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Traveling the World

mmhollis

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So I'm 25, I'm not rich so my parents never really gave me a trip to Europe for graduation or anything but I'm really intrigued by the world and how people relate. I am thinking about taking a trip around the world, this is pretty extraordinary for me as I usually treasure security in life. Anyone have any experience with traveling across a continent? Anyone have any tips? If your expertise is in Europe I'm really interested in those things that don't attract 3M tourist everyday!
 

Studio27

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Do your research (i.e. don't go in cold or just book a cheap tour). If I was to do something like this again I wouldn't go on the guided tours (at least the bus ones - maybe with trains? I don't know). Paris for example is a really amazing city. I've been a few times and did the guided tours the first time and it was okay. What was really the most fun though and I've done every time since was getting out and exploring - eating at the cafes just off of the beaten path and getting a better flavor for the city.

Something else that I'd like to do is a trip with a group of friends who speak different languages. That way we could get our tickets, bags, and some money and play it by ear and play around the countries.
 

mmhollis

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Thanks for the advice, I plan on using Couchsurfer as much as possible for housing. I did also have a question about working in different countries. Anyone have any advice on how to get a job for like a few days when the money gets low--especially in Europe or Australia?
 

bluemagic

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Offering anal on craigslist m4m is probably the easiest way to raise funds quickly.
 

poorsod

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Let's Go. Written by students on a shoestring budget. I considered trying out for a field research position one summer, but the budget was SO tight.
http://www.letsgo.com/
 

Kempt

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Originally Posted by mmhollis
Thanks for the advice, I plan on using Couchsurfer as much as possible for housing. I did also have a question about working in different countries. Anyone have any advice on how to get a job for like a few days when the money gets low--especially in Europe or Australia?

You're going to have a bit of a problem doing this in Europe. The laws regarding employing people in the EU without a work visa are pretty nasty so it can be very hit or miss. Not too sure about Australia.

There's a book, I believe it's titled something similar to "Work Your Way Around the World" that goes into more detail, but the general consensus is get some sort of TEFL certification and teach English in various places. These tend to be longer time frame jobs (a whole season to 6 months) though.
 

Studio27

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Yeah, most places i think will require a visa. I got a part time job when I was in England that paid completely under the counter (not to mention other more questionable activities!). I had a visa to go to school, though it didn't make any difference. I've never heard of work your way around the world, but it sounds interesting.

It would be an interesting experience to do that for a few years. I may have to try it out if I can ever pay off my $120k tuition bill... fuck.
 

globetrotter

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a lot of my friends did this, in their early 20's. it isn't so much that you work in every country as you work in 4-5 specific countries that have seasonal work, and the work isn't either very interesting or easy, but it gives you capital to travel. 20 years ago, people worked in australia, japan, israel and spain, for instance. the best way to get this type of work is to check out what backpackers are doing, and talk to them about it. there are probrably backpacker web sites now, too.

I think that it is a great idea, good luck.
 

lithium180

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I did some traveling last year after I graduated from college. I went for 6 months alone and my trek led me by land from Prague to Tbilisi, Georgia (with a brief stop in Kurdish Iraq!).

My first recommendation for a trip like this is to start in Western/Central Europe, along a path well-trodden by western tourists. Junior year of college, I went on a package group tour where we lived in Paris for 5 weeks. That got me acclimated to being in a foreign country and learning the basic things that one needs to know to be able to survive in a foreign-language and culture environment. I learned how to count to ten, say hello, get around on a subway and visit touristy and not so touristy sites.

Following the group stay in Paris, I traveled alone for 6 weeks around the Western European capitals, staying in hostels. I went to Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona and the like. This helped me to learn the things mentioned above FASTER, as I was changing cities every 10 days. I learned how to find lodging, make friends on my own, work transportation schedules and the like, all within countries that are at least moderately acclimated to servicing backpackers. Acquiring basic travel skills would play an essential role in navigating my next trip successfully.

After I graduated from college, I was determined to set off on trails less trodden by tourists. I bought an open-ended ticket to Prague, packed a bag and took off. Central Europe has a well-developed backpacker industry, like in the West but is still more foreign, less economically developed than the West. I started to work my way farther east, staying about 2 weeks in each of the major cities of the former Soviet block. I went to Vienna and Krakow. Then I left the EU, moving in to the Ukraine. Suddenly, there were almost no western tourists. There were few hostels, no one spoke English or had met any Americans before. There were situations where I had to find accommodation, book trains, get food, etc with NO support. I went to Lviv, Odessa, Moldova, even the breakaway republic of Transdinistria (albeit only for 3 hours
).

This is the point where my trip really started to become rewarding as I started to meet travelers and locals that were very different from the types of people that I had come to know for most of my life in the West.

My travels eventually took me across southern Turkey, into Kurdistan and all the way to the top of the Caucasus Mountains. At that point, I was negotiating hotel prices, catching transport, making friends and avoiding potential threats, all without the aid of language or travel books. I should of died or gotten beaten and robbed numerous times but somehow I acquired the ability to keep my cool and get myself into and out of situations, as needed.

The moral of my story is that I worked my way up to the kind of travel that changes peoples lives. My recommendation for any new traveler is to start somewhere with an industry that supports backpackers and to work your way forward into ever more uncharted territory. I would start with hostels and then move my way forward into couchsurfing (which is an AMAZING way to get a feel for what life in a country is really like for its inhabitants (at least for its middle class ones).

Oh. And bring enough money beforehand. I'd say no less than 10k for a 6 month jaunt, although the exact figure is dependent on your intended continent of interest. If you're 6 months in and funds are starting to run low, you can probably find work for 3-6 months in a bar or on a farm, somewhere that caters to a tourist industry and sees a lot of drifters. I don't recall hearing of anyone who picked up work for only a few days here or there. Living from meal to meal is not a safe way to travel.
 

MetroStyles

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Very cool, Lithium. It's something I always considered doing. I just don't know if I am cut out for it.

Can you tell us about some of the more dangerous situations you found yourself in and how you wiggled your way out? Sounds really intriguing.
 

mmhollis

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You guys have been great and I thank you for all of your suggestions and advice thus far with the notable exception of Blue Magic...
 

Xericx

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I would consider Asia. I was just over in the Philippines, and its a real culture shock how different things are over there....in Europe, you'll get some great culture.....but Asia is another level of different. Things are really really cheap out there too. You'll see wealth, extreme poverty, overcrowding, and its fantastic....go to big cities, beautiful beaches, places that are like the stone ages and places extremely high tech. Lots of contrasts.
 

83glt

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I used to work with a guy who started his trip around the world by leaving NYC harbor on a merchant ship. He didn't come back for 3 years, and spent that time on every continent save Antarctica. He really did work his way around the world, doing mostly construction, working at gas stations and other menial type jobs. He said it was the best 3 years of his life, and he had all kinds of stories. Everything from being chased by mad gunmen in Southeast Asia to becoming mayor for a while in some African village somewhere. He says he's been thinking about writing a book but just hasn't gotten around to it. Also, all of this happened about 20 years ago, so things have probably changed a lot vis a vis finding easy work, but who knows. I'm sure it would be an incredible experience that would be very worthwhile. Good luck!
 

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