Aug 28, 2012

5 Things that Traveling has teached: Me

As I sit here patiently for a logo that will surely arrive in a word format, I thought about how I just love packing up some stuff and getting out of town. Since we have no kids or huge responsibilities beyond work, it's very easy to get cracking on new adventures. But getting on a plane is half the battle. You learn a lot. From yourself, from your loved ones, from friends, from your country... so if I could lay it all on a line and give you the five single most important things I've learned, it would be...

1) Patience is a virtue.
Let's face it, you have to reach a new level of nirvana-style thinking when you are traveling. You start off by taking your shoes on that TSA long line from hell, and then goes those patience levels dropping like it's hot. You have to really be in your game to deal with the people all around you, whether it is on the plane and you find yourself sitting right near a crying baby for 8 hours straight, or maybe you're in a metro trying to figure out where the hell is your stop while people block the map and don't give a shit that you are lost... Maybe you are trying your best to speak that little amount of french, italian or even spanish and that annoying waiter decides to make you an example of how much you suck at other languages by not even trying to understand. Granted, you are on vacation and you're supposed to be relax, but the world keeps turning and at every corner you're bound to encounter an asshole trying to ruin your day. So smile, keep your head up, and enjoy the show.

2) Don't be a dick, try the food even if you don't know what it is.
Food is the one thing that defines every country. It tells a story about how they evolved, what they stand for, how they interact with each other. If you stick to bread and cheese, you will miss learning. So stop hitting that McDonald's and instead, let the waiter bring something that you've never tasted before. You would be surprised on how much stuff you will love - and want to know how it's done when you return home.

3) Stop taking so much pictures.
I used to travel with a huge and very heavy Canon camera. Not anymore. Why? I found myself experiencing the place that I went through a lens and not with my own two eyes! Technology is way cool, but sometimes we totally forget how we just need to look at stuff. People always say that that's why we take pictures, so we don't forget. Granted, it's totally true. But at the same time, I love to just take out my iPhone, grab a few pics and just let my old brain take in what it can. In fact, it's more fun to sort of forget the details - that way you need to return and remember again.

4) Do whatever you want, not what the guides tell you.
I plan my days at work. I make a schedule. I write down what I need to do and what hour I need to deliver them. If there is one thing I will never, ever... EVER do when traveling, is have a schedule. I prefer to get dressed, walk out the hotel door and say: "So, where to?" You might want to say to me that maybe I need to at least have an idea on what places to go so I don't waste time... Yes, that's research. I always read up months before I go anywhere. And yes, I do travel with guides, which I will browse at nights when we return, so we have a clear idea on what areas have whatever we would be interested in going. But a tight-schedule? Nope. Not for me. If the concept is vacation, you need to relax and have fun! Besides, if you cram all the cool places from one country in one visit... why would you need to come back?

5) Your bed is the most single greatest place to return to.
For as much as we like to get out of town, if there is one greatest moment, this would be it. The moment that you take that hot shower after hours of flight, dealing with annoying TSA lines, watching your bags return all damaged and opened, maybe everything broken inside... then you lay down in your bed, your trusty, soft amazing bed... Ah. It's a fitting end to another great story.

Get out there, live a little or a lot, but try to do it outside your country for once. There are always excuses not to do it. Money will always be an issue. But you have to make it anyway. Life is so short, you cannot spend it just all on the day to day and work. Have kids? Take them with you! Too much work? Find the time! In fact, traveling when you have a busy life will be more rewarding, because you know how rough it was to find those extra days to disappear.

I don't believe in anything religious, but I do believe in some sort of soul, and it needs to be nurtured with equal amounts of love, laughter, alcohol... and a little adventure.

Go out there and play. Much love, Me.


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