Travel Advice #3: On The Road

This collection of travel philosophy helps overcome culture shock, gain a deeper immersion into foreign cultures, and step outside of the comfort zone toward the transformative magic of globetrotting. To help you succeed, I created three travel advice pages that are divided into:

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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 judgment. After a few days of immersion, the sights and smells will become more common and you can begin the acceptance that you are a ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’.  

  • Learn the Language

Please don’t be a lazy tourist, even if you only learn how to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’, it goes a long way toward 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.

  • Develop Intuition

Go with the flow or stay an extra week; listen to your gut instinct and trust your intuition.

  • Travel Solo

If possible, travel solo, as 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

Meet fellow travelers, tell jokes and stories, and be rewarded with lifelong friendships.

  • Share Stories

Speak in a way that people want to listen, and equally important, listen in a way that people want to talk. Making instant connections with a complete stranger is a magical skill which requires an openness to embrace the unknown without judgement or assumptions.

  • Destination Advice

Online research is okay, but you will get better travel advice from fellow travelers going in the opposite direction; likewise, offer your personal advice about where you have been.

  • Learn New Skills

Challenge yourself to find a new passion; play chess, practice yoga, or learn scuba diving.

  • Read Books

Most hostels have a lending library, so you can regularly try different authors and random genres; even poorly written novels might have some interesting facts.

  • Shower Laundry

Do your laundry in the shower; just use your dirtiest clothing item as a washcloth.

  • Stay Healthy

Make time to exercise every day 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 surprised at what you discover and the amazing people you 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 – this is never acceptable. My travel mantra: Take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints.


Philosophy: Fearless, Humble, and Aware

These points of philosophical advice are my personal truths that I learned while traveling around the world; wisdom that rang true to me and has been applied to my life. 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 title that inspired my thinking, which are 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 [7]

  • Have Confidence

Be confident, but not arrogant. The key difference is your level of 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 true for me, 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 tenfold in so many beautiful ways.

  • Be Grateful

Being grateful for the smallest details allows the universal abundance to flow. [5]

  • Set an Example

I have found that some people serve as an example of who you do not want to be, yet you should strive to serve as an example of who people might want to emulate. 

  • Be Mindful

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. [4]

  • Ego Awareness

If you are flattered by a compliment 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 takes time and discipline – be patient.  [5]

  • 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. [5]

  • Listen to Learn

“When you speak, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” Dalai Lama XIV [9]

  • Like or Love

“When you like a flower, you just pluck it. But when you love a flower, you water it daily.” Gautama Buddha [8]

  • Truly Love

“The capacity to be alone is the capacity to truly love; without clinging, dependency or addiction to another.” Osho [7] “You only lose what you cling to.” Buddha [8] “To love is to recognize yourself in another.” Tolle [4]

  • Love Yourself

Learn to love yourself more by being honest 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.” Buddha [8]

  • 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 by learning from your successes and failures. The ultimate journey is to know thyself as the greatest distance is between your hear and mind.

  • Be Experienced

Experience life in all possible ways: good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light, summer-winter. Don’t be afraid of experience, because the more you gain, the more mature you become. Osho [7]

  • 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 [4] 

  • Problem or Challenge

Problems are unfulfilled challenges. You cannot stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.

  • Letting Go

Don’t be sad it’s over, be happy it happened. (bungalow wall in San Marcos, Guatemala)

  • Don’t Complain

Learn to accept people and situations as they are without judgments or expectation.

  • 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. [2]

  • Need to be Right

It is only the Ego that wants to be right – that needs to dwell on emotional pain – that defiantly defends 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. [2]

  • Energy Theft

Be aware of (and limit your time with) people who would steal your energy by Intimidation, Interrogation, Poor Me, or Aloof dramas. [1]

  • Forgiveness

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else, yet you are the only one who gets burned. Let go of the past, forgive yourself and others. [8]

  • Be Content

The content state of mind is the preferred; centered between happy, sad, anger, and fear.

  • Perspective

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. Don’t stop wanting to learn because the world will never be done trying to teach you.

  • Less is More

If you are overly concerned about losing your possessions, they can begin to control you; try to own fewer items and appreciate them more. Every gram counts when you carry it on your back for 2,200 miles. (carved into a shelter on the Appalachian Trail)


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.

[1] Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

This is the first book that I read which began to open 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 South America to hike up to Machu Picchu.

[2] The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

This book completely changed my life and how I interact with people. It is a personal code of conduct 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 challenging to ignore. 

[3] The Fifth Agreement by Miguel Ruiz

This book will blow your mind if you are ready to take a look at your personal conduct and be a bigger person. It reviews the first four agreements in more detail and adds the fifth agreement of: Listen, but be skeptical.

[4] The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

This is a powerful book with a very accessible wisdom that simply helps you become the watcher of your thoughts. It details how to keep your mental awareness in the present moment by letting go of future anxieties and past resentments, which allowed me to quiet my ego reactions.

[5] A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

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.

[6] The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho 

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.

 [7] Books by Osho

Osho was a guru from India that published 1,447 books, which are filled with extensive wisdom. His books are transcribed from his personal dialogues, which can be long-winded about the smallest of ideas; but an immense wealth of knowledge.

[8] Books by Gautama Buddha

The Buddha did not personally write any books, but his disciples compiled his teachings soon after his passing. If you want the translated ‘Words of the Buddha’, I recommend the four volume set of The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha. As well, there are books that take an in-depth look at specific topics of mindfulness, compassion, and meditation.

[9] The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama XIV

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

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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.

I sell these adventure stories as digital eBooks exclusively on Amazon.  Click on any book cover image to visit my Amazon Author Page.