A couple of the links you'll find below delineate my passion for travel. Although I live a life of debauchery in the States, I have lived outside and have been forever changed (the fact that fifteen years after leaving Taiwan I still speak fluent Chinese should be proof enough of that). I follow a code even in this civilian life among the untravelled that I call the Traveller's Ethic. There are a few (unofficial) tenets listed under the link. I have also included an essentials list for travelling that should get anyone started on the long road to effortless travel.
This is my current full-time ride, and most preferred bike among all the bikes I've had over the last ten years. It is a fixed-gear, which means the pedals turn with the wheel; no coasting. The frame is purpose-built for fixed: the dropouts face the rear of the bike, and there is no provision for a derailleur.
You might say that this is just like the bike you had as a kid. Unless you grew up in the Caribbean, or near a velodrome, you're probably wrong. The bike you grew up with only had one speed, yes, but pedalling backwards applied a coaster brake in the rear hub. A fixed gear doesn't technically need a brake, because the bike can be controlled completely using the feet, with something call "back pressure".
Let me just get this off my chest: I am beyond understanding how anyone can walk out of the house without their wallet or their keys. This would, to me, be tantamount to walking outside without pants on.
These rules might fit under the rubric of a traveller's ethic, a set of precepts that allows for greater enjoyment and less hassle while travelling, while at the same time protecting the environment and culture of the place visited.
AS THE TRAINS pulled in and out of the Metro station, a girl, water dripping from her hair, face pink with the cold, came down the escalator to the platform. Pulling a pack of Marlboros out of her leather jacket, she looked around, moving from face to face, as men in suits and trenchcoats pushed past, each one avoiding her stare until he passed, then turning to look back before stepping into the blue and white subway car.
The artist continued his work, taking paint from the cans in front of the mural, using a narrow brush to finish a mural of the glorious masses, yellow, black, and white, marching towards progress. The stage was as real as an artist's studio: cans of paint sat everywhere on the stage; dropcloths, rolled and spread, lay on the floor. Everything was placed so that one did not search the stage for the tools that did not fit.
She sat across the table, her fingerless-gloved hands moved back and forth from the coffee cup to the cigarette, so that the steam and smoke mingled as she brought each to her lips in succession. The pale of her face mingled with the smoke as well, her black hair melted with the dark mahogany paneling behind her seat, but, as she spoke, her eyes pierced the smoke like the pain of a sliver under a fingernail.