Traveling around the world fills your days with wonder, excitement, and often a lot of confusion as you stumble through the 3-4 words you know in a new language, point at pictures on the menu to order unknown delicatessens, or unforeseen circumstances continually arise as they so often do in travels. In traveling, you never know what each new day will hold. You can plan out your itinerary with every detail covered that you could imagine, but it’s the moments that don’t go to plan that are often what makes the trip so memorable. In my travels throughout the world I have discovered three sound pieces of advice to capitalise on the enjoyment of your journey no matter where in the world you go. The first piece of advice simply allows you more mobility to see and do a lot more whether you are on a solo soul searching journey or if you’re testing the bond between your close partner or friends, as travelling is simply the best way to find out the strength of love and friendship with your closest partners in life. The second piece of advice is to simply find a common bond with the locals around you all the while adding exercise to your journey. A trip of a lifetime is not the time to become stagnant and lazy with your fitness routine that while traveling will often no longer be a routine, but can be just as effective. The third piece of advice is all about you and how you present yourself to the world. You wouldn’t go to a job interview looking disheveled, and that applies for travelling as well. Put your best for forward and a smile on your face, and go greet the world!
My top 3 ways to get the most out of your holiday.
ADVICE 1: Learn to ride a motorcycle.
A motorcycle is one of the most versatile methods of transportation in many of the countries that may be on your life’s bucket list. There are countless times that knowing how to ride a motorcycle has added great excitement and benefits to my journey. Zipping between gridlock traffic in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand, during the rush hour traffic that miraculously lasts throughout most of the day allows you to enjoy more hours of the day towards exploring the ancient temples buried deep within the city or even arriving to the latest pool party atop one of the newest skyscrapers with the infinity pool overlooking the Bangkok skyline. In California, USA, you can take your time on the twisty cliffside curves of the famous Highway 1 between the star-studded city of Los Angeles and the iconic city that is home of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco. In the Philippines you can slowly cruise down empty dirt roads that will open up to secluded beaches with nobody there except the crystal green waters inviting you in for a dip to refresh yourself from the hot dirty path that got you there. No matter what country you are in, a motorcycle will allow you to gain access to much more than you would be able to see using public transportation, and you can see it all at your own pace.
A motorcycle isn’t only limited to short distance trips either. For the true motorcycle enthusiast, there are countless long distance road trips that you could embark on with the right motorcycle, gear, mental strength, and the willingness to accept the fact that your hands will be numb from the handlebar vibration as well as the lack of any feeling in your butt after the first 100miles. With a quick search on the internet you can find numerous stories of adventurers that went the distance on their trusty motorcycles, and a few not so trusty one’s that added more adventure to the already incredible journey, that covered great lengths of the world on their motorcycles. There are many tales of rides from the frigid northern territories of Alaska, USA, all the way to the southern tip of Chile, South America, from the beautiful countryside of Thailand to Laos,Cambodia, and the amazingly chaotic jam packed with motorcycles streets of Vietnam, retracing historic trails across China, and even motorcycle rides that have spanned across all 7 continents!
It is apparent that whether you will just be exploring the back alleys of Paris or Rome, taking your surf board to the beaches around Bali, or if you will be packing a couple small bags and a tent for a 33 day, 4400 mile, journey across the western USA and Canada, as I did in 2012, a motorcycle is one of your best options to really get to feel the country that you are exploring. The wind in your face, the bugs in your teeth, the numbness in your fingertips as the weather turns cold, and the chilly droplets of rain that will run down your back as you ride through a storm in the open range are all what riding a motorcycle anywhere in the world is all about. Remember, the book called “the Motorcycle Diaries” didn’t become famous amongst travellers for no reason at all.
ADVICE 2: Learn how to play football (American soccer).
Another largely important aspect of traveling abroad is being able to interact with locals in a positive and fun way. As you travel, you will start to notice the local routines and often this means plenty of football (American soccer) games starting to form around sunset. People that work in the day are now getting off work, people who work at night have a little time before they must begin, the temperatures may have come down to a more reasonable level to be outside enjoying the early evening, or it may be free time before or after dinner. Whatever the reason, whenever you see a football match going on, ask the locals if you can join! On the beautiful people filled beaches of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, to the festival in the park in Bali, Indonesia, the rock climbing beaches of Krabi, Thailand, and even the hard sand low tide beaches of Muscat, Oman, football is played with anyone and everyone that wants to play. Not only does this experience add to your overall excitement of your journey as it allows you to mingle with the locals in a fun environment, but it also adds much needed exercise into your daily routine of traveling.
When you are on the road and you see a football match being played don’t let your skill level or the language barrier stop you from joining in on the fun. Figuring out who your teammates are can be simply done using hand gestures, which is by far the largest communication method you will use on your travels. In a multi-national community, like Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, you may end up playing on team of Syrians versus the opposing team of Afghan players in an all out competitive match that ends in hand shakes and hugs. Once you begin playing you will start to here them using local words such as “henna” and “ la la la”, “here” and “no no no” in Arabic if you happen to be playing in the Middle East, and you can start to use the same words to get more involved in passing the ball on the field amongst players. Don’t worry about your skill level. Even if you think you are only a beginner level you will realise that much of the players are also within that level. Not to say that there aren’t always a few all-stars that should probably be on a pro team somewhere if only they could get discovered in their tiny little towns, but the beginners and the experts all play together and just enjoy the love of the game and the interaction amongst friends. In the end, you may win or lose, but you will have had fun, probably took some group photos with your teammates, made a few good memories, got some exhilarating exercise, and you may have done all this without ever speaking each others languages!
ADVICE 3: Take care of your beautiful smile.
Your smile is what introduces you and your character to the world that you will be immersed in. A smile to a stranger may create that opening for you to become friends, if not even momentarily in passing on the streets of DaPeng, China. Your smile may be just what the street vendor needed in that moment in time in Hoi An, Vietnam, as you take a moment to purchase one of their small trinkets for sale so they can feed their family that night. A smile can also go as far as to thwart off a potentially bad situation. I always suggest to travellers that if they feel uneasy around someone or feel that they may be up to less than good intentions to simply make eye contact with the person, smile, and say a short “hello” to them. This simple gesture lets the person know that you are aware of them and I would like to think that it would be difficult for them to respond to your genuine positivity with any form of negativity after that. A persons true genuineness can be seen in their smile when you meet for the first time, and more often than not, a persons first impression of you is the lasting one.
Another reason to take care of your smile is that it shows that you are an individual that thinks about long term maintenance of your health.Taking care of yourself mentally and physically is what will make your international travels far more exciting and fulfilling, but maintaining physical and mental health is a slow and deliberate life long practice. These are all excellent reasons to take care of your beautiful smile as you continue to grow older and wiser from your travels as your smile, in part, defines you as a unique person in this great big wonderful world we all call home.
For many travellers the world is their playground where they create lasting memories to pass on to future generations, all the while bridging the gap between diverse cultures by actually meeting others in person and equally spreading our goodwill amongst our newly made friends. Only through real interactions with others can we truly get to know each other as people, rather than knowing each other as a nationality we heard or read about through a plethora of social medias and manipulative news sources. How to get around in a country to allow yourself the ease of seeing as much as you can within the time you will be there, how to meet and interact with the locals to really get to feel the heart and soul of the place you are in, and taking care of yourself to secure longevity in your travels are three areas of your journey that need to be carefully considered as you continue on in your quest for knowledge.
See you around the world,