Recipe for a Good Traveler

by Anders Bruihler / Jun 19, 2013 / 1 comments

Just about anyone can be a traveler, but in order to be a good one, there are certain qualities you should have. Without these 11 traits, you might still have a good time, but you will definitely not get the most out of traveling. My recipe for Travelers Soup has been regularly tested over the past year as my family has traveled around the world. Read below for more details on these carefully chosen ingredients.


Travelers Soup
5 cups - sense of adventure
4 cups - curiosity
2-1/2 cups - respect
1 cup each - adaptability and flexibility
1 tablespoon - openness
3 teaspoons - positive outlook
2 teaspoons- sense of humor
1 teaspoon - appreciation for comfort (NOTE: do not substitute need for comfort)
As much money as you can spare (a little can go a long way)

Simmer for 15 minutes. When finished, garnish with street smarts and serve warm.

NOTE: Putting in self-centeredness is a common mistake. This can ruin the Travelers Soup, so take all measures to avoid this.


Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Here we are at Angkor Wat, Cambodia, partway through our around the world trip.


Sense of Adventure

There are lots of exciting things to do out there, but if you don’t have a good sense of adventure you won’t really appreciate those activities. Having fun adventures will make travel much more enjoyable and interesting.


hiking Fox Glacier, NZ

One of the more adventurous things we did was to hike on Fox Glacier in New Zealand.  Check out my Podcast About Fox to learn more.



Curiosity means that you will learn more about wherever you are visiting and seek out places off the beaten path. You will get much more out of a place if you are curious about it and really want to learn about it.


Normandy, France

I’m fascinated by WWII history.  That meant that exploring the D-Day beaches in Normandy, France, brought history to life for me.


Respect for people and cultures

I really don’t see the reason to travel if you don’t respect people and cultures. Most of travel is learning about cultures and people. Not respecting them really cuts you off from this, because people won’t want to connect or get along with you. Having lots of respect is vital for fun and educational travel.


Bali, Indonesia

When we visited this temple in Bali, Indonesia, all visitors were required to wear sarongs.  Sarongs are respectful traditional Indonesian dress.


Adaptability and Flexibility

You definitely need to be able to adapt if you explore off the beaten track. Things will happen that you would never expect, and you should be prepared for them. Flexibility will really help you in these situations, and you should be able to change fast should the need arise.


fixing our van in Australia

When we rented a campervan in Australia, we had all sorts of problems.  Three tires had to be replaced in total.  We visited a cheese factory/museum while we waited at one car repair shop.



If you aren’t open, you just won’t understand or connect to people and cultures nearly so much. And those things really make each place special. You won’t be able to integrate yourself into the local culture at all if you aren’t able to understand why they do what they do.


Blessing in Nepal

When we were staying in an apartment in Kathmandu, Nepal, our neighbors invited us to take part in a local celebration with them.  We learned a lot about their culture.


Positive Outlook

Having a positive outlook is important for whenever travel lets you down. If something goes wrong, you can’t just give up and go back. Don’t generalize people, cultures, places, or the world just because of one thing. It’s much better to have a positive outlook than a negative one.


Cheese factory, Australia

When we had a flat tire in Australia (see Openness, above) we visited a cheese factory while our car was being fixed.  We made the best of the situation, learned about dairy products, and had a delicious milkshake.


Sense of Humor

There will be parts of travel that you won’t like. Where something will go wrong. A good sense of humor will really help deal with this. You will take whatever goes wrong more lightly, and it will turn from a negative experience into something that you can laugh at.


hilarious translations

There were many hilarious translations around the world.  This was in Peru.  You can check out more on my article on Funny English Translations.


Appreciation, not a need, for comfort

Who doesn’t like comforts? Nobody would pass up a fluffy bed in a nice hotel room or a meal at a fancy restaurant. But, let’s face it - at some point in travel you won’t have these things. If you can’t survive without many comforts, you will definitely have problems. You need to be able to live without these to travel out of the main tourist zone.


Sleeping on the Ferry Floor

We had to sleep on the floor in several different places.  This photo was taken on an overnight ferry when we crossed the Baltic Sea.  We had to sleep on the floor in some airports too.



Your need for this really depends on where you go and your standards of comfort. If you’re in Europe or the US, you will need a lot more than in Asia. If you also want to do anything adventurous, that can cost extra too. A good rule of thumb is that the less money you spend, the more interaction with locals you have.


Luging in NZ

Luging, a fun go-kart like activity we did in New Zealand, is a good example of what money can get you.  Check out my article on Luging to learn more. 


Street smarts

You really have to have street smarts no matter where you go. You have to know what you are doing and be aware. If you don’t, you will definitely get into trouble.


Bucket of Grasshoppers

We usually stayed away from street food vendors if we could help it, but we did get fried grasshoppers in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  I wrote a how to eat fried grasshoppers guide.


NO Self-Centeredness

Self-centeredness is an incredibly limiting trait to have. People won’t respect or get along with you if your personal concerns come before everything else. This also limits how well you can get along with other cultures.


Boat on Lake Atitlan

The water taxis around Lake Atitlan in Guatemala are packed full of people.  One way to avoid this is to hire a private boat, but if you don’t want to do that, you better be prepared to share space.


Finally, experience will make your soup much tastier and easier to make. Don’t give up if the first pot doesn’t turn out well.


Successful RTW travel!

Here we are after having successfully tested this recipe for a year.





Anders Bruihler is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program


All photos courtesy and copyright Anders Bruihler




Recipe for a Good Traveler




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