The Rules of Traveling

I was 15 when I started traveling, and I haven’t stopped since. Born into a Christian missionary family and raised in Nicaragua, I was pretty sheltered from the world for much of my childhood. This isolation gave me plenty of time to pursue my passion for music, and after a lot of hard work and dedication, I started receiving opportunities to venture outside of Nicaragua. Different cultures had always intrigued me, and I dreamed of visiting all the famous landmarks I’d read about or seen in movies. After my very first trip, which involved riding a chicken bus through Honduras (the struggle was real in the early days), I was hooked.

From that moment on, I’ve been traveling nonstop, for music and for fun. Over 42 countries and over 90 cities later, I’m just getting started.

1. People and Cultures are Beautiful

No matter where you go in the world, each place has a culture and vibe uniquely its own. Every country and people group have a genuine way of expressing their history and culture—whether it’s through dance, art, or music. (My personal favorite expression is through food. I will never have a six-pack, and that’s fine!) People are beautiful everywhere you go, and kindness is a universal language. A smile can break down any language barrier.

2. The Power of YOLO

YOLO is a cliché, but when paired with the right mindset, it becomes a powerful motivator. I can vouch for this from personal experience. I used to be so scared of doing things and didn’t realize what I was missing out on until I decided to live more freely and stop overthinking. As a result, I jumped into a shark-infested lake, sandboarded down an active volcano, booked a spontaneous solo trip, and braved Ryanair Airlines throughout Europe. The less I let fear inform my decisions, the more I enjoy life. Some of the best memories I’ve made were on the other side of fear.

3. Strangers are Just Friends You Haven’t Met

I know, you’ve been told a thousand times that talking to strangers is a bad idea. But while it’s important to be cautious of your surroundings, don’t allow that caution to turn into constant fear. As a person who regularly travels solo, I’ve learned that most people are inherently kind and are very friendly if you are too! Some of my best friends are people I’ve met on the road. Strangers have welcomed me into their homes, fed me, and taken me around town. I enjoy striking up conversations on the train or the bus knowing I’ll never see that person again. I find those interactions oddly precious. Everyone has a story worth hearing, and we can learn something from every person we meet.

4. The Art of Getting Lost

Blogs on where to go and what to do are great, and Google Maps can tell you how to get to almost anywhere, but I’ve found that alternate routes or uncommon places usually create the best memories. I was recently in Rome and decided to ditch the online travel guide I was following. Instead, I picked up a simple map with the landmarks I wanted to visit and just walked everywhere, no overthinking. I got lost so many times and came across the most beautiful streets and buildings. I asked locals where to go and they recommended their favorite spots, which of course I never would’ve found on the internet. My trip became my own personal treasure hunt, guided by real people and not faceless bloggers. You can’t get that kind of experience from a guided tour.

5. Living in the Moment vs. Capturing the Moment

In today’s society, we worry too much about getting the perfect shot to prove we’re living an enviable life. I used to be so caught up in taking great pictures and capturing “memories” while missing out on the moment itself. I’ve learned to stop looking at my adventures through my camera lens and instead experience them with my own eyes, without any distractions. Yes, I still take pictures, but I don’t allow that to become my main focus. I’ve learned it’s more important to be present than to worry about what my followers will think of my post. These days, when I go somewhere extraordinary, I don’t even try to snap a photo. It’s so freeing to enjoy a moment by yourself, take it all in, and not have to prove to anyone but yourself that it happened.

6. The Value in Simplicity

Travel has made me more aware of my blessings and taught me how to better appreciate people. I now see things that are often undervalued as beautiful and special. Sometimes it’s as simple as sharing a cup of coffee with a friend, or playing soccer with strangers on the street, or leaving a big tip for your waiter who works three jobs. Life doesn’t have to be fancy to be wonderful. We often think if we had more money or things, life would automatically change for the better. But I believe joy can be found in simplicity and is enhanced through experiences rather than material possessions.

7. Embracing Spontaneity vs. Doubt

Spontaneity jumpstarts adventure. My favorite memories aren’t of trips when everything went as planned, but rather when it didn’t. Like the time I was stranded in Peru, or when I left my passport at the hotel and was denied entry into Switzerland. I’ve learned to embrace those moments instead of freaking out, because getting worked up doesn’t solve anything. Make the best of it. The ability to go with the flow is one of the most valuable qualities a traveler can have.

So often we worry about how all the dots will connect when we travel. Trust me, they always connect somehow—your point B might just turn into point M or even W. Whether it’s booking a plane to Barcelona or jumping in the car for a trip to that city you’ve always wanted to visit, the same principle applies. The moment will never be absolutely perfect, and all your friends might never be available at the same time, but if we keep waiting for opportunities to make themselves happen, we’ll miss them. Let’s be bold, take chances, and create the moments we’re waiting for.

Baruch Sanchez

Baruch has traveled all over the world for the last 6 years. Born and raised in Nicaragua, there was always a spark to venture into the unknown and explore the world. His career as a musician took off at age 16 providing him to start traveling internationally very frequently. Now, Baruch has traveled to over 30 countries to explore and experience different cultures.