As I am preparing for my next trip back to Asia, I wondered what I had actually learned while travelling all this time. Most people will tell you that “travelling broadens your mind”, that it “makes you leave your comfort zone” and “discover other cultures”. Sure! But I wanted to know what exactly. So here is my attempt to formalise a bit of what I’ve learned.
Each letter has its piece of advice – don’t ask me why, I did that on a whim -, so here are 26 philosophical insights I learned while travelling and travel tips I wish I knew before. They all helped me at some point somewhere in the world and I always try to keep them in mind, travelling or at home!
Always have toilet paper with you. It will be useful. You can thank me later.
Bargain at least half of the price.
Check if you bought a ticket from San Jose, Costa Rica or San Jose, California. I didn’t.
Download maps.me. Now.
Eat these tacos al pastor, you’ll follow your diet back home.
Flexible… be flexible. To the food you eat. To new experiences and itineraries. To the people you meet.
GPS can be used offline. You just need to pre-load the map.
Hitchhiking is great to meet locals, to travel on a budget and to get out of your comfort zone.
I am thankful for having toilets at home. And toilet paper.
Juggling is a nice ice-breaker. And you can carry your juggling balls everywhere.
Keep in mind that people are fundamentally nice and helpful.
Look at the CouchSurfing Event Page if you want to meet people, it’s a great community.
Music and soccer are universal languages. Even if you suck at it.
No worries, everything will be alright.
Observe: when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Please, be respectful with the locals and the local culture.
Quote: “The word ‘adventure’ contains 1001 forms: it is by itself a dictionary of the whole universe”.
Riding a motorbike is definitely the shit.
Speak to your neighbour, even if you are lazy. They might follow you on a hitchhiking trip.
The right person at the right moment is a thing.
Up to you to make your trip an unforgettable experience.
Vietnamese hats will save your life, one day.
When you travel with Air France, you can always ask for champagne.
XXIth century travelling is definitely easier than ever: try your luck and don’t be afraid!
You can’t predict the unpredictable. Don’t waste your time trying.
Zombies might exist: what you take for granted here may not be true elsewhere.
Bonus – A tip from the book “On a roulé sur la Terre” (Sylvain Tesson & Alexandre Poussin, who cycled the entire world): when they were lost, they would open a map and really show in public that they were obviously lost (or even pretend to be) until a local would approach them. It worked perfectly and they often spent days together!