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Thursday, August 11, 2011

WORDS OF WISDOM

My mentor, Adam, pictured with his tough travel truck


In this blog, I'm going to be putting in some of the words of wisdom I got from Adam on travel. Adam is running a hostel (well, two) in Ukraine and has been traveling for decades. after meeting him and discovering the depths of the mans knowledge on many things, I decided to make him into my traveling mentor. With good graces, he has put up with this and answered many questions. He has even attempted to put new knowledge into my brain which is never an easy task.

Some people have asked me why I need a traveling mentor. There are just a lot of skills that I don't have for very long term travel. Also, knowing how to get the most out of your travel time is hugely important.

I offered to edit out some of the things but Adam said he didn't care and I have put up many of his answers in their entirety.

The following is to address my concerns over the high cost of traveling (Adam's answer begins here):

Only you can decide the balance between travelling, spending money, and living abroad. I told you at the start.....There are plenty of places you can live very well on $40 a day... But its pretty hard to TRAVEL on $40 per day. Travel is not cheap.

Whats the point of travelling then?...Just to get somewhere cheap?
You can save yourself the bother and just do that once. Find a cheap place and go there...and live there.

Maybe you should forget travelling and just find somewhere to live? I dunno Logan...what are your priorities?
Travel?
Cheap living?
Saving money for medical uncertainty?

You can't do it all.

You can have the first 2 but then you have to have a marketable skill (like I had sailing) and even then you have to forgo the autonomy of destination... I sailed where the boats were going... not where I wanted to go necessarily.

As for medical issues...I don't see how you can reconcile travel and medical uncertainty on a budget, at some point you have to abandon one or the other.

You can sit in Batumi and decide:

Whats my cheapest option from here?
or
Whats my cheapest option to a specific place (Egypt)?
or
Whats the most the most interesting option from here?
or
Whats the most interesting option to a specific place?

Not much chance any of the 4 will coincide though.


OK, back to Travelling 101.

On average I'd say that Turkey goes from being 25% more expensive than Georgia, in the East to 100% more expensive west of Sani Urfa, to 300% more expensive in Istanbul and the Med coast.

Having said that though.....

You can live in any country cheap... But it won't be in any Capital or major tourist destination. You can get a hostel job in those places.... but its not much more money than a bed in most cases. Get a marketable skill... Teach English, find an internet job (translation, transcription, converstaional english lessons) but its a job and you have to commit time and resources to doing it.

Travel local class..travel in installments not long distances all at once. Like hitching, its easier to travel in 20 mile sections rather than try and snag one 500 mile lift.

You can go live in the boonies, eat like a local, live like a local...and life is about as exciting as the local's life... But its travelling.

Start to utilise CouchSurfing as an accommodation tool rather than as an introduction agency.

To really squeeze the most out of travelling you essentially have to innure yourself from concerns about visa expirations and such. Whats the worst that can happen if you overstay? Detention at the border for a few days? Not allowed back for a year? Small fine? I have returned several times illegally to Ukraine, overstayed my visa and paid a desultory fine, before I finally obtained a legal residency visa and the truck, which was only permitted in Ukraine for 8 weeks, had been here 11 months. So pick a country that is either corrupt (like Ukraine), simplistic (like Georgia), or petty (like Turkey) and deal with it when the time comes.

Like I wrote in the previous email....travel or settle somewhere cheap? Istanbul is expensive. Does that mean you should avoid it altogether? Then whats the point of travelling if you are gonna miss all the good stuff?

The idea is that you hole up for a few cheap months in Georgia so you can enjoy a few expensive weeks in west Turkey and Istanbul without decimating the budget.

You are in the wrong part of the world at the wrong time to be considering staying and working....except for Eastern Europe, Ukraine, Georgia, or the Balkans
Countries like Egypt and the rest of North Africa are a bust....too unstable to live, plan, or save for anything. Morocco would be ok....but you have to trek up into the Atlas mountains to live in the trekker community, not in Rabat or Casablanca.

Travelling the way you envisage is not backpacking....its a tough grind most of the time with no short cuts and no easy options.

Unless you can make a real income whilst you travel and not merely a subsistence....and even then its still a grind.

Dive Instructor
Hostel Manager
Tourism Professional
Tourist Guide
Experienced Sailboat Delivery Crew
English Teacher
Private Tutor
Online Translation
Online Transcription
Online Marketing
Online Back Office work

...or just pick a cheap place and hole up...in other words stay in Georgia.

Who owns the hostel in Batumi? They got any cash? If so I'd be convincing them to open a winter hostel in Guadari.....do a deal where they open it, you run it for the winter for 25% of the gross. Free accomodation, a fun winter, more experience, and a wedge of cash at the end.

Even better if you have some online work to supplement your income. Spend the next few months getting on European and Russian online ski forums and promote the shit out of it. Same with the hostels in Tbilisi....and Russia, and Ukraine, and Eastern Europe. Summers in Batumi and winters in Guadari?....sounds like a plan...might do it myself.

This is where you come to understand that while the travelling life is a bed of roses.... it actually means sleeping on the thorns.


Logan's notes: The notes are still something I'm contemplating. It is easy to just read the words and say 'yes, OK, sure' - but I am working on getting more out of them than just that. In the common vernacular, I am working on 'taking these words to heart'. I feel very fortunate to have someone who is more than qualified to give an opinion share their advice with me. This is very valuable for me and I am grateful.



CURRENT PLANS

I'm going to start up the 'travel machine' on the first of September. My current thought on what to do is just go across the border into Turkey and start hitchhiking. I really don't care where I go within Turkey. I know the common way is to have a sign with your destination but in this case I am just going to see where I get taken. If I get to a place that doesn't have anywhere to stay or something, I'll just sleep rough and make my way to somewhere that has a place I can stay. I look at it as 'lets just see where this takes us'. I figure I have up to two months to kick around in Turkey. If it is too expensive and such I will start with more purpose making my way toward Cappadocia and eventually on to Istanbul. Those are two places I would really like to see. Anything else I get taken to and such is just a nifty extra.

Assuming I don't blow too much money in Turkey (and making the big assumption that I like it), on or around November first, I think I'm going to contemplate Jordan. The trip that Adam suggested may be very interesting indeed.

My emergency back up plan should I run out of money prior to getting to Egypt is either to get to Egypt (a cheap, dull part) or get to India (a cheap dull part) and sit on my ass till I regenerate some funds. If I am careful though I should be fine for having some interesting travel stuff.

We'll see what happens. I'm following an earlier piece of advice from Adam and keeping an eye out for opportunities.

[Note: Details about possible upcoming Jordan trip to be detailed in a later post.]

1 comment:

  1. Right...just call me f*ckin Yoda from now on Luke,
    I mean Logan

    ReplyDelete

PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia | Michigan | Illinois |

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