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Leaving the comfort of your own neighborhood, or even your own couch, can be daunting. Some of us have to work a little harder to build up the courage it takes, and the energy required, to seek out new places and experiences. But once you finally step outside your comfort zone, that’s when the adventure begins! After getting the chance to explore so many incredible places around the country on the 2017 Live Be Yoga Tour, here are 5 tips I’ve found that help me make the most out of an outing:
1. Do your research.
There’s something to be said for stepping out into the unknown, having no preconceptions or expectations, no plans, and no destination. But personally, I like to step into the unknown after memorizing the guidebook. While I am a meticulous researcher, I am not necessarily a meticulous planner. I always feel like having some knowledge of the geography, the locals, the customs, and the language of a place just better prepares me to enjoy what may be out there waiting for me. If it’s a local hike or neighborhood I’ve never been to, I’ll pull up Google Maps and check out the area. I’ll see what looks cool, where trails go, and what else is in the area. If it’s a bigger trip, I’ll start with my favorite guidebook’s take on the place, then narrow down my research based on where I want to go, using travel sites, YouTube videos, and message boards. I’ll try to pick out 5 or 6 things I have to see, but leave plenty of room for something cool I didn’t even know about until I got there.
2. Ask the locals.
You can read every guidebook written about a place, but you’ll still never know as much as someone who lives there. And more often than not, my best memories are made at places that will never make it onto a map. One of the most amazing and rewarding things about travel is meeting local people who have different perspectives and different lifestyles than yours. These locals can also give you an insider’s look at a place that’s brand-new to you. Once you get to know people and they trust that you will respect and care for the places they love, they are excited to share them with you. I’ve found some of the best hidden gems of my travels just by asking a cab driver, or the person making my cappuccino.
3. Have patience.
Living in Los Angeles, often when I get the bug to head out backpacking, I’ll feverishly plan my trip, obsess over maps and satellite images, research trail conditions and weather, meticulously pack my bag, then excitedly run out the door … only to find myself stuck in two hours of traffic. A lot of exploration is like that. Sometimes it takes wading through the less exciting parts of a place before you find the needle in a haystack. Have patience. Remember that exploring is not all about the destination you have in mind–it starts when you get the itch to move. Enjoy your time away from the usual, even if it means wading through tourists before you get to the hidden beach you read about on that obscure travel message board.
4. Be prepared.
If I don’t eat every few hours, I get cranky. Even in paradise. So I know that I always need to have a couple of emergency snacks with me wherever I go. I grew up as a Boy Scout, and I take a sort of nerdy pride in being prepared for both the best and the worst. Just the simple act of throwing a jacket in the car, even when it’s 80 degrees out when you leave the house, can enable you to stay happier longer, like when you decide to stick around for sunset on the beach. For me, having goodnessKNOWS® as a sponsor of the tour was great. Whenever I went out for the day, whether it was hiking in the Grand Canyon or just taking a yoga class in the city, I could throw a couple of goodnessKNOWS® bars in my bag and know that I had a healthy, all-natural snack made with real fruit and whole nuts in case I got hungry. A little preparation can save the day!
5. Be flexible.
The biggest piece of advice I can impart to you, intrepid traveler, is to be flexible. Exploring is NEVER going to go exactly how you think it’s going to go. So enjoy the uncertainty, revel in the problem-solving required, and be open to the fact that the destination you find may be infinitely greater than the one you set out for. Now get out there, find something or somewhere new, and enjoy the journey!