Rolf Potts on Travel Tactics, Creating Time Wealth, and Lateral Thinking

341 Comments

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“War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.” – Rolf Potts

“If in doubt, just walk until your day becomes interesting.” – Rolf Potts

Rolf Potts is the author of Vagabonding (hear the audio book sample here), one of my favorite books of all-time.  It was one of just two books (the other was Walden) that I carried with me around the world from 2004-2005.  Those adventures led directly to The 4-Hour Workweek.

World travel doesn’t have to be a wealthy person’s sport. In this often hilarious conversation, Rolf and I dig deep into travel tactics, creating time wealth, “managing success,” and much more.  It’s a fun romp through every imaginable topic, from business to poetry, and from Wall Street to psychedelics.

Enjoy!


This podcast is brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results.

This episode is also brought to you by ExOfficio, which I’ve personally used since 2005 or so. They make ultra-lightweight, quick drying, antimicrobial clothing for men and women. Here’s my own ultra-light packing list (scroll down for video), which went viral.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What are the most valuable lessons (or tricks) you’ve learned through travel? Please share your story in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes.

Do you enjoy this podcast? If so, please leave a short review here. It keeps me going…

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Selected Links from the Episode

Part I

Part II

Connect with Rolf Potts:

Show Notes

Part I

  • Converting travel fantasies into realities and the time-wealth principle [2:30]
  • Deconstructing and defining success, money, and freedom [12:00]
  • The time-strapped billionaire paradox [14:10]
  • Resources to fight the fears associated with world travel [25:09]
  • How new collaborative consumption technologies affect the long-term travel experience [29:00]
  • JP Morgan’s trip to Egypt, and what we can learn about business on the road [40:56]
  • Vacations and their effect on creative output [42:55]
  • When to leave the optimize-for-efficiency mindset behind [44:32]
  • Can you replicate travel benefits with a “staycation”? [51:37]
  • Exploring appreciation vs. achievement [54:08]
  • Rolf Potts’ writing process + “Swoopers” and “Bashers” [59:54]

Part II

  • The breakthrough for Potts in his writing: structure learned from screenwriting tomes [1:00]
  • Vagabonding and the therapeutic use of psychedelics [7:00]
  • The art of getting lost, and the benefits of getting lost [8:05]
  • What it’s like to teach writing in Paris, and who is a good fit for the class [16:15]
  • Thoughts on a mid-career Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) [22:13]
  • “Success management” and her champions: Dave Chapelle and John Hughes? [35:26]
  • Rapid-fire questions: Grizzly Man, Con Air, the love of poetry, and more [41:45]

People Mentioned

Part I

Part II

Posted on: November 4, 2014.

Watch The Tim Ferriss Experiment, the new #1-rated TV show with "the world's best human guinea pig" (Newsweek), Tim Ferriss. It's Mythbusters meets Jackass. Shot and edited by the Emmy-award winning team behind Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Here's the trailer.

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Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

341 comments on “Rolf Potts on Travel Tactics, Creating Time Wealth, and Lateral Thinking

    • You hit the nail on th head. Even if we don’t all have the privilege to travel world wide, we can still arrive at the same conclusion; humans are basically the same world over; broken and in need of salvation.

      Like

    • People know I travel a lot and I wait for them to ask about my latest adventure, then they are ready to hear it and I am glad to tell it. But if I came into work saying “Oh wow was Italy great!!!” I would be creating envy in those that had to pick up the slack in my absence or remind some of their leaner pocketbook….

      Like

      • What others think doesn’t matter. They choose their opinions, not you. If you aren’t comfortable with their response, don’t say anything. Enjoy your travels!

        Like

  1. Hi Tim,

    Thanks so much for your awesome podcast.

    Some feedback then future guest suggestion.

    I love your deadpan or total non-responses to your guests’ huge accomplishments or incredible philanthropic achievements (and I’m not being sarcastic). The guest says something like, “I cured cancer last year,” and you’re like, “Ok, so moving on, what is your favorite book to give away?” As a listener, it kind of throws us off and it reminds us that we’re not listening to a typical interviewer. For me, it also makes me feel like, yeah, I should be thinking those things are normal and maybe even doing them too. For the guest, I would imagine it is a nice change from the typical ass-kissing response that they’re used to getting.

    For a future guest suggestion, I would like to recommend Nicholas Kristof (“American journalist, author, op-ed columnist, and a winner of two Pulitzer Prizes.”) I think you would connect with him over writing, travel, and the ability to take complicated things and simplify them. He has interviewed super scary drug lords in Africa, rescued girls from brothels in India, and done a bunch of other badass things while seeming like a completely mild mannered guy. But what I like about him is he took my huge question of “With all the charities and causes out there, where do I put my time and money to really change the world?” and answered it: Educate girls. That’s it. And he’ll tell you how that has a domino effect to solve hunger, terrorism…you name it. He seems like a really cool guy and I would love to know more about him.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The most valuable thing I learned though travel is advanced social skills. When you are in a foreign language environment your mind gets automatically more attuned to reading facial micro expressions and body language and your own gestures become more expressive as well. As a traveler you are also forced to interact with other people at a much higher rate that you usually do at home. Asking for directions, asking someone to explain how something work, asking about local customs, making polite conversation with other travelers and hospitality workers and if the chemistry is right having deep meaningful conversation with certain special people you meet on your journey. Which are surprisingly many. All that experience, if you use it consciously and purposefully, builds social skills at an exponential rate that is impossible to get at home. So if you want to become a mix of Patrick Jane and Dr. Cal Lightman travel to non English speaking countries far, far away😉

    Like

  3. I was wondering when you would track him down. It is on my phone and I will be listening on my way to my W2 job. Gotta get rid of that.

    Thanks for bringing great guests time and time again.

    Like

  4. Travel especially backpacking is a great source of inspiration as an entrepreneur. Seeing different cultures and ways of doing things can spark an idea. (Looking forward to open the first しゃぶしゃぶ or 居酒屋 chain in Berlin :P).

    In addition, back packing without a detailed plan, gives you time to ground yourself again and listen to your inner self again.
    #VIP

    Like

  5. To get the most from traveling use Airbnb or Dwellable to stay in the home of a local. Engage your host in discussions that lead to learning tricks and tips in sightseeing, restaurants, activities. The host can be a wealth of information and can offer less expensive alternatives (including lodging costs) than you might have been expecting.

    Like

  6. Get an Airbnb apartment about 2-3 kms from the city center and walk every day. Save money and keep fit.
    Try Intermittent fasting. Most international breakfasts are no different, so again, you save money, a heap of time and get fit.
    #VIP

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t have a tip but I do have a request. Any tips or tricks for traveling with 4 kids and 2 adults. I find it quite costly even to start planning large trips. We basically plan small excursions within driving distance but would love ideas on inexpensive options and places to go. #vip

    Like

  8. “If in doubt, just walk until your day becomes interesting.” – Rolf Potts
    Fantastic advice and something I’ve been doing for the past 7+ years traveling around (and living in) SE Asia. My best travel tip? Schedule stopovers if/when you have time. Flights with long layovers are often cheaper, and it’s a great way to see an extra city/country on every trip. #VIP

    Like

  9. Here are three personal lessons that come to mind:

    1) “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Actually, I think that Rolf wrote that in Vagabonding, but I didn’t truly ‘learn it’ until I went travelling myself.

    2) Keeps you young simply by putting you into situations that make you feel like a child again, opening your mind to new experiences and reminds you that there are different ways of orientating yourself on the planet!

    3) Opens up new opportunities and new perspectives on the world that previously were hidden from view.

    p.s. another excellent interview! I had the pleasure of interviewing Rolf a while back too and discussed the “art of flanerie” in some depth as well (http://blog.maptia.com/posts/rolf-potts-in-paris)

    Like

  10. #VIP Learn how to say ” what is your favorite restaurant here” in the local language, and ask a taxi driver to write it down for you.
    No one is more local and knows the ins and outs of a city than a taxi driver. This has led to the best ceviche in Peru, the best pizza in Italy, the best dumplings in China, and the best gyros in Greece, all at restaurants that a tourist would never find.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What I learned most from travelling around the world is how beautiful it all is and how we all want similar things from life, but also that we have shared responsibilities in global education, technological advancement, preservation and general welfare. Once you get a glimpse of the big picture, I find it more easy to make little contributions even on a smaller scale, for example in the place you grew up. So, in short a sense of global citizenship # VIP

    Like

  12. I’ve found the UrbanSpoon to be a great travel companion for finding good local food establishments. Normally I only consider something with a 90% or better rating and it’s never steered me wrong (yet). #vip

    Like

  13. When you book a flight online, make sure to double check the origin and destination cities, especially if the website is not very good. I once booked a flight from London to Toronto which seemed a very good deal, but when I got to the airport there was no such flight. Yes, you guessed it. The flight was leaving from London (Ontario).

    #VIP

    Like

  14. Dont try be Rambo, and drink the water in every country. Bolivia nearly killed me, after travelling from Nicaragua all the way down to Brazil. Bolivia was the only country that caught me #VIP

    Like

  15. Hi Everyone,

    A few random travel tips from what I have learned until now.

    Almost all the best experiences I have ever had came from getting to know the locals, not being part of a tour group and being outside the normal tourist areas.

    If you need a restroom look for a McDonald’s or another fast food restaurant. It works in most cases. In Europe this can sometime be difficult.

    If you go to Asia it may be beneficial to practice your squatting first. Many restrooms have squat toilets and are generally not very sanitary. If you fall over or have to hold on to something you can get covered in the worst of human filth.

    If you are in Bali and a guide asks if you want to pray inside a temple DON”T DO IT. The guide is often working together with the police and can fine you for praying when you are not a member of a caste.

    If you are living in the EU and go on a shopping spree in the US try to fly back home with a layover in another EU country. Customs are less likely to check you if they think you are arriving from inside the EU.

    Finally don’t plan your entire trip. If you are able to be spontaneous you can maximize the best parts of your holiday and cut short the things you don’t like very much once you are on the ground.

    Keep up the great work Tim.

    Regards,
    Brad

    Like

  16. While traveling, I’ve learned to be open to the unexpected. Instead of rigidly locking into your plan, explore the interesting detours that present themselves. The richness of life lies in the unexpected. #VIP

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Before the trip: book air tickets through an incognito window to pay less (apparently some companies store cookies so that the third time you check it, a fare will cost more).
    During the trip: go around and ask random local shop\business owners if you can help them for a day volunteering: new worlds\experiences will open (plus usually a lovely homemade dinner)!
    #VIP

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Smile at people (sincerely). It’s a universal language and you never know what door for conversation and discovery you may open. Also, ask first before taking photos. I love taking photos of people, but not everybody needs to have their photo taken by you. I’ve had to walk away from beautiful compositions a few time, but have never regretted putting the camera down. #VIP

    Can’t wait to listen to this, Tim! My burgeoning freelancing business is slowly affording me more travel:)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. What I have learned through travel is that no trip is ever as “intimidating” as you believe in your mind! Most people (including me) tend to think of challenges such as language barriers, crime, broken plans, etc. rather than focusing on the positive aspects of travel, most of which are some combination of education, relaxation, aspiration, and enlightenment.

    #VIP

    Like

  20. If you find yourself with a mandatory guard from the local police station while visiting a small town in Pakistan, go for a long walking tour of the area (four or five hours). No doubt this will be the most exercise this fella has gotten in years. The guard won’t leave, but he’ll be too tired and hot to put up much of a fuss about anything else you do during your stay. #VIP

    Liked by 1 person

  21. If you don’t have secure internet access, download your favorite travel booking apps onto your smartphone and become a member/user so you can book through them without having to input all your personal data and cc info.

    Like

  22. I have always had the best time travelling when I went to visit friends living in exotic places. So how did I make friends in exotic places? My trick was that I live in a university town, and used to rent a couple of rooms to students or visiting academics from far away places. This has given me contacts in China, Japan, France, Spain, and Brazil. I even got to take part in the Mardi Gras parade in full costume when I visited my friend in Rio de Janeiro. #VIP

    Like

  23. This was an great surprise to hear about this interview! I read Rolf book 2 years ago and the information and ideas were excellent. I heard just the first part of this interview, will go for the second asap but I just wanted to comment that I traveled twice to Argentina for periods of 3 weeks each using homexchange so I expent zero in hotels, of course they came to mine sometime and with one of them I found that not only you exchange home, you may end being very good friends and you will get the best “hotel concierge” experience with them. (I exchanged with my apt in Miami where argentinians love to come for vacation and in one case I even rented my car for 3 weeks). Also couchsurfing is great, I haven’t used to find a place to sleep as I prefer privacy but to find rapidly local people to go out and much of them are anxious to show you the city, for example this year a made a trip to Poznan (Poland) and a beautiful polish woman show me the city and not only that but going out with a local is priceless if you want to learn their culture, politics, customs, etc.

    Like

  24. Tim, I love Rolf and I’ve met him too. He would agree that he wasn’t the guy who first said, “War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.”
    Ambrose Bierce said that brilliant phrase about 150 years ago.
    You might want to correct that quotation credit at the top of this great page.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Looks like it’s an Amrbose Bierce mis-attribution also: As described in the book The Quote Verifier by Ralph Keyes (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2006), the Bierce scholar David E. Schultz believes the quotation has a far more recent heritage. Schultz concludes that the quotation actually derives from a comedy routine delivered in 1987 by the actor/comedian Paul Rodriguez. Rodriguez was quoted in the LA Times as saying: “War is God’s way of teaching us geography.” (Note that this version does not mock Americans explicitly.)

      From the Ambrose BIerce Org
      http://www.ambrosebierce.org/notices.html

      Like

  25. “#VIP” One of my favorite travel tricks is wearing slip on /slip off sperry’s or any sneaker or boat shoe while going through airport security reason being I don’t need to fuss with sneaker or shoe laces before and after going through security.
    Second favorite trick is keeping everything I normally keep on me like my wallet, cell phone, cash, nook HD, even my belt in a small messenger bag or back pack so while going through security I don’t have to remove anything from my pockets. Doing these two these makes going through airport security a real breeze.

    Like

  26. Seek out small family-run places to eat and when ordering, ask if you can have what they served their family (or employees) for a meal that day. It is often the best food and it starts a conversation. Most of the time they are complimented and happy to share the more “authentic” meals of their establishment rather than their standard menu. #VIP

    Like

  27. A great travel trick my wife and I learned for international travel is to buy three tickets in the very front of “economy plus” instead of two tickets in business class. A business class ticket to/from Paris runs between $3500 and $7000 each. Each economy plus seat ranges from $900 to $1500. Having the middle seat open allows for all the lounging and sleeping one would enjoy in business class. The meal isn’t as great but I have never had a meal in first class worth an extra $2-5k.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Thanks for this podcast – Rolf Potts is truly knowledgeable when it comes to travel. I’m rereading his book Vagabonding at the moment!

    Travel Lesson: You’re completely responsible for your own feelings. The most beautiful landscape, the greatest country in the world doesn’t make you happy if your vision is clouded by negativity.

    Like

  29. If you have a ride picking you up from the airport have them pick you up in departures instead of arrivals. Both are accessible from the secure side of the terminal and departures is generally much less congested and hectic due to no one sitting around and waiting for their passenger. This will allow for you to execute your james bond like rolling escape from the airport with ease! #VIP

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  30. When friends ask me how to stop their packing-frenzy I always tell them the most important two things are your passport and money. Anything else that might be forgotten can be bought. Don’t waste your time stressing and repacking/checking 5 times! (Three if you include certain meds)

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Tim! Thanks again for finding yet another fantastic and enthusiastic speaker for your podcast. I look forward to this every week. As an entrepreneur, I find your guests and indeed you yourself leave me driven and focused at the end of every podcast.

    I found a few useful after travelling the world alone. Being an entrepreneur.. The first was to offer resume writing services when visiting any commonwealth country.. I left advertisements in all the internet cafes and hostels.. Helping hundreds of people to find work for their working holiday visas.. I also found Gumtree very useful for offering basic resume writing and reviewing services when in Australia

    Another quick one.. I know you covered this in the ‘Four Hour Work Week’.. But… Use Elance! It’s perfect for gaining income whilst traveling!

    Other than that.. Pack light, choose a private landlord and give… That’s the most powerful thing I found when traveling.. Be less selfish.. Pay it forward and embrace every culture, place and conversation that you have on the road!

    #VIP

    Like

  32. Tim, I have learned a lot following you and reading your books. Rolf too. I used to be desk bound, traveled heavy, hated it. Now I work for myself, travel light, and love it. I have learned how to work virtually anywhere I need to. Still have a ways to go, but this is the most freedom I have ever had.

    I love going away for two weeks on business with a small bag of clothing and gear. I am more comfortable now that I travel light. This mentality has carried over to my home life too. I am living a lighter lifestyle and loving it.

    Now if I could only get my wife to pack lighter!

    Probably the single most useful tip I have gained is the concept of a settling fund. I don’t pack the stuff I can get locally upon arrival. I have to be careful with clothing/shoes because of the sizes I wear (big guys have trouble finding stuff in some markets). No reason to pack tons of shampoo, toothpaste, etc.

    I also recommend that any traveler learn to pack on their carry-on, a small survival kit to deal with those annoying delays. Things like a small inflatable pillow, small blanket, some snack items, water flavoring or drink mixes, tooth brush/tooth paste.

    The other month I was headed from Baltimore to San Francisco. I had already built in two extra days into my trip just in case weather worked against me (I work outdoors). Weather was a problem leaving Baltimore. Delta put me on another flight since there were delays that would likely cause me to miss my connection in Salt Lake. Well, that failed too. While sitting on the ground in Baltimore we were pushed beyond a safe connection window. While everyone else on the plane was in panic mode and getting upset, I pulled out my iPad and rebooked my flight for the next morning on the first plane out of SLC to Sacramento (my actual destination). While online, I booked a room in SLC for the night knowing that in a few hours, several hundred people would be trying to find a room for the night. Even rebooked my rental car in Sacramento. Then I sat back and enjoyed my wine buzz while watching the panic ensue.

    No stress at all.

    Like

  33. Travelling around for the last 12 months the most important lesson I learned from travel for life is: NO matter what happens and how fearful your situation is. There will always be a solution at the end. For example a friendly foreigner invited me in his house when the road to the mountain village in Italy is blocked due to 100cm of fresh snow in 24 hours. Don’t panic see the options you have and you will make your way. Not the planned one moreover a more exciting and creative one.
    This lesson helped me, although in general unpatient, to be calme in a lot of situations at work or in daily life. Never panic, stay cool, follow your gutfeeling and learn to trust foreign people. #VIP

    Like

  34. one of things I will never forget is when I tried booking a flight a few hours in before the actual flight and actually spent double the price of the ticket a day before. This went against what Tim discussed in his book 4HWW. Lesson learned: be flexible haha. I guess it doesnt apply in the airlines here in the PH :((

    Like

  35. Whenever I’m in a new country I always try to find a old grandmother to cook with. Ask friends, friends of friends, Airbnb hosts, local boutique owners, etc to recommend someone to take a cooking class with. It’s incredible how much you can learn about a culture from it’s food and from someone who’se been around long enough to see it change! #VIP

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  36. Whenever I’m in a new country I like to take a cooking class with an old grandmother. Ask friends, friends of friends, Airbnb hosts, local shop owners, etc. to recommend someone you could cook with. It’s amazing how much you can learn about a culture from it’s food and from someone who has been around long enough to see the culture evolve. #VIP

    Like

  37. My travel experience is mostly business travel, so the goal is to maximise experiences in a short timeframe and see more than your *****hotel and restaurant. I always have my running shoes with me to shake out my legs after travels and meet local people in the process.
    #VIP

    Like

  38. One of my favorite travel hacks is to check in with the concierge of the nicest hotel in the area (even if you’re not staying there) to get the inside scoop. Just be sure to tip him/her well for their expertise. Fave tool is TripIt Pro. Keeps everything organized so I know where I’m going & when. #VIP

    Like

  39. My favorite travel tips have been working in US currency and spending in others and bartering for service. I thought it was a genius way to experience something new and exciting without it having to cost anything more than some time and knowledge. Not to mention what you can spend is a lot less than what you make so your travels can be extended. My friend is getting ready to take his first “mini-vacation” early next year to travel multiple countries using these same tips. #VIP

    Like

  40. Tip the person who checks you in at the hotel AFTER the check in, without any additional requests or changes. Chances are, you’ll receive info that either saves you money, or adds tremendous value to your travels.

    #VIP

    Like

  41. For me travelling round the world at age 25 has helped me massively with my business. We now trade globally and having travelled to lots of countries when younger it has given me the confidence to go and try and sell in those markets.

    Like

  42. Travel tip: If you’re going across multiple time-zones, pack a small plastic shaker of protein powder (about 30g) in your carry-on. When it’s breakfast time at your destination, grab it, go to the back of the plane and ask the flight attendant for some water. Then shake your protein up and drink it. This one small trick helps to alleviate jet-lag by giving you a protein kick just when everyone at your destination is gearing up for their day. #VIP

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  43. My best travel tricks are the following:
    1.put a list of all the items you packed on your iphone and everytime you use the thing put a + to it –> So you know what you used and how often and can identify what to bring next time. (20% of stuff you take with you is of 80% the use and vice versa)
    2.wash your cloth in the shower with soap or shampoo for free
    3.To meet people register to every activity from you hotel and everything else you find.
    4.Here is a video that teaches you how to pack effectively: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5UlxHsgD58
    #VIP

    Like

  44. I agree with all of the previous comments. My one travel item is bring 2-3 sandwich/gallon size ziplocs. Handy for anything. Holding food, seashells, wet clothes, snacks, keeping electronics dry and together, etc.

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  45. The traveller’s mindset is one of joy and observation. You are in a new place, exploring a new culture and location. You have a sense of openness to others, flexibility to interruptions, and appreciation of what’s new.

    Capturing this outlook and bringing it back from your travels is the greatest gift vagabonding has given me.

    #VIP

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  46. Never, ever (and I mean ever) go for anything less than 5 star hotels in Karachi (Pakistan) and Goa (India).

    My contacts over there tried to get me into 3 stars and I got to see pee stained bed sheets in Karachi and cockroaches the size of my hand in Goa. It was scary and ugly….

    Better to sleep outdoor at the park.

    On a side note it should also have thought me the type of local contacts I had in 2007…. I had to loose millions and years before I realized it.

    Well …I guess better late then never…(except if you are dead)

    #VIP

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  47. As an Australian travelling, I found that carrying a tube of Vegimite, a cute kangaroo icon clip attached to your bag, pegs and string to hang your undies on and a little notebook the funniest things to get you by. Why? Because they are all conversation starters which have often lead to photos or hilarious memories:) #VIP

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  48. The comment that sums everything up is: “Kings only sleep in one bed at a time, kings only eat one meal at a time.” If wisdom comes from our experiences (which I believe), then the Proverb is true “Of what use is money in the hand of a fool if he has no desire to get wisdom.”
    BTW, this is the perfect prize for my new venture preparing and delivering delicious, ready-to-eat, nutrient-dense, post-workout meals to clients at their gyms.

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  49. The best tip I learned through travel is to get a local rental, not a hotel. Make sure it is right in the heart of the city or within good transportation around the city. Being a temporary resident is the ultimate travel idea to really connect with the people, city, and culture of the people. It connects you unlike staying in a hotel with paid conversationalist.

    #VIP

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  50. The most fascinating thing I learned from traveling is how unique people are and how valuable culture is. Although we all face many of the same challenges associated with being human (mortality, morality, existence,… ). The way we deal with them can differ greatly depending on our experiences and conditioning. Its a mind opening experience.❤ #VIP

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  51. Remember to check local customs or traditions in the country you are visiting. It will save you from being regarded as a foolish tourist. #VIP

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  52. Great ep! Someone once said, “there’s a loser living in his mother’s basement somewhere in Rome, just like anywhere else in the world”. This always stuck with me because we romanticize about certain parts of the world forgetting that most glamorized cities and towns across the globe are just like our boring lil ol’ towns we grew up in. It has helped me discover the power of our mindsets when stepping into a new city for the first time, enjoy the commonalities, and it allows me to appreciate the simpler things when traveling, not the shiny lights and tourist attractions. #VIP

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  53. Concierges don’t know and don’t care if you are actually staying at their hotel. If you’re dressed relatively like a normal human being, they will do stuff for you. Leave your bags with them, ask for maps, directions, get them to help out on whatever. If they ask, tell them you haven’t checked in yet. But they won’t ask. Just smile at them, and they’ll help. And carry small cash for tips. #VIP

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  54. We should all travel light…but…if your bags are too heavy and you’re getting charged fees, I’ve witnessed someone using the tip of their toe to push up on the scale while talking to the ticket attendant. It offset the bag by over 40lbs!

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  55. Three tips:

    1. Wool clothing is fantastic for traveling as it is great for many temperature ranges and doesn’t smell. The yarns are much finer now so they last longer and aren’t scratchy.

    2. Pack 48 hours before leaving. Just put your luggage in a corner and start packing. That gives you time to think about adding something, or better yet, something you can remove.

    3. You really need less for traveling than you think. When you’re done packing, take out at least one full set of clothing. You won’t need it. Trust me.

    #VIP

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  56. Best tip I’ve received: keep a travel journal. Taking 5 to 10 mins at the end of your day to write down the highlights, lowlights and any other craziness helps you digest what can sometimes be overwhelming experiences. It also makes fantastic reading in the years after the trip. I still read my journals from 10+ years ago, and they’re hilarious! They serve to remind me of all the fantastic lessons you learn best on the road: valuing kindness, appreciating small gestures and tolerance for people of all walks of life. It’s too easy to forget those lessons when you’re home. #VIP

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  57. Don’t listen to the people on Twitter telling you to shorten the intros or change the format. It’s great just as it is! I love you doing two to three different introductions because it shows that you’re all over the place, scatter-brained, which is a good thing. People that are hyper-active and have so many brilliant things to say that they struggle to get it out are far more interesting than people that show little emotion. It just shows that you’re insanely curious and excited about everything you do. Cheers and keep everything coming!

    Best,
    Kevin

    P.S. Keep doing impressions.

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  58. Great post. Travel tip: When you go to a foreign land, at some point take five minutes or more and just sit with your eyes closed and just actively listen to all the sounds around you, don’t daydream. What do you hear? Do you know what it is? How does it affect you? What will you remember about the sound of this place?

    This practice also works with where you are right now. Try it.

    Re: Screenplay by Sid Field. Typo, his name is Syd Field.

    #VIP

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  59. on eastbound red-eye int’l flights, eat before you board flight & try to sleep as much as possible (duh!…that’s only prep to tip). Upon arrival, fight all urges to sleep the next day until around 9pm local time. Do whatever it takes from espressos to sprints up stairs. It’s best way to reset internal clock w/o using sleeping pills, etc.

    #VIP

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  60. Applicable in most cases: If it doesn’t fit in a carry-on, it’s probably not worth taking. (This alone saves HOURS of airport time so I can enjoy my destination more!)
    Also – while pics are great for memories, don’t spend the whole trip looking through a lense/phone camera screen…take it all in and be PRESENT during your trip! #VIP

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  61. V travel I.e.fly into one airport or station and travel back from another departure point hence ‘V’. It’s great fun and an adventure which can often save money. I’m a triathlete in the UK and I compete in continental Europe. Triathlons are seldom in a city with an airport or mainline station/port. But I’ve found that they can be between two. Often I’ll fly to one of the two airports, race and then travel overland to the second to travel home from or to a train station or port. That way I get to see more of the host country and as I say it can mean that I can get better fares by having a broader time schedule to travel within which means I have more time/ best fare choices. Sometimes my overland travel is with other triathletes so I get to meet more people albeit with similar interests and to know them quite well too.

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  62. From my flight attendant days – always have a packed carry on near the door. You can grab it on the fly. Be sure to switch out clothing as soon as you finish your trip and you are ready to go again at a moment’s notice! #VIP

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  63. I always ask locals (airport workers, hotel staff, bartenders) about their favorite things to eat/see/do and it’s always made for a much better adventure than any travel guide or book could offer! (Also: Starbucks VIA instant coffee is a LIFESAVER in so many cases.) #VIP

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  64. Load up the area/city of where you’re staying on google maps to your smart phone before you arrive, that way you’ll have access to a map no matter the time of day so you know where you need to head without a problem

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  65. Not to be that guy, but I believe you will find the war-geography quote to have originally come from Ambrose Bierce, a 19th century writer (and one of America’s most underrated).

    My number one travel lesson is that we are all very very small. Travel is first and foremost a humbling activity. Though, in one of the great ironies of life, that humility can often serve as a great spark for an overwhelming desire to achieve.

    And as for my favorite travel tip… pack light. No explanation needed.:)
    #VIP

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  66. What I’ve learned from many years of traveling, and am passing along to my kids, is that wherever you go be open to meeting the many characters who will pass your way. They will make your travels interesting and exciting.

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  67. Communicate with the locals…there is always a way. I was travelling with a layover in Moscow. Aeroflot very generously put me up in their hotel with meals. After several meals of the same gruel and weak tea and noticing locals were getting roasted chicken and aromatic coffee, I politely tried to ask for same, did some pointing and miming – blank stares and walkingaway. It was only after tucking my thumbs in my armpits, flapping my arms and doing the chicken dance while clucking that the staff was all laughing and from then I got what the others did.

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  68. Hi Tim, I’m late to the party, just having read The 4-Hour Workweek. Love the interviews. My travel tip — When one person pees, everybody pees. — Laugh if you must, but it saves countless headaches searching for bathrooms and waiting around while one person uses the facilities…especially if you are travelling with children. #VIP

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  69. Travel Tip: (besides you don’t need it if it can’t fit into a carry-on) is to ALWAYS visit the bookstores you see, even if they’re in a different language. It gives you such a beautiful window into what’s trending and important to that culture and maybe you’ll walk away with a gem to read. #VIP

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  70. I’ve found that I have the best and most rewarding experiences by being open to opportunities. Go to places that the locals might be. Smaller neighborhoods, restaurants, etc. Talk to people. I’ve run into the most fun adventures by listening and being open. Don’t have a set schedule and go off the beaten path.
    #VIP

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  71. Be open to opportunities. Don’t have a set schedule and go off the beaten path. Listen and talk to people. I’ve had the most fun and felt like I understood the city better when I was open to opportunities that present themselves.
    #VIP

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  72. Returning from a wine tasting trip to France (or Argentina:) with a few bottles? Don’t buy packing material, just stuff the bottles in hiking socks and or roll them up in jeans when you pack them. #vip

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  73. When traveling in smaller towns in Pakistan, as a foreigner you will often find yourself with a police escort who just shows up within an hour or two of your arrival (uninvited, of course) and follows you around mercilessly. Though you won’t get rid of him, he become a lot easier to deal with if you go on a 3-5 hour walking tour of the town with the guard in tow. Undoubtedly it’s more exercise than he’s had in a long time, and by the end of it he’ll be too tired to put up much of a fuss about whatever else you decide to do.

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  74. It is often said that people are the same everywhere and that is true. But they are also different. I’ve learned to embrace the difference because that is in part why I travel (e.g. New Yorkers aren’t mean, just different).

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  75. I take items that are quirky and fun to give away to those who may not have access to them; jars of peanut butter, plush toilet paper, bags of candy, rubik’s cubes and small toys, t-shirts and visors, cans of beer, etc. It’s funny how making a new friend and leaving them with a small memento like this can make a lasting impression.

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