September 20, 2011

"A good traveler has no fixed plans,
and is not intent on arriving." ~ Laozi

1.   Be present. Don’t be on your blackberry or laptop all the time. Don’t always think about what you’ll be doing later, or work stuff. Be fully present, and you’ll have a great time.

2.   Eat lightly. Eat anything you want, but don’t eat to the point where you feel sick and heavy. You want to feel ready for anything that the day may bring.

3.   Find space to relax. Most people try to do too much, and rush around all day. Stroll casually, find good coffee shops or tea shops to relax in, or a good sidewalk cafe with good wine. Find parks and enjoy them. If it rains, walk in the rain. Read a lot. Stop and smell the flowers.

4.   Have no agenda. Read up on where you are going. Know what the best foods are, wine and special things to see, and then speak to locals to find out what ‘they’ suggest and set off on your adventure. This allows you to really feel like a local and get an authentic experience.

5.   Pack little. The less you bring, the less time you will spend unpacking, re-organizing and lugging stuff you don’t need around. Bring the essentials. If you forget something, you can always buy it!

6.   Read a great novel. Nothing is more relaxing than enjoying a good book!

7.   Rent an apartment if you can. It’s much more comfortable than a hotel and in many cases cheaper. It also allows you to live like a local.

8.   Smile at people. Talk to the locals. Ask for recommendations. Find out about their lives. Get to know the people behind the culture.

9.   Stay for a few days. If you really want to see a city, stay for a week or more. Instead of visiting 10 cities in three weeks, split that time among just two or three cities and really see and enjoy those cities.

10. Walk a lot. The best way to explore any place is to walk. Walk all over, with no set directions. Get lost. Some of the best things I’ve seen on my travels have been by accident. It’s sort of like love at first sight!

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