How Not To Be A Tourist OverseasBy Larry Zakharenko
Trust No one, Be Kind to Everyone
Istanbul, the City of Seagulls. I think the reason there are so many of these birds is because you need wings to survive in a city of thieves and criminals. Say what you will about the Turkish people but any civilized inhabitants of Istanbul have all but long fled to Europe, America, or the outskirts of Turkey. I won’t bore you with the elaborate mugging I nearly survived or how I was charged “gay tax” for meals that came with uncomfortable glares. Instead I will simply tell you that Istanbul has taught me to trust no one. It was very fortunate that I went to the polar opposite of Greece right after that because I learned that an environment can have an impact on your beliefs. My first piece of travel advice to you is to trust no one, but be kind to everyone. There are more kind hearted people in this world than there are criminals. Don’t believe the news or your parents, these are perspectives corrupted with emotion and ulterior motives.
Sex is a 19 year old’s kryptonite
At 19 all you think about is sex, sleep, and food. It did not help that I was a young guy in countries that boast about having the most beautiful women in Europe. While it’s all fun, the chase can blind you from enjoying your travels and you can miss out on great opportunities to meet wonderful souls or see beautiful landscapes because you were too horny. The chase can also lead you to some terrible places that make you want to wake up in the morning and consider joining sexaholics anonymous. Don’t let your hormones get in the way of your happiness.
Be Hungry. Try Everything
As Valentina Petrovna, the mystical white witch in Ukraine once told me, “you must always be hungry, have a glimmer in his eyes, and be (romantically) potent.” To be potent is to be in love with the world, with people, with you, but to reserve yourself – to not spend your seed, to choose wisely but love wildly. Only when you reflect the beauty of the world in your eyes will they glimmer. See and be seen. And foremost but not least, be hungry. Hunger for knowledge, for success, for happiness, for more. Starve yourself if only to see that your gut knows best, and that you should heed its advice.
You’re Too Young to Die in Serbia
Live outside the box. Decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong, and your choices will decide what kind of person you are. If on your travels you have the choice to do something different with your life, to take an unfamiliar path, or experience something new, now is the time more than ever. You are traveling! You are out of your habitat, forget about doing what you can to survive – do what you can to live. Hitchhike across Albania, speak to that beautiful girl in a Czech bar, climb the Green Bridge in Belgrade Serbia. Because the only thing in your way is fear and fear is bullshit, you are too young to die in Serbia.
Find Your Happiness at Home
At the end of your travels you will notice an afterglow of enlightenment and happiness, which may last for however long depending on you. If this feeling starts to fade and you find yourself miserable then you cannot blame your environment. You may have been happy on your travels but it is not just because of the location you were in. You have to find your happiness at home as well. Any shorthand advice I can give you is to always befriend the locals and ask them about the best food, sights, bars, and attractions. Ask them about the other locals, what the men and women are like. They are always glad to guide you and you learn something about their culture along the way.