6 Keep an open mind: when traveling it’s easy to keep to oneself, to close one’s mind for a period of time that can be a day or even months, and there is no need for me to tell you how this is a "Killer of experiences". In Asian and Middle-Eastern countries, as in many others, you will be faced with realities very different from yours, where women have another value, where life is worth a few cents or where religion rules. Do not judge too fast, and if you start thinking “it’s too much for me, I can’t do it” don’t lock yourself up behind preconceptions and prejudices, passing by and closing your eyes; I assure you that if you work up a bit of courage and try to understand how to fit into the culture, you will go back home with is known as "life experience". And don’t forget that you have chosen it, no one has forced you, so it’s always good to keep in mind the objectives and reasons that brought you to this point.
7 Make as few plans as possible: when I started travelling, I used to plan everything to the smallest detail, until I realized that this made me anxious and filled me with expectations that were often left unfulfilled. If you travel by tight and forced schedules, it will be very difficult to accept a flat, or a little malfunction, which instead will stress you out and cause waste of energy. My suggestion could be to plan the weekend stage at the beginning of the week, then to decide where we want to be in 7 days; in this way we will be more relaxed, and things will be easier to organize. You may be interested in this article of mine! Check it out now. (https://www.discoveryendual.com/eng/posts/view/100)
8 Learn some words in the local language: It’s a good idea to learn a few basic words in the local language every time you visit a new country. This will make meeting the first locals even more enjoyable and fun, including jokes on wrong pronunciations or a few romantic sentences to joke around with, and will consequently give you a good impression of the country from the beginning while giving you the opportunity of being understood more easily. This is the list of sentences that I always try to learn: Yes, No, hello, sorry, thank you, how much does it cost?, where is ..., gas? Is the place safe? (to park the bike on the street).
9 Trust: trusting people and saying yes is often something that you will hardly regret. This concept conquered the basis of my travel philosophy after I visited Iran. Trusting people not only helps you break down your prejudices and preconceptions but will also give you unique experiences and anecdotes. A country that comes to mind is precisely Iran where you must trust people, otherwise you will return home with a much skimpier bag of experiences than what you would have had if you had let yourself go. Often, in Asia, many people will approach you and your bike with a seemingly dubious air, but 99% of the time they will just talk and offer hot tea and, more rarely, even a place for the night: trust me! The tea isn’t poisoned, and the house is not a "SAW" style trap.
10 Eat local food: one of the best ways to get in touch with a new culture is to eat the typical food, your palate will thank you! For example, the first thing Bettinelli did as soon as he entered a new country was to drink the strongest and most typical alcoholic symbol of that nation.
11 Couch-surf: Couchsurfing, for those who don’t know it, is an App that allows you to host travelers in your home and, consequently, also to be hosted in other people’s homes. It's a really huge platform, that counts millions of people; you just need to create a profile and send a couch-request to potential hosts in the area you wish to visit. It’s a very powerful travel weapon, and, for me, a very easy way to enter the heart of people's everyday culture and lifestyle. It's a facilitation that works on a really huge theme and purpose. I’ve been using it sine I first started travelling and I never had a negative experience, to the contrary. To live in close contact with locals is beautiful, sharing their everyday life, their food and their friends is something that makes you proud and happy of the experience you are doing. In Iran, for example, I only paid for 2 nights at a hostel out of 62 days of stay, the other nights I couch-surfed. Don’t be afraid, trust and read the reviews before requesting or accepting a couch-request; but even here the rule is that "there is more good people around than bad”.
12 Go slowly: it may sound like an advice a mother would give and, speaking of speed, definitely one to follow, but here I’m talking about daily mileage covered. Everyone travels in his own way, but I noticed a great increase in leisure and in the beauty of experiences and places visited when I decided not to travel more than 300 km a day, except for extreme necessity or in desert territory. Remember that the life and history of a country is very often made in small villages, far from the chaotic metropolis, where it’s difficult to meet people and stories very different from our own.
13 Take back roads: this is certainly a good way to reduce daily mileage and get in touch with the hidden aspects of a country, both cultural- and landscape-wise. Avoid highways like the plague, unless you absolutely need to or in truly desert territory; besides being more stressful for your bike as well as yourself, it is easier to get distracted, bored and see nothing of what surrounds us on a highway.
14 Take pictures and don’t be ashamed: photography is definitely a beautiful art if mixed with that of travel; it allows you to talk about and remember moments of a unique experience. In many countries, however, you will be faced with situations that are often difficult to photograph as well as to understand, not so much for technical aspects as light, etc. rather for your shyness, your modesty and your education. Do not be ashamed, take pictures not to boast with friends but to give voice to people, their history and their contradictions. India was a very difficult test field for me, I often found myself in situations at the top of human tragedy: amputated and very poor children, beautiful landscapes full of garbage. Take pictures to tell a story not to rant.