Traveling: Enjoying your destination

Dear Traveler,

I would assume that you have thought about this holiday thoroughly and your activities are exactly how you like them. Not to mention you have the best buddies along with you.

Having said that then I have a few more tips to help you enjoy your holiday.

1.  Smile and get ready to be surprised!

I find it amusing that those who expect great things to happen in their trip actually get them. While those who have expressed many many concerns even before they set foot in their destination either worried unnecessarily or got exactly what they worried about.

You are on a holiday, in a place unknown to you. Everything is new and is potentially an experience: good or bad. Savor it, enjoy and welcome what you would learn.

Although ample preparation may be in the works before you go on board, let go once you start with your holiday. Isn't that the essence of your vacation?

2. Talk to people.

Sometimes you find yourself in a group tour. Sometimes you encounter locals in the grocery store. Talk to them. Say hello.

I once went to a two day trip in Saigon and spent the first day talking to the people I am already with. During lunch time when the group settled in a restaurant, I saw groups of people who at the start of the trip were strangers to each other having a lively conversation and sharing trivia about their other travels.

The next day, I resolved to sit apart from my own group and sat down beside someone unknown to me. I have gained a friend, shared my stories and gained much more of hers. I learned that she was from Canada, that after graduation she has spent all her graduation gift traveling across Europe and now that she is working, celebrated her 2nd year of work with a month long holiday across Asia. I felt like I have opened a book and was whisked away to holidays I may take years to fulfill.

In another occasion, I was with a group in Coron, Palawan talking about the places I have in my bucket list. The night ended with 20 more locations added to that list and 6 more friends to boot.

They say the best guides in our destinations are locals who are happy about their place. Who would tell you its secrets, scandals, history, events, people and many more. No travel book can give you a more accurate picture.

3. Drop it. 

Drop  your iPad, Android, games, books, emails and anything that would keep you away from what is in front of you.

Be PRESENT. Notice the little things. The sound of the native dialect. The past time of people in the streets, the things on sale, the smell of the stores, the general mood of the place, the wardrobe, the school uniforms, the reaction of people,  the humidity, the color of the place, anything that is outside YOUR ORDINARY.

Not to mention be mindful of instructions, meeting places, schedule and reminders from your guide is any :)

It is easy to enjoy your holiday when you go out there with an open mind and willingness to discover and learn.