Travel Advice #3: On The Road
Mindful adventure travel philosophy advice. This collection of personal truths helped to overcome my culture shock, gain a deeper immersion into foreign cultures, and step outside of my comfort zone towards the transformative magic of globetrotting. To help you succeed, I created three travel advice pages that are divided into:
Immersion: Language, Respect, and Intuition
- Culture Shock
When you arrive at your destination, you will most likely experience ‘culture shock’ at how different everything is; from the language and food to the way people look and dress. Try to remain calm and not be overwhelmed by the strangeness, just take it all in without judgments. After a few days of immersion, the sights and smells will become more common and you can begin the accept that you are a ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’.
- Learn the Language
Please don’t be a stupid tourist – even if you only learn how to say ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you’, it goes along way towards connecting with the local people and leaving a good impression.
- Be Respectful
Remember that you are a guest in their country and representing your nationality. Show respect by following local dress codes and customs. Be polite and do not escalate a problem by raising your voice or arguing your assumed correctness.
- Meet Locals
Be curious – ask questions and show interest in their city, country, culture and customs.
- Eat locally
Get recommendations from locals or look for restaurants where the locals eat. Be brave and try new foods; you might just find a dish that you fall in love with, but can’t pronounce (grin).
- Develop Intuition
Have clear intentions, listen to your gut instinct and learn to trust your intuition: say yes to life.
- Travel Solo
If possible, travel solo; you will always meet interesting people that are going the same way for a few days or a week, but do not fear saying goodbye.
- Don’t be Shy
Make an effort to meet fellow travelers, tell jokes and stories; rewarded with lifelong friendships.
- Share Stories
Speak in a way that people want to listen to you and listen in a way that people want to talk to you; remember that everyone has a unique story to tell.
- Destination Advice
Online research is okay, but you will get better travel advice from fellow travelers that are going in the opposite direction; likewise, offer them your personal advice about where you have been.
- Learn New Skills
Challenge yourself to find a new passion; play chess, learn yoga, scuba diving or a cooking class.
- Read Books
Most hostels have a lending library, so you can regularly try different authors and random genres; even poorly written books might have some interesting facts.
- Shower Laundry
Do your laundry in the shower; just use your dirtiest clothing item as a wash cloth.
- Stay Healthy
Make time to exercise everyday with yoga, jogging or just walking a few miles around town.
- Travel Slow
Be spontaneous – get off the bus halfway to your destination and wander around town, you may be utterly surprised at what you discover and the amazing people you will meet. The journey is more important than the destination, don’t forget to smell the roses along the way.
- Don’t litter
Even if you see the locals throwing trash out of the bus window – it’s never okay. “Take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints.”
- Don’t be that guy!
If you make a mess in the hostel kitchen, clean up after yourself; your mom is not following you!
Philosophy: Fearless, Humble, and Aware
These points of philosophical advice and are my personal truths that I learned while traveling. Some are from conversations with fellow travelers or written on bungalow walls, and some are paraphrased from philosophy books that I read along the way. The [number] indicates a book listed in the Recommended Philosophy Books section below.
- Be Fearless
FEAR is an acronym that stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. There are real dangers in the world that you should take caution to avoid, but most of our fears are born from uncertainty. Step outside of your comfort zone and conquer your fears. “Life begins where fear ends.” Osho 
- Have Confidence
Be confident but not arrogant; the difference is humility and gratitude.
- Be Humble
I am not wise, I am simply a collector of smart ideas that point towards the truth. When I hear or read something that rings of truth, I remember and practice the wisdom.
- Show Kindness
Be kinder than necessary, even when someone is being rude, as you don’t know their personal struggles. Your kindness will come back to you ten fold in so many beautiful ways.
- Be Grateful
Being grateful for the smallest details allows the universal abundance to flow. 
- Set an Example
Some people just serve as an example of who you do not want to be, yet, you should strive to serve as an example of who people want to emulate.
- Be Mindful
Try to pay attention to what you pay attention to; continually be the watcher of your thoughts.
- Power of Now
Be the guardian of your mind to keep your thoughts in the present moment. Anxiety is worrying about the future, and depression is reliving the past with regret. The past is unchangeable, the future is unknowable; peace can only be found in the now. 
- Ego Awareness
If you are flattered by a complement or insulted by criticism; this is an ego reaction. Be aware of this mental reaction and let it go before it controls your physical response; this awareness and control take time and discipline – be patient. 
- Think before speaking
Add a filter between your brain and your mouth; if you have nothing nice to say or helpful content to add – just be quiet and listen.
- Mental Stillness
There is nothing you can tell yourself that you do not already know. Quiet the mental chatter with daily meditation to rise above thinking to a blissful clarity. 
- Listen to Learn
“When you are talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” Dalai Lama XIV 
- Like or Love
“When you like a flower, you just pluck it. But when you love a flower, you water it daily.” Gautama Buddha 
- Truly Love
“The capacity to be alone is the capacity to truly love; without clinging, dependency or addiction to another.” Osho  “You only loose what you cling to.” Buddha  “To love is to recognize yourself in another.” Tolle 
- Love Yourself
Learn to love yourself more by being honest with yourself about what you want and find ways to fulfill those desires. However, do not seek happiness or fulfillment from another person; only you can give this to yourself. “Peace comes from within – Do not seek it without.” – Buddha 
- Self Respect
Your body is a temple, take care what you allow to enter it; from spiritual energy, to the quality and quantity of food and liquids – all things in moderation with a mindful appreciation of the sacrifices required for you to continue your existence.
- Know Thyself
Discover your strengths and weaknesses; learn from your successes and failures. To truly know yourself is the greatest journey in life; a never-ending thesis of self, as we are a different person every seven years – mentally, physically and spiritually.
- Be Experienced
“Experience life in all possible ways: good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light, summer-winter. Experience all dualities. Don’t be afraid of experience, because the more experience you have, the more mature you become.” Osho 
- Embrace Change
Change is inevitable, yet growth is optional. “Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” Tolle 
- Problem or Challenge
Problems are only unfulfilled challenges. ‘You cannot stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.’
- Limit Discipline
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to eat chocolate cake once in awhile.
- Letting Go
‘Don’t be sad its over, be happy it happened.’ (written on the bungalow wall in San Marcos, Guatemala)
- Don’t Complain
Learn to accept people and situations as they are without judgments.
- Limit Expectations
People do things differently all over the world; do not assume your way is right and their way is wrong. Your expectations will only lead to disappointment. 
- Need to be Right
It is only the Ego that needs to be right – that needs to dwell on emotional pain – that needs to defend its irrational correctness. Feel the emotion and let it go; there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ only different perspectives. It is far better to be happy than right. 
- Energy Theft
Be aware of (and limit your time with) people who would steal your energy by Intimidation, Interrogation, Poor Me, or Aloof dramas. 
- Walk Away
If someone treats your friendship as an option, you should remove the option and walk away. If they notice, at least they are conscious and may deserve a second chance. If they do not notice, then it’s best to stay away from un-conscious people – they will just hurt you in time!
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Buddha 
- Be Content
Being content is the ideal; centered between happy, sad, anger and fear.
Everything happens for a reason, even the seemly negative situations have a lesson to teach; hopefully you learn your lesson and stop repeating the mistake.
- Less is More
If you are overly concerned about loosing your possessions, they can begin to control you; try to own less items and appreciate them more. ‘Every gram counts when you carry it on your back for 2000 miles.’ (carved into a shelter on the Appalachian Trail)
- Paradigm Shattering
Do not fool yourself into believing that you have everything figured out, because this is usually the moment that your paradigm is shattered and you realize that you don’t know anything. Humble yourself as an empty vessel, to be slowly filled with the universes truth; surrendering to the mysteries that may or may not be answered.
Recommended Philosophy Books
As I previously stated: I am not wise, I am simply a collector of smart ideas that point towards the truth. Many of these ideas have been paraphrased or directly quoted from books that I read along the way. Here is a short list of amazing philosophy books that I highly recommend that you read and reread, and then reread again. All URL links go to the Goodreads website.
This is the first book that I read which opened my eyes to the potential beyond my waking mind. It is a travel story to Peru that gently introduces the reader to nine insights, and inspired me to travel to Machu Picchu.
This book completely changed my life and the way I interact with people. It is a personal code of conduct that is based on ancient Toltec wisdom that I have found to be deeply powerful. The four agreements are: Practice impeccable speech, Do not make assumptions, Do not take things personally, and Always do your best. Sounds simple enough, but I still struggle with not taking things personally, as the ego is a challenge to quiet.
This book will blow your mind if you are really ready to take a look at your personal conduct and be a bigger person. It re-examines the first four agreements in more detail and adds the fifth agreement of: Listen, but be skeptical.
This is a powerful book with a very accessible wisdom, that simply helps you become the watcher of your thoughts. It clarifies how to keep your mental awareness in the present moment by letting go of future anxieties and past resentments; this awareness allowed me to quiet my ego reactions.
An equally powerful sequel that touches on many subjects that all revolve around being aware of the ego and how it controls our reactions. Once you can step beyond the ego-identification, you can more clearly see your life’s true purpose.
This is the most popular of Coelho’s books and a great introduction to his writing style. It is a travel story about a Spanish shepherd that goes on a quest to the Egyptian Pyramids to find what he already possesses.
Osho was a guru from India that published 1,447 books, which are filled with lots of wisdom. His books are not written, but are transcribed from his personal dialogues. Albeit wise, he is quite long-winded and can droll on for multiple pages about the smallest of ideas; thus I have started, but never finished any of his books.
 Books by Gautama Buddha
The Buddha did not personally write any books, but his direct disciples compiled records of the Buddha’s teachings soon after his passing. If you want the translated ‘word of the Buddha’, I recommend the four volume set of The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha. There are numerous books that take an in-depth look at specific topics of : Mindfulness, Compassion or Meditation; as well, there are also books that give a simplified overview of his teachings.
This an amazing book of practical Buddhist philosophy from the world’s most famous Buddhist monk and exiled Tibetan ruler, who is currently living in India.
More Book Recommendations
There are many great philosophy books for you to discover, but I think this list is a good start for any adventurous seeker.
More Travel Magic
Lighting The Path
I developed this site to inspire you to go explore this big blue marble and discover the transformative magic of personal empowerment. Guiding your wanderlust, there are regional maps of the world that illustrate some Magical Places among the multitude of tourist traps.
To help you succeed, I created Travel Advice pages divided into:
1) Before You Go: Basics, Documents, and Medical;
2) What To Take: Luggage, Clothing, and Technology;
3) On The Road: Immersion, Philosophy, and Books.
Lighting the path, the Travel Magic eBook series shares my personal experiences and takes you away to exciting locations; joining me to go cycling across New Zealand and backpacking throughout Vietnam.