Place an X next to completed tasks
[ ] Try to pack everything in your closet.
[ ] Plan the first three months of your trip, unilaterally.
[ ] Try and summarize an entire week in a single journal entry.
[ ] Imagine yourself writing a poem everyday you travel.
[ ] Fall in love with the first country you encounter.
[ ] Forget you are an outsider to even the locals who know you intimately.
[ ] Stay 3x longer than intended because you can’t get Grad School applications together.
[ ] Pretend that you never wanted to leave in the first place.
[ ] Try and explain to yourself why you are there in the first place.
[ ] Stake claim to the role of victim in the case of robbery, highway or otherwise.
[ ] Imagine yourself as something besides an interruption.
[ ] Fish with homeless people alone and give them money whenever they ask.
[ ] Buy cocaine in an attempt to get laid.
[ ] Refuse to bribe a Peruvian policeman and spend a day in jail.
[ ] Expect that anyone besides the staff get laid at a hostel.
[ ] Promise your fishing rod to a travel buddy, then change your mind.
[ ] Use a guidebook to plan your day.
[ ] Ignore guidebooks when planning your day.
[ ] Eat bull penis.
[ ] Eat street food until you end up in the ER on an IV antibiotic.
[ ] Attempt to take pictures of every meal you eat.
[ ] Lose the scraps of paper they give you at the border.
[ ] Punch your travel partner in the face.
[ ] Forget to travel alone at times.
[ ] Share travel secrets with people who don’t deserve them. (You be the judge)
[ ] Pay more than 5 soles for a meal in Peru.
[ ] Tell an Argentine girl she’s beautiful.
[ ] Ask a Chilean for directions.
[ ] Walk alone at night in Brazil.
[ ] Walk alone at any time in Ecuador.
[ ] Try to write a book of travel poems.
Stephen Rosenshein studied creative writing at San Francisco State University. He welcomes your comments at stever4204[at]gmail.com.
photo by jrambow