“The cities of the interior are vast and do not lie on any map.” -Jeannette Winterson
When you travel you take risks. Why? Because every road, river, and railway presents an opportunity to discover new scenery being born within. Each mountain peak, each shimmering shoreline, every color of dirt and soil imaginable reveals yet another shade of light in the beautiful prism of life. But to see it, to see yourself reflected in the faces and places around you, you must take a chance.
Will you answer the call? Will you say yes to adventure? Will you dive head first into the deep waters of discovery?
Here are six ways you can answer YES and take a risk while traveling. Warning: Feelings of joy, adrenaline, enthusiasm and ALIVENESS are almost guaranteed to follow. Read on if you’re ready to throw caution to the wind and learn to soar!
1. Change your name
Research shows you are more likely to take risks and reach beyond your comfort zone if you give yourself a new name and adopt an alter ego or personality. Think Clark Gable and Superman. When you give yourself a new identity, you let go of some of the limiting fears or perceptions of who you are and how you should behave. This can bring a sense of playfulness and freedom that will only enhance your travels!
2. Forget the map and turn off your GPS
Do you know what people used to do before cell phones? They got lost. A lot. And they asked strangers (yes strangers) for help and directions. And those strangers usually helped them and gave them advice about where to go and what to eat, and maybe even invited them to share a meal or a drink at the local pub.
Doesn’t that sound nice? Try it. Just for a day and see what happens.
3. Eat the street food
You know the type I’m talking about. Where the man or woman is serving heaping piles of steaming hot food and they aren’t even wearing any gloves. Where there are flies buzzing in and around the small stand with a line of people in front of it. Where the smell wafting under your nose smells so tempting, so delicious, so…unlike anything you’ve ever smelled before you have no idea what it could possibly be.
Now’s the time to find out. Gather up your courage and a handful of change in the local currency. Stand in line before you talk yourself out of it and let the aroma soothe your empty belly. All you have to do is point and nod. Once you have the food in your hands, close your eyes and take a bite, letting all of the flavors soak into your soul.
4. Ride a donkey
There are many ways to get from point A to B. If you’re having a hard time being creative, just watch the locals. In Ghana they crowd into tro-tros, old, beat up mini vans crowded with people headed to the market. In Guatemala you can ride the chicken bus. In Greece, try riding a donkey up and down the steep island cliffs.
You could also hanglide, roller blade, walk, swim, sail, hitch hike, climb, rappel, or hop on the back of a piki-piki. No matter which mode of transportation you choose, it will definitely be an adventure all on its own!
5. Sleep under the stars
Every culture has a nighttime ritual that’s just slightly (or a lot) different from anywhere else in the world. Where and how we sleep can say a lot about our waking hours, too. If you’ve never slept under the night sky before, now’s the time. If that’s not for you, try sleeping on a boat, in a teepee, or in a tree house. Let the sounds and sensations fill your dream life with new vitality and wonder.
6. Let go of your expectations
Our mind is constantly comparing things to each other. New, old, fun, boring, sweet, salty, etc. When we travel, we can get caught up in always thinking of how things are different or unfamiliar compared to what we’re used to. Instead of listening to the chatter of pros and cons, try being present. It’s a huge risk to let go of how we think things should be and just accept them as they are. In my experience, it’s a risk worth taking.