On another blog I found today that actually IS good, this lady talked about how this respected writer she trusts wrote some hot garbage about how no matter where you travel in the world, you should always eat breakfast that reminds you of home. Basically, go to china, but demand eggs and bacon. Go to Peru, but demand a cheese danish or an egg mcmuffin. come on people. This is the worst advice any travel writer can ever give. This is worse than the 2014 book of best travel writing stories that suggests traveling anywhere in the world basically sucks. Seriously, that's the gist of that book. Where did all this hatred towards an open perspective come from? We are building a wall. A wall that will prevent us from ever seeing the GREAT wall, which if you're going to build a wall, you really should use as a model right?
We must combat this closing of our mental borders. We have to establish life rules to ensure that a road trip from Pennsylvania to Texas isn't the end all be all of our travels. I hereby declare these rules to be set in stone when you span across our country's border into a new and yet unknown place.
1. Eat everything. The street foodier the better. You will get suck probably at least once, but better to have experienced real authentic food, than suffer the bland tastelessness of eating the same old airport quality chicken tenders everywhere you go.
2. Drink the local alcohol. It's alcohol not water, so no montezuma's revenge here. If you're throwing up later it's for a completely different reason. You can't go to Peru or Chile and not try pisco. You can't go to South Korea and not have 10 glasses of soju. Good, bad or indifferent, at least try it all. Hell, sometimes it doesn't even have to have alcohol. Look at this monstrosity we had in Chile last year:
It wasn't fantastic but I'm a better man for trying it. Trust me.
3. Put the guidebook down. I'm sure the history of that museum of some dead general is really interesting. And I'd love to hear all about how many slaves died building it, but tell me later. Hell, that's what wikipedia is for. So I can sound smart and pretentious at parties later on when i'm recapping my trip. When I'm actually there, I just want to absorb it. Look, feel, listen, (but don't taste you sicko.)
4. Pick up a couple phrases, but don't pretend to be an expert. Even if you do know the language well, don't be a douche who acts like they are from there. You seriously only ever need to learn 3 words in any language. Beer. Bathroom. US Embassy. Usually in that order. Don't be that a-hole that thinks they don't have an American accent when speaking spanish. You do. They know. Everybody thinks you're an a-hole.
5. The best time in a foreign city is the early morning. It's before all the other tourists are up, and the vendors catering to those tourists are up hawking whatever crap they are selling. It's when the real people get up, and go to the market, and drink a coffee on the street, or are out drying laundry, going to church, making pastries. The early morning hours, a little bit after first light, are the most memorable time I've ever had anywhere I've ever been. Here's a picture of me on my first morning in Lisbon, just walking around the city before the city really woke up.
6. At some point on your trip, you will probably run into other Americans your age. This is usually about halfway through the trip when you're getting sick of the language barrier between you and the bartender. If the opportunity arises, make friends with them. If they are proceeding to get drunk when you meet them, all the better. Memorable times will ensue. And it's only 46% likely that they will get you arrested. See below:
|Drinking 40s on the streets Valparaiso, Chile|
|Oktoberfest with Aussies (ok fine not technically American but the next best thing)|
|Drinking mojito buckets in a Karaoke bar in Venice, Italy|
8. Kill a guy. KIDDING. But you should rent a car if your travels allow it. You can take in a country so much better behind the wheel of a car than you could in any other form of travel. You can stop where you want, get a real feel of the country. Hell, if you're lucky, you might even get a chance to drive somewhere where everybody drives like a Miami taxi cab driver. And then you probably WILL kill a guy.
9. Churches are ok, but the best architectural things to see in any country are not man made. Cliffs, mountains, oceans, forests. These are the things you should seek.
10. And lastly, the most important rule of travel. Travel with somebody you like. If they believe in at least 70% of this list, you're golden. Go with them immediately.
Thus ends the most pretentious post I've ever written.