A little spontaneity goes a long way. It helps keep things fresh and exciting; there is always some level of thrill associated with the unknown. When traveling, conserve some level of impulsivity; refrain from having a to-the-minute schedule; in fact, try going at it sans itinerary (they just get in the way). Sure, have some loosely formed idea of what it is you wish to do, but let things unfold as they may. As cliché as it may be, go where the wind takes you. Leave yourself open to suggestion and invitation (use your discretion, of course). Save room for happenstance.
I didn’t set out to climb Mt. Fuji. It was offered to me the day after I’d arrived in Tokyo. Though I’d never done anything similar in the past, I put my reservations aside and said “What the hell!” I made the climb and reached the summit; it is one of the best impromptu decisions I ever made in life. I’ll always have that memory. The same goes for hiking [barefoot] through a Panamanian rainforest, accepting a wedding invitation from someone I’d just met in Peru, roadtripping from London to Luxembourg and a number of other random choices I’ve made in my travels. Some of my best life experiences happened when I let go of my scruples and delved head first into ambiguity.
The next time you travel, I challenge you to revel in the unfamiliar; leave space in your “agenda” to do something unplanned and off-the-cuff. Take those random surf lessons. Climb a mountain. Go skydiving. Go into the crowded little Salsa club you’d ordinarily pass by, and actually dance! Say yes to the little old Italian lady who invites you to have dinner with her family. Swim with sharks. Eat deep fried guinea pig. Follow that crowd of cheering rugby enthusiasts. Sit in meditation at the ashram down the street. Eat blowfish. Whatever unorthodox opportunity arises (again, use your discretion), tackle it without foreboding! -VJ