Playful Trekker

play (more). connect. transform.

Hi, I’m Crystal Place. Welcome to Playful Trekker.

I’m currently traveling slowly around the world, researching and exploring different cultures, in order to investigate first-hand how our biological drive to PLAY reveals itself in each community and culture I visit.

Crystal Place - Playful TrekkerPLAYFUL TREKKER was born out of an appreciation for the importance and power of PLAY in our daily lives, and its role in the health, happiness, continued innovation and creativity, and general well-being of our worldwide community. This deep curiosity and desire to explore, discover, and share just how, where, and why the world plays continues to extend my boundaries of understanding, and inspires me, and hopefully you, daily.

THE MISSION of Playful Trekker is to provide authentic storytelling – using the written word, visuals (vérité style video, interviews, and photography), and the captured human voice – as we investigate PLAY’s role in cultures and conditions around the world. We’re interested in the power of play to help people and communities endure, connect, and transform. Our content also has an emphasis on the function of curiosity, the deep, personal education that travel rouses in us all, and the pursuit to live better, happier lives in the process.

Playful TrekkerBACKSTORY: After learning the life changing joy of world travel, and then the transformative power of PLAY for myself, after a life-threatening illness, I started researching the science behind our biological drive to play. Soon I found myself engrossed in this fascinating topic. I also started traveling the world full time seeking out the most magnificent types of play, in cultures and places, in the farthest corners of our world. I continue to learn from hands-on, on the ground experience, experts on the subject, and other cultures’ perspectives – and then share those discoveries with you here at Playful Trekker.

WHAT’S INSIDE: With authentic stories, bits of humanity, humor, discovery, and adventure, I hope this site continues to inspire others to add a bit more play to their every day lives – or even perhaps, to look at their lives with a new lens, igniting possibilities for their own play and happiness, as they continue to craft their own stories. I hope you will join me for the journey, and that you find many moments of inspiration here to follow your own dreams, whatever they may be. Our time, (and how we spend it), is our most precious possession after all. And hey, if you’re new to Playful Trekker and not sure where to start: Start here!

  • The truly great advances of this generation will be made by those who can make outrageous connections, and only a mind which knows how to play can do that.”
    – Nagle Jackson
  • The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.”
    – Carl Jung, Swiss psychoanalyst, 1875-1961
  • Make voyages! Attempt them! There’s nothing else.”
    – Tennessee Williams
  • Human beings need pleasure the way they need vitamins.”
    – Lionel Tiger, Canadian anthropologist
  • If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal.”
    – Paulo Coelho
  • Culture arises and unfolds in and as play.”
    – Johan Huizinga Dutch historian 1872–1945
  • We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way, begin no day where we have ended another day; and no sunrise finds us where sunset left us. Even while the earth sleeps we travel. We are the seeds of the tenacious plant, and it is in our ripeness and our fullness of heart that we are given to the wind and are scattered.”
    – Kahlil Gibran
  • Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
    – Albert Einstein
  • I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”
    – Mary Anne Radmacher
  • You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
    – Plato, Greek philosopher, 427-347 BCE
  • Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
    “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
    “I don’t much care where –”
    “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
    – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
  • Play allows us to develop alternatives to violence and despair; it helps us learn perseverance and gain optimism.”
    – Stuart Brown M.D., Contemporary American psychiatrist
  • Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
    – Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky
  • There is for many a poverty of play.”
    – D.W. Winnicott, British pediatrician, 1896-1971
  • The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
    – Eleanor Roosevelt
  • The debt we owe to the play of the imagination is incalculable.”
    – Carl Jung, Swiss psychoanalyst, 1875-1961
  • The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.”
    – Anna Quindlen
  • Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.”
    – Heraclitus
  • Adventure is worthwhile.”
    – Aesop
  • To the art of working well a civilized race would add the art of playing well.”
    – George Santayana, Philosopher, 1863-1952
  • Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.”
    – Mark Twain
  • Play has been man’s most useful preoccupation.”
    – Frank Caplan, Author
  • Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
    – Andre Gide
  • Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.”
    – Joseph Chilton Pearce, American scholar
  • I wandered everywhere, through cities and countries wide. And everywhere I went, the world was on my side.”
    – Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy
  • Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning.”
    – Diane Ackerman, Contemporary American author
  • No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.”
    – Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
  • Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor.”
    – Stuart Brown, M.D. Psychiatrist
  • For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”
    – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.”
    – Kay Redfield Jamison
  • The best journeys in life are those that answer questions you never thought to ask.”
    – Rich Ridgeway
  • Always jump in the puddles! Always skip alongside the flowers. The only fights worth fighting are the pillow and food varieties.”
    – Terri Guillemets
  • The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.”
    – Sir Richard Burton
  • It is a happy talent to know how to play.”
    – Ralph Waldo Emerson, American writer, 1803-1882
  • The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”
    – Saint Augustine
  • We all need empty hours in our lives or we will have no time to create or dream.”
    – Robert Coles, American child psychologist
  • Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”
    – Mark Twain
  • Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.”
    – Stuart Brown, MD Contemporary American psychiatrist
  • Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”
    – Seneca
  • Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.”
    – Abraham Maslow American psychologist 1908–1970
  • To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”
    – Aldous Huxley
  • The true object of all human life is play.”
    – G. K. Chesterton British author 1874–1936
  • You don’t have to be rich to travel well.”
    – Eugene Fodor
  • Play fosters belonging and encourages cooperation.”
    – Stuart Brown, MD Contemporary American psychiatrist
  • Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
    – Helen Keller
  • Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father.”
    – Roger von Oech Contemporary American creativity guru
  • People don’t take trips, trips take people.”
    – John Steinbeck
  • Play is training for the unexpected.”
    – Marc Bekoff Contemporary American biologist
  • A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles.”
    – Edward Abbey
  • Play is hard to maintain as you get older. You get less playful. You shouldn’t, of course.”
    – Richard Feynman, American physicist 1918–1988
  • Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.”
    – Lawrence Block
  • If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
    – Yogi Berra
  • It is in playing, and only in playing, that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.”
    – D.W. Winnicott British pediatrician 1896–1971
  • Travel brings power and love back into your life.”
    – Rumi
  • If we would only give, just once, the same amount of reflection to what we want to get out of life that we give to the question of what to do with a two weeks’ vacation, we would be startled at our false standards and the aimless procession of our busy days.”
    – Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  • Our power lies in our small daily choices, one after another, to create eternal ripples of a life well lived.”
    – Mollie Marti
  • Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
    – Dr. Seuss
  • If music be the food of love, play on.”
    – William Shakespeare
  • A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
    – Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”
    – Babe Ruth
  • I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning to sail my ship.”
    – Louisa May Alcott
  • Love does not consist at gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.”
    – Antoine de Saint Exupery
  • To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”
    – Bill Bryson
  • Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
    – Helen Keller
  • Now in myth and ritual the great instinctive forces of civilized life have their origin: law and order, commerce and profit, craft and art, poetry, wisdom and science. All are rooted in the primeval soil of play.”
    – Johan Huizinga Dutch historian 1872–1945
  • Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.”
    – Irving Wallace
  • We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
    – Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan
  • The playing adult steps sideward into another reality; the playing child advances forward to new stages of mastery.”
    – Erik H. Erikson American psychoanalyst 1902–1994
  • I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”
    – Susan Sontag
  • For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”
    – Robert Louis Stevenson
  • So, in all these spheres—in painting, sculpture, drawing, music, singing, dancing, gymnastics, games, sports, writing, and speech — we can carry on to our heart’s content, all through our long lives, complex and specialized forms of exploration and experiment.”
    – Desmond Morris Contemporary British zoologist
  • Not all those who wander are lost.”
    – J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone, is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been.”
    – Albert Einstein
  • Play, while it cannot change the external realities of our lives, can be a vehicle for us to explore and enjoy our differences and similarities and to create, even for a brief time, a more just world where everyone is an equal and valued participant.”
    – Patricia G. Ramsey Contemporary American educational psychologist
  • I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine.”
    – Caskie Stinnett
  • Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
    – Ray Bradbury
  • Her imagination was by habit ridiculously active; when the door was not open it jumped out the window.”
    – Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady
  • Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
    – Neale Donald Walsch
  • A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.”
    – Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
  • Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.”
    – Alan Keightley
  • This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
    – Alan W. Watts
  • One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
    – Henry Miller
  • Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.”
    – Tom Robbins
  • Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves, does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.”
    – Wendell Berry
  • Life is more fun if you play games.”
    – Roald Dahl, My Uncle Oswald
  • If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it.”
    – Harvey MacKay
  • Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
    – Robert Frost
  • Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.”
    – Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
  • Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking.”
    – Antonio Machado
  • The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.”
    – George C. Scott
  • There is no moment of delight in any pilgrimage like the beginning of it.”
    – Charles Dudley Warner
  • Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.”
    – Albert Einstein
  • And will you succeed? Yes you will indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed).”
    – Dr. Seuss
  • Investment in travel is an investment in yourself.”
    – Matthew Karsten
  • The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”
    – Michael Althsuler
  • All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”
    – Martin Buber
  • If you never did you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.”
    – Dr. Seuss
  • Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
    – T. S. Eliot
  • Art flourishes where there is a sense of adventure.”
    – Alfred North Whitehead
  • In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.”
    – Friedrich Nietzsche
  • We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.”
    – Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker
  • You are bound to be successful.”
    – S.N. Goenka
  • Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.”
    – Mark Twain
  • It is rare for people to be asked the question which puts them squarely in front of themselves.”
    – Arthur Miller, The Crucible
  • Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn’t taste good.”
    – Lucia Capocchione
  • You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
    – Dr. Seuss
  • Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.”
    – Paul Theroux
  • Play is the highest form of research.”
    – Albert Einstein
  • The journey not the arrival matters.”
    – T. S. Eliot
  • I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things… I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind.”
    – Leo F. Buscaglia
  • So when we were drinking lemonade under an apple tree in the summer, say, and talking lazily about this and that, almost buzzing like honeybees, Uncle Alex would suddenly interrupt the agreeable blather to exclaim, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”.”
    – Kurt Vonnegut

Add some joy to your life. It’s free!

Giving Back

With the finite time we have on this planet, I believe it’s important give back as much and as often as we’re able. I take this sentiment very much to heart, and have committed to doing so in some way in every country I visit. Sometimes this means recording a meaningful story to allow someone to be heard, offering Certified Laughter Yoga to groups that may need it most, or volunteering in some other way I may be of service to the communities in which I immerse myself.

☎ Contact Me:


    Work with me:

    Play Scouting & Travel Writing:

    I research, visit, interview, explore, experience, document, and review various types of PLAY in places around the world. I’m interested in how different cultures express and share this curious and universal biological need. By sharing and bringing people and cultures together, through play, we inspire deeper connection and healthier, happier lives.

    Contact Me

    Certified Laughter Yoga:

    As a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader and Teacher, I offer Laughter Yoga Workshops and LY Leader Certifications to groups and communities that need it most. Book a Laughter Yoga class or certification for your group or community, and learn first-hand how the power of laughter and play strengthens, heals, and brings people together.

    Learn More

    Professional Storytelling:

    As a seasoned producer, with more than a decade of experience, I offer visual and auditory storytelling to compliment the written word. Everyone deserves to be heard and to meaningfully connect with the world. I take the honor of sharing others’ experiences to heart, and most importantly, I share the beauty of your unique communities and cultures with the rest of our curious planet.

    Contact Me