In the UK alone 46%, nearly half of all households own at least one pet. Traditional the dog has always been considered the ultimate companion, and having owned a dog myself I can see why. But in recent years cats are overtaking them as the most popular pet. I adopted my kitty 5 years ago. […]
I once saw a UFO. It was truly phenomenal. I was mind blown… for about 10 seconds. Then, for some reason I no longer cared. I saw it with two other people at the same time and they both felt the same way. I was shocked at all of us. Shouldn’t our whole outlook on life change? Shouldn’t we feel blessed? Shouldn’t we have tried to find out where it went or anything? No. None of that.
Before that moment, I thought that if anything was going to start me on a true adventure, it would be to chase down a UFO. But it didn’t happen and I think I know why.
The mystery was gone. The experience was so overwhelming, that it quickly became underwhelming even though it was spontaneous and spectacular. It was too real. At first, I thought maybe we were to afraid that we might actually confront aliens or somehow meet the Men in Black, if we told anyone or followed it. But that wasn’t it. We weren’t afraid of anything. It was boredom. Our fantasy of aliens and UFO’s seemed cooler than their actuality. Of course, we probably didn’t even see something flown by inter-dimensional beings. It was probably just unrecognizable modern technology.
I think this is what’s happening with modern technology and the public eye. We’re so fast paced and surrounded by fantasy that true revolutionary phenomena appears lame. A future with everyone zipping around on their own either own high speed electric skateboards, floating around on hover boards, and flying into space in their own personal rockets seems so close that it might have already happened and gone away. The technology is here and nobody seems to care.
An actual hover board exists. A for-real hovering board (a little bigger than a skateboard, but still reasonable) that floats over land and water.
It’s called the Arcaboard and it’s made by the same people that have made it possible for everyday working class citizens to FLY INTO OUTER SPACE.
Shouldn’t this be revolutionary? Well….sort of. It’s what we’ve been waiting for but it also doesn’t do much. It’s not that the technology doesn’t do much, it does, but maybe our minds got ahead of themselves and we never really thought about how unnecessary a hoverboard really is. It costs around $20,000 USD and there isn’t much of a practical use for it. Not at this time however. Look at what else they’re doing. What if this board could go fast? There’s also another new technology that nobody seems to care about, the Kickstick, that I think if somehow were used in combination with the Arcaboard, we’d see some people doing some super wild shit. (I imagine a new form of Quidditch in my mind).
2017 is about to release a real life flying car.
But, is anyone really going to care? Unless your neighbor gets one and flies to work with it, I don’t think you’re going to go out of your way to save up for one.
I think it’s amazing and I do plan to save up for one. I hope others do to. Otherwise, the few people who do have them, will fly right above our heads without us even knowing because we’ll all be looking down at our smartphones watching videos of people crash them.
There have been many occasions in which I asked for guides or called out for “Gods” within my dream worlds. I did this almost strictly to learn universal mysteries. For example, I once saw a YouTube video in which the host of the video claimed it was impossible to call the name “Jesus Christ” within a dream, and also claimed lucid dreaming was a sure way to practice “evil.” I realized after watching the video, that out of all the famous names I’d ever asked to converse with, I’d never attempted to do so with any Christ figures. That night, I gave it a try and called out in my dream, “Jesus Christ! I want to find Jesus Christ!” The next moment was quite alarming and unexpected because I immediately became surrounded by black dogs (mostly the size of Labradors but I can’t remember the exact breeds). They weren’t aggressive or growling, but I felt they were menacing. It wasn’t just a few dogs; it was closer to a hundred of them. They then ran at me at full speed which startled me until they jumped and licked on me playfully. After a few moments of this, I felt happy and extremely excited; I rolled around on top of them and laughed as if I were “crowd surfing” on top of all these black dogs. The excitement was too much actually, because I soon woke up.
Below are a few of my most personal “lesson dreams,” because I was either guided by a seemingly “higher being” or came out of the dream with a lesson that changed my perception of life.
I call her the mermaid because upon wake up, it was the only word I could think to describe her. This was the word I wrote down in my dream journal. After remembering more though, I realized she didn’t have any form at all. All I knew was she was female, and she was beautiful in my mind, and another word I had written down for her description was “transparent.”
Although I can’t remember my intentions in the dream, or where I was, I remember being alone and in a sort of private lesson with the mermaid. She asked me a lot of questions; deep paradoxical questions. At a certain point, she asked me to put my hand through her. I tried to put my hand through her torso in the chest area. As I did so, my hand got stuck inside of her even though she was still transparent and I could see my hand. It was trapped there and I became afraid. She then said, “You hesitated,” and my hand then was released. I remember her explaining to me all the answers to the questions she asked before, and the main lesson was, “Never question your own creative power or intention, or you will collapse the creation.”
Note: I’ve thought about this dream a lot because soon after it happened, I described it to a friend of mine who was a fellow meditator and a fan of history. He told me that the mermaid I had described perfectly matched an ancient mythological Goddess. Not just her transparent unknown figure, but also her lessons in creative power. After some research of his description, I believe he may have been referring to Eidothea, a “shapely goddess” and daughter of a shape-shifting sea God.
Also, her points on hesitation are something I think about regularly and apply to my waking life. If you question your goals and intentions, you’ll collapse the path to their fruition.
The Ancient Egyptian
In my early 20s I had lucid dreams less and less often due to constant partying. After going a whole year without a single memorable lucid dream, I decided to take a week off from partying and work on having an epic one again. At the very end of the week, it happened, and it still shakes me to this day.
The lucidity had a typical start of me flying through clouds and allowing myself to root deeper into the dream. Upon landing, my first intent was to create a woman to “bang.” I wanted someone completely new and I had no idea what I was looking for, so I did the “look away” method of looking behind me, then back in front of me again, with the intention of seeing a beautiful woman when I turned back around. If the woman wasn’t to my liking, I’d look away again, then turn back ready for a new option. After doing this around 20+ times, I finally found “the one.” She was perfect. A true beauty with exceptional and unique features including dark skin and brightly colored blue eyes. I don’t know why, but in my mind, she appeared “ancient Egyptian.”
Then, as soon as I reached to touch her, she shrunk, and I found myself holding a young girl. It was the same person, but she had devolved into the age of around 7 or 8. I was so thrown off by it that I let go of her and became angry. Of course, my original intentions were gone, and feeling responsible for the girl’s existence, I felt the need to do something with the girl, and not just leave her alone in the dream. So, I asked her, “What do you want to do?” After no response, which is common from many dream characters, I decided to take her flying. “Do you want to fly? Where do you want to go?” She didn’t respond once again, but she did grab my hand, as if agreeing to fly around.
Up we went. We soared over trees and endless landscapes until I looked down to ask her if she was ready to land… but she was gone. My first thought was, “Oops, I dropped her.” But knowing that it was a dream, I knew she couldn’t have been hurt, and I felt relieved. I was relieved that she was ok, and relieved that she was no longer my responsibility. I could now get back to my original intentions of “banging.”
I landed again; this time on a beach. I was out of patience for creating a girl from scratch, so I just began looking for a woman on the beach. It was a crowded beach and finding the right woman was tough, because I was getting swarmed and pushed around by the crowd. Like many times in the dream world, I started to get frustrated knowing my frustration was only adding to the struggle of finding a “mate.” After the struggle became too much, I prepared to jump up into the air and fly away… until someone called my name. My full name. First, middle, and last. Nobody in the waking world calls me by my full name, not even my parents, so it caught my attention.
I searched around looking for the caller and after pushing through the crowd, I found her. It was the woman I created, all grown up again to the age I had created her. She was smiling and appeared amused which made me happy and excited. Suddenly the crowd on the beach had disappeared and it was just me and the woman. “Do you want to fly?” she asked as she grabbed my wrist. I was flabbergasted and unsure of how to respond. She laughed and pulled me into the air. I watched her in awe as we flew around and just before I woke up, she looked into my eyes and said, “Now you’re in my dream.”
Note: This dream to me is not proof that you can joint lucid dream, but that it’s still “you” in there, and your intentions can be changed by dream characters.
I once called out to God, but no one arrived and nothing notable happened. At a different time, though, I was confronted by a being that in my mind was Him, or at least a divine creator. Our encounter was quick, and my memory is fuzzy on the details, but what I remember goes something like this:
I was walking next to a man; a silent but powerful man. I don’t remember what he looked like except for the fact that he had well-defined muscles and was around my height. I asked him to show me “love.” The next thing I knew, he grew to the size of a skyscraper or maybe even taller, and I was standing on his shoulder. Then out of his eyes came “beams of light,” and out of those beams, the physical environment of a world was created at a speed impossible to describe. It was as if his eyes were “suns” and whatever they shined upon created life. I watched trees and mountains grow over the period of millennia within a few seconds. An entire physical environment seemed to grow out of the light and as soon as the environment was close enough to touch, it was gone. As everything came into form, we moved past it all and continued forward. It was like we were walking on a planet that took form and grew as we walked through it, and as soon as we were through it, it was gone. I don’t remember what happened next, but I do know that no words were ever spoken.
Note: At the time I had this dream I was reading a lot of supposed channeling translations. One of them was “The Ra Material” in which the channeled entity described pure creation as “Logos,” which can translate as God’s intent and is another word for “Love.” This more than likely was my interpretation of how the physical process of planetary creation would look.
For more of my info on Lucid Dreaming check out my book The Lucid Lapse: How to Experience and Expand Lucid Dreams
Bear with me here. It’s not a full proof plan but I think you’ll see where I’m going with this pretty quick.
It’s not exactly retiring. More accurately, I’m just explaining how to live on any continent by only working part time for the rest of your life with one skill that takes less than 1 year to learn.
A new language.
The reason I’m using this skill as an example is because it’s not too hard to learn, is extremely useful for a lot of different reasons all around the world, and it can have a decent payout for the average person. By using the methods I’ll explain below, learning a new language will go hand in hand teaching English and writing, which will be the bases for earning the extra income you’ll need.
How much will you earn?
As a teacher: Let’s say a median of 10-20 USD an hour. Sometimes more.
As a translator: Let’s say a median of $10-20 an hour as well.
Let’s say you work online and after a year in the field you find a way to make $15 an hour. That’s reasonable and realistic. Do a little bit of research and you’ll know.
That’s $300 a month part time.
That sucks right? Well, not if you front load your time and effort into an investment plan that makes you $175 a month. If you can find a place to rent that cheap, you’ll pay off your rent without doing shit. So, now your $300 all goes towards your other monthly expenses such as food and entertainment.
So, what are we really doing here?
You’re going to make 175USD a month in passive income and you’re going to live in a country that only costs $475 a month for living. So, find a place that’s only $175 a month to rent or a hostel that’s $5.80 a night.
With that other $300, that’s $10 a day on food and entertainment.
Sound crazy? It’s not.
Here’s that plan:
Work to save a lot, then live in a place that’s cheap as hell:
Here’s some places you can live that cheap:
Cambodia, Republic of the Philippines, Laos, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, China, Fiji, Eastern Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, Bali, and Vietnam.
I’ve been to the Philippines and Thailand multiple times. I know you can live on less than $10 a day and never feel like you’re cutting corners or being cheap.
1) You can’t have dependents (kids).
2) For the first 5 years, you’ll have to front load your work so you can save 50k. For this example, I’m going to use the specific amount of $48,400 dollars.
How do you save/make x dollars a month?
Over the course of 5 years you’d need to save $10,000 a year. That’s $28 a day or $192 a week. Let’s say you need to save $767 a month. That’s not as simple as it sounds. If you work minimum wage that’s like trying to earn an extra paycheck every week.
However, it can be done, and it’s done all the time by average people. All you need is the ability to read, speak, and write. Here’s two tried and true methods of what I’m talking about:
- Teaching English online. If you can teach two classes a night after work at $15 an hour, there you go. This can be done with cafetalk.com and lingoda.com
- Write articles for websites that pay well. This can be done on sites like this: http://www.makealivingwriting.com/websites-that-pay-writers-2015-79-sites/
Once you get into the groove of doing these two things. It’s not inconceivable to make $200+ a week teaching English for two hours after work or writing articles on your weekends.
What do you do with the 48,400 you saved?
Invest in P2P Lending. With websites like LendingClub and Prosper, it’s not unreasonable to expect an 8-12% return on with a lot of notes. For example, LendingClub says 90% of its investors with over 100 notes at $25 each make between 5-10% on returns.
For this example, I’m going to go high, and use 10 percent as an expectation.
You’ll have $40,000 invested, so you can’t spend any of that on any expenses.
So, for living you’ll use the $8,400 you saved for food, etc. at an expense of $11.50 a day for 2 years (not including rent).
If you make 10% a year on that 40k:
40,000 becomes 44,000 after one year
then 48,400 after two
53,240 after three
58,564 after four and so on.
Over the course of 5 years, you just made $18,654.
After 2 years, you’ll have made your $8,400 back.
So, there you go, after two years you just had your living expenses (excluding rent) paid for.
Here’s some more details on cheap places to live where you can do this:
Cost of living in Thailand is 42.54% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Thailand is 62.31% lower than in United States (average data for all cities).
Cost of living in Taiwan is 18.31% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Taiwan is 61.76% lower than in United States (average data for all cities).
Cost of living in Cambodia is 38.63% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Cambodia is 62.83% lower than inUnited States (average data for all cities).
Cost of living in Malaysia is 43.54% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Malaysia is 70.63% lower than in United States (average data for all cities).
Cost of living in Laos is 25.92% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Laos is 64.62% lower than in United States (average data for all cities).
Cost of living in Brazil is 29.76% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Brazil is 61.12% lower than in United States (average data for all cities).
Cost of living in Argentina is 25.76% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Argentina is 63.39% lower than in United States (average data for all cities).
Cost of living in Ecuador is 38.86% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Ecuador is 68.81% lower than in United States (average data for all cities).
Cost of living in Chile is 34.37% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Chile is 61.96% lower than in United States (average data for all cities).
Cost of living in Honduras is 35.85% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Honduras is 72.38% lower than in United States (average data for all cities).
Cost of living in Jamaica is 26.02% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Jamaica is 69.41% lower than in United States (average data for all cities).
Cost of living in South Africa is 45.19% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in South Africa is 61.15% lower than in United States (average data for all cities).
Cost of living in Morocco is 52.02% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Morocco is 74.48% lower than in United States (average data for all cities).
Cost of living in Nigeria is 59.39% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Nigeria is 62.38% lower than in United States (average data for all cities).
Cost of living in Zimbabwe is 31.98% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Zimbabwe is 67.74% lower than in United States (average data for all cities).
So, with your lending account taking care of living expenses, all you really have to come up with is rent money. This can be easily done by learning a second language and either teaching or translating with that skill part time. Private English lessons are in high demand in a lot of these low cost of living places. If you were to know any second language, then you’re almost guaranteed to find part time work from home as a private tutor, or using the online platforms mentioned before. If you find a way to do this, making your rent with only a few hours of work a week is not an outrageous expectation.
I understand it’s not this cut and dry. Investing in P2P lending can’t guarantee a 10% return and there’s other expenses to consider such as expat and other taxes. But on a general level, all I’m really suggesting here is living in a place where the cost of living is extremely low, using lending as a form of passive income and using a second language as a skill to make extra income on your own time.
What am I missing here? Should somebody beat my ass right now?
This past Sunday I turned twenty-seven and celebrated the first of two birthdays that will occur during my Peace Corps service. Twenty-seven. Twenty-seven. Man, do I feel old! I’m almost thirty. Ouch. It actually hurt to type that a little bit. Twenty-seven… Twenty-seven actually became a significant number in my life almost a year ago. No, it wasn’t because I had just turned twenty-six, but rather because last December was when I started thinking about joining the Peace Corps: a twenty-seven month commitment of voluntary service abroad. A year later here I am: twenty-seven years old and writing this blog from my site in the Philippines, officially a Peace Corps Volunteer! Time is a wonderfully, peculiar thing, isn’t it?
Anyway, enough philosophizing and on to the celebrations! I started my birthday like any other day of the week, with a sunrise run to the pier. I followed this with…
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I’m not sure if 3 months before on a Tuesday is always right but I know it’s true for the most part. Around 3 months before I was trying to go to Asia a friend of mine found tickets to South Korea for 450 USD and we bought them right away. I’ve never seen lower than that. From there it was between 100 to 300 to almost anywhere in Southeast Asia. I ended up going to over 5 countries over the course of 2 months and spent less than 1000 USD on plane tickets total.
Yes. The secret formula exists. It is true.
After researching and researching and researching a kajillion articles on Google, Pinterest and Facebook I read multiple different answers to the question “When are international flights the cheapest?” It was frustrating. So I tested it myself.
I used Expedia to help me with this – they compare hundred of flights to find you the cheapest and fastest route for you. All the articles said, “6 months before your trip! 2 months before your trip! 6 weeks before your trip!” I didn’t know who to believe. I didn’t want to risk to buy my ticket at the 6 month price only to find out it’s cheaper at 2 months.
Here’s what I learned: I stumbled upon some great information from an article on Pinterest one day. (I wish I could find it but it’s hidden somewhere deep in the internet haha) That the…
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Sacred geometry, numerology, and the large scale timetable of extinction events on Earth is revealed by Randall Carlson. From the lost civilizations and ancient wisdom that has buried mankind’s many histories, to the markers of mass extinction and mathematical meaning of the Great Pyramid in Egypt–we explore the mysteries of Earth’s cycles with the renowned […]
Are our minds connected to one another? Some phenomena people point to for evidence of this include telepathic experiences and psychic abilities. We all know what it’s like to know what a friend is going to say right before they say it. But there is an entirely new field of evidence that exists which gives serious […]
If you want to travel, the first step is to figure out the reason you want to leave. Know in your heart why you’re doing it. That doesn’t mean you need to know yourself deep down or have a master plan, it could be as simple as, “I want to see the Milky Way,” or “I want to go where I’ve never been.” You’ll also want to know what your main focus will be, usually either sightseeing, culture, or adventure. To make that more clear, “Do you want to see new things, eat and drink new things, or do new things?” Or you may not want to do anything new at all, and just be in a new place. Although your actual trip will probably have a mixture of all these things, it’s very important that you know your goal, because everything else will stem from that. It’ll determine where you’ll go, how much money you’ll need, and how to legally and medically prepare for what’s ahead.
International travel is a true adventure. Adventure by definition is, “to engage in hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory.” Some people want to go full throttle and risk their lives into the unknown with all the dangers and mysteries still present. Although that might be what you desire, that’s not what I’m going to suggest, and it’s not what I’ll be explaining. What I’d like to explain are the steps to experience international travel like it’s a rollercoaster in which you can experience the invigorating sensations and adrenaline all while knowing you’re still strapped into the ride, and that no real danger is present. That being said, there will always be a danger, because the real world doesn’t allow you to strap into safety. Poverty can be a harsh reality; political uprisings, military coups, war, violent crime, parasites, disease and natural disasters are inevitable, but precautions and preparations can be taken.
BUDGETING and CHOOSING A LOCATION
With international travel you’re going to have a few unavoidable major purchases, and then the rest will be determined by what you want and what you need. The main purchase is plane tickets. Almost all international plane tickets one way in or out of the U.S. are going to be between $400-$2000 with an average of $700 on any given day. Many times if you frequently use certain travel websites or travel a certain airline regularly, these prices will go down. The easiest way to see your approximate pricing will be to use Google Flights. This will show you what major airlines have available on any given day and how much they’ll charge. Once you figure out a possible flight plan, you can click on the link and Google will redirect you to the airline’s own website where you can start booking your ticket. Many times, buying directly from the airline is cheaper than buying through a travel website such as Priceline, but this isn’t always the case. So check both.
Regardless of websites and deals, the two main things that will determine ticket pricing are: the length of your time window, and your willingness to take the “long way.” The long way involves lay overs and multiple planes. For example, let’s say you want to go to Germany for Oktoberfest next year. Oktoberfest only happens on one day a year, so your window is pretty small. You go to Google Flights and find that you could either spend $1,500 dollars (one-way) to take two planes: one from St. Louis to New York, and another from New York to Stuttgart, all in one day. Or, you could spend $700 to go two days earlier, but you’ll have to stop in Chicago before going to New York, and you’ll have to stop in London before getting to Stuttgart and each layover is 8 hours which doesn’t even give you enough time to sleep in a hotel. This is the kind of trade off you can expect and it’s almost never easy.
So, this comes back into choosing your location and why you’re traveling. Maybe you’ll decide that Oktoberfest is too expensive for such a short amount of time but you still want to go to an international party. Others such as Thailand’s Full Moon Party happen every month and last a week at a time, so your window of opportunity is much larger. It’s also a cheaper flight to Asia than it is to Europe. The downside is that it’s a little more dangerous and the travel time is quite a bit longer. This kind of figuring out stage of the trip is a big reason people hire travel guides. In the end you may decide to skip the planning and pay a one-time all-inclusive fee for a week-long trip to Tomorrowland (a music festival in Belgium), which does all the transportation and lodging prep for you.
LEGAL, MONETARY, and MEDICAL STEPS
Once you’ve decided that you’re going overseas, it’s time to get a passport. Once you apply for one, it could take up to a month to receive, so you’ll want apply for it well before your trip begins. These aren’t very expensive, and once you have one, they last for 10 years (5 if you’re under 18) before you have to renew them. You can estimate around $160 for a brand new passport including the cost of your picture. Getting one is just two steps: sending the application and getting the picture. You can apply for a passport online at pptform.state.gov, or you can also get the physical paperwork from your local post office. For your picture, it’s best to get your picture taken professionally or with someone who knows the precise guidelines and measurements. This can be done in just a few minutes at pharmacies such as Walgreens or CVS for around $15.
As a form of personal insurance, you’ll want to have reserve money. This is money that you don’t plan to spend, but that’s there in case you need it for emergencies like getting robbed or flying home unexpectedly. The amount you’ll want is really determined by you but depending on where you go, it should be at least $1000 to $2000. Keep this money in your bank account or on a credit card, never on you.
Another form of insurance money you’ll need is travel insurance. A $100,000 insurance plan will cost you between $120-$200 a month. You’ll want it though. This is for emergencies such as major injuries that would require helicopters and ambulances. Those aren’t cheap by any means, and the last thing you want to know after a terrifying ordeal involving one is that you’re now in debt to a foreign country. You can apply for these online through travel companies such as World Nomads in just a few minutes and you can pay for it with a credit card.
Be sure to let your bank know where you’re going. Simply go to your bank, walk up to the teller, and say, “I’m going overseas.” They’ll give you some paper work to fill out. Let them know whatever they ask for. This is so that they don’t get alarmed when they see unusual banking activity and freeze your account. Also, figure out what International banks they are associated with so that you know what ATMs to go to when you’re there. When you get to where you’re going, test out an ATM immediately. Make sure you don’t have any problems getting cash. There will be places to do this at the airport and in heavily populated areas such as train stations, malls, and tourist attractions. If you have a problem getting cash, your first priority should be to fix that problem, or find someone who can spot you some cash until it’s solved. It’s not that you’re going to die without money, it can just be a real hassle trying to do anything without it.
Have both a banking check card (debit card) and a credit card. Cash is necessary but you don’t want to have too much on you, ever. You’ll also want a credit card for bigger purchases and online purchases. Keep your cash for buying meals and taxis and use your credit card for booking hotels or renting cars. Make sure you don’t dip into your reserve fund.
If you’re going to a really wild place, tell your doctor. They should know of certain health risks that are in the location(s) you’re heading, and they’re going to suggest that you get certain vaccinations. In some countries, it’s a requirement to get them before you arrive. If you’re unsure if your country has required vaccines, check on their government website in the “Travel” or “Immigration” section. Even though it’s rarely a legal requirement, you’ll want to get certain vaccinations in high risk places such as India and Africa where infectious diseases such as Malaria and parasites are common.
For me and probably most of you, robbery and pick-pocketing are fairly common occurrences yet still not embedded in our minds as an everyday worry. Words like “war-zone” and “riot” are almost never thrown in front of us as a realistic thing to avoid. Overseas, these are realistic things you may have to deal with. Although that should be understood, it shouldn’t deter you, because when you’re actually confronted with these things, you’ll find that they really aren’t as frightening as they sound, and that for the most part, they are about as avoidable as staying out of dark alleys and abiding by warning signs. Before you leave for your trip, do some research on the political standings in the countries you’re going.
THE FUN PART
Now that all your planning, legal, monetary, and safety preparations are done, you can move on to the fun parts! You’ve landed, you’re here. What are you going to do?
Lodging is one of the easiest things to figure out. Where to go and how much you’ll want to spend is really up to you. It’s not as important to book a room in advance as it is to know the area you’ll want to stay in. Generally, you’ll only want to book a room in advance for the first night you arrive overseas. There’s a tremendous sense of comfort that comes from being able to take a load off and lay down after a long plane ride. After that, you can get a little more creative. Nice hotels are something that can be avoided unless you’re in a hazardous area. Rather than a hotel, look for a hostel. Hostels are generally cheaper because they’re locally owned and operated. Most likely the staff is small; consisting of only a few people or even just one person who deals with everything on their own from management down to housekeeping. They also will offer group or dorm housing if you’re willing to stay with strangers.
Make friends. Making friends is practically a necessity, and is not only for safety, but for fun as well. One of the best experiences is finding someone (especially a possible romantic interest) who is just like you, alone in the wild. If you can, find a trustworthy local or an experienced traveler (preferably someone who is bi-lingual) who you can collaborate with on your activities.
Prepare to Eat. Eating large amounts of great food while spending very little money is one of the best parts about world travel. For the most part, almost everywhere you go, everybody will want to feed you. No matter what you do, food is more than likely going to be involved all throughout your day. Skip fancy restaurants and chain restaurants. Ask around for good recommendations, search online for good reviews, and of course, try new things. Find local vendors who you can watch cook your meal.
Prepare to Drink. If you’re going to party, prepare for memory loss. If you’re in a foreign country, write down the name of your hotel on a piece of paper in both English and the foreign language, or make sure to get a business card of the hotel you’re staying at when you check in. Keep this paper or card in your purse or wallet. This is so your taxi driver or local friend doesn’t have a problem finding your hotel. More than likely, especially after a night of drinking, you won’t have any idea where you are or where you’re going.
Prepare to play. Collect brochures, research online, and find locals who really know and love the area they live in. This is where your adventure becomes a ride. Climb a mountain. Take a wind-surfing lesson. Visit castles. No matter what your reason for traveling is, these activities are the things you’re going to tell people you did. So, make sure to have fun.
In reality though, this isn’t where your memories will stem from. When you finally come home, it’s not going to be about the animals you saw or the waves you hit. You’ll remember the people you met, the strange encounters you had, and the unexpected breakdowns. You’ll remember the foods you tried and things you lost, and you’ll probably forget the souvenirs you bought.
If you want some quick inspiration for international travel, there is a novel I’d suggest which is written by the now famous screenwriter Alex Garland titled, The Beach, which is a fictional story inspired by his own traveling experiences.
Before I explain this, I’ll first let you know that:
Some Hotels Are Filled with Whores
I want you to imagine the front desk area of a nice four-star hotel. It’s not your typical well known brand name hotel, but it’s of the same cleanliness, smell, tone, and familiarity. You booked your room through a very popular online travel website and you booked it at a price that wasn’t outrageous but almost too good to be true. So, you’re at the front desk and you hand the front desk agent your credit card information and your passport. She smiles and asks, “How are you?” Just like any nice front desk girl would do. Then something catches your attention out of the corner of your eye. On the couches in the large open lobby, are young, very attractive, half-naked girls. They’re not sitting on the couches but rather rolling around on them, laughing, and massaging each other on them. They fill up the whole lobby. They’re having the time of their lives and they’re the only guests there. No men. Strictly hot young women. Then, as you look back at the front desk agent who is now asking you to follow her as she personally takes you to your room, you notice that she’s not wearing any pants, but rather just a swimsuit bottom. When you get to your room, the entire back wall is a mural of a naked woman. Suddenly, it all starts to make sense why the room you booked may have been so cheap, had such good reviews, and also had rooms available by the hour.
This happened to me in Bangkok, Thailand. I stayed there for two nights. Other than the fact that my bathroom was all glass doors, it was a perfectly nice stay. I was never pressured to “bang” anyone or even told that it was an option, but it didn’t take long for me to piece together all the clues. I enjoyed my stay but this may have been a little awkward for a family.
All Hotels Are Haunted
To quote 1408 (possibly the greatest hotel horror film below The Shining), “Hotels are a naturally creepy place…Just think, how many people have slept in that bed before you? How many of them were sick? How many…died?” I’m not trying to get too metaphysical here but rooms hold more than just objects. It doesn’t matter if you believe in ghosts or not, some crazy stuff happens in a room that different people sleep in every night and none of them call it home. How many people do you know who suddenly get sick when they’re on vacation? It’s not necessarily that they caught a sickness or that their body doesn’t adjust well to new places, it could be something else. Hotels are a hub for thousands of uncomfortable vacationers. That discomfort resonates.
Now, let’s think about people who stay in hotels in general. Mostly innocent travelers, and then a few people at a rough time in life, and then probably some crazies who could be doing anything from planning their own suicide to trafficking sex. Even though most people you know are nice and normal at home, they might change when they’re in a transitional period or traveling. Now add in all the freaks and the criminals; the odds are not in your favor that everyone staying in your hotel had good intentions while there. Bedrooms that aren’t loved like a home are often treated badly. Even though rooms don’t have feelings, the people in them do and those people leave remains. I’m not talking about dirt or anything physical, but more like an aura. That aura lingers and hotel rooms are like a petri dish of every aura that’s ever entered it. Point being, chances are something dark happened in your hotel room and the room will always know what it was.