Apr. 19, 2016

My Perspective On Travel: It is all about YOU!

Aloha! My name is Edward Staak and I was banned fromTripAdvisor. It is my desire to help travelers not to be mistreated online, on TA, or be provided with only one sided information.

I was kicked off TripAdvisor.com becaue my perspectives on travel and my methods of sharing travel ideas upset many of the people who had liimited world travel experience and found my unique thoughts and perspectives disruptive.

My TA account was disabled on December 14, 2015 by what I have learned was a group of DE's on the Hawaiian forum lead by Shea Grimm.  

I thought I would try and clarify my thoughts on traveling and exploring the world.

1.  There is NO one right way.  I believe that there is no one right or wrong way to travel to Hawaii, Europe, Asia, or South Dakota.  What works for me and makes me happy certainly may not be what makes you happy. 

2.  There are numerous budget options.  I believe that there are as many different budgets as there are people who travel.  I have traveled using public transportation and I have traveled on private jets.  I have been just as happy using a public bus in Hawaii as I have been on a chartered yaght. 

3.  Give back when you travel.  Travel shouldn't be a selfish endeavor.  If traveling to a poor country consider taking school supplies and visiting a local school where you can make a difference.  If traveling to a location with homeless see about visiting a homeless shelter and distributing food and supplies.  

4.  Leave a small footprint with big memories. Traveling should be about exploring and meeting new people and finding ways to leave a small footprint.  I believe in buying local and supporting local businesses whenever possible.  When you negotiate with vendors in poor parts of the world get a fair price, but don't stick it to people who have less than you.  Touching people's lives will make a manageable footprint and leave you with huge memories.

5.  Budget your time and your money.  I mention this because I see people over and over working hard to save a few pennies when either wasting valuable time or missing out on the once in a lifetime vacation experience.  Going to a timeshare presentation may seem like a good idea, for instance, but is the gift really worth a few hours of your vacation?  Don't take a group transfer if it is going to eat up hours and end up costing you more money in the long run.

6.  Determine your travel style.  It is important, in my opinion, to understand what makes you happy and what brings you the most joy when traveling.  Do you want to move fast and see more places giving up relaxing?  Perhaps you prefer to spend your entire week at a pool or a beach and don't care about culture, history, or local sights.  Then again, perhaps you like to spend your vacation relaxing a little and exploring a bit too. 

7.  Determine if you want one location or multiple.  Some people like to visit one location and stay put for a week or two.  Others like to visit multiple locations and stay in multiple hotels.  In Hawaii, for instance, some people like to visit one island while others are happy jumping to multiple islands in a short period of time.  There is no one right or wrong answer.  It really depends on you.

8.  Today you may want fast and tomorrow you may want slow.  I have traveled to the same destinations with different styles at different times in my life.  On your next vacation you may want to travel to one island or one city in a weeks time.  On next years vacation you may want to visit multiple islands or multiple cities.  Simply put, people change.

9.  Listen to your inner voice and not the voice of others.  I find this important in all life decisions.  I suggest you read up on your destination, if you so desire, and make a decision on what you want to do.  The inner voice in your head will point you in the right direction with how to spend your vacation more than any expert or friend. 

10.  Planning is good, but so is spontinaiety.  I have traveled internationally since I was 10 years old.  I'm comfortable making very little plans when I go somewhere.  Others, especially those who haven't traveled a lot, want to plan out every single detail.  Which is right?  Both are fine and once again, it depends on what you are comfortable with when away from home.

11.  Find your inner peace when travel is disruptive.  I can bet that you will have a problem on your vacation. Face it, vacations are stressful and there is always something going wrong.  My guess is that you will experience: A delayed flight; An incorrect reservation; A rude passenger; A cranky server or employee; A lost suitcase; A misplaced camera; or a devistating natural disaster like a tsunami or earthquake.  When travel or life goes wrong stay calm and work for solutions. The less you get upset the more you enjoy your travels.

12.  Pack for a week even when going for more.  I suggest that you only pack as much as you can easily carry.  My family, including my wife and daughter, can travel for weeks at a time with only a roller board and a personal item.  There are, of course, times when you need more 'stuff' such as when going on an expedition, traveling to a wedding or a corporate event, embarking on a cruise with formal nights, and going for a sporting trip such as golf, tennis, or skiing.  There are always exceptions.

I will share a story that will paint a scarry picture for some.  One time, I decided to fly to Bali to visit a friend and spend a few days on one of my favorite islands.  I left the USA with my passport, but didn't check all the requirements for getting into Indonesia.   See, you can be a little to lackadazical now and then.  When I arrived in Indonesia I didn't have enough blank pages in my passport as required by the government.  Indonesia wants a nice clean page sans stamps to showcase their imigration stamp (or another unknown reason).  I was ushered off to a private room where I was immediately told that I would have to take the next flight back to Singapore unless I could think of another alternative.  The agent got up and left the room.  I put a $100 bill in my passport and left it on the desk where he was sitting.  When he returned, he asked if I had a solution?  I motioned to my passport and he flipped through the pages.  "Let me talk to my boss. I'll be back." 

The imigration official took my passport and returned in a few minutes and thanked me for coming to Bali.  I was in the country and headed to my hotel soon after.  Yes, there can be issues with not planning and double checking rules and regulations.  But, there is always a solution.