65 Lessons from the Road 2 Elsewhere

Everything you need to know about travel, in twelve words or less (mostly)

I hold these travel truths to be self evident:

  1. The destination is optional. Attentiveness is all.
  2. A new place means a new mindset.
  3. A train ride is a narrative.

4. Travel doesn’t only broaden, it lengthens (understanding), it deepens (empathy), and it extends (attention).

5. National Parks are jammed. National Monuments are all yours.

  1. The early morning is an exclusive club. Join it.
  2. Go one place and stay there. Flitting is for horseflies.
  3. Go where they ain’t.
  4. A rainy day means you’ll have places all to yourself.
  5. One destination per day; let serendipity hijack your agenda.
  6. Take a picnic.
  7. In a new city? Go for a run. You see so much at foot speed.
  8. Rent a bike in Amsterdam. Ride the subway in Paris. Take a pedicab in Kathmandu.
  9. Eat where the locals eat. Follow them at dinnertime.
  10. France has 1,600 varieties of cheese. England has 8,000 real ales. Swedish grocery stores carry at least 24 flavors of herring.
  11. Lunch is always cheaper than dinner. Breakfast is cheapest of all.
  12. Schedule a year of vacation days on January 1st. Stick to the schedule.
  13. A ferry ride changes the subject from the mainland.
  14. “Life is a bridge. Cross over it, but build no house on it.”
    — Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines
  1. When all about you are speaking a different language, you’re in the right place.
  2. Curiosity is a passport.
  3. Travel isn’t supposed to be easy, if you’re doing it right.
  4. I have seen a little of the Eastern seas; but what I remember best is my first voyage there. You fellows know there are those voyages that seem ordered for the illustration of life, that might stand for a symbol of existence. You fight, work, sweat, nearly kill yourself, sometimes do kill yourself, trying to accomplish something — and you can’t.” — Joseph Conrad, Youth.
  5. If the itinerary scares you, you’re about to learn something.
  6. Work as hard at planning your time off as you do at planning your work.
  7. Who needs to sit on the beach? Relax when you’re dead.
  8. Restaurants are culture you can eat.
  9. Hire the local tour guide; ask a million questions.
  10. If you bother to learn Italian, you’ll be welcomed from Trentino to Sicily.
  11. The British are bad at dinner, but really good at candy and cookies.
  12. Airbnb means you’re a local, everywhere.
  13. When choosing street-food vendors, the longest line wins.
  14. Travel helps you redefine how often you need to shower, or wash your underwear.
  15. In France, the waiter won’t make you pay up until you ask. That’s why it’s a great civilization.
  16. Souvenirs should fill your mind, not your suitcase.
  17. Collect people.
  18. An expensive meal means you pay attention to every bite.
  19. Keep a travel journal. Revisit your destination by opening it.
  20. From my journal, on September 11, 1978, in Paris: “Things not to forget:
  • The old hungry man in the Metro who walked along shouting in the faces of selected victims, and remember their stunned anger at having been thus affronted. (No one will sit next to an old hungry man.)
  • The grillwork at the door of the Alliance Francaise, where cigarette butts choke the small space between iron rungs and dust from countless shoes builds in the crevices.
  • The mice playing among the train tracks, looking for cast-off morsels of food.
  • The public lovers’ quarrel that drew a crowd in the alley.
  • The young child discovers his dominion over the weak as he chases the startled and nervous pigeons around the Jardin, finally causing them to take flight for another grassy plot.”
  1. You can own a place by drawing it.
  1. If I can draw, you can too.
  2. Read a book that’s set where you’re traveling.
  3. The longer in advance you plan a trip, the longer you have to enjoy it.
  4. The stimulation of a new place is a potent form of foreplay.
  5. Travel can make or break a relationship. Good! Or good riddance!
  6. No, you’re not too cool to sit on top of the double-decker bus.
  7. Don’t know what you’re eating, exactly? Welcome to China!
  8. Golden hours: sunrise, sunset, and you, to collect the gold.

9. Smile in Moscow. Shock the locals.

  1. Don’t just snap the picture. Hang around for the story.
  2. Have a question? Uber/Lyft drivers know the answer.
  3. Sharing a bottle of wine takes time. So it’s worth the price.
  1. I was not then guilt-ridden about spending the afternoon that way, because I still had all the afternoons in the world.” Joan Didion, Goodbye to All That.
  2. Go someplace cool (Red Square, the Jardin du Luxembourg, Lafayette Cemetery #1 in New Orleans). Just sit there.
  3. You’re not just occupying a table in a restaurant, you’re renting the space. Enjoy the view.
  4. If you’re stuck in a small town in the midwest, go to a little-league baseball game.
  5. Learn the local flowers.
  6. The moon is a companion and a teacher, all the world ‘round.
  7. Memory is a free voucher for a return trip.
  8. Travel is a feeling, not a destination.
  9. “I had no idea about things I came across, but all the feelings were already familiar to me. I had conceived nothing; I had felt everything. These confused emotions, that I experienced in rapid succession, did not in any way distort my ability to reason, as yet unformed; but they created within me one of another calibre and gave me bizarre and romantic notions about human existence, which experience and reflection have never been able to cure me of.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Confessions.
  10. Don’t worry. No, really.
  11. “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.” Charles M. Schulz.
  12. Go there.
  13. Go elsewhere.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Road 2 Elsewhere by Peter Moore

Road 2 Elsewhere by Peter Moore

Road 2 Where, Exactly? Hope you’ll join me for this picnic.