There are three rules to how I travel. Just three.
- Rule #1 There is no plan. No agenda. No itinerary. You know when you’re arriving and when you’re leaving. What happens in between, you don’t know. You give up control. You give up planning. You give up expectations.
- Rule #2 There is no concept of time. You are in no hurry to go anywhere. You don’t have to be at some place at some time. You spend as much time as you want to or as little as you want to. No more. No less.
- Rule #3 Go someplace unlike the place you come from. If you live in a city, don’t go to another city. Leave the civilization behind. Leave complexity behind. Leave the known behind.
It’s about relaxing the grip on the certainties in life. It’s about exposing yourself to completely new places, meeting new people, experiencing new culture, tasting new food and living a new lifestyle. You open yourself up completely to the place. You take in whatever it gives you, without being judgmental. Without comparing it to your home or the last place you visited. When you give up control and you give up expectations - you prepare yourself for new experiences. Your sensitivity heightens. Small experiences feel big. Minor moments feel huge. With no expectations, nothing disappoints.
This idea of travel is not for everyone. It takes courage. Be forewarned, when you have no agenda and no plan there are times or days when you’ll have nothing to do. Nothing. Emptiness. Boredom. You have to be willing to be absolutely comfortable with that idea. Some of my friends in the past went nuts because they’re used to going someplace, seeing something and doing something. Most of us are used to the tour-bus style of traveling and we dread the idea of having nothing to do while traveling.
Rather than read the guidebooks, allow yourself to stumble upon new experiences. The best adventures happen when we step into unknown. Leave it to serendipity. You might not love it during the travel but you’ll come back feeling fulfilled. It will happen. You will love it. If you don’t - you can always go back to those damn cruise ships.
In the process, you’ll meet people and see places that you had only seen in the National Geographic. Your experiences will be visceral and more memorable. Experiences that you can never get staying in a luxury hotel on some beach resort. You’ll have stories to tell to your grandchildren. There’s simply no other way to travel.
So don’t wait around. Don’t get old thinking you’ll do it. Block that calendar, get an atlas, start to explore and create new experiences. If you find those experiences - they’ll last forever. Go for it.
“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” - Lao Tzu