You’ve heard the adage that travel is the only thing that makes you rich; that investment in travel is an investment in yourself. Nothing could be more true. By traveling to new places and experiencing unknowns, you’re constantly expanding your horizon and perspective, and ever compounding your awareness and ability to manage and adapt. The further you wander from your comfort zone, the more that zone is redefined.
Raised in a small town in eastern Montana, I spent my youth swimming in rivers, camping, and hiking through hills on the outskirts of town. Suffice it to say, it was the kind of place where everyone knows everyone and the American white picket fence dream perpetuates itself. Mishaps occurred, like the time my eyebrows mysteriously disappeared after a misguided attempt at igniting cannon powder. (Admittedly, playing with matches and cannon powder may not be my brightest moment.) But all and all it was a slow paced, quiet life. The highlights of the year were high school football season and the “World Famous Miles City Bucking Horse Sale,”1 our annual festival drawing in outsiders – if you happen to be associated with the rodeo circuit.
The “next town over,” Billings, Montana, was a thriving metropolis of 109,000 people located 146 miles west. The mall was 146 miles west. The airport was 146 miles west. We considered Billings to be “the city.” I knew there was more out there than Billings, however. So, at the ripe old age of 18 I did what any rational, recent high school graduate from a small town in Montana does; I moved to Paris to attend college.
Having never traveled outside of the United States, you can imagine this opened my eyes to more than just wine and cheese. I was plucked from small town Montana and dropped into the center of a major international city; a city known for art, culture, fashion and architecture. Undoubtedly, some of you have experienced a similar form of culture shock if you’ve spent significant time abroad. Following a short term adjustment to redefine “the norm” after learning the ins and outs of daily Parisian life, I spent the next year exploring the city and continent. In retrospect, it was possibly the best decision I’ve ever made. It allowed me the privilege of traveling throughout Europe and hobnobbing with a diverse group of friends from every corner of the globe, some of whom I still consider to be my closest friends.
Since moving to Paris, I’ve traveled to nearly ninety countries and made countless memories with eternal friends. The experiences we’ve had are timeless, the adventures unforgettable. From hopping on a plane to Easter Island for a weekend getaway, to planning for months in order to enter a conflict zone in Ethiopia and hike to the rim of an active volcano, then hang out with silverback gorillas in The Impenetrable Forest in Uganda two days later. Each excursion has its complications, logistic complexities and rewards.
At OneUpped, we believe you should explore the world, not merely acquire another stamp in your passport. We’ll provide knowledge, insight and ideas about cool and unique places that will help you plan adventures, and ultimately guide you down a different road; your own road. We’ll also provide a few handy tips, links and travel resources, such as where to find wi-fi passwords from airports around the world.
We also believe travel should be enjoyable and memorable, not stressful. There are a number of things you can do to minimize anxiety and stress while traveling. From the appropriate level of planning and booking, to packing, to handling cancelled flights, even lounge access; we’ll provide a series of articles tackling various subjects. Sometimes all it takes is a change in perspective to turn a negative situation into a positive one. For example, a friend and I were once stranded in Cairo for four days when a storm swept through Europe, cancelling all flights. We uncovered this while checking flight status the night before our departure. As a result of the storm, the first flight the airline would guarantee a reservation on was four days later. We could have easily spent the next three days pacing back and forth in a hotel room, damning the airline. Instead, we reevaluated the possibilities…how could we take advantage of the situation? We quickly researched flights to the Middle East and around Africa looking for an opportunity to use our new windfall of vacation time. Ultimately, we hopped on a train to Luxor and went off to explore parts of Egypt we hadn’t planned on visiting. It was awesome!
The lessons learned from traveling are indispensible; planning, logistics, finance and money management, economics, communication, cultural awareness, appreciation of alternate viewpoint and religions, geography, politics, negotiation strategy, time management, personal awareness and safety are only a few on the list. Many can be applied to life and business alike. You learn the ability to build relationships and rapport with acquaintances, as well as interact with people from varying backgrounds and cultures with diverse personalities.
Our goal is to help you UP your travel game to exceed your own expectations. We hope to add to your investment, and in doing so make you a more knowledgeable and insightful traveler, not just another tourist at an all-inclusive resort somewhere.
There is no such thing as “I wish I could go there.” Book it. Make it happen.