Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Have you ever sat down and thought to yourself, what am I doing with myself right now? There’s so much to see out there, and here I am sitting behind this computer screen letting my retinas burn right to a crisp and working myself so hard that I actually am letting my job (unwillingly) interfere with my life. I just want to let you all know, that it IS possible to change your life; traveling changed mine.

People go to college and universities, for what? Most people truly don’t even know what they want to study. It’s because society tells us we have to. Not saying education is a bad thing at all – in fact it’s actually the best thing, and in today’s world, we need it as a stepping stone. However, what most 18 year olds don’t understand is the undertaking college tuition might have on them afterwards. College was the greatest four years of my life, do I regret it? Not one bit. Do I like having $80,000 worth of debt that harbors over my shoulders every day (for possibly the next 25 years), it’s a thought I’m still working through. But you know what? You can’t let that stop you from living. (However if you are considering traveling and you have loans, you should definitely call your loan company – they have many suitable plans to choose from that will make your dreams of traveling more attainable without hurting your pockets)

Then what happens after college? You’re fresh on the scene, trying to make it in the big boy leagues, so you pretty much will take any job that’s thrown at you. Gotta get a job fast because six months after graduation you gotta start paying those bills! My first job, I worked as a Hedge Fund accountant. It was quite the experience, nice 70 hour work weeks with no overtime is great, but hey isn’t this what all people with jobs do? That’s when it finally hit me. I was close to one year on the job and I was miserable. I had horrible bosses that made my life intolerable, the hours were draining me, and all the money I spent was pretty much on parties during the weekend so I could forget the horrors of my life during the week. I finally realized that I could NOT live like this any more. I began to have existential moments like crazy. I could see my bosses miserable too, yet it was almost like they were stuck in their sorrow spots and couldn’t leave because they had too much on the line. If I didn’t leave, I could end up like them, and that’s the last thing I wanted to do.

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I had a choice. All I wanted to do was travel. The choice wasn’t hard, however what was hard was coping with the fact that – will I actually cut off the hand that feeds me? Do I quit this job that gives me money and supports my lifestyle for a life unknown? It’s something people really have to think about. However for me, I was so over my job, it took me less than a month to buy my one way ticket to Europe. That’s not to say I wasn’t nervous when I put in my two weeks. I thought it would be easy, but it was a lot harder than I thought. However my sense of relief was amazing, and I had a flight I couldn’t miss. I had people say I was crazy. I had recruiters calling me and telling me it was the worst decision I could do for my career. I had close relatives say, “You’re going to quit your JOB?” And quite frankly, I did not care whatsoever what people had to think. I knew what I wanted to do and my decision was made. You can’t let people affect you.

Seventeen countries and three months later – I feel amazing. Must have been all those nice picnics in front of the Eiffel Tower, or my pint of Guinness in Dublin, or my picturesque train ride through the Swiss Alps, maybe the Roman Baths in Budapest, or swimming in the Mediterranean Sea in Sicily. I swear to you, traveling will broaden your perspective to a whole other realm. There are different ways to view life. The life you live currently, isn’t the way you need to live for the rest of your life. In fact, if you wanted to, you could pick up tomorrow and change your whole life, but it requires one thing – courage. Courage for the unknown, courage for getting to know yourself. I actually don’t think I truly understood myself until after I travelled. If there’s one thing that I learned, is that the sun still rises tomorrow. We should never work ourselves to the point of exhaustion. We should never work ourselves to the point where our work controls our lives. You know why? Because it’s YOUR life and you have to live it the way YOU want to. The sun is still gonna rise tomorrow isn’t it? Think about it.

Backpacker Attacked While Sleeping In Hostel

Staying in hostels has its ups and downs. Great parties that some may love and others may hate, snoring and fornicating room-mates keeping you up all night, and people stealing your shit. This backpackers experience in Oslo, Norway couldn’t get much worse than it did.

At first it appears like it could be a normal dorm room, however after staying a night he was in for a big surprise.

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“The hostel I stayed at, Sentrum Pensjonat, in Oslo was central and cheap (still the most expensive hostel I’ve stayed in, but hey, it’s Norway). In my rush to book I didn’t thoroughly read reviews. It looked like an orphanage and had the weirdest vibe of any hostel I’ve stayed at after 3+ years of hopping around Europe”.

He says that he woke up to some itching but assumed it was a mosquito bite. After getting up and showering he noticed the itching was getting worse and decided to look under his sheets finding 3 bedbugs in the corner of his mattress. They say that there are 50 bedbugs to every one you see.

“I told the front desk and got my money back, then booked a night at the Raddison (140 euros, so that sucked)”. As the day went on he assessed the damage and counted over 200 bites all over his body.

24 hours after the attack:

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“The bites started to turn into welts, incredibly itchy. I bought an anti-itch cream and cortizone at a pharmacy. It actually got so bad that I went to a doctor about 48 hours after waking up with the bites, though they couldn’t give me anything else and just told me to keep applying cream.”

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“The worst part was that my feet got attacked”, a large part of his Norway trip involving hiking.

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They even attacked his face, though these bites didn’t show up as clearly as the ones on his arms and back.

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“Apparently heat is one of the only things that kills these things (they can live up to a year without feeding… they’re horrendous little things.) Everything I owned got thrown into this industrial dryer I found at a laundromat in Oslo and cooked for an hour (clothes, two pairs of shoes, backpack, travel cases).”

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Four days later the bites were still irritating him. “The bites around the edge of my shoes and at the sock line turned into these pustules (I had about 6) which I popped with soap and gentle rubbing in the shower.”

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He says “It was still one of the most incredible trips I’ve been on. The bedbug attack was a downer and a bit annoying at night with the itching, but I didn’t let it put a damper on my trip. Travel is the good and the bad, can’t let things like that prevent you from traveling cheap and seeing the world, even if “lo barato sale caro” sometimes.”

His feet held up and here he is with a breath-taking view.

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Via: Reddit

Backpackers bus ride in Guatemala ends unexpectedly

I’ve been all over the world, including a few times to South America. My mates and I have always felt as safe as we could possibly hope for given the places traveled. However, it all came crashing down one day as we took a seemingly innocent bus ride across Guatemala.

We are sitting on one of those miserable 10-12 hour bus rides that all backpackers eventually take when traveling across undeveloped nations. Half of the people on the bus are just like us, wide-eyed kids traveling from around the world laughing about how great life is.

Half way though the trip the bus suddenly comes to a stop and three guys with machine guns come running on the bus. At this point we are shitting ourselves thinking, “this is where we get robbed of everything we own.” However, the three guys weren’t trying to rob anyone, they were yelling in Spanish and demanding to know if there were any Israeli backpackers on the bus. Unfortunately, there were 4 Israelis (2 guys, 2 girls) on the bus, not sure if it was dumb luck or if someone had tipped these guys off that they were on the bus but this is where shit started to get crazy.

After some yelling and shoving the two Israeli guys are dragged off the bus and we can only sit there looking out the window as these two guys are being shoved across a field and out of sight. The two girls that have been left behind on the bus are having a full blown melt down and are crying as they watch their two guys get led away. Honestly, you can’t really imagine how helpless you can feel until something like this happens.

About five minutes after these guys disappeared into the distance we can hear the rapid fire of the machine guns. Obviously now everyone on the bus has the image of the guys getting shot going through their head and we are all on the verge of either crying or shitting ourselves because what the hell can we do? We are in the middle of nowhere in Guatemala. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced the fear that I felt that day or seen the pain and anguish that those two girls were displaying.

Another 5 or 10 minutes go by and suddenly out of nowhere the two Israeli guys, totally white faced from fear, come running back onto the bus! We are all rejoicing as the bus driver starts to drive away and we can’t help but ask the two guys what the hell just happened?!

The two guys explained how they thought they were being led to their death when suddenly one of the rebels hands over one of the guns to them. Turns out these Guatemalan rebels had Israeli issued machine guns and they kept jamming and the rebels didn’t know how to fix them. Knowing that most if not all Israeli men are required to serve in the military the rebels knew these guys would know how to fix the guns when they jammed.

The two guys fixed the guns, hence us hearing all the shots, and were sent back to the bus. I don’t think we even said another word for the rest of the bus ride, we just sat there exhausted as if we had just run a marathon.

Via: Confessions of a Backpacker

Img: Flickr

Backpackers Drink 400L of ‘Goon’. What Happened Next Was Pure Genius

A blast from the past. This story makes me really thirsty.

During a year long working holiday in Oz my buddies and I discovered the delights of Fruity Lexi, or to call it by its much more common name, the holy sack of Goon.

Who knew that by combining fish extract, milk and a load of other random stuff you could produce such a fantastic product. And the fact that it comes in a ready made pillow to pass out on once consumed…well that’s just super considerate of them. As you do, we never threw away any of our goon bags and had a collection of hundreds in our Sydney apartment.

After 6 months we were due to leave Sydney and wanted to put the sacks to good use. The idea we came up with was pure genius: lets build a raft. We took all of the goon bags down to Bondi Beach, plus a couple fresh boxes to make the day a bit more interesting, and a shit load of duct tape. We recruited a bit of help from fellow backpackers on the beach and blew up at least 100 of these bags, then taped them all together.

Now the raft wasn’t going to win any design awards for sure, but believe it or not it actually floated and could carry 3 people at a time. It was sort of like a huge limo. We launched it into the water and with a bit of help and despite protests from the life guards, got it out into the the ocean.

We then spent 4 hours drinking goon, on our goon raft, singing pirate songs and having banter with the surfers. Occasionally we’d come to shore and rotate the passengers to give the randoms who had helped us a ride. Epic day. Ended up with a huge goon party on the beach with easily 25 backpackers from all over.

Not wanting to throw it away we drew quite a few looks on the bus carrying it back home, still singing pirate songs and drinking goon straight out of the bag. Fruity Lexia, I love you.

Via Confessions of a Backpacker

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