A few days ago reader "jd" had a great suggestion for a post: what's the point of traveling? Seeing that I'm at the end of a long series of trips, it's seems to me that it's a perfect time for a post like that. Like anything, people travel for a whole host of reasons ranging from relieving stress to escaping the law. I can't speak to all of those reasons, so I'll share my own.
I began really traveling due to panic, which may not have been the best reason to go. I had always thought of myself as the type of person who would travel the world, but at twenty-six, I had gone to only a handful of countries, and had never even been to Europe. Realizing that other people my age were traveling a lot, and I wasn't, I sold everything and left with my friend Todd.
That first trip lasted nine months and fundamentally changed how I thought of travel. I set out in search of adventure and the title of "person who travels", but I got a lot more out of it.
When you stay in your home country, it's easy to completely avoid thinking of life beyond its borders. The way things were in America, I figured, was pretty much the way they were everywhere. Typical vacation travel also reinforces this view, because it hides the grit of every destination and serves up a sanitized version that largely reflects the country from which the vacationers came. In the worst cases, only a small injection of caricatured culture makes its way through the walls of the resort.
Real travel exposes the traveler to the details of life that compose the atmosphere of that country. Through that experience, one can begin to understand what life is actually like for the residents. You learn not only how they think and act differently, but why.
To see life from these different perspectives is to see the world in three dimensions. A contrast is provided against how you've always thought about and done things, which gives you the opportunity to examine those things.
Apart from gaining a deeper subconscious understanding of how the world works, you also learn a lot about yourself through travel. Because you are constantly dealing with new situations that you've never dealt with before, you learn to rely on yourself. Almost everybody learns that they're more capable than they thought they were, and through that process learns that the rest of the world isn't as intimidating as it might seem.
The great thing about traveling is that if you're diligent about it, you can get all of those benefits while still being just about as productive as you were before. The gains come in the background as everyday routines are replaced with novel experiences. A trip to the supermarket takes the same amount of time, but reveals things about the country you're in, and isn't done on autopilot like back home.
These benefits of travel can be found in trips of any length, but are only really forced upon you during long trips. That's why when people begin traveling, I recommend spending a lot of time in each country. A night or two in a city and you can book a hotel, eat in "western style" restaurants, see a tourist site or two, and then head home. If you're somewhere for a month, on the other hand, you'll probably be forced to branch out.
Once you're a more seasoned traveler, you get better at gaining that same perspective during shorter trips. Longer trips still yield more depth, but your travel style will shift away from typical tourist traps and the emotional safety of experiences that mirror home.
Traveling is one of the single most powerful ways to build perspective, confidence, and self-reliance. It's also a lot of fun, and conducive to getting work done at the same time. Motivations will vary from person to person, but to me, those factors make up the point of traveling.
Photo is live scorpions on a stick, sold in Beijing. I'll admit that I didn't "live like the locals" enough to eat them.
Back in the US tomorrow, heading to D.C. to see my family for Thanksgiving!
All this travel talk has got me itching to see some travel gear!
Have a look at the Outliers Slim Dungarees. I just got mine in the mail, they feel amazing to wear. Now I'm just excited to see if they pass the test of time in regards of being as smell-, stain- tear- and wear- resistant as they claim to be. They also pack down to nothing at all and are almost weight-free. I know, it sounds too good to be true.
The outlier climbers are actually better - four way stretch and more water-resistant.
My travel gear now consists of: outlier climbers, exofficio boxer briefs, icebreaker tech T lite S/S shirt, outlier merino henley, a button-down, and a blazer.
I agree, I have a pair of Outlier Climbers, as well as the Kerin Cut Dungarees.
Best. Damn. Pants. I. Have. Ever. Owned.
I only own these 2 pairs of pants, and have been alternating wearing them both daily for over a year consecutively. Worst thing that happened is that a button popped off, which I easily re-sewed on with my horrible home ec skills, lol. And I'm pretty damn hard on these things, take them hiking, skydiving, cycling, etc.
I was also intrigued by the four way stretch, but they look like sports gear, especially in from behind - where the Dungarees look like you're about to rob a bank in the 30'ies. I like that. I just did a work out with knees-to-chest, heavy squats and bulgarian split squats in it, and had no problem with the stretching the pants, they are simply more flexible than i. But if you do splits or the one that makes your manparts hurt when you see gymnasts doing it (spagat in Danish, don't know what its called in English).
More water resistance also sound very appealing, but from what I can tell they're nano treated the same way?
However, the climbers are slightly lighter (amazing, considering how light the Dungarees are).
I'm preparing for a long trip to the revolutionaries in Mexico, newest editions to my gear are the Dungarees, Dr Bronners Magis soap and zip lock bags from IKEA (they cost nothing, are really durable, quite waterproof and easy to empty from air).
from the pictures, the climbers do look strange from behind. but in person it's more subtle than you'd think. i sold my dungarees for the climbers months ago, and the difference between 2% and 10% spandex is pretty huge. i also do squats (pistol squats) with my climbers no problem.
as for water resistance, there's not a huge difference but i think the 4season fabric is marginally more water resistant than the workcloth fabric.
not trying to get you to shell out $200+ more... just saying :)
what are you carrying in zip lock bags? my current ambition is to have no backpack and nothing in my hands.
I'm considering starting importing Outliers to Denmark, so I will try the climbers eventually.
Unfortunately, I can't really do without the 26L backpack since I travel with my work, so I'm dependent on my laptop. Ziplock bags are for my outer shirt, extra t-shirt, socks and underwear (all icebreaker) and whichever I'm not wearing of shorts/pants. The bags also work well for keeping cables organised for hand recorder, phone and laptop.
For pure leisure travels it could be really cool to have nothing but what you wear, a wallet, a phone and a charger!
How about warmth in the Climbers? Do you feel any difference there? I'm pretty excited about how the Dungarees will feel in direct sunlight and warmth, in the winter cold they feel really good, wind proof-ish and rather warm compared to regular jeans.
I'm pretty sure they are equally warm, but the dungarees are probably warmer (the site says the fabric is heavier, and there is more polyester in them). also I like how the climbers' pockets look - cancels out the weirdness of the seat area. but yeah the polyester lining makes both pants much warmer in the winter.
if you do squats, i'm sure you like to show off the glutes, and the climbers are not too baggy in that area. i'm gushing about the climbers because they've literally changed my life.
What are your thoughts on traveling with a partner (romantic or not)?
Hi Wayne-Never marry anyone unless you've traveled with her. Traveling can bring out the best or worst in a person whether traveling with you just as a buddy or a romantic interest. Second bit of advice, know thyself! What's important to you? What's on your bucket list? If you want to go to museums and symphonies, but your partner only wants to bar hop, you may have a problem, especially if he/she is the insecure type and doesn't want to be left alone. What do you do? Do you miss out on everything you have planned just to appease your friend, or do you do your own thing, thus driving a stake in the friendship/ relationship? Communication before the trip is essential. Very clearly tell the person what things you will be doing, then listen carefully to his/her plans. Nothing is more nerve wracking than having a spoiled whiner wrapped around your feet when you are trying to see the world.
Oh man great 'serious relationship' litmus test right there - thanks for the tip!
Any time. As a woman with a few years of experience under her belt, (O.K. maybe more than a few), I offer my advice to guys who are trying to figure out what the heck is going on with a woman in his life. I just hate to see you or any other guy waste time and money and life trying to figure out what's going on in a woman's head. Ha
Hi Tynan, Have u ever been to Mongolia? ...I hope u'll travel to my country one day, which will be a great adventure for u..
Here is a picture I took! You should have tried it, they deep fry the scorpion first so its not alive. The scorpion didnt really taste like anything, so it really just tasted like frying oil, which wasnt very tasty at all. I'd eat it again if it were a properly seasoned dish.
Mmmmmmm, scorpions on a stick. *Drool* Finally, a reason to travel that makes freakin' sense. I get the same effect from going anywhere... like even a new part of town or a neighboring city. It's even more hardcore when you have no friends and are on a bicycle -- no help possible and every turn of the wheels is more calories you'll have to forage, buy or fight for.
Yeah I agree travel doesn't necessarily have to be "exotic". I go to Vegas alot and it's a huge disconnect between the epic 'this is Vegas!' travel marketed experience vs. actually knowing locals who never even come close to the Vegas strip and doing what they do. When I go to Vegas I may stay in a strip hotel and if not I'll live more like a local on the outskirts. Vegas is a small gritty simple working class town once you take away all the glitz.
What are your suggestions for people with anaphylactic food allergies? I've always wanted to travel and experience any given location's culture, but having anaphylaxis to peanuts and all nuts (so there cannot be any cross-contamination with the food or allergen) has presented a huge obstacle, especially in countries where any specifics I say regarding my allergies may be lost in translation. What would be the best way you'd reccommend people to deal with this?
My suggestion is to know the food culture where you are traveling to. If they typically use allergens in their food, then assume it will be in the food. In some countries you might need to be making your own food wherever you go, cant go wrong with grilled meats and veggies!
I have found it is nearly impossible to communicate dietary needs in SE Asia. I'm not sure that most would even understand the concept! It is entirely up to you to determine whether or not you think the food contains allergens, you cant count on the restaurant to do this for you.
Peanuts here in Vietnam are huge, so you probably couldnt eat at any of the local Vietnamese places. There are some high end restaurants or businesses that cater to westerners that would probably work for you though.
Sometimes a preference can morph from being your best assessment of a particular situation into a fixture of who you are. When that happens, you're in a bad position to reevaluate and make a better decision, because your ego gets caught up in that decision. That happened to me when I decided that I preferred multi-month trips to shorter ones.
When I started traveling, my intention was to come back to the US as infrequently as possible. I hadn't done very extensive traveling, so my plan was meant to combat that. I'd stay in places for long periods of time, generally months, and really get to know them deeply.
This worked really well for me. I haven't been back in a few years, but Panama felt like a real home base. Tokyo did, too, and it still does today.
Now I travel much more frenetically. I'm sitting in Paris working on a blog post, but by tonight I'll be in Jordan. My last meal was in Brooklyn, New York. Over the next week I'll also travel to Cairo, Amsterdam, and Hong Kong.
Over the years everyone gets asked the same mundane questions revolving around what is your favorite book, movie, band, song, video game etc.. For most of the things stated I don't have concrete answers. I will definitely tell you one of my favorite movies is City of God and that Red Hot Chilli Peppers is one of my favorite bands, but depending on my mood, the context, and overall experience with movies or music, my opinion can change. But when it comes to books, my favorite is unchanging
The book I'm talking about is Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. Vagabonding is the book that has had the most effect on my outlook, thoughts, and values. First and foremost, Rolf Potts is humble, he doesn't brag or rub it in your face how much he's traveled or all the crazy adventures he has had. Rather he mentions them to inspire and evoke the same feelings he must have felt while living through it. what's amazing about Rolf Pott's advice is how it can be integrated into your everyday life easily and flawlessly. His advice on how to deal with culture shock, his views on working, and his mentality for dealing with the good and bad really hit home on how one should live their life all the time. But his strongest advice comes from two simple words. SLOW DOWN! (I'll probably write and article on this subject one of these days) these two words, implemented everyday will have a dramatic effect on your life. Too many people live their lives hectically and all over the place, in an unnecessary haste that actually brings about no significant improvements over doing things in a more simple manner.
Most of all the book really inspires you to travel. The way I think about it, this world is to huge and filled with too many adventures to be stuck in one place. Cultures, languages, food, perceptions, are so wide and varied that by staying at home or in one country you only "read one chapter" (as one of the quotes Rolf Potts uses in the book). Before I read this book my life mostly revolved around the concept of me growing up, getting a normal job, and then staying at home playing video games, watching TV, and doing exercise. Life just didn't seem that bad, and I have never been the type of person that likes to waste money haphazardly. This book had a profound effect on me. It made me think about what other possibilities lie out there that I wasn't taking advantage, how the small aspects of travel, the people, the environments, the awkward experiences, the combination of just being surrounded by a completely new place and leaving everything behind, would allow me to venture far past my comfort-zone and give me the power to create my own reality.
for those of you who haven't read this truly amazing book, I suggest you buy it NOW. If you have thought about traveling but never really found the motivation too this book will help you. And even if you never plan on travelling, the books premise, concepts and advice can easily be applied to a life anywhere.