eight months backpacking

Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:41 PM
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This is so thirty years ago it's hilarious.

StCirq is online now  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:47 PM
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I don't know how many of you are from Europe ,well being a European I would like to tell you some tips for the European union countries that I live and know well.
Yes we know there are lows in the EU but in this very moment there are millions of illegal immigrants working all over the place, Asians, former East Europeans, Africans you name it. The illegal economy flourishes but most governments and local authorities don't bother in favour of the cheap labour. In other words yes you will find a job in Hamburg ,in Brussels , In Copenhagen mostly washing dishes that's the easiest, by the way the same kind of jobs did thousands of illegal new comers in the US during the 50's 60's 70's ..In other words you might be lucky to find a small honest job somewhere and if they get you they wont send you to the gallows ,but probably back home.
khiper is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:50 PM
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I wonder what his reply would have been if we answered his question "ways to get by frugally" right off with...

Hey I know you can eat out of dumpsters, you can go to soup kitchens and take the meals that are meant for poor local people, you can pick up illegal agriculture work again taking away from local people trying to support their families.

This post is so stunningly self-centered I am (nearly but not quite) speechless.
suze is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 02:54 PM
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He's actually got a point about people who lend out couches. Check out www.couchsurfing.com

Still, eight months of scrounging for my next meal, my next "couch", my next ride to my next place...I just don't get it. I guess hunger, danger, discomfort, and dirt are exciting to some people.
Cimbrone is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 03:02 PM
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I absolutely support your sense of adventure and your desire to do something that reminds you you're alive. And I empathize with your goal of wandering the globe, searching out more experiences and lessons. Unfortunately, the world is a different place, definitely from that of your "book that inspires", but more profoundly in the past six years.

I studied in Europe for four months. I had a student visa for Spain that expired after 90 days. I was supposed to go to the embassy to renew it, but I didn't, because no one else did. Legal, no, but enforced, obviously not. Today, it would be enforced.

Embrace your spontaneity but have some direction. You have over two months to do LOTS of research. There may be ways to do this, but you need to be aware of your restrictions. Save up as much money as you can, and have a back-up plan. And then another back-up plan.

Your money will get you a LOT farther if you travel through southeast Asia. Europe, right now, is more expensive than the US. And talk about adventure! It's not too late to edit your blog page...

Use a search engine to find others' blogs on how they are doing it. That will give you the most realistic picture of what you can and can't do. Good luck.

ceb1222 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 03:16 PM
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One more thing... Fodor's Europe board might not be the best resource for you. I don't believe many posters here have wilfully eaten out of garbage cans as part of their travel experiences. You're posting on a forum where people describe, in detail, their Michelin-starred meals.
ceb1222 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 03:24 PM
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ceb is right. thorntree.lonelyplanet.com might be more what you're looking for.

Also google "sleep in the straw switzerland" and learn about, what else, sleeping in barns in Switzerland. Unfortunately, it's mostly in German.

I still say Mexico will be easier for you. I've roughed it in Mexico. Never had to eat from the trash. And you'll be in good company. Lots of places rent out a hammock for $5 a night.

And the authorities are much less likely to care about your buddy's "proclivities." Just stay away from the 'shrooms. They can mess you up for life.
Cimbrone is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 03:28 PM
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Even over at The Thorn Tree, Lonely Planet's website (many backpackers from all over the world there) this type of post would not be well received. An American college student living off Mom & Dad's tuition money then planning to make use of social services like church meals and soup kitchens in Europe, believe me won't get a warm welcome there either. And THEY know their stuff about traveling long-term on very little funds, but generally are big on being well informed and traveling in a respectful manner (both things this poster lacks).
suze is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 04:18 PM
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Good point, suze. They make us look positively civil when you rub them the wrong way.
Cimbrone is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 04:37 PM
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check out the forums on vagabonding - http://vagabonding.net/forums/ I spent a little time there today and found it interesting and way more in line with your plans that this forum.
Momliz is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 07:40 PM
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try this website for some info: http://www.startbackpacking.com/index.html
Momliz is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 10:37 PM
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I think it is unlikely you'll get a student visa even if your college does give you credits for your travelling.

Each country has its own rules of course, but you need to be enrolled in and attend an accredited course in the country where you'll be living and want the student visa for. What you may be doing in your home country is not relevant.

...and they check. We have a couple of people at work on student visas (these allow them to work up to 20 hours a week). The Home Office get in touch every few months for a list of who is doing how many hours and for confirmation from their colleges that they are still attending their courses - and there is a stringent minimum number of study hours there too, you can't just sign up for something that'll be a couple of hours a week. They have to study on a full-time course, which in practise works out at about 20 hours a week in college plus their own studying time.
nona1 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 10:56 PM
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This site provides lists of organic farms that will provide free room and board in exchange for work. Some locations are in Europe.

I'm sure this can be interesting, but I'd suggest that you try farm work before you head off. It's tough, dirty, and in my opinion, not fun.

WillTravel is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 10:59 PM
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you are calling yourself thinkand travel - well do a bit of thinking.

Student visa - forget that - I can't speak for other European countries but for the UK you would need to be sponsored by an ACCREDITED institution and paid either a years fees £8000 or at least a third. On a student visa you are only allowed to work 20 hours. Oh and the visa itself is £300.00 - had you even thought of the cost of visas? You will need quite a few.

If you try to work in the UK you will be asked for your passport - no visa no job.

There may be some sort of working holiday visa available but for that you will need a return ticket and a couple of thousand pounds to support yourself while you find work.

And IF you found work it would be minimum wage. If you are under 22 that's £4.60 an hour. If you worked 20 hours you'd get £192 - then lose 1/3 to tax and national insurance. Then you have to pay for your accommodation - even a hostel won't be cheap. So how do people in the UK manage on min wage? We get money from the government to top it up - you won't get this. We get money from the government to help pay our rent as well. We have to, we can't afford to live on min wage.
As for camping - you can only do this on proper camp sites and you will be charged for your pitch. Oh and they are rarely open in winter.

Have you thought about insurance? Insuring your goods, tickets, money and HEALTH INSURANCE?

In the UK as a non EU national you would be covered for emergency treatment - but that is all. So if you need a tooth filling or contraceptive pills (sorry don't know if you are male or female) or antibiotics you will have to pay.

soup kitchens - how dare you? these are for people who have to live on the streets not for a spoiled brat who thinks it would be an adventure. But still if you want to wait until 10 pm when the salvation army come round with a plastic cup of soup and take your chances with the guy who doesn't live in a house because of his paranoia and the local junkies well explain to them why you can't pay your way.

Yes some travellers have spare beds - i take part in couch surfing but I would not want you in my house - and check the couch surfing website - you are advised to make checks and to have alternative accommodation available.

I've looked at your blog, very few Roma travel these days, in eastern Europe they suffer terrible racism - how could you not know that if you have been researching?

Your blog says you are planning on having $1500 when you arrive - sorry that will not get you through immigration.

Even if it did you would not be able to get train tickets / flights for all the places you plan to visit.

You also have a friend who always seems to be "drinking or smoking" - how is he going to pay for his booze?

You do not seem to have even considered the practicalities.

Travel can be an adventure - last year I went to south america with only 3 nights booked but I had insurance and enough money for my trip. Also because my flight was delayed and I landed in a strange city at 2am I had a place to go. And enough cash to get a cab to get there safely.

You say this trip is happening - fine, but at the moment you are planning several illegal activities - do you really want the experience of a European jail?
sashh is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 11:47 PM
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Thinkandtravel, you are clutching at straws, perhaps finally beginning to realize the impracticality of your plan. Apart from mixing with the homeless in soup kitchens (many who are mentally ill), what about this?

>>>I don't have a problem picking oranges - I am already planning on going to Mallorca to harvest olives and such.<<<

Do you know when oranges and olives are picked in southern Europe? Not when you will be there.

In my first post on this thread I wrote: "Go for it, but have enough money to survive for a few weeks, and enough to buy your ticket home when things go wrong." That was a polite way of saying a few weeks is about as long as you will last, especially since you will be starting your trip in the most expensive part of Europe.
Heimdall is online now  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 12:12 AM
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As an American you cannot get a Working Holiday Visa for several European countries like your frozen cousins to the north.

You may be eligible for BUNAC but that's only for a few months
alanRow is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 04:18 AM
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Suze - now you have really whetted my curiosity. I thought there was something odd about "Evergreen College" but you seem to know.

So please share. What is it? where is it? and what sort of people go there?

chimani is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 04:30 AM
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Allright.. let's assume that with some luck you made it through immigration.

When in non-English speaking countries you can offer conversation courses. Most college departments of English language (or similar) have blackboards where you can post your services (in return for cash or lodging). Of course, you will need a cell phone so that people can get in touch with you, and you gotta be in that town for a while.

Hitchhiking should be on top of your list of "public transportation". I don't think I have to elaborate on the risks that go with it.

When in hostals in big cities ask your fellow travellers for advice.

When in Turkey, don't pick up any "souvenirs" that look vaguely similar to a rock from an ancient temple. Easiest way to land in jail.

Think about AIDS. In some of the countries you mentioned, the risk of STD can be higher than in others or than at home. But condoms are a good idea anyway.

Among others, the hot spots of party life for kids your age is Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Spain.

The biggest rave of Europe with more than 1.2 mn people partying, remains to be the Love Parade. Always in summer, in the Rhine Ruhr metroplex area (Western part of Germany, bit north of Cologne).

Biggest party month for Berlin is June... Carnival of Cultures, Pride, etc.
Cowboy1968 is online now  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 06:18 AM
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chimani~ Evergreen State College is in Olympia, Washington (about 1 hour south of Seattle. It's been known for decades as... let's see... how do I put this politely... a school that fosters "free thinking" rather than practical education leading to employment. It would have been called "hippie" or "alternative" back in the 70's, I don't know the right word for it presently, but you get the idea... make up your own curriculum, etc.
suze is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2007, 06:31 AM
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No one in the world of savvy backpackers would expect to travel in western Europe on $6USD/day in current times (this is not the 70's) - which is what a $1500 budget for an 8 month trip works out to. Even hitch-hiking, sleeping on the streets, eating food from the trash, attempting to find illegal work, takes more funds that that.

'think&travel'~ Why not re-evaluate right now (like you did in cancelling Mexico, which was a much more practical idea btw) and plan go for 3 months max. This eliminates most of your problems. Then go out today and get a job (or 2nd or 3rd one) and save some more money before the trip.
suze is offline  

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