Get off the trail and away from the guidebooks with Doug Lansky’s tips

Amy Poppinga

Amy Poppinga

Doug Lansky knows a thing or two about adventure.

He once bought a horse in Ecuador to ride across the country even though he didn’t know how to ride a horse and didn’t have a map.

“You have to force yourself to get off the trail and away from the guide books,” he said.

Lansky – a travel expert who’s been on the road for about 10 years in more than 100 countries – spoke to a packed house at Jacks’ Place on Sept. 17. He told students how to travel cheaply, survive awkward international situations and find a trip best suited for each individual.

After attending Colorado College, Lansky spent two and a half years traveling around the world. He sold carpets in Morocco, picked bananas in Israel and was a snowmobile guide in the Alps. With this adventurous spirit, Lansky told students that if they want to travel, they just need to get out there and do it.

“You’re a little nervous at first, but then you get into the groove of it,” he said.

To decide where to travel, Lansky recommended that students ask themselves what activity they would like to do. Would they like to visit historical ruins or go parasailing? Students should figure out what they want to do on a trip and then decide a place from there, he said.

“Experience travel is the most powerful,” he said.

While out traveling, students should immerse themselves in the culture and try new things. Lansky said travelers need to keep their wits about them but be open to new experiences.

For food, travelers should certainly try fresh fruits and vegetables, he said, but that vendor on the street could also have something equally refreshing.

“Looks can be deceiving,” he said. “You have to get out there and try it.”

Sometimes being adventurous can lead to some problems, though. Almost all travelers experience sickness at some point. Instead of just riding it out, Lansky recommended that travelers should visit a local clinic. Oftentimes, even a small clinic can give travelers some medicine to make them feel better.

Throughout his speech, Lansky offered several practical tips to make traveling easier. He even covered such topics as the remote-controlled Japanese toilet and the squatter toilet. Oftentimes, squatter facilities do not have toilet paper or soap, and they can present other problems for some travelers, he said.

“Take your valuables out of your back pocket,” he said.

Megan Schiferl, a sophomore in the audience could relate to Lansky’s advice after her summer trip to Africa.

“One time in Africa, I took a picture of a squatter because it had a hand towel,” she said.

Another audience member, Michelle VanderLinden, a senior dairy production major, said she learned a lot from Lansky’s presentation, but the best tip was that students should pick an activity and then the place.

“I’ve never heard that before, to pick an activity you want to do and then find a place to go,” she said. “It makes sense.”

#1.881485:1829085790.jpg:lansky.1.jpg:Travel expert Doug Lansky steers a gondola through the canals of Venice.:Courtesy Photo