I've gotten this idea over the past few weeks that when I get out of college I want to travel around the world. I'm not really sure how to make that happen, but where there's a will, there's a way, as the saying goes.
I did the same thing on a smaller scale when I graduated high school. I went to high school in South Carolina. My family was pretty poor, so the only vacations I took was to the exotic lands of Greenville SC and Charleston. I wanted to get out and see the country to experience things from other perspectives, so I hopped on a greyhound and moved around for two years, spending a few weeks in new locations and working odd jobs to pay for hotel rooms, food, and money to get to my next spot.
I managed to make it to 49 of the 50 states. I've never been a fan of flying, so Hawaii was off limits, but everywhere else was within reach. I spent more time than I planned on spending in Buffalo because of the amazing people. I got the hell out of some places (sorry, Florida) as soon as I could because it just wasn't my style. I spent a few weeks in Cincinnati because I met a girl on the bus, got off to hang out with her, and didn't make it back in time to catch my connection to Chicago.
I hiked Alaska and was stuck in the middle of the state because of an enterprising bear that decided he wanted what I had. On my way to New Orleans, I met another girl and stayed in Alabama for a month. What can I say, I'm a romantic guy.
All in all, the best part of traveling was the unexpected adventures along the way. Sure, things didn't work out with the two girls that made me stay in places I hadn't planned on stepping foot in, but the experience was amazing. I met great people, learned new lessons, and developed the rule that I still use when I travel to this day.
Always try to say yes to anything.
If someone asks me if I want to eat something, no matter what it is, I'll say yes. Why shouldn't I? If somebody tells me to stay with them instead of the low-price hotel I've booked, I'm sleeping on a couch. When a random person hears me talking to someone and has a way for me to make money that's legal, I'll do it. I'll do anything for money. I've cleaned bar bathrooms at 3am, drove a taxi in Montgomery Alabama, and worked on an Alaskan fishing boat. I didn't want those jobs, but I wasn't about to say no.
I have two problems traveling overseas: a little bit of fear and a whole lot of legal concern.
The legal concern seems simple enough. I just have to figure out the passport stuff and do some quick Google searches to see how long I can stay somewhere before getting kicked out. I didn't have the internet in 2000 when I started my little adventure; it existed, but I was poor. There's only so many times you can use the free AOL one month trials that used to be in Walmart before they get suspicious.
Now, it's easy-peasy. Let's say I want to start my extended trip in Costa Rica.
First, the passport. Type in some keywords, we'll say "U.S. Passport Help Guide Form Download
" and boom, done. For the most part, I've got everything I need. Then I Google "Staying in Costa Rica
" and I've got all the info my heart desires. It's that easy to travel now, which eliminates the legal concern.
Quick sidenote...the people that work at Google deserve a pat on the back. I don't actually Google anything, I use Bing. Yet when I search for something using Bing, I still say "I Google'd it". This has nothing to do with the article, but Google's branding game is strong.
The second problem is the biggest one: fear. Granted, I'm not necessarily afraid...more hesitant than anything. There are places that I want to go, but I don't know if I should. I want to walk the fertile crescent. I want to stand on the original site of Babylon. I need to see Aztec ruins. I want to visit South East Asia before I visit the islands of Indonesia.
The issue is the fear of the unknown. It's a different culture, I don't know the language, and I don't know anyone there. Do I think something terrible will happen? From a logical perspective, no. From an emotional perspective? That's a different story.
Luckily, there are two things that I believe: you should always try to say yes when you travel, and people are inherently good.
95%!o(MISSING)f the people on this planet, regardless of their religion, politics, or television viewing habits (what's up with all of these Kardashian fans?) are good people. I'm worried about getting into a tight spot in a strange land, but if that happens, I'll be fine because I'll be around other people. They'll be strangers, but that's alright, because people are inherently good.
Which is why when you travel, you should follow the same rule I do. Say yes. Go with it. Sure, you might find yourself in a weird spot by saying yes, but you'll find yourself in a worse spot by saying no to everything. You'll be just another tourist. The person that goes to Egypt so that they can eat at the KFC across the way from the Pyramids. That's boring. Don't be that person. Be the traveler that finds a hole in the wall with a line, order whatever the person in front of you got, and if someone says "are you sure?" you already know the answer.
Have fun, travel safe, say yes.
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