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Practical Tips from 4 Years of Traveling The World
April 6, 2012 10:04 PM   Subscribe


 
From the article (emph. mine):
I’ve always got these five things in my bag: safety whistle, doorstop, headlamp, sleep sheet and sarong.
I guess I must be inexperienced at travel but I don't think I've ever found myself wishing I had a doorstop. Can someone tell me what this is about?
posted by mhum at 10:22 PM on April 6, 2012


Can someone tell me what this is about?

Oh wait. Is it for jamming doors shut when you're staying in a hotel room without deadbolts?
posted by mhum at 10:25 PM on April 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


safety whistle? seriously?
posted by thewalrus at 10:29 PM on April 6, 2012


I think the safety whistle may have something to do with the fact that the writer is a woman, and the best way to get out of many confronting situations is to simply drag attention to one's self.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 10:30 PM on April 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


My tip? Don't show up at the airport barefoot. In the U.S. they make you take your shoes off before going through airport security. But if you show up without any shoes on your feet they will tell you to put some shoes on. Then they will tell you to take them off. Go figure.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:36 PM on April 6, 2012 [12 favorites]


Sounds like a newb: where's the a) earplugs, and b) alcohol hand-washing gel? Indispensable!
posted by smoke at 10:41 PM on April 6, 2012


My invisible knapsack and pretty face work better than all that.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:42 PM on April 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Sounds like a newb: where's the ... b) alcohol hand-washing gel?

They don't sell soap there?

Her list of indispensables makes sense for a particular kind of woman traveler; it's not what I would carry but I'm not going to say she is wrong for considering those her most important items.
posted by Forktine at 10:47 PM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


They don't sell soap there?

You need water for soap. Gel is useful anywhere when you want clean hands.
posted by smoke at 10:55 PM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh wait. Is it for jamming doors shut when you're staying in a hotel room without deadbolts?

Yes, that's exactly what it's for.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 10:56 PM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


safety whistle? seriously?

Have you ever had your boat die when you're in the middle of the ocean? Ever felt an attack by a band of monkeys was imminent? The author has. The whistle helped in both instances.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:02 PM on April 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


She has an entire post dedicated to the safety whistle. It got her rescued from a drifting boat and a jammedbathroom in in the middle of the night. Also she is an overpacker.

It looks like she worked as a lawyer for six years to fund her adventures.
posted by aniola at 11:07 PM on April 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty confident in my ability to shout loudly and scream, so if I were traveling to some of the out-of-the-way places she has been to, I'd leave the doorstop and safety whistle at home but would not forget to bring my Iridium phone.
posted by thewalrus at 11:30 PM on April 6, 2012


Oh wait. Is it for jamming doors shut when you're staying in a hotel room without deadbolts?

Yes. When you're outside the First World and staying in very cheap guesthouse/pension-type places, it can be rare for your room to have anything like a deadbolt on the door.
posted by lunasol at 11:37 PM on April 6, 2012


Living out of a backpack (10 months experience -- male)

Must haves:
Passport, credit card, 1 week backup of critical daily meds.

Good additions:
Flashlight, iPod w/ travel speakers, sleeping bag, windbreaker with zip-in lining,
waterproof hat, two sets of clothes (plus what you're wearing), toiletry bag, pillow case, 1 month supply of meds.

With that you can go indefinitely, replenishing only toiletries and meds. And credit cards, I suppose :-)
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:53 PM on April 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I carry TWO safety whistles everywhere, so in case I'm with other people and something terrible happens, we can split up and use them to communicate with/locate each other. just another tattered page from the book of my neuroses.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 11:53 PM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Practical Tips from 4 Years of Traveling The World

Tip #0 Start independently wealthy.
posted by alex_skazat at 11:58 PM on April 6, 2012 [29 favorites]


I came in wanting to hate this, but got won over. Definitely some serious privilege issues, but the travel tips are sound in many a situation (I've pulled the orange trick, and extra undies is always recommended).
posted by Panjandrum at 12:20 AM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


She's doing what I want to be doing (except for the blogging). Thanks for the link!
posted by flippant at 12:20 AM on April 7, 2012


It's interesting to see various travelers assumptions about why people travel.

This woman is pretty clearly an extrovert and wants to meet people and share culture. Others are out touristing, wanting to observe cultures more than participate in them. There are also the xtreme travellers, where everything is part of some epic adventure. Perhaps the most interesting to me are the people for whom travelling has become part of life; they pulled up their roots and they can't quite imagine putting them down again. I think this woman has a bit of that going on.

I'm a tourist type myself, only I'm not there to see the culture or the people. I want to feel what the cities feel like, to sense the -- for lack of a better word -- energy of a place. Bangkok feels very different from Brisbane, and neither feel like San Francisco.

Outside of the cities the land has the same feeling everywhere I've gone. The one exception to that is Africa, where the land feels exactly the same only a lot more so.

In any case, reading things like this always makes want to get back out there with a backpack and no particular agenda. Everyone should do it once in their lives and in my case probably at least twice.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:23 AM on April 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


in every cab I’ve taken, the driver is thrilled to take one from me. After the initial grumpiness, a cough drop is offered, a smile follows and suddenly we’re singing Journey at the top of our voices and playing air guitar.

This is why I stay home.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:23 AM on April 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Tip #0 Start independently wealthy

Actually this lifestyle is available even to the independently poor. :-)
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:28 AM on April 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


I love the doorstop, tiny, almost weightless, great idea. I'm a big guy but sleeping I'm vulnerable. Great idea. And the whistle, too -- why not, it's weightless, could come in handy.

Travel chopsticks -- doh. Another great one. They're in my basket now at Amazon.

And the bedding, the sleep sack. Great. I've been in hostels in the US where it wouldn't have been a bad idea, I can only imagine less developed countries.

And sickness, when traveling. My god, it's horrible; I was in a dive hotel in Chicago and got unreal sick -- food poisoning is all I could figure -- had a massive temperature, one of the sickest I've ever been. So many times I've read in the Tribune or the SunTimes "Texas man dies in no-tell hotel -- A man from Austin Texas was found dead in his tacky room yesterday; authorities are attempting to contact his family." I thought about it as I lay in that bed, freezing and sweating.

Oranges and cough-drops -- who'd have thought? Fun.

Clothing; she says you can buy most everything on the road, but I can't always even find clothing here that fits me. Tshirts and shorts, okay, but forget long-sleeve shirts and/or long pants; I'd have to bring enough somehow.

I don't have the courage to do what she's done, I'm pretty sure I'd fall apart pretty fast due to the stressors of everything always being new. But I loved reading it, great blog.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:30 AM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, and she's been to Chiang Mai, a place I absolutely intend to visit before I shuffle off this mortal coil; for whatever reason I just want to see it and be there, it's caught my fancy, I read all about it and dream. I've heard that it's like Bangkok was 25 or 30 years ago, much more Thai influence, much more a Thai city still, the pace slower, the people warmer, seemingly with more peace. It just sounds great.
posted by dancestoblue at 12:39 AM on April 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Great blog, thanks for posting
posted by mumimor at 12:47 AM on April 7, 2012


Tip #0 Start independently wealthy.

If by "Independently Wealthy" you mean "middle class in a first-world country" then yes, that helps.
posted by lunasol at 1:11 AM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I spent two years backpacking around various bits of the world. For me, Immodium or some form of loperamide. For those special kinds of emergencies. Everything else you can buy on the road cheaper than you could at home.
When I started out, I had CDs and books. It must be amazingly better to load up 10,000 songs on your Ipod and 1000 books on your Kindle. I remember running out of things to read in Central America and the only thing I could find that wasn't some kind of religious book was Interview with a Vampire. In spanish. That was a struggle.
posted by conifer at 1:30 AM on April 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actually this lifestyle is available even to the independently poor. :-)

True, true, but the experience is far different than blogging about eating cuisine. This person really is of little interest of me.

If by "Independently Wealthy" you mean "middle class in a first-world country" then yes, that helps.

This women was a corporate lawyer for 5 years. That's middle class? What's she's doing is this: she's taking an extended leave of her profession. She probably makes a good bundle doing motivational speaking. I mean, look at her website! It's slick! It's professional! SHE'S SLICK. SHE'S PRO. She's probably writing it off as business expenses. This is not a story of being stuck in the Tibetan Plain for years.

All I'm thinking is, she ain't roughin' it. One call, one plane ticket - she's back in Montreal. She's not having an adventure, she's simply taking a little vacation. And that's boring to me.
posted by alex_skazat at 1:46 AM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


If by "Independently Wealthy" you mean "middle class in a first-world country" then yes, that helps.

This women was a corporate lawyer for 5 years. That's middle class?


Boy, I hope we can reach a consensus soon on what level of lifetime earnings disqualifies you from ever being able to write an interesting travel blog.

All I'm thinking is, she ain't roughin' it. One call, one plane ticket - she's back in Montreal. She's not having an adventure, she's simply taking a little vacation. And that's boring to me.

Absolutely. Anybody who claims to be "travelling" despite still having enough money to get home is a phony, a sellout, and probably a hipster to boot.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 2:25 AM on April 7, 2012 [35 favorites]


I especially enjoyed this post about taking public transportation. I agree that public transportation gives you a glimpse of culture in a way that other things can't. There are few places where you have such a large amount of time to sit around people and simply observe and interact.
posted by Defenestrator at 2:37 AM on April 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was all ready to bring the snark buta lot of this is pretty useful (yeah, restaurants etc in guidebooks will be always crowded out)

Also she's reading this thread *waves*
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:47 AM on April 7, 2012


4 years, as the title says, = "Little vacation", alex_skazat? *Really*? Dear god, lawyering certainly comes with an abundance of the holidays, doesn't it? ;)

I thought point 20 pretty much summed up her true motivations. Can't see how she could have been more up-front than that. "My worst case scenario? Going back to being a lawyer. As ‘worst cases’ go, it’s not the end of the world." That doesn't sound like someone keen to return to her old life.
posted by hunterchim at 3:02 AM on April 7, 2012


Hi there!! (She's reading this thread!)

If you take two things from this article, then take:

11. People are more alike than you think.

One of the essences of Buddhism.

and

10. Opening your eyes and mind to connecting with others matters more than getting “off the beaten path.”

Everyone always wants recommendations for these "off the path" places, but they're actually more or less what you discover by accident. Being helped by two older ladies in Tokyo and a small, unassuming buffet in Stuttgart are two of my favorite travel memories... these aren't really things that are mentioned in guidebooks or forum posts. The best times on your trip aren't always the ones that people tell you about in advance.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 3:11 AM on April 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd agree with what she says here broadly speaking, but only a few parts struct me as important :

Yes, travel intensifies human experiences changing you so that meeting people becomes easy, but paradoxically you cannot import that openness into everyday life nearly so easily as you might wish. I've found that you're lonely only when your sick or temporarily settled.

Yes, you can enjoy eating out frequently without previously earning six figures, this holds in expensive cities like Paris, and it certainly holds in places like Laos. TRY ALL THE FOODS (but especially the fruits, cheeses, and mushrooms)

Yes, communicating with people matters infinitely more than getting “off the beaten path.” Academic travelers are gifted with especially valuable information about the local haunts and food by the local academics they're visiting.

Yes, reverse culture shock is extremely real. Your home grows amazingly small, certainly if your from an extremely homogenized culture like the U.S.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:21 AM on April 7, 2012


One of the best tips I've heard (from a travel journalist in the UK) is as well as your standard 'tourist' stuff and 'traveller' stuff is to do stuff that you normally enjoy doing back home as well... his example was if you play football then find a club or something where you can join in with a game or even just a kick about... and to be honest I've probably enjoyed wandering around bookshops, art galleries etc in foreign cities just as much as seeing the 'sights', if not more so
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:29 AM on April 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Traveling is my form of self-education.Yvon Chouinard, founder of outdoor-apparel maker Patagonia.

@fearfulsymmetry: do stuff that you normally enjoy doing back home

Fantastic advice. It's always mystifying when able-bodied people land at the airport, hop on a chartered bus, post up in a hotel, and spend their time between the bus, the hotel, and a variety of museums. It illustrates that it is completely possible to travel with relatively minimal interactions with the people inhabiting a place. Places like Rome are notorious for this. I'm all for musuems and relics and whatnot, but if you're going to go see dead things, hopefully the living are at least as interesting!

To your point, I don't know many people whose lives revolve around musuems and relics at home, yet when they "get out", that is where they feel safe and comfortable I suppose. It's fascinting to do what you do anyway in a different place, with different people. Grocery shopping is a favourite, as picnicing in the park, seeing films with audiences, small little jazz bars, playing sport, cooking, hiking.

Friends often mention, we cannot come to Europe, it's too expensive. If they were to live as they did on vacation back at home, it would also be expensive! Restaurants every night, musuems every day, drinking in touristy places. Heck, Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco cause one to break out in emotional hives at the prices, compared to even Russian Hill, a stone's throw away.

Hence, the awesome that is AirBNB and self-catering in general. It allows one to do exactly that -- what one does at home. Cook dinner, read a book on a terrace, invite friends of friends over for a drink, watch local sports and news.

There's the topic of a book or blog: (How To) Do There What You Do Here.

A mate brews beer in the States and when he traveled around Belgium, he found a few people to homebrew with and made awesome new friends. Another friend traveled to China and helped local friends of friends brew beer for the first time. Amazing!

Thinking out loud, there seems to be a deeper paradigm shift in this. Most of us give and take on a daily basis, to some degree. Many tourists are under the impression that they are in 'taking' mode. 'taking in' in culture, 'taking in' cuisine, 'taking in' a variety of things. 'Taking' is cray expensive. Perhaps the philosophy underlying @fearful's point is give there as you would give here. It's cheaper and way more interesting.
posted by nickrussell at 4:04 AM on April 7, 2012 [11 favorites]


All I'm thinking is, she ain't roughin' it. One call, one plane ticket - she's back in Montreal. She's not having an adventure, she's simply taking a little vacation. And that's boring to me.

She's watching roaches climb the wall, but if she called her Dad he would stop it all... I know where you're coming from, it's annoying to listen to people talking about their amazing adventures without acknowledging the priviledge that allows them to have them, but aren't we all like that? I don't know anything about you, but unless you're a major demographic outlier on Metafilter, most of the hobbies and interests you and I talk about are dreams to the majority of the world's population. I don't see why Jodi is under any more obligation than the rest of us to make a big deal of her advantages in life. And the idea that being able to easily afford to get back home makes a travel writer boring disqualifies many of the greats...

Jodi seems happy to refer to herself as a 'tourist' on her site, which warms me to her, as does her suggestion to buy things when on the road. Many backpackers seem perversely determined to put as little money as possible into the local economy. And I totally agree with Ms. Moonlight that Jodi's tip #10 is a vital lesson that sadly very few people learn. I can forgive her for her heresy regarding jeans.

Doorstops! I tried one for a while, a sturdy rubber wedge I picked up in a hardware shop in Singapore. I made a point to yank the door hard after kicking the doorstop into place and discovered that it rarely held firm. It's surprising how wide the gap is between a lot of doors and the floor in poorer countries and many floors are slippery tile that even rubber just slides along. I decided that false security was worse than no security, left it somewhere and went back to putting something next to the door that, if disturbed, would make a loud crash.

I also used to carry a headtorch, but in urban areas there is usually plenty of artificial light and in the country one's eyes get used to the dark pretty fast. I sometimes take a tiny torch just in case, but I never use it.

My two packing tips are multiple sizes of plastic bags and presents from home to give people you meet.

Oh yeah, and she's been to Chiang Mai, a place I absolutely intend to visit before I shuffle off this mortal coil; for whatever reason I just want to see it and be there, it's caught my fancy, I read all about it and dream. I've heard that it's like Bangkok was 25 or 30 years ago, much more Thai influence, much more a Thai city still, the pace slower, the people warmer, seemingly with more peace.

Chiang Mai is calmer than Bangkok, but it's hard to find anywhere that isn't more laid-back than Bangkok. It's full of tourists, which isn't necessarily a problem, but don't go there expecting some sort of tranquil idyll. I like it, but if you want slow pace of life and peaceful people, Laos is a much better bet.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:24 AM on April 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Perhaps the most interesting to me are the people for whom travelling has become part of life; they pulled up their roots and they can't quite imagine putting them down again.

I've always felt a little inauthentic, or like I am missing out... yeah I am abroad, but I just take shit as it comes, and live my life as I would anywhere - on the Internet, and if at all possible with a nice thick spliff. I don't have any strategy or any deep insight about this.

But anyways, here is the DJ bit, a trilogy of Talking Heads tales of exile.

First album I bought and first video that really wowed me, and I guess it turned out to be my mission statement - "and you may find yourself in another part of the world..." And yeah, as I said above, same as it ever was!

For the person that needs to keep moving - Pull up the Roots.

For the person that is fed up with moving - The Big Country. "I see the shapes I remember from maps..."
posted by Meatbomb at 5:03 AM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tip #0 Have a job with more than two weeks of vacation time. (and that allows you to actually use it)
posted by octothorpe at 5:41 AM on April 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


My tip: take scans of your passport, insurance docs and other travel documents and send them to your email account and keep them in a saved folder. That way, if you lose any docs, you can get them anywhere that has an internet connection. If you were to lose your passport, it makes it easier to have all the details if you need to go to an embassy to get a replacement.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 5:43 AM on April 7, 2012 [13 favorites]


There are quite a few bitter Betties and Bobs in these here corral.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:43 AM on April 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Amen ClanvidHorse! You absolutely must keep digital copies of any important documents : passport, bank cards, work visas, residency permits, diplomas, birth certificate, drivers license, etc. Ideally bank records and employment contracts as well. Ideally encrypted.

I'm not even talking about stuff you'll need if you lose your luggage either. If you keep digital copies, you'll turn a three day process of asking a family member to sort through your old paperwork into a couple min email.

- You're trying to apply for a work visa but they need your current residency permit because you're applying from outside your home country.

- You extend your stay abroad by taking another job which must see all you university diplomas, not just your Masters/PhD, but your Bachelors as well.

- You've been hired abroad but they need your recent employment contracts to give you the seniority and salary they promised.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:10 AM on April 7, 2012


For those of you questioning the safety whistle, I suggest you click the safety whistle link. It's not what you think at all.

Actually, most of the negativity I'm seeing in this thread seems to be coming from people who skimmed the article, and/or didn't explore the links within the article nor read any of her responses to comments. Which is pretty much the type of person who isn't really suited to do her kind of traveling, so I guess that's fine.

Personally, I thought it was one of the most interesting travel articles I've ever read, in spite of the fact that it's something that I most likely will never be able to afford to do. I do follow the same principles locally though. For instance, yesterday I drive into the fringes of the Texas Hill Country near me to attend a huge antiques fair, even though I'm dead broke and could barely afford the gas. I ended up not seeing many antiques; instead, I spent the entire time talking to a woman from Atlanta who sells antique velvet ribbons and trims, and her husband, an Italian who has spent 33 years traveling the globe, buying and selling pristine, first pressing vinyl records (he only deals with classic rock, blues, and Texas/Americana music.) They were full of fascinating stories about meeting Robbie Robertson; eating chicken fried steak in El Paso that was made by a woman who tended the food with a spatula in one hand while swatting flies with the other hand; helping a very elderly, very drunk cowgirl get her too-tight jeans back on in a restroom at a Merle Haggard concert, and so on. And then the husband discovered I'm 1/16 American Indian, and he gave me a whirlwind explanation of the history of Indians in North America, including their adoption of guns and horses and how they spread from tribe to tribe, because it turns out Indian history is his personal passion. Then they shared a great sangria recipe, and we discussed the lack of good bagels in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

By the way, this entire adventure cost me about $15 for gas to get out there.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:15 AM on April 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Oh yeah, and she's been to Chiang Mai, a place I absolutely intend to visit before I shuffle off this mortal coil; for whatever reason I just want to see it and be there, it's caught my fancy, I read all about it and dream. I've heard that it's like Bangkok was 25 or 30 years ago, much more Thai influence, much more a Thai city still, the pace slower, the people warmer, seemingly with more peace. posted by dancestoblue at 12:39 AM on April 7

Chiang Mai is calmer than Bangkok, but it's hard to find anywhere that isn't more laid-back than Bangkok. It's full of tourists, which isn't necessarily a problem, but don't go there expecting some sort of tranquil idyll. I like it, but if you want slow pace of life and peaceful people, Laos is a much better bet. posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:24 AM on April 7
"

No need to go as far as Laos, try Chiang Rai instead or any other town in the north/north-east that is not Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is year round full of tourists, has tons of hostels and western style bars. It is a lot like any other touristy place. If you're looking for an authentic experience, pick a town with no hostels and only one or two hotels. There won't be any air conditioned coffee shops around where you can buy the same food like at home (you'll find those also in Vientiane/Laos btw.) but you'll get to try other local stuff instead. I am not saying touristy places are bad per se or whatever, it is just good to know if you want to go and hang out with other westerners in western-style cafes abroad or if you actually want to experience the culture and its people.
posted by travelwithcats at 6:42 AM on April 7, 2012


My years of traveling gave me a much shorter list actually:

1. Check for paper first

2. Learn the phrase "toilet emergency" in the native language
posted by Algebra at 7:06 AM on April 7, 2012 [6 favorites]


She did not mention something else I learned in my time abroad:

Your place on the Food Chain changes. I was interacting with a totally different social level in Bosnia compared to here in the States.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:00 AM on April 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Your home grows amazingly small, certainly if your from an extremely homogenized culture like the U.S.

Interesting. I have the exact opposite experience.

Exploring cities always reminds me of how diverse things are even from block to block, and more importantly how ridiculously small my sample of the world is.

The U.S. might be extremely homogenized -- it certainly felt that way when I left -- but if I look at a map of what I've explored even in my home city I find I've seen a pitiably small portion of it. I make a point now to get into the unexplored regions more often and I'm surprised at what I find. A Balkan cafe run by a Slovenian and full of ... Slovenians? Where the hell do you get that many expat Slovenians in the middle of the Silicon Valley? Russians, sure. Ethiopians? Okay. But Slovenians?

There are a lot of unexpected things everywhere I look. The difference is that in the U.S. I'm usually not looking. Traveling cures that for me.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:31 AM on April 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


This person is doing what you wish you were doing. Tedious objections to her 'privilege' will not change that.

From a global perspective, not being born to a starving family and sent off to be a child soldier counts as privelage. So why don't you go off and flog yourself for a while because you have a comfortable life and food to eat, while this woman is busy LIVING YOUR FUCKING DREAM?
posted by Afroblanco at 11:50 AM on April 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Back in here again, wanting to say how cool her blog is. I agree with Afroblanco that this woman is living the dream, or living hers at least.

But I think it's "the" dream for most, not only to do it but to have the jam to do it.

And all of the criticisms here, how coddled she must be, how easy it is -- you haven't read her blog. Yes, she *can* escape, and she has, when sick or injured, she has retreated to safe places to heal.


But, here's the deal -- she always gets back out there. She picks back up and puts her bitty feet into her shoes or sandals and puts them on a plane or a boat or a bus or a ferry or a tiny motorcycle and she's off and on the move.

So to those who are down on her -- you're writing these comments while sitting in your underpants drinking a coke or a beer, she's out climbing a mountain or killing a poison spider or eating new foods or swimming in swelling tides.

She totally rocks.

And part of it seems to be her personality to keep on keeping on -- on one entry she tells how a friend describes her as having "Jodi Mind" IE she canNOT be stilled inside. But then she also is trying to face that down.

Like all of us, she could find a million reasons why she can't do this. But she keeps on plugging, she's a dang Canadian duracell battery rabbit; though I haven't seen a photo of her with cymbals I'd not be surprised.

Quite a citizen, quite a exemplary human being.

Great post, thx for bringing us to this blog.
posted by dancestoblue at 3:39 PM on April 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


GE sells a 120 db doorstop alarm for $10-$15 that I picked up for just this purpose. Just gotta remember to take the batteries out in your bag!
posted by jason_steakums at 5:52 PM on April 7, 2012


I don't see why Jodi is under any more obligation than the rest of us to make a big deal of her advantages in life.

I don't think it's that, it's more- "how can I use this information given my relative lack of advantages?" It would be like a blog talking about extremely high end clothing, including a discussion on tailoring and the merits of this wool suit versus that designer's similar product- there's bound to be some useful or amusing information but it's still going to be jarring.

So to those who are down on her -- you're writing these comments while sitting in your underpants drinking a coke or a beer, she's out climbing a mountain or killing a poison spider or eating new foods or swimming in swelling tides.

Dude, I'm sitting on a moderately debilitating problem with anxiety. Let's not make a moral choice out of the privilege and capacity to have adventures. You're part of the reason people are snarking, a luxury of a vacation doesn't make anyone a better human being.
posted by Phalene at 7:15 AM on April 8, 2012


a luxury of a vacation doesn't make anyone a better human being.

...but any sort of travel often leaves them with stories to tell. Travel seldom improves people, but it can make them a lot more interesting at cocktail parties.

Sorry to hear about your anxiety issues though; They suck. I had to deal with a serious case of agoraphobia before I could get out there for real -- most of my early stories involve panic attacks in various European capitals. Oh, and that one time I threw up in my own lap just after taking my seat for a 4 hour flight. Hi there Mr. Seatmate! Rettcchhhhhhh....

You may be interested in the writings of Tim Cahill who is a) a funny and adventurous travel writer and b) once spent two months without leaving his house due to panic attacks. It was always inspiring to me to know that those extremes could exist in the same person.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:46 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I spent about a decade wandering, and the next 15 (right up to today) living a more or less quiet life in Australia and Korea, neither of which are my home country.

I never had any money to speak of back in the wandering days -- I just made friends, found whatever work I could with the help of those friends, usually, occasionally went back to Canada to pick up some work in Whistler before heading out again.

My biggest advice to young people who want to do it -- although the world is different and smaller now, with the internet and all, and the places to go that aren't overrun by excessive tourism have changed -- is just to go, and try, and be good to people, and things will probably work out. If you find that you really love it, you'll find a way to make it work, even if that involves living a lot closer to the bone than you might have been used to as one of those "middle class [from] a first-world country" folks.

And take a towel.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:53 PM on April 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


if you use a backpack with a hip belt bring an extra plastic clip for it. like this. those things can break easily.
posted by cupcake1337 at 11:57 AM on April 9, 2012


I don't think it's that, it's more- "how can I use this information given my relative lack of advantages?" It would be like a blog talking about extremely high end clothing, including a discussion on tailoring and the merits of this wool suit versus that designer's similar product- there's bound to be some useful or amusing information but it's still going to be jarring.

I don't want this to come across as a 'gotcha', but there has been at least one Metafilter post on extremely high end tailoring and here's a more recent one on various handmade products. I've seen plenty of posts about iPads, DSLRs, electric cars, Moleskines etc. and don't recall snark about them. I don't see going abroad on holiday as more exclusive than the lots of topics here.

Chiang Mai is year round full of tourists, has tons of hostels and western style bars. It is a lot like any other touristy place. If you're looking for an authentic experience, pick a town with no hostels and only one or two hotels. There won't be any air conditioned coffee shops around where you can buy the same food like at home (you'll find those also in Vientiane/Laos btw.) but you'll get to try other local stuff instead.

I don't find the label 'authentic' to be very helpful when describing developing countries and suspect that noisy, busy cities have as much of a claim to be 'authentically Thai' as whatever is currently regarded as an undiscovered gem. Dancestoblue seemed to be looking for a peaceful place with a slow pace of life and that sounds just like Laos to me; Vientiane is more laid-back than most smaller cities in neighbouring countries, despite being the capital.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 11:19 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


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