6 Principles For Life and Travel

If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”

Anthony Bourdain

If you love traveling and your enthusiasm for foreign cultures prompts you to buy a one-way ticket, chances are you follow a certain set of unspoken rules that I call,

The Avid Traveler’s Code of Conduct.

Besides governmental laws that citizens and tourists alike must follow, there isn’t a guide to how one should conduct themselves in a foreign place.

During my South American trip to Colombia I met this well-spoken hostel owner who told me that people who travel without a code of some sort tend to act like the stereotypical American tourist who, oblivious to their selfish behaviour, imposes their arrogance, ignorance and travel-magazine mentality upon the world.

None of us want to be that tourist.

Think of the following six rules I list in this article as a guide to cultural immersion.

Most of you reading this most likely already follow these rules intuitively and for those of you who don’t, I encourage you to adapt these principles before deciding to travel!

Without further ado, here are my six rules to the avid traveler’s code of conduct.

Treat others how you want to be treated

  1. Showing respect goes without saying. When you show up at someones home or, more broadly, a foreign place, your first responsibility is to be respectful.

    Right back to the basics of social interaction: Always say please and thank you.

    This also means following the established rules, guidelines, and cultural norms. As long as your heart is in the right place giving respect is second nature.

    We first saw this rule posted in big, vibrant colors on our elementary school’s classroom wall. It applies everywhere in life and especially as you travel to unknown places as a visitor.

    Be considerate. Don’t touch what’s not yours. Use your manners. Ask if you’re not certain.

    Simple enough, right?

Observe, Listen, Adapt

2. The second code of conduct for an avid traveler is to adapt to your host’s lifestyle and traditions.

This doesn’t mean to blindly follow, but instead to respect and understand a different and possibly new point of view.

This could mean waking up at the general time of whats expected, eating meals at a certain time or in a particular fashion, and following the “flow” of the household schedule.

Maybe your host practices prayer before and after a meal. Even if you aren’t religious it’s your responsibility as a guest to take part. To certain people, it would be considered highly disrespectful for someone to not follow tradition, especially in a foreign culture.

Observe how people go about their routines, practices, and traditions. Listen to what locals tell you about their beliefs and customs. And adapt to the new information you gain to make your travel experience richer and smoother.

Usually adapting simply means leaving behind your preconceived notions, which brings us to code number three:

Leave behind pre-conceived ideas about the world

3. Pre- conceived ideas and beliefs can be detrimental to your travel experience. They limit the depth of exploration.

If you go somewhere stubbornly set in your ways the chances are your trip will be limited to what you already know and are comfortable with; In that case, you should’ve stayed home in the first place.

Traveling requires an open mind. Only then can you thoroughly explore your surroundings.

Admittedly, most people who decide to travel are pre-supposed to alternative ways of being. In the light of new information open and receptive people often identify their own pre-conceived notions they weren’t aware of.

To expose and then correct a biased idea/belief is one of the many great virtues of traveling. Mark Twain is famously noted for writing,

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

Be genuinely curious

4. Tagging along with code number three, an avid traveler must be genuinely curious to learn and understand.

Curiosity can take the shape of many forms and traveling is one of the best ways to express your thirst for knowledge. Perhaps you love history. What better opportunity is there to learn than being in the place of your interest? Maybe it’s your passion for food that drives you to a specific place, or something more nuanced like traditional culinary techniques.

Whatever your curiosity aims at, it is your obligation to seek out new information that broadens and deepens your overall understanding.

Additionally, as a guest in someone’s home it’s wise to get to know your host. Build a relationship with them by sitting down and engaging in conversation. You’ll find that your host will not only be a valuable resource of information, but also act as a compass directing you on your travels.

Too many people either forget or neglect to interact with the people assisting them on their trip. Remember everyone knows something you don’t so be genuinely curious to learn what they’re willing and able to teach you.

Lend a helping hand

5. A helping hand goes a long way which is why it’s absolutely vital to contribute either by helping with housework, cleaning, cooking, running errands or simply telling your stories.

However you choose to contribute, make sure you offer assistance for anything they may need.

Even if they don’t want or need your help, a gesture alone demonstrates your willingness, open personality and it’s even a good sign of your strong work ethic. People will always be willing or more reciprocative to you when you give respect, effort and an extended hand.

Speak the language

6. Our sixth and final code of conduct for the avid traveler is: Speak the language.

For travelers visiting another country, yes, you should learn the very basics of the culture’s language. At minimum learn the words for, “please,” “thank you,” and for your sake, “where is the bathroom?”

In my experience, giving a genuine effort when speaking a foreign language always wins respect from locals. You’re going to make a bunch of mistakes. But you need to try. When people see that you’re going out of your way to learn their language, despite how silly you may sound, they’ll not only teach you, but they’ll encourage you to keep learning.

For travelers visiting a place that shares a common language, this code still applies.

Language isn’t merely the words we use to represent things and actions. It’s also how we communicate using tone, body language, and social cues.

Speak the language means being agreeable or having the social awareness of someone’s possible intentions.You’re likely to come across a wide variety of personalities on your travels and it’s useful to know how to interact with people independent of where they land on that social spectrum.

It applies to bargaining prices, dealing with hustlers, meeting new people, creating opportunities, and making the best of your days with the people you’re with. This rule, which is partly a learned skill, decides whether or not your experiences are positive, immersive and novel.

So, there you have it.

  1. Treat others how you want to be treated
  2. Observe, listen, adapt
  3. Leave behind pre-conceived notions about the world
  4. Be genuinely curious
  5. Lend a helping hand
  6. Speak the language

What can we add to this list? I’m interested in hearing what you guys would add.

  • Leave your suggestions in the comments
  • Give this post a like, and
  • Make sure to share with your friends!

Check these out!

Horta Marina Photo Collection

If you’re going to Horta it’s well worth strolling through the marina. A simple walk will open your eyes to the history and cultural significance of Europe’s westernmost city.

For decades sailors have painted their murals around the marina.

According to old-sailor superstition, painting your mural or logo on the breakwater gives divine protection from harsh conditions at sea!

I took my time as I walked down the marina – a slow pace – admiring the array of creativity each mural displayed. There were a few murals I stopped to look at longer than others. Either I’d been to where they were from, or I had some sort of artistic connection to the symbols and colors they used.

What interested me most was how all the murals weren’t in any chronological or divided-by-country order. Fresh murals from 2019 were right next to the faded outlines from decades ago, and all the countries shared one surface. They all complimented one another by their mutual love of the sea. The ocean is what brought all these nations together to this one port in Horta, Faial.

L’oiseau de passage- The bird of passage
Kairos- An Ancient Greek word meaning the right, critical or opportune moment.
Alma de sal- Soul of salt
Helios- Ancient Greek god and personification of the Sun
The Ocean State
Montanha do Pico<3
If you speak French, I’d love for you to translate this message for me. Google translate doesn’t cut it. Please and thank you!
Remembering my Colombia summer 2018

Check out my Horta photo collection here

Horta, Faial, Azores Travel Index

The first time I went to Horta I met a man with heavy-callused hands who told me stories about master mariners from Faial Island.

The hardships those sea-men endured are what make this place so enjoyable, he told me. It’s through their sacrifice Horta now strives.

Today Horta stands as a metropolitan-port city that people visit from all over the world and it’s literally written on the marina walls.

A Brief History Lesson About Horta

The history of Horta began when the first migrants from southern Portugal discovered the central group of the Azores.

Although most of the settlers were from mainland Portugal, a Flemish aristocrat in the late 1400’s, named Josse van Huerter, brought in merchants, tradesmen, and artisans to help develop Horta’s economy and culture.

Fun fact: The name “Horta” comes from a transliteration of Jose van Huerter’s name.

Before gaining international importance through transatlantic trading routes, the people of Horta faced many challenges and setbacks that you can read about here. Over time, commerce in the whaling industry boomed and exports on oranges and local wine stabilised the economy.

In more recent history, Horta’s harbour has become a popular destination not only for sailors and yachtsmen, but also travellers from all over the world seeking adventure, culture, and history.

What To Do in Horta

Nowadays if you’re traveling in the Azores, Horta is a must see destination. Besides the metropolitan feel of the town’s centre, there’s some great places to check out while you’re there.

1. The Historical Marina

Check out my photo blog to get a closer look at the creative murals sailors paint in Horta!

If you’re going to Horta it’s well worth strolling through the colourful and historical marina.

Today it’s internationally recognised and acts as a linking point for yachtsmen and regattas.

For decades sailors have painted their murals on the marina’s breakwater.

According to old-sailor superstition, painting your mural or logo on the breakwater gives divine protection from harsh conditions at sea!

2. Peter’s Sport Cafe & Scrimshaw Museum

The Scrimshaw Museum is located above the restaurant and bar

After strolling through the marina check out Peter’s Sport Cafe.

This place is ideal for a light lunch and sunset drinks. The best part about it is the atmosphere inside. All the memorabilia gives a nostalgic, yet hip vibe.

During the summer you’ll hear Portuguese, English, French, German and Spanish all being spoken over a cold glass of gin & tonic.

Above the restaurant the Scrimshaw Museum is one of a kind. If you appreciate artwork and history, you’ll thoroughly enjoy the small but exceptional exhibit.

A guide works to tell the local history and answer any questions you have!

The entrance fee is around 3.00 euros.

3. Porto Pim Beach & Cafe

I took this photo in November when tourism is slow

Porto Pim Beach, or locally known as Praia do Porto Pim, is one of the few beaches on Faial Island.

There are various cafes and restaurants nearby at your convenience.

This is an awesome spot to wind down at the end of the day with family and friends. The sunsets here are incredible!

4. Miradouro de Nossa Senhora da Conceição

The word “miradouro” literally translates to “golden sight.” These golden sights are scattered throughout the Azores by the hundreds.

Check out one of my favorites: Miradouro do Cabeço do Geraldo

Miradouro de Senhora da Conceição is located above Horta with a spectacular view of the entire city.

On clear days you can view ships crossing the channel between Faial and Pico with Portugals highest point, Pico Mountain, rising tall into the blue sky.

For religious reference, locals come here to pray and give thanks. “Nossa Senhora da Conceição” translates to “Our lady of conception” referring to the Virgin Marry.

5. Botanical Gardens

The botanical gardens (Jardin Botânico do Faial) are located a few kilometres away in the neighbouring town of Flamengos.

These gardens are for nature lovers and anyone interested in learning more about the endemic species of the Azores.

Here you’ll find evergreen bushes filled with Azorean hollies and blueberries, orange trees and blooming heathers. During the summer you’ll be surprised how vibrant the colours appear under the sunlight.

All across the Azores the mission of conservation groups are to protect the natural flora and promote scientific research and environmental awareness.

“When visiting this Garden, the visitors can get to know the rarest plants in the Azores, the traditional crops, a beautiful orchidarium, a collection of medicinal and aromatic plants, as well as the main invasive plants.”

6. Semana Do Mar

Semana do Mar or, “Sea week” is a music & arts festival set on the first week of August in Horta, Faial. People from the eight other islands gather here to enjoy concerts, art displays, traditional dances, and local food.

Island of Faial in the distance/ Photo taken at the Madalena marina

Everyone who lives in the Azores looks forward to the summer festivals since the winter season is terribly long and slow. It’s their time to have fun and let loose!

July and August are the ideal months for you to visit the Azores and if you’re here during the Festival weeks you must check it out!

See here for my photo blog of Semana Dos Baleeiros.

The Semana do Mar 2020 festival is already being organised. Check it out here if you have plans on visiting the Azores this summer!

Best Restaurants in Horta

No travel guide is complete without a food section. Here are some of my favourite restaurants in Horta that I know you’ll enjoy as well.

Restaurante Atletico

Restaurante Atletico was recommended to me various times during my stay in Horta. Now, I’m extending that recommendation to you.

To see photos of their food, checkout their Facebook page and Yelp

The menu has a wide variety of fresh seafood, barbecue and local cuisine with a European-mediterranean touch.

I ordered the grilled limpets ( lapas grehladas) with garlic-butter sauce. It was scrumptious.

For my main meal I ordered the filet mignon that was cooked to culinary perfection. Besides one other restaurant here on Pico Island I haven’t had a steak that comes close.

Once you eat here, you’ll probably end up coming back at least one more time before your vacation ends.

Pizzaria California

This is the pizza joint to go to if you’re staying in Horta.

It’s simple, the pizza is delicious.

Do you know how back home you have that one favourite pizza place you go to anytime you crave pizza? Well among Horta’s locals, this is it.

They also serve hamburgers, sandwiches and vegetarian alternatives.

Cafe Volga

Cafe Volga is an awesome little place where you can get good food at a low price.

It’s located right in the centre of town and alot of people come here to socialise, watch futebol, and dink café.

I ordered the bistec, A fried egg atop a reasonable-sized steak with a side of french fries, rice, and vegetables for only 6 euros.

This place is perfect if you’re on a budget and still want to eat good like the locals do.

Padaria Popular

Padaria Popular is a bakery and cafe located in the busiest part of Horta. This place is celebrating 40 years as an establishment.

No business stays around that long without doing something right. The environment alone is inviting with a white and blue color scheme representative of Faial island’s nick name “Ilha Azul” or “Blue island.”

The bakers work morning and night to prepare and serve fresh bread, pastries and sandwiches to their customers. I stumbled upon them on my last visit to Horta and I thoroughly enjoyed sitting down drinking a “meia de leite” (an expresso with milk in a larger mug) and a chocolate croissant.

Padaria Popular is a perfect place to grab a quick breakfast, an afternoon coffee or pick up a cake for the celebration.

Where to Stay?

When you come to Horta there are many options for you to choose from.

Your stay in Horta depends on three things:

  1. Your budget.
  2. Your comfort preferences.
  3. What you want in a travel experience.

If you’re traveling to Horta on a budget, no worries.

If I were you, I would check out Booking.com for the best prices. However, I stayed at Hotel São Francisco for like 25 euros which included breakfast. The staff were friendly and I met some nice people who were staying there as well.

If comfort is the deciding factor and you don’t need to worry so much about your budget, I would check out some of Horta’s finest hotels like Azores Faial Garden Resort Hotel. You’ll be treated to the great views of Horta, the ocean, and Pico Island in the distance. It has a good-sized pool, a work-out room, and sauna for those of you wanting to keep In shape while you’re eating all the delicious food.

For an optimal travel experience I always recommend to my friends to either stay at a local’s home or the nearest hostel.

Unless your accustomed to hostel life, I think it’s a great option to save money, meet like-minded travellers and stay in the heart of the city. On the other hand, if you’ve been there done that, I would tell you to stay at a local resident’s home. This mode of traveling allows for complete immersion and, if you connect well with your host, you get the added benefit of that person’s knowledge and recommendations.

So, Are you ready?

I hope this travel guide helped you out!

Get an inside look at Horta

Let me know in the comments, or shoot me an email if you have any further comments and questions about Horta, or the Azores in general. I’m happy to help!

Adventure on.

-Ryan Q

Horta, Faial, Summer 2017

Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Myers, among other popular Florida destinations, is known for its beaches, shopping centers, and fishing lifestyle. You and your loved ones can experience fun-outdoor activities whether that’d be swimming, kayaking, or sightseeing, dine at delicious ocean-side restaurants and wind down at the end of the day with a beautiful sunset view.

If you plan on visiting Fort Myers, this article is for you! This past May my friend and I made our way down to Estero island, where Fort Myers Beach is located, to spend much needed time under the sun. For us, this vacation was something we talked about for a long time and when it finally arrived we were ecstatic. We only wished we could stay longer. Down below are photographs from our three night stay.

We stayed three nights at Island Hideaway Luxury Suites

Fort Myers Sunset Dolphin Tour

Location: Snook Bight/ Bayfront Marina
Duration: 90 minutes
Cost: $25 per person

The instructors recommend you arrive 30 minutes early. You can enjoy the scenery and treat yourself to a drink from the outside bar while you wait. The sunset dolphin tour was worth it in every way. I didn’t capture many photos of the dolphins but we saw a lot of them!

preparing a healthy snack/ drinks for our kayak trip!

Fort Myers Kayaking Adventures

The next day we spent the first part of our morning/early afternoon in the pool enjoying ourselves. When we got back to the house we looked up kayaking in Fort Myers and came across multiple options.

Cost: $50 for 2 person Kayak
Duration: All afternoon

When we arrived the instructor went over the map and told us different spots to check out. We were able to paddle into the bay and through mangrove tunnels. If you love spending time in nature and getting in some exercise kayaking is a perfect option!

Fort Myers Pier, Food and Ice Cream!

Film for food, We shared a slice of some of the best pizza Ive ever tasted. Afterwards we grabbed ice cream cones to bring with us on the pier! Butter Pecan/ Vanilla
More film

Right in front of Lani Kai resort is Yo! Taco, a small colourful hut serving absolutely delicious tacos, burritos, nachos and other hispanic foods. We ate here more than four times and when we didn’t, we wish we had. On our last day before jumping on the highway to leave Fort Myers, we took Yo! Taco on the road with us because it’s that scrumptious. Get the hard shell taco, trust me.

Big Donkey Steak Burrito
Happy to be here

Chasing Sunset At Fort Myers Beach

Ending the day with reflection
The man who worked at the Cigar Hut told us every cigar tells a story. This is mine.

Notes From My Travel Journal

Sunday May 19, 2019

“Jessica and I arrived at Fort Myers Beach on Estero Island Friday night. We planned for this trip a few weeks ago, but the idea initially came up as we walked by beautiful oceanside homes lined down Holmes Beach. We were at Siesta Key’s Village when the idea seemed more feasible, like something we could actually obtain. How great would it be to wake up, look out the window and view the vast ocean and sky as your neighbour?

Now that we finally made it happen, we don’t want it to end.”