Subject: Re: I can improve my travel experience by....
Hey Lucy,

I too spend a lot of energy educating myself about the location I am going to. However, to me the most important thing is to meet and talk to people who live there.

I want to know how they think, what they dream about, and what their lives are like.

In Europe I often hang out at Cafe's with a local newspaper for a few afternoons. In Malaysia I kept hanging out with the people who worked in the hotel we stayed at.

In Mexico I got on a bus that ended up being the wrong bus and took me way into the back country - I got to talk with a few people on that account as well. Then we rented a car, and I quickly learned to drive like the locals - Fast, with a hand on the horn, and sometimes on the wrong side of the road. It was fun! In Morocco I almost got into trouble due to this wandering spirit - probably the only time I really got afraid when traveling.

Anyways - getting out and away from the touristy spots and getting to know new people and new cultures is my answer.

Malene Sonoma CA