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Monday, October 20, 2014

KICKING A TIME LORD RIGHT IN THE KANICKIES

TRAITS NEEDED FOR A LONG TERM BUDGET TRAVELER

Logan disclaimer:  I do not lay claim to all of these traits on a continuous and ongoing basis but feel they are needed.  Unless you have money.

Ben is here to compensate for all our shortcomings.

Further disclaimer:  This article is written to hopefully help motivate and stimulate people into seeing more of the world than they might otherwise.  It is not to state "Oh, look how cool Logan is.  He sits around some grotty apartment he's rented in a foreign country and plays video games or passes out drunk a lot."  Although that is exceedingly cool...eh...for someone out there, that is not the purpose of this article.

Some day we can just plug in the virtual reality and check the hell out.  That will be a GREAT DAY for humanity.


First, a definition of 'traveler' vs 'tourist'.  When most people go out, they do so for under three months and usually cover a range of areas.  Generally, if you move more often than say a week, you're probably a 'tourist'.  If you go live in a place for months, then on to the next place to live for months, traveler.  It is possible to flip flop back and forth.  For example, when I am in Western Europe, I tend to be a tourist, quickly flitting to the next place due to the unbelievable cost.

Generally, tourists go to see sites.  That's all you have time for.  You may meet some people but won't get any more than a passing first impression as you are quickly off to the next place.  God help you if you have a Lonely Planet checklist.

"Gosh sweetie, which should we check off of our list next?"  "Oh, I don't know - which gives the best bragging rights?"


Desire

You have to really have a huge desire to travel, as mentioned further down in 'why don't people travel'.  There is a huge expenditure of time and money in travel.

In addition to learning where you will go, what you will see, how you will get there, there is also language and customs.  Learning a few basic words ("hello", "thank you") can make interaction flow.  Learning a few basic customs will keep you from looking like a dickhead.

"Let's just pat Thai people on the head to see what happens!  Or show Arabic people the bottoms of our feet!  Hell, maybe give out knives as gifts to the Japanese!"


Caution

A bit of streetwise knowledge and not doing the normal stupid shit people do like leaving their cell phones on the bar then crying like a child when they disappear.   They then lay claim to being 'robbed' or 'pickpocketed'; it makes them look less stupid.  They think.

Happens a lot less than reported.  For insurance reasons.  Not to keep from looking like an idiot.

Gear security and personal safety are always the travelers priority.  If you're not willing to take the time to chain up and secure your gear before leaving your lodging - or wear the amazingly stinky security pouch under your clothing then you run the risk of being one of the tourists (who knows how many) who has to go to the embassy due to having lost passports, money and so on.  The amount of help they can give is usually minimal - a temporary passport and a 'you'll get charged later' plane ticket home.

Yes, I have been to places where I've literally barricaded the door with furniture before I felt comfortable sleeping.  Central America, before you ask.   (Editor:  This is a general bbarricadingthe door picture Logan found.  He used a lot less furniture due to extreme laziness overcoming his survival instinct.)

Learn to minimize your risks.  Don't become a victim due to negligence or stupidity.  I've been one due to both and it sucks.  (Editor:  Since Logan gets robbed generally once a year, he still isn't very good at minimizing his negligence nor stupidity.  And he's about due for another good robbing.)


Respect

It is baffling how many times I've come across travelers who are openly badmouthing the country they find themselves in.  They pass judgement upon it as though they were white explorers in the lands of the savage during the nineteenth century.

"Do you have a flag?"

From all of the whining about how they want things done as they are 'back home', you wonder why they ever left.

A well known phenomenon is during Ramadan in Islamic countries.  Although it is only followers of that faith who are prohibited from eating, drinking and smoking during daylight hours, it is considered extremely rude to do so in front of them during this time.  You kind of have to 'hide yourself away' whether in your room or if you are able to afford a find resort within their dining room.  Being discrete during this time shows respect.

If you are paying top dollar to stay in a five star luxury resort, you can have things as you want them.  The less you pay, the closer you are to what the locals have.  Most don't want to live below a certain standard.  In India, it is possible to live on a dollar a day - but nobody wants that kind of lifestyle.  Especially those that already have it.

"We have a very special room next to this family dying of some sort of voodoo.  Or Ebola.  We're not really sure - but it's cheap!"


Heartiness

You need a certain amount of physical and mental toughness to travel.


If you have mental problems (various fears or wanting everything 'just so'), have special dietary restrictions (such as being glucose intolerant), insects freak you out, or comfort is a high priority, budget travel is not for you.  Your travel will cost significantly more.

See also, Western Europe!

Sometimes, sleeping in a hard (or broken) chair may be your best option.

You may be stuck waiting in fairly horrible places for hours.  Bus stations and train stations are known hunting grounds for scumbags, robbers, pickpockets, beggars and the police who like to roust Logan to find out if he is or isn't some homeless bum.

Hint:  He is.

You have to be able to hump all of your stuff up several (I've seen as many as five) flights of stairs.  Porters?  Elevators?  Help?  Sorry - you must be thinking of expensive hotels.

How often has Logan had one in his hotel?  ...Never.

Sanitation in many countries is horrendous.  Just yesterday on the streets of the main tourist town in Tunisia I saw a mother encouraging (teaching) her young son to piss on the wall street side.  This is not unusual.

If you travel long enough, you will experience feelings of alienation.  You are always a 'stranger in a strange land'.

Even the best prepared traveler will sometimes have all their carefully laid plans fall to utter ruin.  How do you react?

If you 'rage quit' the little things in life, you'll probably rage quit travel.

Remember, all of the horrible things that happen to you is 'traveling'.  Everything else is just 'sightseeing'.
Not a backpacker, but he is awesome.

What keeps people from traveling?

Lack of desire.  I've never found anyone who is utterly devoted to doing this that hasn't.  Most people have tons of reasons they say they can't but everyone who wants to is doing it.  I've encountered fairly poor people who are traveling with (and homeschooling) their young children.  Quite an education.  I found that inspirational.

Many people spend more time posting how bored they are than I do researching some countries!  Why?  Because 'meh'.


What is the payoff?

Logan note:  This is not meant as "Look what Logan's done" but rather my hope is one of motivation.  If a fat, crippled, lazy alcoholic can do it, so too can you.

You get to have experiences that the short term tourist and package tourist crowd never know.  Meet people, get in deep enough to the culture to get accepted as a native son (or daughter) by the locals.

Just here to see the architecture then get back into our huge tour bus.

Getting to know places both normal and extraordinary on an intimate level.

You get to make a connection to the planet and the people living on it few will ever know.

If you travel for somewhere between two and five months totally alone, you will have doors open in your mind you did not know were there.  I've discussed this with other solo travelers and they have agreed.  People who travel with companions - temporary or permanent - do not have this experience.  I don't know why.  Though these people can intellectually understand the whole 'doors opening in your mind' thing, unless you've had this experience it is like describing how to ride a bike to someone who hasn't.

Feels like...

Travel fills you with a sense of wonder and awe.  It still does me after three and a half years.  If it doesn't, you probably need to settle down somewhere or find a kindly Timelord.

"Right in the kanickies!"



LANGUAGES IN TUNISIA

Believe it or not, many people here (Tunisia, northern Africa) speak German.  I'm not sure why German is such a global language but it is nice to have a bit.

Today, despite my utter uselessness at languages (as Conner S knows), I've had to speak English, German, Classical Arabic, French, Italian and Italian - regularly.  Sometimes several of those in the same conversation.

Sometimes, it is weird stuff that happens.  My sandals were a bit ripe.  I could use them to mug people.  I went to a pharmacy and was trying to explain I wanted a spray for my shoes.

Sign language just wasn't working.  Then I remembered the origin of the word 'sabotage' and said "Sabot!"  Immediately, he understood.

Who says history isn't useful?

(Note to parents, I have not sworn in this so you can show it to your kids and say "See?  History IS useful.  Maybe not the lies they teach you in school but actual history.  Well.  I guess maybe you don't have to pay attention to what your history teacher says.  She always was a lying bit-")

So there you have it!



TUNISIA THUS FAR

I'm in their main 'tourist town'.

Unless you've come to get into the ocean, there is absolutely no reason to be here.

While they might claim to 'many restaurants', they are all serving the same shit.  The food isn't very good.

In short, I've not really seen anything in Tunisia to bring me back.

Aside from the beggars, scam artists and the thrice cursed taxi drivers, the people seem friendly enough.

But I'm going to probably be here for a month.  Working on saving money for 'the big push south'.  This will give me time (hopefully) to save a bit of money for the airline ticket to South Africa and enough time to carefully study it.  I don't want another 'Western Europe' situation where my money is getting bled out of me and I keep hearing Jason Mews yelling "Flee, fatass, flee!"

So I'll make sure that it's cheap enough for Logan there.

The other day I was talking to a tourist who had been to South Africa and he said the blacks there (they don't call themselves anything hyphenated) really really don't  like whites.  "It's not a big deal in the other countries but in some of the clubs I was told I should leave before I got killed.  I tried to explain I wasn't South African but Swiss, but that didn't matter to them."

I found that interesting.

Might cause me to lead off with "I'm from America, the land led by Obama!"

Though I'm not sure if that would help.



TIE INS FROM OTHER BOOKS

Remember, if you are not 'white' and getting ready to go through USA customs, it is best to pre-lube for the cavity search.

This is going to hurt.   A lot.

Be careful not to use too much or it will leak out of your pants.

Should anyone see anything leaking out of your pants, rather than just assuming you have peed your pants from having so many automatic weapons pointed at you, they will assume it is a bomb and stomp it out.

- from "Logan's Guide to USA Airport Security for Non-Whites"



TUNISIAN FOOD

The food in Tunisia can be viewed one of two ways.

Crap or diet.

I'm choosing to look at it as 'diet' food.

From what I can tell, all of the restaurants serve pretty much the exact same food.

Your choices are (and where they are said to have originated):

Pizza (Italy)
Sandwiches (England)
Hamburgers (USA)
Half a chicken and fries (who knows)
Couscous (Maghrebian)

And that's about it.

The only food served from this region is couscous and that's from the region encompassing NW Africa.

Hence, there seems to be no 'uniquely Tunisian' food.

It is baffling.

Here to say I am deeply missing Mexican, Indian and Thai food.



VIDEOS - SEE A BIT OF WHAT LOGAN SEES

Ship Penis
Pompeii 1, 2

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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 - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster

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