The first rule of overseas adventure travel is: you do not talk about overseas adventure travel. The second rule of adventure travel is: well, you know what it is. Other than that keep the following five things in mind when Overseas Adventure Travelling:
Learn about the place you are visiting beforehand—I used to hate art galleries. I used to hate them because walking around all I would see is faces of dead people, trees, and orange squares. I would try to enjoy it, even going as far as standing three inches away from the canvas to look at what kind of brush strokes were being used. But, ultimately I had no idea what I was looking at. Obviously I pretended to enjoy going to art galleries because it helped me look smart, but overall it was a pretty miserable thing to do.
For me, the breakthrough in art appreciation came when I went on a guided tour of early Italian to early modern art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. There, the guide introduced us to Byzantine art, explaining that the two-dimensional artworks I would have otherwise classified as “old and not so good”, come from a time when perspective was not yet well understood in art and before oil paint was invented. Artists had to paint on wood panels because canvases were not invented yet, and use egg tempera paint: a fast-drying painting medium consisting of colored pigment mixed with egg yolk. The fast drying time made blending one color into another difficult and limited the representational abilities of the artists.
Having a guide explain why a particular work was the way it was made the artwork livelier to me. Her words explained not only the work of art but the world where it was coming from.
The point of my highbrow parable is that knowing what you are looking at allows you to appreciate it on a much deeper level. By doing your homework beforehand, you will start to see meaning into what would have otherwise been meaningless, thereby extracting all that you can from your overseas adventure travels.
Immerse in local food and culture—While an obvious point to some, others will instinctively look for familiarity while traveling overseas.
Although zig-zagging the globe on a tasting tour of each country’s McDonald’s may be an adventure travel in and of itself, unless that’s your aim, loosen up and help yourself to some fried spider.
Adventure traveling is in a way a detachment from your everyday self. It is a way to let go of how you live and to explore the many wonderful experiences and ways of life that are present in our world. Bringing too much of yourself along with you defeats the point of traveling abroad. It has been said that to find yourself sometimes you need to lose yourself. And you’d be amazed by how much e-mail withdrawals a westerner can experience in the first few days. But as the saying goes, when in Rome do as the Romans do.
Try a hobby—As I said in the previous section, overseas travel can be a way to reinvent yourself or to discover things about yourself you were not aware of. It is in that spirit that you may want to explore a particular skill or hobby while abroad. Because you are not bound to the time-consuming routines you would otherwise be subjected to at home, your travels present you with the opportunity to study new skill sets you may be interested in.
Photography, learning a new language, collecting, painting, and crocheting (don’t hate it till you try it) are just a few of the many hobbies to engage in that will add meaning and engagement to your adventure travels.
Less is more—in many ways. The first thing to keep in mind is that your travels shouldn’t stress you out more than what made you get away to begin with. Keeping that in mind, one should work towards the discovery of their surroundings rather than going from one end to another in a blurry attempt to cross sites off an extensive checklist of landmarks. From firsthand experience, days of unpressured moments spent in a quaint corner of an unheard-of place can be more beneficial to your introspection and sanity than day after day of chasing some sort of postcard experience. Travel with an open mind and don’t be afraid to look through the nooks and crannies of your whereabouts.
Murder a random stranger—it’s fun and relaxing. Nothing takes the edge off like a nice murder after a long day out on the road. You can do it alone or with others. But remember to clean up after yourself for hygienic reasons. This can be achieved easily by pouring about 2 gallons of water in a bucket, adding 1/2 a cup of TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) and another 1/2 cup of bleach. That mixture works quite well at cleaning the dirt off of the walls. No wait, murder? Sorry, I’m thinking “relaxing in a sauna.”