I first went overseas in 1995 (to Hawaii) and I got the travel bug immediately. Over this time I have acquired numerous travel habits and superstitions that follow me around the world, and even dictate my travels.
I Travel To London Every Year
Visiting London at least once a year is something that I make sure I do. I first visited London in 1999 on a working holiday visa. It is from my time in London that I discovered my career in travel and became the traveller that I am today.
Every year since then I have been in London at least once. It’s a city I’ll never tire of visiting anyway. I have friends in London, and it is a handy entrance point for travels to the rest of Europe. Part of this tradition though is also a yearly homage to a city that has made me who I am today.
When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.
I Visit The Same Restaurant in London Once a Year
As well as visiting London once a year, the most consistent thing I have done in my travels is to go to the same restaurant in London at least once a year. The restaurant is Pacifico in Covent Garden, which is perhaps the greatest Mexican restaurant in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Cafe Pacifico Covent Garden – the greatest Mexican restaurant in the Eastern Hemisphere.
I first went to Pacifico in 1999 when I met a friend from Australia there. He used to travel to London on business four times a year, so I would meet him there whenever we were in London at the same time. As a one time Los Angeles resident he had aquired a taste for Mexican, and had been coming here for years to get his Mexican fix.
He has since retired from his business but I continue the tradition in his absense, and I am compelled to text message my presence to him whenever I am there.
I Visit Germany Every Year
Now this is a hoodoo I can do without. I thought only Germans and people on business visit Germany every year, but I too am a yearly visitor to Germany. This was completely unintended of course. It started out innocently enough. When I was living in Dublin I got a free airline ticket to Germany in a newspaper giveaway. It was to Dussefdorf, in February. Not the first idea for most people when planning a day trip to a European city. It was free and I hadn’t been there so I went, and it was a good day out.
The following year it was a 1 pound Ryanair fare. Then I drove through it going somewhere else another year. A World Cup here, visiting friends there, and next thing you know I’ve been there every year since 2003.
I was quite happy in my ignorance of this fact, but in 2009 I realised this travel run had occured, and I accommodated my travel plans to continue the run. I was in the Netherlands near the German border, so it wasn’t a big deal, but now I find myself wondering if I can accommodate my travel plans around a trip through Germany.
I must say that during this unlikely run, I have discovered that I like Germany more than I ever thought I would.
Mainz – Just another amazing German city.
I Have A Pre Take-Off Prayer
It’s not so much a prayer, rather a reflection on a good life. I love flying, so when I’m sitting in an airline seat taxiing to the runway, I find myself grateful to be flying again.
Tarmac ponderings. Here we go again – thanks be to the travel gods.
I Have An International Currency Wallet
I have a wallet dedicated to foreign currency. I have Euros, GBP, USD, RMB and other currencies in small notes, as well as a coin purse with Euro and Pound coins. Part of this is just practicality. As I am in the UK and Eurozone at least once a year it is handy to have the small stuff for when you arrive. Whether it be for bus ticket vending machines or for something to eat upon arrival, having small change beats trying to break a 50 euro note at a kiosk.
So this is one part practicality, but there is also some travel voodoo involved as well. I figure if I have a small reserve of a currency I will return to this place eventually. This theory is partly modelled on Ernest Hemingway’s method of writing. He said to avoid writers block he always left something in the well to return to the next day. I apply the same principal with my currency. I also have useful currencies to me such as Thai Baht, Malaysian Ringgit and Swiss Francs.
The total amount wouldn’t add up to $100, so the $5 a year in lost interest is more than made up for in good travel energy.
I Have A Patron Buddha In Bangkok
I picked up this habit from a convicted drug smuggler actually. Go to any second hand book shop in Bangkok and you will always see a copy of Mr Nice by Howard Marks. In the book he mentions his love for Bangkok and how he had picked out a Buddha at a Wat, which he then visited every time he was back in the city.
I too love Bangkok, and I like the ritual of visiting a Buddha in thanks for being in Bangkok once again. I have modified this tradition to visit a Buddha according to what Wats motto would best help me at the time.
Need some calmness? Wat Pho will sort you out.
I Always Have A Ticket To Somewhere
Being a travel addict I feel better knowing there is an unused flight to somewhere in my travel documents file. This is similar to my international currency stash theory. Always leave something in the well. As I write this I have six unconsumed flights for the rest of the year. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a live ticket available. I don’t know if it would be bad luck for me to not have a flight somewhere booked, but I’m not in a hurry to find out.
I’m sure I have other travel habits, rituals and superstitions which I’m not aware that I am doing. I know people who always pack a lucky trinket on their travels, and people who always light a candle in cathedral of a visited city.
What travel habits, rituals and superstitions do you have?