Risk-taking, trust, and serendipity are key ingredients of joy. Without risk, nothing new ever happens. Without trust, fear creeps in. Without serendipity, there are no surprises.
Stay away from Europe, stay away from Japan, Australia. If you go to the Western world, you're gonna pay more money. You can spend five months in Bali for what you'd spend in one month in Europe.
I don't worry about being a woman alone out there. My advice to people is to smile a lot, talk to strangers, accept all invitations and eat everything you're offered.
I don't want to be responsible anymore. I don't want to have plans. I just want to float through the world.
Take what happened to me in Bali. I planned on going to Ubud, then met a man on an airplane who told me it was too touristy. He gave me an address on the other side of the island, which turned out to be a palace where I lived for four years.
If you don't talk to strangers, your life is so limited. If you're careful about what you eat, you'll never try anything adventurous.
There are times when the state department says not to travel to a place, but I'll look it up and find out for myself. For years, even Bali was off the list because they had been bombed. I totally ignored that.
Even here, in the U.S., I walk my daughter's dog and I look for interesting people sitting at a picnic table and I walk over with my white hair and I ask, "Would you mind if I sat and rested here for a minute?" Nobody would refuse that.
When I'm by myself, I'm not threatening at all. I get many more invitations than I would if I were traveling with anyone else, especially with a man. But I'm rarely alone. I sit on a park bench and I'm not alone because I pick a park bench where somebody interesting is sitting.
There were times that the kids were upset I wasn't there, those three times a year they needed me. The rest of the time, I'm sure that I wasn't in their thoughts.
I came back once or twice a year to visit my family, and then I would take off again. In the beginning, I think everybody thought I would get over it and get it out of my system. And I never did.
Eat where the people eat, not the hotels and touristy restaurants. If a local teacher makes $50 a month and they're living decently, see what they do.
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