Eat, Pray, Love...and Travel
I started it. And I love her writing. A woman who says, "Because God never slams a door in your face without opening a box of Girl Scout cookies" gets it.
It's made me think about who I am as a traveler.
I like to be alone when I travel. I don't go out of my way to make friends. I like the solitude of a hotel room at night. (I should add then when I'm working all day and often into the evening, I am with people I really like though, and some of them are or become friends.)
I'm not good at languages. I can understand much, much more Spanish that I can speak, and I'm not one of those travelers who ask what all sorts of words are and then repeats them. I try to learn a few polite phrases--thank you, hello--and leave it at that.
I'm not an adventurous eater. I'm pretty conservative, and rarely get sick.
I don't worry much about things going wrong. I figure I can work things out as I go. Left in the airport in Addis Ababa with no money and no ride? Wait. Talk to the cleaning people. Figure it out. Things have a way of solving themselves, given time.
I try to let mistakes go. So I tipped the kid $15 for carrying my bag because I didn't have the money figured out yet? Oh well. Lucky kid.
I don't read much about a country until I get there.
What makes me a good traveler is that I love travel. Deep down in my soul it makes me happy. Travel memories collect in my head. I remember men on a spiritual journey to the Ganges. I think about kids in the orphanage in Madagascar. I recall being given so many mangos and Cokes in one day in Bangladesh that I felt sick. I can hear young men in Mali playing guitars hooked up to the car battery.
Life is sweet. I'm looking forward to Rwanda...and Guatemala.