Travelling...

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  • zErOb_cOOl 21 Sep 2006 13:10:15 3,237 posts
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    ...I've always wanted to do it. After high school I went straight to Uni. I worked while at high school, worked while at Uni, and went straight into a full time job after Uni. Because I've been working and been skint, I haven't really had chance to go travelling yet. So many people have been, and I'm jelous, including my mate who's just come back from Europe; sounds like he had a hell of a good time. I seriously don't know how people afford it before/during/after Uni. I still can't currently afford it, but I know I could work small jobs out there while travelling to pay my way though.

    I'm now a web designer, and getting good experience too, although I've only been in the job just over 6 months, and would like to get at least a year's experience, as employers always want 1 years experience of this, that, and the other.

    I don't want to throw away my job, but I'm just getting claustrophobic here in the UK, with a big wide world out there to explore. I would absolutely love to go to Rome, New Zealand, New York, and possibly somewhere more 'out of the way' such as Indonesia.

    What I want to ask is have you been travelling, and if you have was it worth it/do you regret it? How did you fund your travelling? Also, if you haven't been travelling, why not?

    Edited by zErOb_cOOl at 13:10:25 21-09-2006
  • Salaman 21 Sep 2006 13:14:15 18,959 posts
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    Why would you be unable to travel whilst studying, working? Unless you're really flirting with the poverty line, you can make it out of the Uk for short stints without actually touring the world for 24 months.

    Touring the world or part of it for an extended time may be more adventurous but if it's not an option, then gathering up vacation days and taking 1 month off to backpack through France or Italy or something like that can be a pretty good alternative.
  • zErOb_cOOl 21 Sep 2006 13:19:35 3,237 posts
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    Salaman wrote:
    Why would you be unable to travel whilst studying, working? Unless you're really flirting with the poverty line, you can make it out of the Uk for short stints without actually touring the world for 24 months.

    Touring the world or part of it for an extended time may be more adventurous but if it's not an option, then gathering up vacation days and taking 1 month off to backpack through France or Italy or something like that can be a pretty good alternative.
    It's an idea, but I only get 23 days holiday a year, with no option of overtime, and I was planning on travelling a bit longer than a month. Maybe not though, so thanks for the thought, as even a month away would be good.
  • The_Aardvark 21 Sep 2006 13:26:22 3,063 posts
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    I've been a few of times - to Africa, South East asia and Latin America. They were all brilliant experiences and I'd love to do it again. I'd defnitely recommend it to everyone - it's easy, fun, relaxing and not ridiculously expensive.

    For me it was pretty easy to save, I just slaved away in some dead end temp job and lived at home. The trick is to go somewhere pretty cheap and then your money goes further - South East Asia is the obvious one but you can get by in Latin America on about 30 a day.

    I reckon that if you really want to go travelling you should scrape together as much as you can, quit your job, box up all your worldy possessions in your parents' loft and then get an open return to somewhere on the other side of the world and stay till you run out of money. Save expensive, accessible places like the US and Europe until you are tied down with limited time and more cash to spend.

    The two routes I would really recommend doing are either

    1)Around South East Asia, through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia (especially Malaysian Borneo) flying in to Bangkok and out of Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.

    OR

    2) Fly into Santiago in Chile, head up the Andes, through Bolivia, Peru Ecuador and Into Columbia then a boat down the Amazon into Brazil and fly back from Rio. If you are going to go to Latin America it's worth taking a few Spanish classes before you go as, once you get there, you will pick it up really quickly if you've got some kind of starting point.

    Things to take - The only bits of kit worth spending money on when you are travelling are shoes and a rucksack. Aside from that buying loads of high-performance light weight ruff terrain jungle gear is just a waste of money. You will mainly be hanging around bus-stations and chilling out on beaches, not trekking through jungles.
  • zErOb_cOOl 21 Sep 2006 13:30:52 3,237 posts
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    Awesome advice. Just what I was looking for. Thanks very much for writing all that.
  • Dirtbox 21 Sep 2006 13:32:16 77,712 posts
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    To see the world outside of your comfort zone is probably the single most important thing anyone can do, infact I think it should be enforced in some way and government granted :)

    And if you're serious about it then save as much money as you can.

    As much as I've always wanted to just up and go, it takes a bit of preparation to get started, and money is the one thing that makes travelling possible. Stick at your job for another 18 months and open a savings account. Don't even think about budging until you've got at least 5k. Chat to the boss and see if he'll consider re-employing you at some point in the future and go.

    I've found that bosses have been pretty sympathetic about travelling if you tell them about it and give them plenty of advance warning.

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  • Load_2.0 21 Sep 2006 13:32:49 19,149 posts
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    Hah your in such a great position. You have all of Europe to travel through and you can do so with ease because you have a British passport. I guess this is a bit more obvious when you spent 20 years stuck on an island in the South Pacific, miles away from a lot of places, like me.
    Maybe start with a few weeks in some European destinations if you ar unsure. I love travel and would recommend it to everyone. Go and soak up some of those foreigners crazy lifestyles and lands like a big vacuum. Shlluuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrpppppppp.
  • henro_ben 21 Sep 2006 13:35:22 2,215 posts
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    I've just got back from 4 months travelling in China, Japan, US & Canada & can definately recommend it. Missed out on the whole gap year spent travelling & always regretted it, so basically saved up some money, left my job & went!

    The Aardvark has the right of it though - spend your money on a good quality backpack & a good pair of boots. Most other things you can pick up when you're out there.

    You can get cheap 'round the world' flights if you're not fussy about which countries you go to. Otherwise just book open returns to where you want to go & enjoy!
  • Dirtbox 21 Sep 2006 13:40:23 77,712 posts
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    Places to go. Well, to start out, you can get rail cards that will take you all over Europe, you can easily spend a few months dodging around Germany, Spain, Italy and France. Europe is a fascinating part of the world while remaining nicely civilised.

    From there you can head East or West. A friend recently did a coast to coast road trip across America before heading south to Mexico and so on. Sounded great, I'm seriously tempted if I'm honest and I've been getting itchy feet for a couple of years now, so who knows, i might go get that cash of BGiE while I'm there.

    Heading east is a well beaten path and I recommend you do it by land if possible, using coaches, trains and so on, but stopping in towns and stuff along the way. Take a little of everywhere you go in. I originally did that because I hated flying, but looking back, the journey was more important to me than the destination.

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  • UncleLou Moderator 21 Sep 2006 13:42:51 35,508 posts
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    No point in flying to Indonesia if you haven't been properly to Europe, in my opinion.

    Does Interrail still exist?
  • Dirtbox 21 Sep 2006 13:43:38 77,712 posts
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    I think so. Be a shit if it doesn't that was the greatest thing ever ever.

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  • Dexter 21 Sep 2006 13:46:08 1,060 posts
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    Best train travel website evar.
  • Dirtbox 21 Sep 2006 13:55:36 77,712 posts
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    The one thing that peeves me, and this isn't meant as a slight on anyone in the least, but the people who trudge around Thailand in their flip flops and beads and think they've seen something of the world just because they walked out of Bangkok airport, stayed in a hostel then slept on a beach after smoking some grass.

    That's not travelling to me. It's holiday makers trying to be ethnic and failing miserably.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 13:55:10 21-09-2006

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  • zErOb_cOOl 21 Sep 2006 13:57:19 3,237 posts
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    Dirtbox wrote:
    From there you can head East or West. A friend recently did a coast to coast road trip across America before heading south to Mexico and so on.
    That sounds awesome. I'd like to do that, apart from isn't Mexico very dodgey? I'm not implying it is, just asking.
  • UncleLou Moderator 21 Sep 2006 13:57:24 35,508 posts
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    Dirtbox wrote:
    The one thing that peeves me, and this isn't meant as a slight on anyone in the least, but the people who trudge around Thailand in their flip flops and beads and think they've seen something of the world just because they walked out of Bangkok airport, stayed in a hostel then slept on a beach after smoking some grass.

    That's not travelling to me. It's holiday makers trying to be ethnic and failing miserably.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 13:55:10 21-09-2006

    Absolutely true.
  • Dirtbox 21 Sep 2006 14:00:00 77,712 posts
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    zErOb_cOOl wrote:
    Dirtbox wrote:
    From there you can head East or West. A friend recently did a coast to coast road trip across America before heading south to Mexico and so on.
    That sounds awesome. I'd like to do that, apart from isn't Mexico very dodgey? I'm not implying it is, just asking.
    Yeah, it can be. I think he woulnd up in Brazil if memory serves, but we were near the bottom of the bottle of tequila he bought back so it's a bit hazy. Parts of Mexico are extremely dodgy, but as with all things, walk with a purpose and you won't get into trouble.

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  • zErOb_cOOl 21 Sep 2006 14:01:41 3,237 posts
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    UncleLou wrote:
    Dirtbox wrote:
    The one thing that peeves me, and this isn't meant as a slight on anyone in the least, but the people who trudge around Thailand in their flip flops and beads and think they've seen something of the world just because they walked out of Bangkok airport, stayed in a hostel then slept on a beach after smoking some grass.

    That's not travelling to me. It's holiday makers trying to be ethnic and failing miserably.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 13:55:10 21-09-2006

    Absolutely true.
    Lol. Well put, very cynical, but probably very true. I'll remember to find some monks to stay with for a few months if I go on my travels.
  • Machiavel 21 Sep 2006 14:03:59 5,964 posts
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    Nobody's mentioned Australia yet, I think. Always useful as part of a tour since there's a reciprocal work agreement in place so you can top up your funds by working legally if you're under 26 (I think).

    Go on, take the bar work back to the Australians :)
  • Machiavel 21 Sep 2006 14:04:33 5,964 posts
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    Not to say you can't work less legally in other places too...
  • Dirtbox 21 Sep 2006 14:04:50 77,712 posts
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    Like I said, it's not about the destination, it's the journey.

    Go round Europe by train. Of all the places I'd could trot around till I die, Europe has more diverse variety, culture and character than anywhere and you'll never see it all in one lifetime.

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  • henro_ben 21 Sep 2006 14:23:25 2,215 posts
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    I think, as with most things in life, what you get out of travelling depends very much on what you put in to it.

    You always seem to run into backpackers who seem to spend their time drinking & chatting to each other. Who seem to treat what ever country they're in as nothing more than a pretty backdrop and consequently never seem to learn anything or have any interesting tales to tell.

    I'd suggest you find something you want to do, or a place you're actually interested in visiting for its own sake rather than for bragging rights & base your trip around that. For me it was walking the 88 temple pilgrimage in Shikoku (Japan) & all the rest of my travels stemmed from that.

    Mind you, Europe is just on the doorstep & Easyjet flights are nice & cheap... nowt wrong with a long weekend in a foreign city, you can see & learn a surprising amount in 3 days.

    Just my tuppence worth.
  • zErOb_cOOl 21 Sep 2006 14:28:34 3,237 posts
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    Dirtbox wrote:
    Like I said, it's not about the destination, it's the journey.

    Go round Europe by train. Of all the places I'd could trot around till I die, Europe has more diverse variety, culture and character than anywhere and you'll never see it all in one lifetime.
    I think that says something very good about Europe as a continent. Anyway, yes I'm most tempted by Europe, but I've always had this inclination (ok dream) to tour America on a chopper. Mind you, the older I get, the less and less I like the look of America. In fact, I see it now as an uncultured land of concrete, where everything is functional, has a lack of heritage, and is run by a complete out-of-touch madman. There has to be 'boys clubs' in Governments for people like him to get into power.

    Anyway, anti-North America rant aside, New York is still tempting, but I think I am left wanting to do Europe, as it's relatively easy to get around, and I don't particularly like flying, so travelling across the land while seeing things sounds perfect. The far east is still tempting me though, as it really is a completely different world out there.

    Edited by zErOb_cOOl at 14:30:02 21-09-2006
  • Stickman 21 Sep 2006 14:33:39 29,664 posts
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    Do an EG tour. Go see all the non-Brits on here.

    THIS SPACE FOR RENT

  • Dirtbox 21 Sep 2006 14:34:32 77,712 posts
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    America is one place I've never been and I've always regreted not going. I'd love to drive down some desolate desert highway with the top down and a suitcase full of drugs with a fat Samoan lawyer by my side while the bats close in.

    Talking about all this travelling lark has given me the itch something rotten :(

    /starts saving

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  • henro_ben 21 Sep 2006 14:37:53 2,215 posts
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    I found most of America very disappointing tbh - every city seemed to look the same (more or less), feel the same and bore me the same. With the notable exception of New York - loved it.

    Actually, what really depressed me about the US is that you've seen so much of it on TV & in films that there seems little there to suprise you, unlike the far east which seemed utterly baffling & yet completly fascinating.

    Just my view, your mileage may vary.
  • The_Aardvark 21 Sep 2006 14:40:21 3,063 posts
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    Dirtbox wrote:
    Like I said, it's not about the destination, it's the journey.

    Go round Europe by train. Of all the places I'd could trot around till I die, Europe has more diverse variety, culture and character than anywhere and you'll never see it all in one lifetime.

    Europe does have hundreds of fantastic destinations but, IMHO, it's not the place to go for a big trip. It's so accessible that you can easily get out and see a new city on a bank-holiday weekend. If you are going to go for longer you may as well invest in going somewhere a bit further away, especially since your money will go a lot further when you get there.
  • Machiavel 21 Sep 2006 14:41:23 5,964 posts
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    zErOb_cOOl wrote:
    Dirtbox wrote:
    Like I said, it's not about the destination, it's the journey.
    Anyway, yes I'm most tempted by Europe, but I've always had this inclination (ok dream) to tour America on a chopper. Mind you, the older I get, the less and less I like the look of America. In fact, I see it now as an uncultured land of concrete, where everything is functional, has a lack of heritage, and is run by a complete out-of-touch madman. There has to be 'boys clubs' in Governments for people like him to get into power.

    Umberto Eco's "Travels in Hyperreality" has some great stuff about American culture - a land where you can visit famous people's birthplaces, all in one place. Like a caravan site of famous people's houses, all gathered from far and wide and placed in a nice, easily consumed location.

    Actually, I toured America by bus and Amtrak when I was 20 and thoroughly loved it. In some ways it's 'travel lite' since most people speak your language and the Brits are held in high regard, but the variations are there, the people are fantastic and there's still enough problems and danger to teach you a bit about the world. (First night in New York I was busy ordering a pizza slice with my wad of travel money, and the bum in front of me spooked my friends by ambling out with a bloody great pistol tucked into his filthy, ratty trousers)



    Edited by Machiavel at 14:42:12 21-09-2006
  • Dirtbox 21 Sep 2006 14:47:05 77,712 posts
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    henro_ben wrote:
    I found most of America very disappointing tbh - every city seemed to look the same (more or less), feel the same and bore me the same. With the notable exception of New York - loved it.

    Actually, what really depressed me about the US is that you've seen so much of it on TV & in films that there seems little there to suprise you, unlike the far east which seemed utterly baffling & yet completly fascinating.

    Just my view, your mileage may vary.
    Really? That's a shit.

    I'm not really into towns though, Hong Kong was my longest extended town stop while I crewed on the Star ferries to make the cash up to head north to Aus via S. Korea (crooked).

    I'm far more interested in wide open space and a different set of experiences than going shopping or hanging out in bars, which is about all there seems to be in towns appart from the occassional gallery.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 14:47:51 21-09-2006

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  • henro_ben 21 Sep 2006 15:16:20 2,215 posts
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    Dirtbox wrote:
    Really? That's a shit.

    I'm not really into towns though, Hong Kong was my longest extended town stop while I crewed on the Star ferries to make the cash up to head north to Aus via S. Korea (crooked).

    I'm far more interested in wide open space and a different set of experiences than going shopping or hanging out in bars, which is about all there seems to be in towns appart from the occassional gallery.

    Edited by Dirtbox at 14:47:51 21-09-2006

    I'm not big on cities & towns myself - Tokyo was my longest stop, but I am most interested in the history of places, which may well be why I found most of the US the least enjoyable country I've visited - not to say that I didn't have fun there but...

    ...I dunno, sometimes I think the US is a bit like candyfloss - nice in small doses but after a while you want something with a bit more to it. Stunning scenery though.

    Just remembered - if you're off travelling for an extended period of time (i.e. longer than a couple of weeks), do take & write a journal or diary. You forget things so quickly when you're seeing new stuff every day, and it makes pleasant reading when you're stuck back here in dear ol' Blighty!
  • Dexter 21 Sep 2006 15:22:09 1,060 posts
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    henro_ben wrote:
    I am most interested in the history of places, which may well be why I found most of the US the least enjoyable country I've visited
    Eddie Izzard said to an American audience:
    I grew up in Europe, where the history comes from.
    ;D
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