grim. I don’t exercise to impress people or to be a male model. I exercise so I can do cool stuff.
Fitness is the basis for being ready to do anything you hear about when you travel. It gives you the ability to do a long hike, sign up for a 10k (which I’ve done in four countries so far), go cross country skiing … you name it. There is no one-size-fits-all method to getting fit. My system of weightlifting, hot yoga, running and cycling is just right for me. There are so many ways to get sweaty these days that I can’t fathom it. Try a few things. See what you find fun or at least tolerable – and then stick with it. Start right this very minute. It will make your next travel experience better.
Love to Fly for Your Best Travel Ever
Airport security is a hassle. Airplane seats are leftover torture devices from the Spanish Inquisition. You always wind up sitting next to someone who hasn’t bathed since the Game Of Thrones season finale.
Look, heading to Oregon in a covered wagon was no picnic. In the time it might’ve taken your ancestors to get out of the county, you can be on the exact opposite end of the planet. You can do this for a price unprecedented in human history, and you can do it breathing nice, clean air: I feel like smacking people who yap about the Golden Age of air travel when people suited up in their finest to fly … and then smoked like chimneys the entire time (how easily we forget that, right?).
Even if you never learn to love flying, just remember it’s a means to an end. And that end is a new place, a new culture and new experiences.
Change From Your Usual
Let’s say you’re a meat-eating, football-watching SUV driver. If you travel, you just might wind up in a place where everyone else is a vegetarian cricket fan who gets around on a motorbike.
Guess what? You’ll have to fit in, because the culture isn’t going to change for you.
That goes for the vegans, too. I watched a vegan have an emotional warp-core breach because she had to ride in a horse-drawn cart. There was much blubbering and torrent of tears … all because she expected that the world and its cultures would revolve around her comfort zone.
This isn’t the way travel works.
You’re going to get the best travel experience if you are willing to morph in any direction. Stay somewhere that doesn’t have a 5-Star rating. Eat something that would normally frighten you. Use your own two feet. Try to speak a different language.