has traveled to more than 120 countries and continues to travel as a pilot for Virgin American Airlines. A four-sport letterman in high school and a two-sport letterman in college, Biernacki holds a Bachelor of Arts in romance languages and international affairs. He lived in France, Germany, Taiwan, the West Indies and Mexico before settling in his current home in San Jose, California.“Global Henry” (Traveler to over 120 plus countries)
You are not eating local unless flies are eating with you! It was a grass hut fully equipped with generous mosquitoes, willing to suck the life out of any exhausted traveler. The room was unfurnished with nonexistent grand necessities, except the broken lamp in the corner, sitting on the floor next to an empty toilet roll left by the last traveler who probably gazed out the small window all night at the one big palm tree, leading to the beach on Penang Island. The ceiling was the ceiling for the entire guesthouse with only a piece of green synthetic material separating each room, a convenient way to hear people snoring. The curtains were old lungis.1 Ideally, by traveling away from the luxurious comforts of common basics, a traveler realizes the process is the destination and continuously redefining the destination is what feeds the journal when writing a story and ultimately pulls off inexpensive research trips. Most importantly, while traveling do not fall back on the pseudo comfort of money.
Airline tickets are set, that fee expected, and no way to dismiss that. Beyond the ticket, the rest of the journey is up to the traveler on how much is spent each day. When traveling without the reassurances of home, you immediately slash costs, while being on the road. Are you willing to stay in a guesthouse like this or even sleep on the streets to grab a story? This is the sort of traveling where you are going to question several times, “Why for the love of God do I travel?” Hotels, restaurants, cafes, and taxis know people will pay for the closeness, even for the slightest recollection of home. However, from those tension-free-easy-to-map-out-experiences you never draw an image, with words, that inevitably make you hunger to write and the reader is certainly never going to feel what you are attempting to create.
Extend yourself and learn by taking public transit anywhere you go, ask everyone questions, get lost in the confusion of a new city, and ultimately most of your day is consumed without spending money, but modestly gathering experiences. That is the reason why we travel: to grasp hold of the newness in a nation where people are going to offer you to sit, visit, and finally may request you to meet their entire family. The only important part of any trip to a destination is the entire process of going through a country.
Carry more books than clothes, which is admirable, since you are going to be in need of words, describing a situation, then you can sell the books to the guesthouse. Travel with things you do not mind getting stolen. Assume anything you have will be stolen. You are going to be distracted, lost, and trying to find your way around a capital. You are going to be asking a lot of questions and touts 2 can sense who is lost. Travel with a medium size rucksack. You will not be tempted to buy anything. Be sure to take a few Ziploc bags to keep your things dry.
Many people arrive at a destination to research their topic when research is in the travel itself. Tourists have a destination. That is why there is always somewhere to go for a tourist always paying for something else. A traveler knows that the somewhere does not matter and somewhere can catch up anytime, knowing a story is being cultivated.
The test of ones character is not doing something, an action, which you know you can perform; but rather having the sureness of undertaking something of which you are wholly naïve and still making it all work in your favor.
The flies circling dinner and the seedy mosquito-infested rooms reveal a classy charmed guesthouse. Do not mind the bloodstained synthetic walls marked by once living bloated mosquitoes. Blood skillfully runs down the walls as if an artist stayed in the room to paint his masterpiece only to leave it half completed with his blood smeared. Just before the light goes out, make sure you give one good smack to kill the last bloated mosquito buzzing around your head. You did save money.
When words make sense, time is in the hands of humans.
1 Bright colored cloth worn around the waists, as a piece of clothing, by men in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
2 Touts are local people who solicit business for hotels, bars, or markets, receiving a payment for the tourists who come to purchase items.