Article – Paul Gioffi Well Weathered Edition 8Michelle @ ISR2018-04-23T05:13:57-07:00
Travel Survival Notes & Other Curious Observations
Monthly Travel Column by Paul W. Gioffi
Disclaimer: While travel can be exciting and rewarding there are unforeseen dangers that may arise. The Information presented in Paul’s articles is the author’s personal opinion and what may have worked for him yesterday may not work for someone else today or tomorrow. Therefore, you agree to use any and all information provided by the author at your own risk and agree that you will hold the author and ISR harmless in regard to any and all instances that may arise or result from use of this material.
Following, you’ll find travel tips number 23, 24 and 25 from Paul W. Gioffi. To read the introduction to this column which began in February of 2006 please see Edition 1. To access other previous editions please see the Index.
Entry 23: No Time Like the Present
There are some would-be travel gurus who will tongue lash you for milling away at your job week after week without a break, and submitting to the nine to five grind. They may even try to persuade you that since time is quickly slipping away without your noticing, you should drop everything, sell your house and car, extricate yourself from ‘the system’ and hit the road. Exchange your hum-drum life for exotica? Well, this is not for everyone. In fact, many enjoy their profession, wearing a white collar shirt and necktie, and participating in what the work-world has to offer. I believe it’s up to each individual to evaluate their own life, their own progress and determine the positives and negatives of their employment vicissitudes. There’s value in stepping out of your own shoes every now and then; to pan out and view the big picture of where you are in life, where you’ve been, and where you’re going. Yes, I also believe that if you’re going to do something, you should do it well or not at all. You don’t, however, always need to take things to one extreme or the other. It’s certainly possible to do multiple things equally well, while doing them in moderation, and still fulfill your aspirations.
Entry 24: Down and Dirty
When you do finally decide to make a move, avoid the four star hotels; there’s plenty of those where you came from. When the time is right, don’t be afraid to get down and dirty with the locals. Something special will occur when you abandon the familiar and jump into someone else’s shoes for a while. You both may learn something new. That’s where the real flavor of humanity bursts through. See things from a different point of view. You’ll find that your kindness, curiosity and enthusiasm will be reciprocated and both parties will come away with a far more satisfying and enlightening experience. Find the local denizens. The lady who sells newspapers on the corner or the fellow who tends a nearby bar will certainly have interesting and accurate knowledge about exciting things to do in the area and may even extend an invitation. Book-lovers try to contain yourselves and limit your novel readings to the train, plane and bus rides that become boring. Don’t spend your vacation in a hotel room with your nose in a book that you could very well have read at home. Take full advantage of the time and place your visiting. Also, avoid the well-trodden tourist routes as the typical package deals are usually overpriced and culturally sterile compared to what you can find on your own. Have you ever heard of taking the road less traveled making all the difference in the world?
Entry 25: We Have Confirmation
Sometimes, you may find that no matter how many times you confirmed your reservation, your accommodation, the train departure time, the bus arrival time or the first act of this evening’s play – it has changed. Even if I have already asked someone for a piece of information and they reassure me that what they’re saying is 100% accurate, I always get a second and third opinion. It’s not that I didn’t trust the first person, or the advertisement on the corner kiosk, but things sometimes are not what they seem. On some occasions, I’ve received three different sets of directions from three different people (which is quite possible, just confusing). Not wanting to get ripped off, I’ll usually ask several different people the price of a ticket only to get three different answers none of which correspond to the amount listed in my guidebook. This is still okay, as now you at least have a price range to keep in mind when making the purchase. In some cases you may be completely on your own. Look upon this as an opportunity to practice your accent with the locals. If you’re not linguistically adroit or just too plain shy, then fine tune your ears to conversations in your vicinity. You never know what important piece of information you’ll overhear. Prices fluctuate without warning, opening and closing times change, schedules are altered at the last minute, people don’t always tell the truth, people change their minds, and none of us can control the weather. Try not to become too frustrated with things that are really beyond your control.
I hope you have enjoyed this month’s edition of Well-Weathered Travel Survival Notes & Other Curious Observations. Check back next month for a new entry. Until then, safe travels. Contact me at Well_Weathered@yahoo.com