Monthly Archives: January 2013

Got any Tylenol?

As I lay here sick in bed, the topic of travel first aid seemed appropriate, though ironic.  At minimum, I take a full prescription of antibiotics, 4 doses of nyquil, 4 doses of dayquil, a small bottle of acetaminophen and ibuprofen, a small ace bandage, bacitracin, band-aids of various sizes, a couple of sterile pads, alcohol swabs and an itch stick.  If you’re prone to sunburns, you might want to take a mini bottle of aloe (and some sunscreen, of course). I’ve never needed more than these items, plus a little ductape, on my travels.  I know you can get acetaminophen or it’s equivalent pretty much anywhere in the world, but sometimes it’s comforting to have the brand you are familiar with.

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Couchsurfing…it’s like surfing, except not…

Silly title, I know. I’ve been thinking about the first leg of my RTW trip and have been racking my brain on how to cut costs on my sojourn across Europe.  In England, Germany, Holland and France I have friends who have graciously offered up their couches or guest rooms to me, but I have a whole host of other places I’m going where I’ll probably be paying $20-40 a night for a bed in a hostel. Couchsurfing would really help my budget out, giving me an extra $140-280 a week to play with…it means I could eat out every night or take in as many museums as I want. It also means accepting a certain amount of vulnerability…hoping you get a non-creepy host that smells good and is eager to show you the best parts of their cities. I’ve never done it, so I’m a bit apprehensive. My current roommate had great experiences couchsurfing in Austria and Hungary, but I’d like to hear some other people’s opinions as well. Leave me comments, thanks!

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“How to travel the world on $50 a day”

My roommate probably thinks I’m a nut. Ok, she knows I’m a nut for other reasons, but today just confirmed it. I got a book that I had pre-ordered online through Barnes and Noble today that won’t be sold in stores until February 5th.  I ordered it under the assumption that I’d be receiving it on or around that date as well, which happens to be the day before my birthday. Imagine my surprise when I checked my mailbox today! The coveted and much anticipated “How to travel the world on $50 day” by one of my favorite travel gurus, nomadic matt! I’m already 20 pages in and completely obsessed so far. I’m hoping I can bring some thoughts this book inspires in me to this blog to share with you. Ok, that’s it! I just wanted to share my excitement!!

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Overwhelmed by travel planning? Join the club…

The past few days, my life has been consumed with researching how to work abroad in Australia and New Zealand.  At this point, I think I’m more confused than I was when I started looking into the subject. It seems like the only way to get a job as a non-citizen is to join one of the numerous (and expensive) work abroad programs floating around on the web, but which one to choose?? BUNAC has a program that has been built on a solid foundation. InterExchange seems to have a great reputation as does Real Gap…and a dozen other companies…Suffice it to say I’m lost.  If anyone has gone through the process of getting a Working Holiday visa in one of these two countries as well as getting a job and can provide me with some tips, I would love to hear from you! 

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Moving up the time table

Soo, I decided that I can’t wait for next year to travel…so I’m going in August. Also, I’m not just going for a year. I’m going…until I come home. So. Revised plan. Work my ass off until August. Sell 95% of my stuff. Fly to London. Travel through Europe for 2-3 months. Fly to Australia. Travel and work for 6-12 months. Fly to Southeast Asia. Rest to be determined.  I already did the hard part (telling my parents their youngest child is jetting off to who knows where for who knows how long). Now, for the details. Obtaining a work visa for Australia. Getting up to date on relevant vaccines. Figuring out how to get medications when I’m out of the country. Informing everyone I know living in Europe that I will be usurping their couches for at least a night or 2 come fall. Now that I think of it, I have a lot to do…but I’m stoked for all of it because that just means I’m one step closer to living my dream. 🙂

 

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Water, water, everywhere?

When I tell people that I want to start an ecotourism company, their first question is usually “Eco-what?” Once I explain that, their second question is usually “How can you be more environmentally friendly when you travel?” One of the easiest ways to be more environmentally friendly when you travel is to be conscious of your drinking habits…water drinking, that is.  If you are coming from a developed part of the world such as western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, or North America, to a developing country, you may be concerned about the potability of the tap water…so concerned, in fact, that you decide to drink only bottled water. That’s fine, I get it, I’ve done the same thing in Latin America.  There are different organisms in the water that your body just isn’t used to and will make you sick. Some places I went, not even the locals would drink tap water. So bottled water can become a necessity. No disputing that fact.  What is not a necessity is for you to buy a small bottle of water every time you get thirsty.  A lot of developing countries don’t have much in the way of recycling so take a reusable bottle with you.  That way, if you’re traveling with other people you can buy the largest bottle you can get and split it up into your reusable bottles. If you’re traveling solo, but staying in the same place for a while, you can still go ahead and buy that huge bottle, refilling your reusable as needed. No, the water won’t be ice cold, but do you really need it to be? Also, be on the lookout for places especially hostels and restaurants that will refill your bottle for you from one of those gigantic office water cooler type jugs.  When I was in Utila, Honduras, I found a hostel that did just that for a fraction of the cost of a small water bottle.

You may be asking, why does this matter? You are still going to be producing garbage. What does it matter if it’s in the form of 1 large bottle or 4 small bottle?  That 1 large bottle holds the same amount of water that those 4 small bottles hold, but actually uses less plastic! Ah, the wonders of the volume/surface area ratio!

Just a small change you can make that can really add up after a while 🙂

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American Dream

It’s the American Dream. Go to college, graduate, get a job, get a spouse, get a house, grow 2.5 kids (that .5 can be the pet), watch them go to college, graduate, get a job, a spouse and a house, and then you can retire and actually start enjoying your life. The American Dream.  Nothing wrong with it and I certainly don’t mean to demean anyone else’s life choices. Plenty of people are thrilled with living out the American Dream and that is awesome. It’s a perfectly acceptable life path to take…but it’s not for me. My life path thus far is more like go to college, travel, graduate, work, travel, go to grad school, travel, graduate, travel, work, travel…are you seeing the pattern here? My American Dream consists of finding a way to fund my travel addiction indefinitely.  I’m not looking for a husband, or kids, or that perfect house in suburbs, or a job doing something i like well enough and has a 401k. It’s just not for me. I’ve always been an all or nothing kind of person (for better or worse) and this is no different. So if I’m going to travel, I’m going to travel. My career needs to be something I’m excited to do every day.

I know this is kind of a random post, but I do have a point.  My point is that it’s ok to be different, to want different things than what you are told you should want. At the end of the day you have to, and I know this is super corny, follow your heart.  Even if it leads you to the Amazon..

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