Jon Levy has been force-fed by Kiefer Sutherland in the back booth of a Manhattan bar, has screamed for a medic as bulls trampled him in Pamplona, and has high-fived penguins at the South Pole. That is to say, he is a man with stories. Also, advice on how to live your next trip as an Indiana Jones film -- or at least as a beer commercial.
You don't need to go far to have an adventure, Levy says, or have a bulging bank account. But jet-setting doesn't hurt. He has hit roughly 30 countries so far, and is as likely to go with friends as he is to arrive solo and build a crew from scratch. "I don't care about bottle service," he says. "I care about having a fun life, not a luxurious life."
He wasn't always so outgoing. A self-described scrawny geek-turned-behavioral scientist, Levy spent his formative years listening to and analyzing the adventure stories so many travelers described as random happenings. Systems fascinated him; he studied computer science, math, and economics at NYU, and he stayed obsessed as he worked at a series of startups and media outreach jobs, traveling all the while.
Now 36, the native New Yorker has become a quasi-professional bon vivant. Gotham magazine has named him among the city's most successful bachelors, and he holds one of the city's most eclectic dinner parties at his Upper West Side pad, with guests such as Science Guy Bill Nye, the Winklevoss twins, and ex-Real World cast members. He has just compiled his armchair anthropology into a new book, The 2 AM Principle: Discover the Science of Adventure, titled on the premise that nothing good happens after 2am… except pretty much all the best stuff.
I reached him by phone to ask how to crank up a given trip to 11, or at least high single digits. His advice rolls into four steps you and your gang can adopt to make your nights lower-case epic. You're not going to remember any of this at 2:01am unless you read it a couple of times, so let's get to it.