Q & A with Andrew Zimmern
Guest blogger Andrew Zimmern, who has been featured on the travel channel touring across the globe meeting people and experiencing culture. Read what he had to say.
1. How does traveling effect who you are and how you see the world?
Being on the road for nearly 250 days in any given year, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with dozens of cultures first-hand. Whether it’s traversing the street markets of Bangkok, fishing with the aboriginals along the Daly River, or watching the sunrise at Angkor Wat, these incredible moments have allowed me to see the beauty in people everywhere. Now most people won’t have the luxury of travel that I’ve had, but this experience isn’t limited to different countries or even states. If you’re from Minneapolis, drive a couple of hours to experience the North Shore of Lake Superior. If you live in NYC, get away from the big city distractions and see the beautiful waterfalls in Letchworth State Park. We become the best versions of ourselves when we hit the road, both culturally curious and acutely aware of others. The only way to prevent this is by staying put. When we travel, we’re more engaged, we’re less risk-averse, we’re more interested in other people, more selfless. Every positive emotional, psychological, and personality totem that you could name is burning brighter and is more effective when you’re traveling.
"We become the best versions of ourselves when we hit the road, both culturally curious and acutely aware of others. The only way to prevent this is by staying put. When we travel, we’re more engaged, we’re less risk-averse, we’re more interested in other people, more selfless."
2. If Americans were to travel more, what would change?
In all my years of visiting cities and countries around the world, I can tell you that the transformative power of travel is real. That is why I cannot stress enough that if the opportunity of travel arises, take it. One of my greatest joys in life is immersing myself in what a new city has to offer and becoming lost. Not knowing the language, or the customs, or where I might end up next, has humbled me in such a way that has changed me for the better. Remember, we are the best version of ourselves when traveling. If the chance is there, don’t be afraid to jump in head first.
3. How should we travel differently? Any mindset changes we should have before taking a trip?
The biggest problem people have when they travel is that they play it safe and don’t take enough chances. Now I’m not saying you should pursue dangerous activities on vacation, but there is something to be said about going to places that aren’t the first recommendation on Yelp. Let’s use restaurants as an example. Many travelers will use their hotel concierge as the first and only resource for dining recommendations. I STRONGLY suggest scrapping this idea. The hotels want you to go to a safe and popular choice, but not something that is necessarily authentic to the city. Don’t be afraid to ask one of the locals (baristas, cab drivers, store owners) for their favorite spot. You’ll be surprised when the local mom-and-pop joint out-classes that 5-Star hotel recommendation.
Of course, there will be times when you have to go to the most popular tourist attraction; you’re not going to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Just remember that some of the best places won’t be on page one of your Google search. You may just have to go out and find it.
"One of my greatest joys in life is immersing myself in what a new city has to offer and becoming lost. Not knowing the language, or the customs, or where I might end up next, has humbled me in such a way that has changed me for the better."
4. How should we be packing differently? Any secrets you can share?
Half of your traveling experience is going to be determined by what you bring. This is why doing the legwork before you leave is so critical. Know what the weather is like before you jump on that plane. Are their certain fashion styles you may want to avoid before heading to a new country? When going someplace new, your goal is to be a traveler, not a tourist.
And always make sure you bring a good travel bag. My friends at All of Us Travel have created an amazing line of bags and suitcases that are the ideal fit for anybody on the road, whether you’re gone for a year or a weekend. 10% of their proceeds go to the International Rescue Committee, an organization that helps those who are traveling due to necessity, rather than choice. Fleeing some of the most horrific situations
in the world, these refugees need our assistance now more than ever. I could not be more proud to be a part of AOU and the amazing work they do with the IRC. So why not buy their luggage for your next adventure and help a great cause at the same tim
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