Back on Friday, July 1, I was sitting at a bar Downtown at Freestones, celebrating the first day of a long, overdue and much-needed vacation.

In the morning, I was leaving for Pompano Beach, Florida and couldn't wait to get on the 6 a.m. Saturday morning flight. I placed an order for food and waited patiently over an ice cold mojito. A gentleman to my left sat down next to me and asked how it was going.

"Not too shabby," I replied and took a healthy gulp from my drink. I believe his name was Eugene.

I continued to tell him of my plans to Florida and he told me owned a small shop down in Provincetown called Hocus Pocus.

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"Do you want to know the secret to a happier and fuller life?" he asked. Now, me wondering if this guy was intoxicated and about to go on an hour-long ramble about how he made the wrong choices, but came back swinging, I prepped myself for the long haul. Instead, he simply said one word: travel.

"Travel far and often," he stated as he sipped on his beverage. "See the world and all its beauty. You won't be sorry."

Now, I've done some decent traveling myself back in the day and still plan on checking off a few more destinations on my bucket list, but there was something about this guy that I liked. It could have been his confident aura that was boastful, but polite, that dragged me in, but I'm glad it did.

He's right, you know. We tend to stay in one place for far too long and a change of scenery is not always a bad thing. When we forget about the simple joys in life, that's when we become miserable. That's when we start to lose focus on the real test at hand, that being happiness.

As quick as he could finish his drink, he was complete with his story and proceeded to pay for my drinks plus another.

"Have a blast," he concluded as he walked out the large front doors of the historical New Bedford establishment. I know for a fact that I'll never see this man again.

In a way, it opens up a whole new perspective on how fast life moves when your nose is buried in work. "Travel far and travel often," words I never knew I needed to hear. The world that we live in is vast and colorful and interesting and mysterious. I've seen New Bedford, I've lived out 33 years here on the SouthCoast. Perhaps it's time to break away for a bit and explore the unknown and just like Eugene, I highly recommend doing just that.

You know, it's funny; you hear the saying "a man walks into a bar" a lot, but have you ever applied it to a real life situation? Thanks to Eugene, my eyes and mind are wider.

LOOK: Route 66’s quirkiest and most wonderful attractions state by state

Stacker compiled a list of 50 attractions--state by state--to see along the drive, drawing on information from historic sites, news stories, Roadside America, and the National Park Service. Keep reading to discover where travelers can get their kicks on Route 66.