I reached out to some amazing women in my life and asked them to share some travel stories or tips for my readers. Here’s the first one. It’s about smiling. I hope you enjoy it!

Smiling Helps

Our family spent the last three months in Southeast Asia and North Africa. Many of those times we found ourselves to be the only Caucasians in the area. We grew accustomed to the stares, head turns, and people stopping to watch us. As much as we tried to blend in, we didn’t. We figured out a way to break the barrier and help the situation to not be so awkward. Our solution – we smiled at everyone we made eye contact with.

What we discovered is that as we made eye contact and smiled, nine times out of ten we got a smile back and sometimes even a laugh or a giggle.

Smiling seems to be the best way we have found to break down the barriers and open the doors to meeting new people. Sometimes smiling at someone catches them off guard and they don’t quite know what to do, so they either quickly look away or instinctively smile back. Smiles do not require translation; everyone recognizes a smile.

I admit it was sometimes difficult to give a genuine smile. After all, it feels awkward to be stared at, but smiling put us at ease, too.

Many people are amazed at the experiences we have had on this trip. Often, the doors to those opportunities were opened with a simple, genuine smile.

Try smiling at people more and see what happens. Make eye contact and give a smile.


This is an excerpt from Smiling Helps (read the entire post) written by Jody Temple White while on a nine-month low-budget, high-adventure trip around the world with her family. This uncharted trip took Jody, John (her husband), Riley (son, 16) and Allison (daughter, 11) to 24 countries and they participated in over 26 service projects ranging from animal and wildlife rescue, beach clean-ups, teaching English, holding orphaned babies, helping at after school camps and programs and eco-friendly gardening. The Courage Vibe is a family adventure company providing resources, tools and opportunities for families to live brave, give big and have fun. To learn more about their story, visit TheCourageVibe.

I talk a little about this in my book Women with Wanderlust. You should check it out. It’s chalked full of tips like the following excerpt:

Myth: I need to know the language

One of the biggest excuses I hear about travel to foreign countries is, “I don’t speak the language”. Well the good news is that you don’t have to know it all to go there. How about picking up a few key phrases before you go or taking a phrase book with you? Get a small book that you can carry in your day bag or download some notes to your smart phone. I know there’s an app for that! How about some mp3s or CDs you can listen to for pronunciation?

If you want to know more than just a couple key phrases, there are programs to learn another language in three months! Really? Yes, it’s true! These courses are designed for everyone and they work.

If you just cannot learn anything before you go, English is the language spoken almost everywhere in the world. If all else fails, smile and try your best, that’s all you can really do. Also, don’t be above charades, drawing pictures, or saying every word you can think of for that one word that you need them to understand. Trust me, I’ve done all of those things!

A smile means the same thing in every language

If you or someone you know could use more travel in their life be sure to check out my book. I want to inspire everyone I can to travel more. We need more #romaingwomen