Of course, you might argue that there is no right and wrong when it comes to exploring, and we might just let you have this one. But there are some aspects of exploring new cities like, say, Honduras (which has ranked number 1 at homicides in 2012) that will not only leave you with your mind open – but literally leave you with your skull open somewhere in a back alley. Not trying to give Honduras a bad rep here, we’d love to visit it, but carefully and not. at. night.
[adsense300gray]These being said, let’s see what this right way is all about. The creative minds will scream and bang their colored pencils on a corner coffee-shop table demanding their right to wander aimlessly about, as it is the only right way. The more organized folks will nod in silent agreement and start outlining a list in their agendas. Regardless of whether you’re a left brain, right or a strange combination of the two, you still have to be careful when you go somewhere exotic.
It’s important to pick up bits and pieces of valuable information that might save your life where it is you’re going. For example, if you decide to go to Africa, you might as well know that a meeting with the six-eyed sand spider will leave you pretty much dead. There is no known antidote for its venom, and that thing can kill. This is in no way us telling you to spend all your pre-trip time googling all the things that could go wrong and becoming a little ball of paranoia ready to bounce off. We’re just saying that having a rough idea of what awaits on the other side of the plane/bus/friendly trucker might help.
Talk to people once you’re there. Even though you take pride in being the reserved little bundle of solitary joy everybody knows and loves, it might be a good idea to step out of that cocoon while traveling. Who knows where your next best friend is hiding, or who can show you the way to the best food joint in town? Open up your mind and heart and you’ll see that the world will take your example and open up in return.
Be brave. Be courageous. Be present. Realize that you’re there and that things are happening and place yourself in the moment. Ditch the map and explore on your own (unless you’re in Honduras. At night. Alone.) Let the city reveal itself under your feet with every step that you take in the name of exploration and adventure. Treat yourself to things you wouldn’t normally try, just because. When will you get another chance to eat bugs in Thailand? Go crazy. Explore with all your senses.
Don’t forget to take pictures from time to time. You’ll thank yourself later. If traveling alone, Timer is your best friend.
Good luck and stay safe, albeit reckless.