- Prep before Splitting from Motherland to Mother Earth
- Packing for your Worldly Excursion
- Bang for your Bucks
- 11 Ways of Making Road Bucks
First thing is money (though I don’t like to admit it, ya need some). Then… get that credit card out of your freezer, or get a functioning credit card without overdraft -at least. When it comes time to book something online, and most things are these days, you don’t want to be running around asking people to use their C.C. It’s annoying as all hell trust me (pick the battles yo).
You want to budget loosely in the beginning and pick a first destination that will get you some work as well. Or at least set yourself up for a voyage of sorts, where, when the time comes and you are running dry, you will have the opportunity to work (easily) -i.e visa somewhere.
Visa – This is a pain in the ass for a lot of people, while some of these bureaucrtic nightmares can be quite easy it is important to try and have some foresight. A lot of these gaddamn! countries will only allow you to get working visas -or even tourist visas- from your country of origin. So, for example, if you are planning a cycling trip across Central Asia, keep in mind, depending on where you are from you might be able to get a few visas at a few borders, but, and seriously, a few will not give them to you. This WILL rain on your parade -big time. It sucks for us who would like to just ride the lightning without a plan, but in reality, there needs to be a bit of planning done -at least a bit. Sleeping under a bridge one night isn’t too much drama; standing at a border with one thumb in your anus and your dick in the other hand, is.
Working Holiday Visa –
Restrictions! One of our world’s ways of reminding you that you are, in fact, in someone else’s world -and in a system. These are the three things to consider. All of my examples are going to be for Canada because I am Canadian. I can get a German W.H.V until I’m 35 *36th birthday* but need something like 2000 euro in my bank account, and travel insurance (I don’t even have a bank account anymore). Surprisingly, I just went through this ordeal the past couple weeks, and its not too hard if you got some contacts and can make shit happen.
Australia is very easy if you are in ‘the circle’ and the same for N.Z and Norway. In Denmark (35 yrs old) I can get a W.H.V but need to be in Canada, and for France (32 years old) it is the same -I could go on but you get the point. Try and set yourself up to have a few visas before leaving -if that is part of your itinerary.
*This information can change overnight, its not going to stay the same forever so…. get imformed, dig up some statistics, and be ready for their dump trucks of bullshit
You’ve got a visa, you’re in! And you’ve got some money to go with as well! Now, hopefully you are leaving for a minimum of a year (I hope for you) and I hope, for your sake, you don’t buy a return flight! Best advice given to me by a good friend before I left. And if by chance you end up outta country for awhile, you will thank your lucky money making teeth that you hit the dentist; and you will thank your confident strides that your kidneys are in good shape etc. Get everything checked out, everything ! You can’t get rid of some things but you might as well find out if you have them -or not.
Currency – Bank
Anywhere you go, you should be safe with USD or Euro. And like I said in an earlier post, get yourself an International Bank while you are at home. Save loads on pesky withdrawl fees. When you wind up in Algeria, the bank machine will give you local currency, but you may not like the fees that come with it after pulling cash out ten times in a month because of their withdrawl limitations (for example).
Well, this one is an obvious one for most people; depending on the cash flow you have, it could be something that is out of your reach. My bank flow when I first left was, in my mind, not enough to justify the insurance cost. Someone made a decent point to me last night, ‘You don’t need the money until you have none left,’ meaning: the things you choose to buy or whatever, they will not set you back, as you set yourself tighter by instinct when running low.
When the funds are left to driblets, you will start budgeting harder, naturally. So, with this in mind, if you needed -or wanted would be more appropriate- to buy a camera and were afraid you didn’t have enough to spare off the top, keep in mind you are always, eventually, going to run out -whether tomorrow or next month or next year.
I didn’t get insurance before I left. I ended up in a hospital in Egypt after 3 years on the road -a broken bone in my wrist and a cast costed about 60 bucks. There have been times I would have gone to a doctor if not for the insurance -but I lived. If you got a camera worth a crate of cash might be wise to get insurance on that. When you want to get a residency permit somewhere and they require insurance, you’ll kick yourself in the ass for not getting it before you left. That’s first hand experience.
- Break it off with your lady/gent; just call it quits for real because eventually that shit will likely haunt your ‘should I or shouldn’t I of left’ conscious. Why hold on to a semi-strong relationship when you are about to step out into the world and change your whole perception
- Break it off with work, but try and keep yourself in the loop, don’t be like your man from Half-Baked and tell everyone to fuck off -you might end up home and back at their doorstep.
- Don’t break it off with school. If you are getting educated I advise finishing the B.A, finishing the apprenticeship, finishing the sewing class. Whatever it is that you are in the middle of, just wait it out and finish it up -and then fuck off. And while you are waiting it out, try to adapt some survival skills. Reading a compass for example, rock climbing classes, maybe that sewing class I just mentioned. Cooks can get work just about anywhere, so can bartenders; in fact anything in the service industry is going to help, even if you bullshit and say you’re a cook but you were scrubbing dishes -at least you got some oversight to the process. And of course, with that B.A of yours, as an English speaker (if that is what you are) then you can naturally start on the whole ESL experience. Without that B.A -like me- life will be difficult, not impossible, but difficult.
This is not a sure-fire packing list, but its pretty much exactly what you need -not what you could use, but what you need! (subjective of course) Gotta get used to the idea of living simpler, for real; fuck the materialism and get into the character. Here’s your guide for packing for the all-terrain nomad : A ‘Backpacker’s’ backpack
Prepare a few ideas worth the while
A couple things I live by :
- Forget Hostel World and
- Forget Lonely Planet
- Forget First Class
For better or worse. It’s not always going to do you the best, and you might miss out on some shit; you’ll end up reading em from time to time anyway. The best way I found myself in the funnest, and stupidest scenarios was simply getting that little, yellow man on google, and moving him around the countryside. I’ve been in need of a guidebook or two for sure, but they always turn up. And the times when they didn’t turn up, I might have missed out, but trust me, living your life out of guidebooks is a really, really, bad idea.
Don’t book ahead unless the visa requires you to, and I mean, REQUIRES! If you don’t book ahead for that one, it will be a nightmare -and you can trust me on that one as well. Otherwise, just turn up and see what happens; you might end up on the floor of the love of your life!
Start a Couchsurfing Account –and make it meaty
Though I really, rarely use the thing for couches -which is the problem- it is a really great tool. If your account doesn’t have any mustard you won’t get any attention; that’s the main reason I don’t like it. It supports this popularity contest condition that is so matted into the benign, and sub-average existance of humans in general. It’s all about how nice you sound and how pretty you look (or hipster) and how well-to-do you are. Just seems so fucking partial to pretention and judgement (while keeping in mind if I were home now, I would be hosting people for sure lol). So build a friend list on there, get some good references (like you are getting a fucking job lol) and put some meat into that account so people will host you!
Say your Good-Bye’s -and mean em’
Make em count my friends, you don’t know how long it’s gonna be; it’s better to say you won’t be back for awhile, then to tell someone you love you’ll be back in fifteen minutes -if you catch my drift. People may forget about you -and they certainly will; people will certainly move on -those around you growing older and wiser; and the world that you knew will certainly change. But that would happen whether or not you were stayin or goin’. Know what I mean?
Just let em know how much you love them and put a lot into those hugs. I’m sure down the line it will be appreciated. Make a few memorable, kodak, moments to take with you when it gets cold the first night you spend in a cave.
Hair cut and Shave
This is my final move, every time. It’s tradition for me. I shave my head and trim down my beard and don’t touch the shit until I reach land again. The short hair will help with the fleas. And just as an added note to this; if you love your friends and I think you do:
*When you arrive at their houses after months and months of tramping the ruins of the world, wash your pack, your body and everything inside of both. You don’t want to bring bedbugs into your pal’s, baby’s, playroom. That shit would be really friggin awful. Just for you Olly (sorry again).
Now find a car, a road, a bus, a train or a cheap as chips plane ticket and get ready for a ride of fanatic retardness.