Lessons From Traveling: Just Say Yes

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One of my favorite traveling companions is my friend Liz, who is one of those people with the amazing ability to instantly make friends wherever she goes and is always full of fascinating stories about her adventures. After taking a couple trips with her, I suddenly realized how she does it, and since then have made her habit my personal travel philosophy. It's simple: she always says yes.

Whether it's a stranger striking up a conversation in a train, an unusual new food on the menu, or an invitation to an event that wasn't on your itinerary, travel inevitably involves facing the unfamiliar — which often feels intimidating, even a little terrifying. It's much easier for me to bury my head in a book, order the dish I know I like, or head back to the hotel early but, inspired by Liz, I try not to take the easy way out. Instead, I say YES to what scares me. I always get more out of a trip when I do.

This isn't to say that common sense should fly out the window — I didn't say yes to the creepy man who offered me a ride from the airport in Delhi, for example — but more than anything, I see travel as an excuse to open myself up to new experiences and shake off the usual numbing routines. After all, if I can't say yes when I'm on vacation, away from my job, my computer and my responsibilities at home, well — when can I?

How about you? Do you try to say yes to new experiences when you travel?

(Image: Flickr member iluvcocacola licensed under Creative Commons)

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