1. Traveling will not automatically make you a better person. If you’re a terrible person at home, you’ll be a terrible person in a foreign country.

Above: At the temple of Bayon at Angkor, Cambodia.

Above: A face at the temple of Bayon at Angkor, Cambodia.

2. Everywhere is pretty much the same. There are good people and bad people. There are neat things to see and lame things to see. There is good food and bad food. There is good weather and bad weather.

3. Never trust anyone who says that Place X or Thing Y is (or is not) worth seeing or doing. The only way to know is to go see or do it for yourself.

4. You don’t have to see everything. The sooner you internalize that, the happier your travels will be. If you’re tired of visiting temples or churches or museums, stop visiting them.

5. Bad things do happen, but they won’t happen to you.

6. “Spend money on experiences, not things” is stupid advice. You can clutter up your life with experiences just as easily as with things. Spend money on both experiences and things that make your life better.

7. It’s OK to go to a McDonald’s or KFC in a foreign country.

8. You need far less than what you think you need, and the less attached you are to what you do have, the less stressed you will be.

9. Small differences between cultures are more interesting than big ones.

10. You talk louder than you need to.

11. At every opportunity, visit places where lots of people suffered or died. You and I haven’t earned the right to be ignorant of the bad things that happen in the world.

12. You won’t regret trying new foods.


My new book Himalayan Pilgrim: A Chronicle of Independent Trekking Through Nepal’s Less-Traveled Regions is free for the rest of the week. Be sure to download it (and leave a review!) if you haven’t already.