Never let maturity get in the way of fun travel!
I make more meaningful personal connections while traveling than I make in "normal life" by a wide margin. I'm not proud of that fact; it's just true.
I've spent the last decade or so forming good everyday habits that best serve my young family and career. For better or worse, I've realized that it was some of the bad habits I left behind that paid the highest dividends in my social life.
When my wife and I travel sans kiddos, which happens rarely, three once-prominent habits come roaring out of retirement for a glorious few days in the sun.
Bad habit #1: Getting too personal
At home, I'm focused on my family and my work. I simply don't allow myself time to connect with people.
Friendships do happen, but they form very slowly over long periods of time.
When I'm traveling, I don't have 10 years or even 10 days to get to know someone. If I want to form a bond with a person, it has to happen quickly.
For me, that means asking a lot of personal, possibly intrusive questions and splaying my own life open like a worn out book.
My social nature is equal parts inquisitor and over-sharer, but in everyday life I've adopted a fairly dull persona built on niceties and chit-chat. Again, this is not something I take pride in; it's something I do to limit distractions.
When I'm traveling, distract me baby!
Bad habit #2: Staying up too late.
Jerry Seinfeld has a great bit about night guy vs morning guy—two separate personalities that exist within the same person.
Night guy insists on staying up late and always screws over morning guy who has to get up and go to work.
That was me.
I love staying up late. I don't understand it, but something in my brain comes alive at about 10:00pm. Late night is when I feel most dynamic, and I never want the feeling to end.
But...I've grown to respect morning guy over the years. Morning guy takes care of business.
Without morning guy, night guy would be burning midnight oil in a homeless shelter.
On vacation though, I say to hell with morning guy!
In most places I've traveled, the coolest stuff happens at night.
That's when I meet the most interesting people, see the most inspiring sites, and make the most powerful memories.
Morning guy is agreeable enough to this arrangement. He just grabs an extra cup of coffee and enjoys the ride.
He knows he'll be back in charge soon enough.
Bad habit #3: Indulgence
This one is admittedly vague, as indulgence means different things to different people. For me it simply means eating and drinking to the point of satisfaction rather than satiation.
When it comes to food and drink consumption, one rule I follow is that I almost always eat local and order local. Perhaps it's a tad delusional, but an extra pound or two on the scale seems like a reasonable price to pay for the satisfaction and cultural experience I get from eating and drinking (and drinking some more) with the locals wherever I happen to be the world.
Note: To be clear, I consider these habits bad because they hinder success in my everyday life. By no means am I comparing the habits in this post to actual bad habits like leaving hair in the sink, drinking wine straight from the bottle, or being a Dallas Cowboys fan. Those habits remain fully intact.
Now you know my travel habits. What are yours?