Expert Travel Tips To Improve Your Journey

Asako Maruoka's picture

Whether you are interested in traveling around the world or in your own backyard, this article is for you. We will explore some of the experiences of seasoned travelers, and probe what they think about traveling, as well as share interesting tips to offer us as we prepare to travel ourselves. One has a fantastic philosophy of traveling; the second shares his spectacular but unusual traveling adventures–and encourages us to get out there.

Expert Travel Tips To Improve Your Journey

A Traveling Connection with Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain died at the tender age of 61, but he lived life to the fullest. He was an avid traveler who spoke his mind on every subject under the sun. He was very well-traveled; here are a couple of his more well-known quotes about traveling:

"Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown." 

In other words, don’t be afraid to travel and get out and embrace new lands, people, and cultures. Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons, because you will carry away memories from your travels…and new experiences will, of course, change you.

Expert Travel Tips To Improve Your Journey

"I'm a big believer in winging it. I'm a big believer that you're never going to find a perfect city travel experience or the perfect meal without a constant willingness to experience a bad one. Letting the happy accident happen is what a lot of vacation itineraries miss, I think, and I'm always trying to push people to allow those things to happen rather than stick to some rigid itinerary."

Bourdain encouraged people to travel, but not follow a rigid travel plan that doesn’t have time or space for something new to be explored. Step off the well-traveled beaten path, and do not be afraid to try new experiences when you travel. If you have a bad experience, learn from it. You may meet a significant person you would not have otherwise met if you did not go down that particular travel path. At the very least, you will have learned and grown...and, perhaps, come to appreciate a new cuisine or culture.

Expert Travel Tips To Improve Your Journey

But if someone spends thousands of dollars on a dream vacation and it turns out to be a big disappointment for them, is it worth having a bad traveling experience? Think about it: you save for years for this once-in-a-lifetime journey, and it turns out to be the worst experience you have ever had in your life. Was it worth all that money and time? 

"Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s OK. The journey changes you; it should change you... You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind."

Travel is more than just going from one geographical location to another. It is about going somewhere else and leaving a part of yourself in that place. You may experience heartbreak, pain, or you may even hurt seeing the circumstances you travel to. But leave something good behind–perhaps a donation, thoughts, conversations, clothes, or a connection that may improve someone’s life you touched on your travels.

Bourdain committed suicide on June 8, 2018; he is greatly missed.

Traveling with Matthew Karsten

He says, “call me Matt.” He is an expert traveling vagabond, and as of today, has visited 50 countries. He is headquartered in Italy, where he lives with his wife and cat. 

Definition of a vagabond:
1. Wandering from place to place without any settled home; nomadic.
2. Leading an unsettled or carefree life. 

This is what defines Matt at this point in his life. He says you can cover the earth and do it economically. Matt says, “Since 2010, I’ve been living as a traveling digital nomad & expat — visiting over 50 countries while “vagabonding” around the world from place to place.” And this is why he travels so much: “Because I’m curious about our planet. I want to take risks, meet interesting people, challenge myself, see amazing things, explore the world, and learn as much as I can.”

Matt simply carries a backpack on his travels. He has experienced the foods, smells, and cultures of many countries, and has been traveling full time since 2010. He thinks that travel can be done cheaply, the world is not as unsafe as is portrayed, and adventure is worthwhile. 

Matt hopes to:
Show you something you’ve never seen
Inspire you with new ideas for your next vacation
Attempt to put a smile on your face
Help you learn from his mistakes
Challenge your assumptions about the world

Matt is adventurous; he camped on an active volcano in Guatemala. The volcano is known as Santiaguito, and it spews rocks and ashes every few hours. The volcano had one of the biggest eruptions in the 20th century. In 1902, it had such a violent eruption that it blew half the mountain away, and ashes could be seen in San Francisco, California–which is 2500 miles away from Guatemala. 

Be Crazy
Matt says he hiked a grueling 8 hours and camped on an inactive volcano vent that was right next to the active volcano vent. Most people would view the volcano from Santa Maria, which is a very safe distance from the volcano. Not Matt. As a self-described crazy person, he camped right next to the towering inferno. He says the party of 7 (including himself) trekked up the face of the volcano. They stayed near the crater for 2 days. He says he recruited 6 other crazy people. The guide’s name was appropriately “Crazy Charlie.”

Appreciate Where You Are
Matt took a photographer’s dream trip to Iceland for three surreal weeks. Iceland is an island nation of glaciers and active volcanoes. He took a plane ride over an active volcano, hiked, and, of course, took photographs of the many blue glacial caves that he had crawled through. He stayed up all night long transfixed by the northern lights. 

Matt spent some time in the city of Reykjavík, which where most of the population of Iceland resides. His favorite part of the journey was driving the ring road of Iceland. He put together a guide for the universal traveler to use if they ever decide to make a trip to Iceland and drive this majestic route. He says on the road around every bend has a new and beautiful sight to experience. You can experience the northern lights if you drive the road at the right time. Included in his guide are ice caves, geothermal sites, and erupting volcanoes. Matt notes that visiting Iceland has to be done by the individual to truly appreciate its unique beauty. 

Even if it is touristy, head to the Blue Lagoon, a man-made geothermal pool in Iceland. It has blue murky waters filled with algae and minerals. It is supposed to be therapeutic for the skin and it is one of the most popular tourist spots in Iceland. 

Expert Travel Tips To Improve Your Journey

Have a Sense of Humor
Luggage Class is the new way to travel in Thailand, according to Matt. He says long distance travel in Thailand is done on roomy buses that have big seats and plenty of room to stretch your legs. The cost is not too expensive, and he says you can truly travel first class on a budget. 

He received his luggage class ticket and entered a small four foot high door on the side of the bus. This door is reserved for people who will sit in the luggage class section of the bus. He believes it is the next luxury way to travel. He relayed these traveling details sarcastically. Really, it was not the best way to travel in Thailand...but makes for a great story.

In reality, you will sit on a bench underneath the bus in the luggage compartment and you have a dimly lit bulb as your source of light. It is the lowest class standard of travel you can travel on the bus. It is very cheap and you really are crammed in this little section with other travelers. Create your story from lived experiences–and a sense of humor.

Expert Travel Tips To Improve Your Journey

Go Places
One summer he traveled to Afghanistan for a two-week back packing trip in the mountains of the country. He challenges travelers to travel to spots on the globe that appear to be dangerous, like Afghanistan. He asks the traveler “What comes to mind when you think about Afghanistan? War? Terrorism? Osama Bin Laden? The Mother Of All Bombs? 

True, these elements do exist there, but he did not experience any of these dangers when he was traveling in the country. He says he met kind human beings who have the same dreams and emotions as you and I. Matt challenges travelers to overcome their fear of traveling to “perceived” dangerous places in the world.