What’s up Guys!
I have gotten several great emails from readers asking for travel advice. I’m always happy to chat with like minded people so feel free to email me or comment with any questions you may have.
One of the questions that came up was about traveling slow and “digging in” to a location vs “passing through” and seeing as much as you can during your holiday. While I don’t know how long you have to travel, I can give you my personal opinion.
I recommend traveling slow. Stay in one city for 1-3 months and really get a feel for the place. In the 4 Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss uses the term “Mini Retirement.” That’s a good way to put it. A vacation is 2 days – 2 weeks. A mini retirement is 1 month – 1 year.
Whenever I travel, I only buy one way plane tickets. I always plan to rent an apartment for one month and really get to know the place. If I don’t like the place, I move on. If I’m enjoying myself, I will stay longer.
There are many reasons why I suggest traveling slow. First of all, it’s cheaper! In most places, you can negotiate a deal on a guest house if you stay 30 days. If you want to stay 3-6 months you have even better options!
Also, you can explore outside of the tourist traps and find the delicious, cheap local food. You learn how much things really cost. I know when I first traveled to Thailand I spent a fortune! Taxis overcharged, whores over charged, I lived in hotels and ate at the foreigner restaurants. Now I live a better life for a fraction of what I used to spend. You need to really learn about a city to save money.
The next benefit is you really get to know a location. There are several places that I wasn’t really impressed with when I first arrived. As time went by the places grew on me. Chiang Mai and Saigon are two places that come to mind.
Despite wanting to move on after a week, I made myself stay for a while longer and these places turned out to be some of my favorite cities in the world! I made some amazing life long memories in these places and I’m happy I stayed.
It takes time to really learn the lay out of a city. Once you make friends and find the good places to hangout it starts to feel like home. I find it’s hard to make real friends in less then a month. When the locals see you are still around after a month they become much more friendly.
Now wherever I go the locals smile and wave to me. We always chat when we see each other outside. Most people are busy with every day life and they are not going to take the time to open up to a foreigner if they are leaving tomorrow. Most tourists pass through the city in a few days. Many locals are just there to make money off of them… Buy food, buy clothes, get a message, OK bye! If you stick around things are much different and I find people are much more friendly.
The last reason to travel slow is dating! You can not meet cute girls and date them if you are only in town for a few days. If you just want to hit the girly bars and pull a hooker that’s fine. But most good local girls are not going to waste time with you if you are leaving in a week.
One of the first questions a local girl asks me is “You working here? When you going back to America?” When I tell them I am living here and I have no plans on leaving, they become much more interested. They start thinking that we could actually have a future together. Ahh keep dreaming sweetheart. 🙂
I have been in South East Asia for over a year and I have seen a lot of places. Sure, I could have kept moving and hit a new city every week but that is expensive and unfulfilling.
I’m happy that I got to really learn about these locations as well as the local people. I’m happy that I made friends in each city I visited. I enjoyed all of the short term relationships I had over the past year.
I plan to add a lot more locations to Single Man’s Paradise but it will take time. I can’t pass through a city in two days and give you the full run down on it.
Doing the tourist stuff is fun! But I also enjoy the mundane every day life things when living in a foreign country. Going to the local café. Chatting with the staff. Eating at my favorite food stall. Going to the gym. Having drinks with some friends at the local dive bar. It’s these small things that I appreciate just as much as island hopping and visiting the famous temples.
Travel slow. Dig in. That’s my advice. Cheers!