Let’s say I’m well-travelled. It’s not the same, however, as knowing how to travel well. Travelling anywhere is good for reflection, preparation and generally exploring places and faces, whether you’re on safari in Africa or roadtripping to Burke. Be mindful.
My top tips for getting there and back, intact:
- Pack lightly, for physical and emotional lightness. Leave space for bringing things you like home with you and only take what you can carry in a hurry. Don’t rely on the kindness of strangers.
- Take comfortable shoes for the day you’re walking for miles or taking it easy.
- Speak the lingo – i.e. learn the basics of hello, help me and thank you in another language and notice how locals gesture, dress and behave in public. People are friendlier if you make some effort to fit in.
- You didn’t come here to be at home – I know people who only eat McDonalds when overseas and that’s ridiculous. So is taking your own sheets, keeping your watch on your timezone and refusing to try anything you don’t already know how to do.
- Be adaptable; plans and timetables can change and so must you to survive, sometimes literally. Tantrums, disbelief and often money will not necessarily get you to Timbuctoo safely, only your problem-solving skills will.
- Heed advice – travel warnings are issued by people with more information than you. Read up, have a GPS or map and ask locals what to avoid, especially your hotel and tour guide who have some responsibility for you.
- Look for the lesson. Every new place and face can be interesting, beautiful or at least funny with the right outlook.
- Be in the moment. It’s the point of any journey and essential to making great memories, so put down the guide book, itinerary and ignore others rushing by to take in where you are.
- Most people will ask politely about your trip but few want the slideshow, so just tell people the highlights. My “3x rule” is if someone asks three times to see your photos, they mean it.
The world’s a big place; as Confucius said – “Wherever you go, go with all your heart!”