At 12,320 feet on a cloud obscured road in the Ecuadorian Andes, with visibility close to nothing, our bus could not get traction. We had already been slippin', slidin' and fishtailing for half an hour. At five AM, daylight was not due for a full 47 minutes.
For those of us who enjoy international cuisine, eating local specialties while traveling is the best of two worlds. Meals don’t always have to be in fine dining establishments where pricing can be astronomical - you can relish terrific flavors from a food cart, on a picnic, or from the local supermarket.
Recently, a guy I met in Panajachel, Guatemala was having numerous problems getting money because he lost his wallet with both of his ATM cards inside. Eventually, he will receive replacement cards, but only after personal aggravation and the disruption of his daily schedule. This got me to thinking. Since we don't want this same situation to happen to you, we put together some useful points to consider. Take advantage of what we know!
When in a western country, finding table salt is no big deal. Any grocery store carries it, and usually in several varieties and brands. It’s easy to find. However, today I went looking for some table salt in Jinghong, China.
Over the last three decades of financial independence, Billy and I have done some extensive world travel. While we have seen the large cities, the amazing architecture, eaten in some of the finest restaurants and enjoyed museums, plays, and concerts, generally, we are attracted to Village Life.
Recently I read an article about happiness and how we can increase its presence in our lives. The premise of the piece was that frequent, small pleasures increase our happiness level far more than one big pleasure. We adapt to a big pleasure until it becomes routine for us, so the new car we were so excited about when we purchased it, becomes mundane over time. The beautiful flooring and the exquisite bedroom set we just had to have all becomes ordinary as time passes.
Billy and I have been traveling the globe for almost three decades. Within those international trips we have noticed that humans intrinsically desire to be free. For the most part you and I enjoy our freedoms. We have control over our finances, we can drive a car whenever we choose to do so, and if you are reading this, chances are you have a background of education and experience from having lived your life. But there are other ways we close ourselves off from freedom and with a little sense of adventure and a change of perspective, you can gain those freedoms back. Take a look at some suggestions below.
A few months ago, I was enjoying a cappuccino with a girlfriend at a local café and catching up on each other’s lives. “What have you been up to lately, Jo?” I asked eagerly. “Rearranging the rocks in my basket” she said matter-of-factly. I have been to Jo’s home for fun, food, and holiday festivities. She has a wonderful indoor-outdoor living style with a hand carved hot tub in her side garden. Curious, I asked her what she meant. Did she have a new rock garden in her back yard? Has she been collecting some of the local semi-precious stones around Guatemala?
Bargaining, a dance between buyer and seller, is integral in these cultures. It is through this negotiation on the terms of an exchange that both participants learn a great deal about the other person. However, personal interaction is an important ingredient in bargaining cultures, and by eliminating this unspoken, under-the-surface dialogue, there would no longer be the dance.
Wherever we want to go, whether it’s to the grocery store or the next town, we simply jump into our cars and start driving... But the situation is different in a foreign country. Taxis are cheap, and there are other transport choices like tuk tuks, local buses or bicycle driven taxis.