Being nice, staying nice and leaving nice can be some of the hardest things you will ever do.
Sometimes being nice asks everything you have and then some, but playing nice is a key component of a good traveler.
Just as those of medical profession are meant to abide by the Hippocratic Oath ~ ” First, do no harm”, so should travelers dwell in the art of being nice.
Nice to your host country and its ways, nice to the touts and drivers and matrons of guest houses, nice to airline attendants, nice to your fellow travelers; nice.
We don’t simply need to learn to share the planet, we need to share our snacks too. Share and share alike; water, sunblock, advice, cab fare, bug spray, cookies, tents, whiskey. Share your goggles and fins, share your campfire and baguette, share. Then you will notice, maybe slowly at first, how much people share with you.
This, of course, will lead to more sharing.
PLAY WITH EVERYBODY
Don’t be afraid of kids you have never met, include everybody in the game. One of the foremost pleasures of travel is meeting new people and this means types of people you have never met before, people that may test or assist you. Obviously, caution should be advised when asking Yakuza kingpins to a game or checkers or drug smugglers to a beer.
DON’T MAKE A MESS
Not just in the common kitchen, which you absolutely must, but everywhere. Pack camel backs and aluminum canteens to tote your water so as not to be tempted with trash and to drink from the tap where safe. Try to leave the space, camp, beach, heritage site and country cleaner than you found it. Abide by rules meant to maintain sewer systems (don’t flush toilet paper) and cultural relics (please do not climb).
Try to honor traditional sensitivities and leave as little disturbance as possible.
Use biodegradable soap.
WHAT OTHER FUNDAMENTAL TENANTS OF TRAVEL DID WE LEARN AS CHILDREN?