Listening - Travel's Greatest Skill
Try listening; and you'll discover the best that travel has to offer. Great journeys require attention to details: local situations, people and cultures, as well as your fellow travelers.
is indeed one of life's greatest skills. Whether it's interacting with your environment, your family, your friends, or your hopes and fears... Whether it's taking the pulse of your favorite customers, the stock market, or the process of cooking your favorite recipe, all require a level of attention that matters and gets things done.
Great travel also requires that full attention, the attention to details, to surroundings, and to local cultures and people. You will be rewarded with eye-opening insights, special friendships, and some soul-flipping revelations. You will find out what's good, and what is bad.
Simply ask an open question such as "What's good to do or see around here?" and stand back. Maybe you'll take in a local hockey game in German Bavaria. Or discover a locals-only trail through the mountains. Or enjoy a Ma and Pa Restaurant in Australia. Or ride a special railroad in Wales. Or actually find your way out of the Casaba in Fez, Morocco.
People take too many spoon-fed tours with sites shared by hundreds and listen to stories told to thousands. Don't you want more?
Look through the guide book, visit a tourist board or ask a local to get ideas. Does it sound good? Or boring? Ask if there's more. Is there something special happening nearby?
Learn to eat where the locals hang out. Visit the unusual. Take the factory, beer, or a woolen yarn tour. Find out what the locals take pride in.
In other words make a plan, follow it, and listen for the fantastic, the interesting. Change directions when it sounds too good to be true and do that instead.
In the 1980s, my girlfriend and I change our plans while touring in Venice, the perfect city for romance. We decide to leave the tourist area and walk down one alley after another. No direction in mind. Seeing what we'll see. Hearing what we'll hear. We became tired and hungry, ready to stop at any place for dinner. We decide on a restaurant displaying the Italian Communist Party Flag. It seems the thing to do.
The food is Italian at its tasty best. While we are there, a make-shift Communist Party Meeting began. We start to laugh, but play along just the same. Communist Party song sheets in Italian are handed out, but we have no idea what the words mean. After a little persuasion, we join in singing Communist songs as if we are at an Italian football (soccer) match. What a time we had! All this happens, because we listen to that little voice in our head that told us to do something new.
It was great.
As Yogi Berra once said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."
Remember, it takes time to make mistakes and to have adventures. This is travel, not seeing one more museum or visiting one more church.
Remember, sweet listening works...
Here is a quick list of Travel Secrets I found out about on my trips. I hope it helps you in your search for better travel:
Go to the Page on My Way to Travel
Nervous about travel?
Travel is Scary
Learn to Like Yourself as You Are
Time Slows Down when Traveling
KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid
The Power of the Open Question
Ask the Unbusy Police Officer
Ask the Locals - They know
Listening - An Important Skill in Travel
Contrast the Old and the New
Some Unusual Travel Insights
Be a Good Guest
Take a Walk - Relax - Enjoy Good Travel
Get Lost on a Bus - I Dare You
Change Course - Follow Someone Else's Idea of a Good Trip
Good Exercise is a Travel Bonus
Interacting with Children in a Foreign Land
Treatment of Americans Abroad
After All - It's Your Vacation