1. Make A List Of Things To Accomplish
I love spotaneity as much as the next guy and any memorable trip you take should be full of unplanned moments, but start with a plan. There are enough travel websites and blogs out there to at least have some sense of what you would like to accomplish. Start with a plan and deviate often.
2. Document Your Journey
Everywhere I go, a journal, a composition book and a camera are by my side. I travel to find a sense of renewal and new inspirations. Where I go and who I meet inspire things to write, poetry and new ways of shooting classic shots.
3. Converse, Often
My favorite travel moments are usually not made at some attraction. Rather, they are made in conversation with strangers or brand new friends. I've had life altering conversations with a complete stranger in a park in Rio and I have laughed hardest at a backyard cookout in Pasadena all because I was open to the transferring of wisdom.
4. Compare and Contrast
Every new place is a learning experience. No matter how well you plan, not everything will meet your intentions. Use the lessons of the past to compare and contrast. Every bad situation can be solved. So, breathe deep and remember where you've been.
5. Be Cognizant Of The Moment
As I mentioned before, I go about traveling with the intention of capturing the moment. I often have to remind myself to put my camera down or stop writing. In these moments, I fight to be cognizant of everything happening around me. Not everything is worth sharing. Some moments are just meant for me. Others are not worth documenting. They may be mundane, but they are meant for me. So, I try my hardest to cherish them and give them the attention they deserve.
6. Go Where Locals Go
This goes without saying. Avoid tourist traps. Avoid chain restaurants. Go where the locals go. Eat where they eat. Drink where they drink. Hang out where they hang out. Here, in their comfort zone, you will find more genuine moments. More moments that will stick with you.
7. Drink Local Beers
Those of us who love beer without a doubt have our standby favorites. When you travel, drink local. You can learn a great deal about a place by the flavor of their beer. Trust me on this.
8. Sleep In And Stay Up Late
I am not an early riser by nature. I know! I am missing sunrises and breakfast, as well as people who are way too full of pep for 8 A.M. in the morning. I firmly believe a city doesn't show itself in the daytime. For this reason, I choose over and over again to sleep in and stay up late.
9. Walk At Night
I have written about night walking before, but I cannot recommend it enough. Put on a set of headphones and take off through the concrete jungle. The city and its people have a way of coming alive at night. They are more real and so are the conversations.
10. Take The Bump
Finally, on your way home, if you're airline offers to bump you from a flight for a flight credit, do it. I have received countless travel vouchers and even a few upgrades to first class just by volunteering to take a later flight. Plus, you know, who is ever in a rush to get back to their real lives?
Thanks for entering my world,