Saturday, January 22, 2011


There is allot to learn from "veteran Vagabonds". Most people I meet really have their stuff together, probably, unlike myself, because they are far into their trip, not just a couple months as I am. They've already gone through all the learning processes that I'm trying to get through, and are just sailing along the right ways now. I don't know what it is about Dutch people and Israel people, but I meet them more than any other nationality (except for the locals). I don't know what's going on in Holland, but everyone seems to want to travel. I've met them continuously from day 1 on the road. Now Israelis I can understand. After school, it is compulsory for every male to do his time in the military. When they get out, after they've done their time, it's almost tradition that they want to get out and see the world for years on end on their own. It's amazing how incredibly independent these young Israelis become at an early age. I've learned allot from them, from our various long conversations. Since they have little money to start with, I thought it very curious and dumbfounding that they are able to travel so far, and see so much. I then realized that it is my typical American reasoning that is making me think this way. I can't think of a single person back home that doesn't want to travel, but I also can't think of a single person that is willing to leave their comfort zone and just do it. Most say, "ya if i had about $30,000, I would go travel the world for a year". But I know as well as I do, that they will never have $30000 extra money that needs waisting. The Israelis I talked to said they got about 5000 U.S after they left the army, for services rendered, then about that much more from their family as gifts to "go experience the world" then left on that 10000 and made it last for more than a year, seeing huge areas of country, going to the most remote places on Earth. That thought is crazy to most Americans. No one I know would ever say "I'm leaving, and I don't know when I'll be back, no matter how much money I have." Maybe that is why the are so admirable to me, I tend to think the same way. This is all well and good but I wanted to know how they stretched the money that far, considering that there are expenses that just cannot be gotten away from. After hanging around them for a few days I begun to understand the problem; me. It had never occurred to my American way of thinking that I should take an uncomfortable, 50 hour train ride through countries for maybe $40, instead of taking a nice, fast and cushy flight for say $400. I'm on no time line, so why not? My new friend Simo had taken the train from Tanzania to Zimbabwe, which took 48 hours. I asked him why he didn't just fly, and he said that was stupid, he could get all through Africa on trains for that price. That thought never occurred to me, what a great point. Then another time I rode on a long bus ride with an Israeli. At some of the stops I found myself buying drinks and snacks and little things like that. I was doing it with the mind set that the stuff was pretty cheap compared to back home. But then my Israeli friend showed me what he brought with him. He had bought a loaf of bread for about $.50 cents, and a jar of peanut butter for $1. That right there lasted him the whole trip. He also had a great big water jugs of tap water that he had sterilized and didn't have to buy drinks once. So for $1.50 he had enough food and drink to get him bye for 2 days. One of the packs of cookies I bought was about $1 by it's self. Water bottles were about $1 also, and I probably bough 10. I don't remember what all else I ate, but I'm sure it added up.The guy showed me to live like a local, if you don't you will run out of money and have to go back home and work. that make sense. Say I spent $15 in those 2 days on food and drinks. that's enough for him to last 15 days or something (not doing the math, just saying). So in reality, he could last 15 times longer than I can, just on food and and drinks alone. Then you can take into effect his cheaper modes of transportation, plus the fact that he carries a tent and takes the cheapest accommodation possible. When the local people come up to him asking him to buy trinkets and stuff, like paintings and carvings, he doesn't give them the time of day. I have found myself time and again buying crap I don't need just because it's pretty cool. So I have learned allot, and have a lot to learn, but I'm soaking in every bit possible, and believe me, by the time I'm done, I will be a seasoned traveler that others look up to.

1 comment:

  1. What a great trip you are having. Good thoughts from the seasoned guy - very true, although I must admit I am loving getting to "travel" through your experiences. We Americans do have a lot to learn - not nearly as smart as we think we are. I laugh like crazy picturing you after your ride in the back of the truck! That is very funny.