I’ve taken enough trips with folks who’ve attempted to make the trip an awful one and although I hate rules most of the time, I’m learning they are necessary when country hopping with many personalities and types. Here are my rules!
1. Must love to walk. On Average, there may be up to 10 miles of walking per day, seeing the city, enjoying the air, living life. Who needs public transportation in a strange place. Everything you see will be new, and the photo opportunities will be plentiful.
2. Must love to meet new people. Nothing worse than a traveler who hates to connect with others. Spark conversation with strangers, restaurant owners, other travelers. It’s how you get the word on other places.
3. Must not be afraid of sharing a room with 25 other people. Hostels are my preferred choice of accommodation. They’re where you get to meet new folks, learn new things, taste new foods, and sleep for cheap!
4. Must not be tied to your phone. Besides, there may be only one time a day when you will be able to connect to wifi or get some sort of signal. Few things are worse than seeing someone looking down at their phone while the beauty of a new place passes them by. NO PHONES AT DINNER WITH DARNELL LAMONT WALKER.
5. Attitudes and negative behaviors are not allowed at all. No exceptions. You will be left behind or asked to walk away on your own. Bad energy is passed through groups quickly. No one is here to be miserable with you. If you and your mate break up or your dog dies while you’re on the trip, put on a smiley face and think about it when the trip is over.
6. Don’t feel bad for not wanting to do everything as a group. We don’t have to be together all the time. We don’t have to wake up or go to bed at the same time. If there are things you want to do on your own, by all means, do them! Live! Enjoy! If I say I’m going for KFC in Bogota, don’t feel obligated to follow me. Eat what makes you happy.
7. Be sure to count your money and budget yourself. We are all here to enjoy our trip, and have just enough money for self. If you run out of funds 4 days before the trip ends, it ruins the trip for others.
8. Share with the group facilitator or group leader and those who need to know any mental illnesses or issues that could quite possibly affect the mood and outcome of the group and trip.
9. Once you sign up for a trip, you enter a no judgment zone. If someone in the group announces they want to visit a brothel and have sex with 387 hookers in one night, smile and be pleasant and ask the necessary questions, but do not judge.
10. If at any point on the trip you wish to go home, let someone know so we are not looking for you around the city, but we will not stop you. And again, no refunds.
Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.