Like many EO members, when I travel, I like to stay in the best hotels and enjoy the luxuries my success can afford. But for my wife (Jennifer) and I, the most priceless experience is not found in the VIP section.
We have a passion for adventure travel; specifically, learning about a country through taking the less-traveled roads, seeing sights that most tourists don’t see, and living with local people that have never met a tourist. If done right, we will feel out of your comfort zone, but rest assured, this is where the magic happens.
Somehow, when you need a ride, one shows up; when you are hungry, a meal appears. I call this serendipity, and it is incredibly powerful because when you let go of planning, you let good, spontaneous things come your way. Serendipity happens most in locations that don’t have tourists, because locals will see you as interesting and they are usually happy to help. Plus, you will likely find a community of adventurer travelers from around the world, and they will share their best experiences.
In my experience, there are some key requirements to having a once-in-a-lifetime experience:
- Lonely Planet travel guides are critical.
- Packing light is a must.
- Learning the basics of local languages goes a long way.
- Bringing your children will be great for them, but it will change the dynamics of your trip.
- You must accept that a little discomfort will be well worth it.
- A good waterproof camera and an eye for hidden beauty will allow you to relive the adventure.
The results of years of traveling this way have given us a strong marriage, a world view that is based on personal observation (not television), optimism that the world is full of mostly kind people and hidden beauty, confidence that I can thrive in any environment and affirmation that my material possessions aren’t needed for my happiness.
My wife and I have been traveling like this for years, and have “collected” many locations around the world, but I can’t take credit for building our lives this way. My aunt and uncle regaled me as a child with their adventures, traveling to approximately 200 countries and building a legendary marriage in the process.
My wife and I will be in Istanbul for the EO 25th Anniversary, and afterward, we are headed to the less-traveled roads and villages of Turkey to open our eyes and minds to our world and to each other. Hopefully, we will see you there.