"My Travel Page" briantravelman's Profile

A Born Traveler

I was born in Ventura, CA, to Polish parents, and just 2 months after my birth, my parents moved to Colorado. Less than 2 years later, my mom took me on a trip to Poland, and than the next year, we went on a road trip to South Dakota, and the following year, New Mexico. To make a long story short, I’ve been traveling all my life.
Travel and geography was always a topic of conversation in our house. When the other kids were playing Yugio or football, I would be playing geography games with my parents. When the other kids would be watching Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers, I would be watching Jeff Corwin, Crocodile Hunter, and Globe Trekker. When other kids were pretending to be pirates or Indians, I was pretending to be Jeff Corwin or Steve Irwin. I would select a random country on the globe, than pretend to go there and show animals. When the other kids were writing stories about Santa Clause and super heroes, I was writing travel and adventure stories.
I was always borrowing my dad‘s maps, and travel books, and in school, I would ask the teacher if I could look at the globe, and just write down the names of random countries. At just 6 years old, I knew more about geography, than most American adults.
So as you can see, it is no surprise, that I became a traveler.
I am currently in college studying natural resources, but that doesn’t change my real dream, which is to make travel documentaries.

It's funny, visiting some of these countries that I fanaticized and wrote stories about, when I was little, and seeing that they are very different from the way I imagined them.

Travel Philosophy and Advice

The best way to experience, and learn about another country, is through the eyes of the locals. Hanging out with the locals, is always fun and educational, so spend as much time as you can with them. Also, take time to learn a bit of the language before you visit, so you can interact with the locals in their own language. It will completely change the way you experience the country. It opens more doors, and you truly feel connected with the people.

Research well before you visit, and don't be afraid to venture off the beaten path. Sometimes it's the places and events, that AREN'T in the guide books, that end up being the most interesting. And don't be afraid to try an activity or visit a place even if it doesn't seem like it's for you, because sometimes, the things that seem the least interesting and exciting, turn out to be the most interesting and exciting.

Don't let your perception of a place be clouded by negative stories you hear on the news. Don't get scared off. Do your own research, and know what areas are safe, and what areas to avoid.

When it comes to asking for directions, I like to ask students, especially girls, as they tend to be the most helpful.

You haven't truly experienced another culture, until you've tasted the food, so try at least one local dish.

If you have family who came from another country, or if you were born in another country, but left when you were really little, visit that country at least once, and learn about your heritage.
I have met a few people like this, and it's always interesting to hear their stories.

Plan! Plan! Plan! Even if you're not planning to visit a place any time soon, it won't hurt you to start planning. I like to pick places that I am interested in visiting, plan out an itinerary, than go whever I can.

See your own country, before you start seeing others.

Read "My Travel Style" for budget tips.

You Don’t Know What It’s Like, ‘Til You Actually Get There

What I’ve learned from my own experiences traveling, is that you can hear stories, read books, and look at maps and pictures, and expect a place to be a certain way, but when you arrive there, it’s not at all what you expected.
You might expect it to be an easy place to just rent a car, and travel around on your own, but when you actually get there, you find that it’s not so easy.
You can see pictures of these incredible ancient sites, that look completely empty and peaceful, only to arrive and find the place over run with tourists and buses.
You can expect everyone to speak your language, but than arrive there, and see almost no one does. Or you can expect everyone NOT to speak your language, but than you arrive and get surprised by how many people do.
You can expect a place to be warm, welcoming, and safe, or you can expect a place to be dangerous and unfriendly, only to discover that it is the complete opposite.
You can think that the place you are visiting will be boring, but it turns out to be really exciting. Or you can think a place will be exciting, only to find it incredibly boring.

It can all go both ways. The list can go on and on, but the point here is, that you never know what a place will be like, until you actually get there. It’s perfectly normal to have preconceptions about a place, whether they be good or bad, but you will find that most of the time, it’s not at all what you expected.

I never understood why young people have to go to places like Cancun, Ibiza, or Mykonos, JUST to drink and party, if they can do that in their own country. The same as the people who only go for gambling. When I go to another country, it’s to experience a culture and history that is different from mine. I will never understand why someone would pay thousands of dollars, to do something that they can do in their own country.

I wrote as my quote, "Traveling is the best educational experience you'll have.", and I truly do believe that. There are certain things, you will just never learn in a classroom. The world is my classroom.

"To travel, is to live"~ Hans Christian Andersen

My Travel Style

Whenever I go somewhere, I don’t spend my entire trip drinking beer on the beach, just so I can brag to my friends, that I’ve been there. I’ve always had a passion for travel, and learning about other countries, and when I go to another country, its to experience the sites, wildlife, and culture. I want to experience as much of the country, and its culture as possible.
I like to venture off the beaten path, to places which are unknown to tourists, and to rural villages, to see how real locals are living their lives. Some of my most memorable experiences have been in small towns and villages, spending time with the locals, and experiencing age old festivals and traditions, that I’ve never seen in any guidebook or travel show. My favorite moments are when the locals let me join in, or try on their costumes. That’s what travel is all about, and moments like those, are the reason I do it.
I’m the sort of person who will get in a cab and go out to the middle of nowhere, or go somewhere with no hotel reservation, than worry about how I will get back, or where I will sleep later. That only adds to the adventure, and those are the kind of experiences that will stay with you forever.
I’m not a solo traveler, however. Sometimes I will go off on my own, but I usually like to have at least one person with me, like a friend or family member. I feel safer, and it’s always more fun to travel with another person. I usually try to go with people who are adventurous, and have the same interests and travel style as me.

I like to have flexibility in my travels. I like exploring an area on my own, and be free to go wherever I want, whenever I want, and spend as much time as I want there.
I occasionally go on tours, but I’m not a huge fan of them. Though tours can be very useful, and often the best option, I hate being limited to what a tour will show me, and I really hate being rushed by the guide. Whenever possible, I try to visit places, on my own, but I have been on tours that I’ve really enjoyed. If I have to go on a tour, I try to find one that's close to my travel style, and visits ALL the places I want to see.

Although I do visit big cities, I'm not a huge fan of them, as they are really chaotic and exhausting. Although there are a few that are on my list, there are a lot that I have no intention of ever visiting.
Although some cities can be really interesting and exciting, I still prefer small towns and villages, as they are quieter, less touristy and commercialized, and more authentic.
I would be lieing if I said, I never stay in nice hotels, take tours, or eat at nice restaurants, because I do sometimes, but I usually travel on a tight budget and try not to spend a lot of money for things I don’t need. I don’t see the point of paying $200 a night for a hotel on the beach, if I won’t be spending much time there. I’d rather save a few hundred dollars by getting a small hotel inland.
Although I occasionally find myself in a nice restaurant, I usually eat at small street side restaurants and cafes, and buy food from street vendors, especially when I’m in a place that’s a bit pricey. If the area we’re visiting has good public transportation, we don't bother renting a car. When it comes to attractions and museums, I try to look for places that are free or cheap. I will not spend tons of money on an attraction, unless it’s TRULY worth it.
Although souvenirs are nice to have, they are something I can live without. I will not buy anything, original or not, unless I can get it at a cheap price.
All the money I save, I use for tours, activities, entry fees, and transportation. If I have some local currency left over, I add it to my collection.

I am an old fashioned kind of guy. I HATE fancy technology! HATE IT! I don't want a GPS or fancy phone, telling me where to go, or translate into the local language for me. I prefer to look at a map, to find my way, and learn a few foreign phrases, by doing a little old thing called "studying."
I hate taking pictures with smart phones. I prefer my trusty camera.

Difference Between A Tourist And A Traveler

In the words of John Rambo, “I’M NO TOURIST.”

I don’t consider myself a tourist. I consider myself a traveler. Tourists stay in expensive hotels on the beach, eat and drink at popular restaurants, shop, spend a lot of their time on the beach, and only check out the places and activities, that are in the guidebook, a lot of times, with a guided tour, and usually expect everyone to speak their language, and expect things to work the way they do in their own country, and want to be with people from their own country.

Travelers are all about adventure, discovering the true nature of the place they are visiting, getting to know the locals, and making the experience as memorable as possible. Travelers like to experience a place their own way, and venture to places that aren’t in the guide book, even venturing into the unknown. A lot of times, they end up somewhere they didn’t plan. There is a saying, “A tourist doesn’t know where he’s been, a traveler doesn’t know where he’s going to be.” Travelers usually don’t like tours, but prefer to travel with local contacts, private guides, or on their own, meeting new people along the way. They use different means of transportation which include renting a car, bus travel, train travel, and getting rides with locals. Travelers don’t worry about how they will get back, or where they will spend the night. They always find a solution when the time comes. Travelers don’t stay in expensive hotels, but in small cheap hotels, or with locals, and don’t eat in fancy restaurants, but buy their food on the street, form small street side cafes or restaurants, or eat in peoples’ homes. Travelers usually travel on a budget and avoid overpriced attractions, and expensive souvenir shops, and don‘t waste money on things that are not worth it.

I Don’t Go On Vacations, I Go On Adventures

A vacation is when you sit on the beach all day, and drink beer.
When you travel off the beaten path, experience the real life and culture of the place you are visiting, and never know what to expect, or what will happened next, that’s an adventure, and those are the kinds of experiences that you can tell your friends about, not how you drank beer on the beach for 7 days.
Adventure is what it’s all about, and those are the kinds of experiences that will stay with you forever.

Experiencing Cultures Through Music

My favorite way to experience another culture is through music. Everywhere I go I fall in love with the local music, and I always get goosebumps when I hear a foreign song. I think music is the best way to get to know another culture. Everyone can relate to music. You don't have to understand the words to enjoy the music. Music brings people together, and expresses people's true emotions. You can be in the rudest and grumpiest place on earth, but when good music is playing, everyone forgets their problems, comes together, has fun, and atmosphere completely changes. When people are listening to, dancing, or playing music, I think that's when they're really being themselves. That's why I think there is no better way to get to know someone's true culture.

This may sound crazy, but sometimes I want to visit a country just for the music.
Even in the U.S., attending the concert of a European rock band, is a cultural experience.

Favorite Place

Greece

http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/145955/1cd/

Least Favorite Place

Downtown Vancouver

http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/145955/dc80f/

Travel Documentaries

Ever since I was little I enjoyed making nature and travel videos. My dream was to film nature documentaries, but as I got older my interests broadened, and now my dream is to make travel documentaries.
For now I only post them on Youtube and VT, but I hope to get them onto TV, and someday maybe even have my own show, or be on "Globe Trekker".
I like to document places and events that other travel shows don't, though I was really inspired by "Globe Trekker". My goal is to change people's perspectives on travel, and encourage them to venture beyond the usual tourist hot spots.
I also like traveling to places that have gotten bad rep from the media, to dismiss all the negative reports.
I always document and post the truth, whether it be good or bad.
I posted some of my travel documentaries on VT. They can be viewed in my videos.
I will post more once they are finished.

http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/vb/0/145955/

Series 1

1. Maui and Lanai
2. Poland and Slovakia
3. Northern Greece
4. Four Corners
5. San Francisco
6. Central California
7. Gdansk
8. Aruba
9. Vancouver

  • Intro Updated Jan 11, 2015
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“"Traveling is the best educational experience you'll have."”

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