Travel Alone. You unconsciously or consciously put yourself in a different state of mind when you are alone. You will be more open minded, more mentally and physically free. Any experience will be more intimate; any human interaction will evolve in a more personal way.

Pre-Information. Learn about the culture you are going to experience, the places you are going to visit, before you leave. It will take their understanding to a higher level. Read, read, read. Do not depend on a map or guide while you are traveling, it takes attention, time, and appeal out of the experience. Have them with you just in case you forgot something, but keep them away from your hands!

Blend in. Do not look like a tourist. Along with not having maps or guides out, you whole behavior and body language tells a lot about yourself. Be mindful of your surroundings, while always acting naturally.

Be original. Touristic places are such usually because they are worth seeing. But the crowd might take away some magic out of the experience. Do not cover only the main spots, pay attention to the off-the-road, less know spots.

Get lost. Literally. It does not mean being irresponsible, but do not fill every single minute of your trip with a rigid schedule. Wondering around less traveled paths, minor neighborhoods, sidelined areas can turn out to be a great source of memories. Some of the best experiences are such because they are unexpected.

Talk. Engage with people, especially locals, but really, anybody. Talk, talk, talk. Few things add more uniqueness to an experience than the human element. People’s history and lives drench everything around us, so learning about them is as important as the places themselves.

No confrontations. Especially the first time you travel to a place, do not compare. Take anything that comes for what it is. You are learning about something new, therefore comparing, often associated with assuming, with something you know well is not the right mindset to have. Keep your mind open and welcoming, you will automatically enjoy the experience more, and learn more.


Article written for a MatadorU assignment.