I bicycle everywhere around the city and up in the mountains when possible.
The first things I try to learn of a foreign language are numbers, directions and food terms.
* tending a campfire
* getting dogs to lick my face, getting cats to give me permission to pet them (then they start purrrrrrring)
* texture - velour and seersucker are faves
* is it shiny?
* comfort - nothing skin tight, it's gotta allow airflow
I've become sort of a podcast junkie while traveling- Snap Judgement, This American Life, Stuff You Should Know, StarTalk, TED Talks, Sporkful, and Radiolab passed lotsa time while on the road and now plays while I work. Judge John Hodgman cracks me up on a consistent basis.
Food can be summarized as stuff that tastes good, preferably spicy hot and/or spicy tasty. While I can appreciate the decor of a restaurant, I am focused more on the flavor than ascetics.
Books - Geek Love, Fear and Loathing, Vonegut's stuff, William S Burroughs, Harold Mcgee and Michael Pollen. My current favorite cookbooks are: Cooks Illustrated Science of Good Cooking, The Family Meal by Ferran Adria and Pok Pok. Wanda Coleman's poetry is quite heavy.
* list of phrases pertaining to food, numbers and directions
* functioning olfactory senses to sniff out mysterious foods in mysterious places