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Hitting the road once will change your life forever. Fact. You will become more adaptable and thinking on your feet will become second nature. Confidence and self belief will blossom as you overcome the trials and tribulations presented by life on the road, and you will evolve.

Interaction with others, from all walks of life, will become a daily event. The people you meet and the situations you encounter, both good and bad, will begin to define you. Some days can be magical, others may be tough - but each day will leave its mark, and the cumulative effect is life changing. Whether you travel for a month, a year, or ten years, you will be in for an experience like no other. But pause for a moment and ask yourself: - could it be even better? Here are five ways to enhance your travel experience.

1. Embrace the Weird and Wonderful - Don't pass up a chance to try something a little out of the ordinary, be it new food, local customs, children's games, or anything else. Chew betelnut (torrents of red saliva, anyone?) with little old ladies in Borneo, play Trompo (simple spinning tops) with kids in El Salvador, and cough and choke on samples of savage tobacco from Javanese street vendors. Get into the swing of it and make someone's day.

2. Learn the Lingo ? Even just the basics will lay the foundation for a better experience. A little goes a long way, it demonstrates that you are willing to make the effort and convey respect toward the people you meet. If nothing else it will raise a smile or two, and that's always a bonus. Still need encouragement to reach for the phrasebook? A little of the local lingo may even secure a better price for transport, accommodation, or the little knick-knacks that you simply can't pass up.

3. Go Slow ? It's human nature to not want to ‘miss out’ on anything, but by racing though too many countries in a given time you may miss out on so much more. Not only will you learn less about the places you’ve longed to visit, but one or two nights in each place also spells out buses, trains or boats at least ever other day, and packing/unpacking will almost become a daily event.

4. Be a One Bag Wonder ? Travel light, travel happy. Less really is more. Less weight to lug between transport and accommodation, less size to be swinging around within the confines of a densely populated bus, and less stress as the smaller your luggage is, the less likely you are to be forcibly separated from it during a journey. In addition, it's more likely you will be let on an already packed out bus if you have less baggage.

5. Keep a Journal ? If writing isn't your thing, then rest easy. A journal means many different things to different people. It could be a full scale daily diary or simply a child's notebook from the market in which you put labels from local beer bottles (possibly with drunken scribblings below) ? the choice is yours. Whatever form your personal creation may take, the end result is the same. Long after your memory has faded there will be this well thumbed Opus, this testimony of your travels, waiting to take you once more through this wonderful chapter of your life. And you will have wonderful photos to share and remember those days

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