15 Commandments of a Happy Traveler
Being happy on the road does not translate to enjoying oneself or having fun alone. It also means knowing how to keep bad vibes away to make room for other things that define an experience and a story to tell.
And so I shall:
1. See what people come here to see with originality. (i.e., I shall try to look at and appreciate a popular destination with my own eyes.)
2. Try local cuisines my destination has to offer because trying a strange food even if I find out later that I was wrong about it should be fun.
3. Talk to people, connect with the locals and listen to their stories, be polite and gracious about mistakes of other people.
4. Always smile at people, even when I’m awfully lost, starving, broke, miserable, etc..
5. Aim to witness the glorious sunrise because the earliest to rise are the happiest of travelers. And it’s not everyday I wake up in a strange place.
6. Check the weather before I leave the house, because too much rain isn’t fun in the Philippines.
7. Support businesses, stores, and restaurants owned by the locals because most of the time, they make my travel experience more authentic.
8. Avoid getting wasted partying all night because it will ruin my itinerary the next day and my Facebook wall with those hideous photos or worse, videos.
9. Keep my eyes open for experiences that aren’t described in my research or travel guide book.
10. NOT judge other people, even if they’re as irritating as the local tricycle driver (who asked for a hyperinflated fare, which will probably be used to finance tonight’s drinking session with his buddies.) And I shall remind myself, I shall not judge other people.
11. Appreciate the sight first and absorb its beauty before taking photos for my Instagram.
12. Try my best to keep myself calm when the lights go out and I’m the only guest in the hotel or the boat seems too small for the waves or a storm hits exactly where I am because these things happen.
13. Respect the environment by confining my appreciation to watching nature and wildlife and being responsible for my own garbage, because those who understand that they don’t need to take anything or leave a trace for whatever reason are the truly happy ones.
14. Remind myself and others: Safety Before Selfie.
15. Lastly, I shall treat problems I encounter on the road as a challenge, difficulty as an adventure, and tight situation as an opportunity to discover the best of me.
What is your personal travel commandment to keep yourself happy on the road?
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Des Cambaliza is a traveler, nature lover, and an entrepreneur who tries to capture in photos how she sees the world.