Being driven by a singing, one-armed taxi driver 600km in Botswana, hitch hiking in a cargo boat through Burma and China, drinking in the toilet cubicles on a 14 hour train with no seat ticket – awesome experiences, and ones that don’t come from studying our Lonely Planet inside out.
When I reel off some of the crazy stuff that’s happened to me over the years, it brings a genuine smile to my face. All these memories warm my soul more even than the thought of seeing the Taj Mahal, The Pyramids of Giza or Petra, it’s always about the people.
Sitting in hostels, meeting fellow travelers, I often hear people say to me “That’s so cool Johnny, wow but that kinda sh*t just doesn’t happen to me”, and a few people nod in agreement. “Wow, you’re so lucky that happened, must have been amazing”
Maybe the stars aligned and allowed me that experience, maybe I hang a rabbit’s foot around my neck, maybe I collect four leaf clovers and stuff them into my pants each and every morning. Or maybe it’s something else.
Amazing things happen to people because they put themselves out there, they’re open to propositions, they chat to random people, they invariably say ‘yes’ more than ‘no’.
If you want to attend a wedding in Malaysia, don’t stay in the ‘Rasta hostel’ with all the other backpackers for a week. If you want to drink tea with old Japanese men then you won’t get that from eating in McDonalds in Tokyo.
When you’re on the road, strive to be different. Be open to everything, never say no. Sit down with strangers, smile at the local girl in the corner, buy that guy a beer.
In fact, apply this not only when you travel but in every corner of your life, remember if you do what you always do, you’re gonna get what you always get. And if you’re not satisfied with what you’re currently getting then change something. Our world is full of amazing people doing amazing things, and guess what folks… they’re not lucky, they made it happen. Now what are you gonna make happen? Happy travels.