Ditch Your Friends
Every time I travel, I find myself saying at some point, “if only all my friends were here with me!” It’s true, traveling with friends is the absolute best. With that said, sometimes you gotta go your own way. Whether you’re traveling with friends or family or just your significant other, make time for yourself. The discoveries you make on your own will hold a special place in your heart.
One afternoon in Roatan, Honduras, my partner and I split up to explore our own interests. I leisurely explored the town of East End and found a nondescript hand-written sign that said “Five Sea Turtles, $1.” I ended up with this hilarious video and a new catchphrase. Meanwhile, he took the kayak out and had a deep, magical communion with the sea that brings a glimmer to his eye years later.
Used to sticking to a strict itinerary? Leave that list crumpled up in your hotel where it belongs. Whether you’re walking through a city or have rented a moped to scoot around in, the unexpected is sure to pop up. Just remember to take a picture of the street you’re staying on to help you get back!
One of my favorite adventures has been getting lost in the countryside in Cambodia with my best friend. The moment we saw an interesting looking street or sign, we headed for it. While we didn’t find exactly what we were originally looking for, the outcome was even better. You can read the whole article here.
Red Means Go
If your first instinct is to say no to something that lies outside your usual interests like a botanical garden or maybe just sounds plain scary like ash boarding down a volcano, try saying YES. It’s the things we don’t do that we later regret and that’s why you’re traveling after all, isn’t it?
Not usually a museum person? Think again. Unusual collections can be found that spark the imagination. The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia (and now in LA!) houses items donated from people all over the world who’ve suffered heart break. Reading the sometimes sorrowful -sometimes hilarious- stories that accompany the various objects made for a memorable way to spend the afternoon. A shoe, a remote control, an origami crane, an axe…. every story is different, and yet the same.
Put Down Your Camera
By all means, bring your camera, post the pics online, and hashtag your heart out. All too easy, however, that camera can become a barrier between you and the world around you. Having a camera out can prevent meaningful interactions and allows moments to slip past unnoticed out of frame.
I’ve had deep conversations over rakia (a local spirit) with my host in Montenegro, laughed so hard with Guatemalan women selling huipil that one of them fell over, and partook of a kava drinking ceremony turned party with a group of fellow travelers. Not one of those times would have even happened or been nearly as deep if I had my camera out snapping away. I went all in, and I hope you do, too.