Ten things adventure travel has taught me

The adventure travel bug bit me early, back when I was twenty years old. That was, I shudder to say, more than half my life ago. In that time I’ve been to many places generally considered dangerous–Somaliland, Syria, Iran–yet I’ve come through just fine and made lots of great friendships on the road. I’ve learned some things too. Here are ten things you might want to remember when you go on your own adventure trip.

1. Always shake out your boots before putting them on.

2. Never trust a fat man in a thin country.

3. The more obscure the language, the more people will appreciate you trying to learn it.

4. If you’re a First Worlder visiting the Third World, it doesn’t matter what your social status is back home, here you are rich and everyone knows it.

5. You are far more adaptable than you think.

6. Being there doesn’t make you special. How you handle yourself determines that.

7. Treat the old with respect, the young with affection, and everyone as an equal, and any culture worth visiting will welcome you.

8. You are not a member of the tribe and never will be. That’s not an insult, simply a fact.

9. You can’t fix all the world’s problems, but there are many little things you can do to push it in the right direction.

. . .and most important of all. . .

10. No matter what country you’re in, the majority of people are decent. Many folks who have never been anywhere believe this, and that speaks well of them, but the only way to really know it’s true is to go and check.

I have, and it is.