SOME TRAVEL TIPS i have learned while rambling around this planet.
I love traveling and being on the move . I love seeing new things and having new experiences. I also love coming home to my base as i call it in California and contemplating afterwards and gathering my soul and resting before i concoct another adventure.
As a Jew traveling in Europe i am always aware of terrorism .
I don’t wear any identifying signs like jewelry and such and i keep a low profile especially in Muslim areas .
I avoid crowded tourist places like the Ramblas in Barcelona and when i frequent Israeli or Jewish places i am always hyper aware. That is the way it is.
If i am in a crowded restaurant i am aware of exits and i never sit with my back to the door.
I always get up early because i love the soft light in the morning and the sounds of a waking city or countryside .
I do my best writing then and i always find poetry in the moment that way.
I follow early morning bread and delivery trucks and suss out a good cafe.
A good cafe in the morning is important and a wonderful way to meet people. Meeting people is a high priority and can make a trip.It is mostly about human contact and shared experiences and sometimes lifetime friends can be made
Another thing.You can only rely on yourself ultimately.Sometimes people promise things and they don’t materialize so always have a backup plan..
Ultimately stay independent. There is your freedom!
I love meeting local people and learning about the turf . All tips are welcome and if i am invited into their lives i don’t hesitate.
It is important to keep a sense of humor and laugh at yourself . When i travel for me it is the moment that is important and everything passes anyway and i keep that in mind.
When i am in an experience that is frustrating due to delays and circumstances i just let it flow. If people disappoint us i let it go.
Recently in Israel a longtime fb friend who i have always maintained a great contact with couldn’t find 20 minutes in her life to meet me for a coffee in the space of two weeks . Finally she offered up a contrived excuse and then deleted me. It was hurtful for a second but then i thought she missed out and maybe something was happening that i know nothing about. Maybe it was because she was religious.
I don’t know but i moved on quickly. I try not to judge…
That is another thing ..Try not to judge. It is only up to your limited experience and different culture to realize what is happening and usually what you think is happening is not really happening…
Observe daily life. Take time to just sit and watch all that is going on around you.
Park yourself in a cafe or a restaurant and observe. This is what i love to do besides ferret out great food. I love street food and i use my intuition and i ask many questions of the locals for the best places to eat. It doesn’t bother me if i am the only foreigner in a joint. This is also great place to get into a conversation and one thing always leads to another.
When traveling i keep it as healthy as i can regarding food but i am also willing to try anything that appeals to me. I keep a sense of adventure always because this is what this life should be an adventure.
Speaking of adventure i tend to go to places that are off limits ,past closed doors and strange alleys and back streets where most tourists don’t tread.
I have rarely been disappointed and oftentimes escorted out but this is also the adventure and i usually leave with some story. I am a self styled storyteller after all and i go where my nose leads me. If all else fails i speak no English and i am deaf as well..
For example while most tourists go into the Church of the Holy Seplucre where Jesus died and was buried supposedly i climb an ancient narrow staircase to the roof where the Coptic Christians from Egypt dwell in huts in utter poverty.
I discovered this many years ago and it is uber cool.
I like the back alleys and side streets and paths least trampled and i can say that in 40 years nothing bad ever happened.
I tend to over the years get caught up in trouble spots but i always get out.
Recently i was in Jerusalem and i was talking with some soldiers guarding near the Temple Mount area when a mob of angry shouting Arabs came rushing in.
The soldiers quickly mobilized and i was left to my own defenses ducking in a doorway at a moments notice holding my breath until the mob passed.This was to be the first of violent protests just last month. Israeli friends warned me not to go into the Old City but i ignored their warnings and spent every day in the Old City always aware and if my inner voice told me to get out of an area i did.
I also remember being in the Arab sector of the Old City of Jerusalem many years ago when cries of “the Jews are killing us on the Temple Mount “were heard and indeed i heard gunfire and ran to a Yeshiva i knew in the Jewish Quarter and a mentally deranged Jew had stormed the Temple Mount with an M 16 and was shooting Arabs and i was caught in the crosshairs of that situation. I took shelter by a wall as gunshots rang out .
Again i made it.
I have many many stories like this . Somehow i have had guardian angels always watching me.
That could have been me in Barcelona the last day because i like to go there and i stay across from the Israeli restaurant which i frequent that the van stopped in front of.
Luckily i made no plans this time to be there.
Ok back to travel tips.
Splurge sometimes and get that really nice Bed and Breakfast if you want it.
Recently i completed a 6,000 mile journey hosting my friend from San Francisco Bay Area where i live to Memphis via Mississippi and New Orleans . Along the way we mostly stayed at cheap motels but every now and then i booked a pricier place according to our needs at the time. I always leave room in my budget for this. I stayed in Air Bn B’s in Israel and i saved a lot of money…Occasionally i stayed in fancier digs.
Pack light is another thing .I find i need a lot less than i think and i usually travel with one bag even for extended times.
I also carry a scarf which could be sarong because i can use this as a blanket,on the beach ,as a deterrence for dust or as a hat .Many uses. What i don’t have i can buy if necessary along the way. I try to be as light as i can be and also always pack sun shirts and sun hats for swimming and the heat .
Another tip always dress down and try to blend in as much as you can.In all my years i has never been robbed ….
That is all i can think of for now.I will add more thoughts as i go along.