Wannabe world traveller needs advice

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    • #1656

      Hey folks,

      This place is like a Bizzaro world version of the BFC…in a good way. So to the point: I haven’t been out of the US and have always wantd to travel. I am fed up with about everything in my present situation and have thought about just picking up and vagabonding around the world. I know that it probably sounds way more cool than it really is. I have some money saved up…not sure how long it would last but it is there nonetheless. I have some orthopedic issues (needing foot surgery) before I would be able/if I would be able to split. That going well however…how much of a shock would the logistics be? Managing money on the road, accomodations, hygeine….? I have read 4 or 5 books on the topic…Vagabondong, The World Awaits, Globetrotters Guide.etc. There seems to be so many overwhelming issues…taxes and bills back home so I dont end up owing millions in interest etc. If you just split without getting shit in line it seems like coming back in the future would be impossible. Staying healthy, visas, on and on … That being said …I usually put more effort into planning and organizing and often never commit the act. So…neurosis aside…what do you guys think? Feel free to email if you care to.


    • #4169

      The more money you have to throw around, the more fun travelling is. Yes, you can do the super-budget trip, I’ve met people like that – in fact, most people I meet are on far tighter budgets than myself. (Me, hell, I just jump in taxis waving wads of money, demand comfy beds and hot showers when they’re available, and at least a few shots of Johnny Walker or Chivas to calm my brain after a day of hectic running about, plus the obligatory sack of souvenirs. I go for quality over quantity these days).

      Yet you can do the super cheap stuff. Take advantage of local hospitality, hitch hike or bike between cities, sleep on roadsides or hook up with nomads. A hell of a lot of travelling can be done for next to nothing, if you have the time to do it. There is a real time vs. money ratio to factor in with any trip. The more time you have, the less money you spend per day. The less time you have, the more you end up turning into me(drinking scotch on the airplane for 48 hours of chasing people down in refugee camps or seemingly abandoned office buildings and getting back to the airport with a handy 40 minutes to spare).

      A few tips I can suggest are to blow off the backpacking crowd, fuck ’em all cuz they will stick to some sort of hard core drinking binge, and the shitty thing about super-budget travel is that boozing it up is usually the first thing to go, unless of course you can get someone else to front the booze. The second thing to go is accomodation – I am an adept at sleeping on park benches in cities I think are safe enough to do so. You can take it a step further and start doing it in unsafe cities. Let me know how it goes.

      The third thing to go is transport, you can save lots of money by purcashing some cheap-ass Chinese bicycle and using that to get around. Again, if you’re not in a hurry, it doesn’t matter how long it takes. And when the bike breaks down, get on your own two feet and walk to the nearest god-forsaken town.

      Last thing to go would be your return air ticket, ah fuck it, who needs one. just stow away on a ship back to wherever you started from.

      As for visas, fuck them too, just get to know some nomadic people and wander across the open frontiers with them where no one really cares if you have ID of any sort.If you eventually get detained and arrested for illegally entering, well then you’re in luck – free accomodation, and usually food too!

      It’s as simple as that. But of course, if I end up seeing you at a hostel don’t be offended if I don’t lend you any money, or keep locks on my bags when I’m not in the dorm and you are.

    • #4170

      Yeah saying screw it and go tramping around the world is a lot of fun….if you have the money to enjoy it properly, that is the key. For those of us who have pensions or a generous 401 K to rely on (or two years of pro basketball under yer belt) you come to the realization you can live anywhere in the world you choose. Yes you can find employment overseas, but its not easy, depends on your skills. So I would recommend that you take a series of short trips first to get your feet wet (no pun intended). You will learn more about traveling and getting by with some real experience than you ever will spending months doing aniceptic research on a computer. You need a passport and some idea as to how long you can stay in what country, most will allow you a fifteen day to one month entry without a visa, and you can border dance back and forth when one or the other grace period expires. Guys do the same with Visas, taking a three to five day Visa run when their one year runs out, know a few who have stayed in Asia for fifteen years with out permanant residency by doing just that.

      Depends on which country you go to, if you stay in four star hotels and do the tourist thing you can get a feel for it but you got to go out from that to experience true epat living….a word of caution, watch who you get info from in these countries ESPECIALLY fellow country men who are Xpats, many look for a tourist or future xpat looking for the true “in country experience” to rip off.

      A far as your finances, learn how to manage your account on line and link your checking account to your credit card so you can pay it off, and tune into your credit line to manage things. Yes people do get by hand to mouth but these backpakers I see often run into trouble and certain countries can be unforgiving and cruel for the penniless.

      Anyhow good luck.


    • #4171


      Its’ easy to get tied down worrying about logistics etc.

      The best way to get over your worries is get the visa, buy a ticket and just go. The rest will sort itself out very quickly. Take a guidebook with you if you are really worried. Something like LP is likely to answer any questions a first timer will have.

      You will be able to buy everything you need at your destination, probably much cheaper than at home. You will get ripped off, but that is part of the learing experience and it will only happen once or twice before you learn.

      The best confidence builder is action.

      Have fun

      The most miserable time I ever had travelling was better than the best time I had working.

    • #4172

      So J., I’ve got to agree with Rob that the best confidence builder is experience. Quit with the Fodor’s guide crap. Just buy a ticket, or a vehicle and go. I met a Swedish kid about Seven years ago in Islamabad. He had driven his POS VW Bus from Sweden, and was trying to get an Indian visa before driving across the Atari Road Border between Lahore and Amritsar. He was fairly cool but damn lucky. He only spoke English, Swedish, and German….and somehow made it across Iran! He was mostly interested in the best Hash from Around the world and was just begging to be some Pakistani prison bitch but last I saw him was at the Indian Embassy in Islamabad, Visa in Hand. He didn’t seem to be rolling in cash. I think he sort of made some money along the way here and there. Not sure how he put gas in that VW or food in his stomach, but he didn’t seem to concerned. Eat when you’re hungry..you’ll find food one way or the other.

    • #4173

      I just got back from Romania and Turkey. Both are cheap (except Turkey wants 100USD for Visas now) and if you stay away from Bucharest you can trapse around romania really cheap. Talking to people , shaking their hands , exchanging food on trains will get you far and prolly invited over for food and drink.

      But you always end up spending more than you think you will. I had one trip in my life where I spent less and I still brag about it but never expect it to happen again.

      If I were to tramp around I would start out in Budapest at soem youth hostel, hook up with one or two like minded folks and crawl around Romania for a bit, then head down to Turkey and do the same.

      Jefe: Polinka is in the mail. I mailed it claiming it was aftershave.

    • #4174

      Ditto above. I still get ripped off from time to time; will always happen when you don’t know the language or prices when you first arrive.

      Important thing for me is to not really have a fixed itinerary. I’ve changed mine so often cause i loved or hated a place or wanted to see something else along the track or had visa probelms etc..

      Going to try and stay longer in Kashmir now and try and fit in Nepal as well; originally was only going to have one week max for Kashmir and then fly home.

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