Ultralight travel and backpacking...

Discussion in 'Random Thoughts' started by jacq, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. jacq

    jacq Friend

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    It's been a recent hobby of mine but it's in the sense of going to different cities and staying at hostels. It does get pretty costly at times along with being time-consuming but I've never regretted a trip yet. I'd like to introduce you guys to the concept if you haven't heard of it. Traveling solo and doing it in a weird-ish budget type of way really changed my perspective on a lot of things while meeting people along the road. Like there was a guy I met who's 60-65 years old and he's been to 100~ countries.

    Does anyone else do this here?
     
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  2. rayfalkner

    rayfalkner Not to be confused with Roy Fokker - Friend

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    Used to do quite a bit of backpacking in my college days; none of it is international though, just local destinations. Not enough bravery level to attempt to go somewhere out of country with, you know, figuratively just a passport, ID card, spare underwear and socks, and enough cash to buy foods and clean drinking water.

    Costs for local backpacking here are low enough that a starving college student can still manage to pay for dorm room rent and essential stuffs after the deduction from the travel. Met and spoke to a lot of new people of course, you had to when you're backpacking, few things beat the direction from the locals about good sightseeing spots, attractions, nearby marketplace for unique local stuffs, or cheap place for a bed and shower, or place to go for a specialty cuisine that does not charge tourist fee, nearby post office to send stuffs back home, etc. Common judgment and gut feeling still generously applied of course, if anything or anyone looks/sounds/smells not right then it probably is.

    Thinking back about it I'm too naive and foolish. I have only very basic martial art training and aside from a swiss army knife I didn't bring any self defense weapon at all. If someone on my travel decided to mug me I have very little way of defending myself or what's rightfully mine. I think it is a necessary precaution for anyone attempting to travel lightly yet alone into foreign places: make sure you have knowledge and enough practice in self defense techniques; if anything such training will boost your confidence as a whole too.
     
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  3. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Friend

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    Used to do a lot of backpacking on the cheap (in the travel sense) when I was younger. Longest trip was a year overland starting in Tibet, through SW China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia (weekly budget ~USD100 in the 90s), followed by a year living out of a station wagon in Australia on a working holiday visa. Another trip with my ex-wife was overland through Nepal, India, N. Pakistan, Qinghai (China). Got hep-E (most likely from a dodgy but delicious mango shake in Islamabad), so that trip got cut short.

    More recently, travel has been a bit more comfortable as the current wife has higher standards for accommodation :cool:
     
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  4. jacq

    jacq Friend

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    Part of my bucket list is to go through the Cambodia/VN coast with a motorcycle though I'd probably need a man to go with me lol. I don't know what it is that makes me miss traveling so much all the time... As for now though I have to stay put until I finish school and maybe get a few years experience under my belt.
     
  5. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Friend

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    I met several women travelling alone in SE Asia, and I'd say that it's relatively safe to do so there. Being aware of your surroundings and using good judgement are important wherever you are. Nowhere is 100%. I rented a few motorcycles while in VN and I'd say that riding there would be much more dangerous than travelling alone as a woman.

    If you haven't done much travelling alone, I'd say Thailand is a great place to start. Great infrastructure targeted at budget travellers and very friendly people. I'd say you'd have to watch out more for the foreigners there than the locals, particularly as a single woman. Heard lots of stories of women getting romanced and then scammed by other travellers.
     
  6. Mystic

    Mystic Friend

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    Something I've always wanted to do, but can never get the nerve to do it. I've read guides and such and it still confuses the hell out of me. I'm also not a very sociable person around strangers.
     
  7. Deep Funk

    Deep Funk Deep thoughts - Friend

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    I live near Amsterdam.

    When I have two days to just go places I can hop on train from Schiphol or Amsterdam, hang out somewhere for a day and go back afterwards.

    Did that a few times. Should do that more often.
     
  8. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Friend

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    It might seem confusing and overwhelming at first, but once you've done it, it's pretty easy. Especially nowadays with Interwebs everywhere. All I had was a (usually Lonely Planet) guidebook in hand and maybe some word of mouth advice from people I'd meet on the road. Today you can pretty much find and do anything with your phone.
    You can choose to be as sociable or unsociable as you want. If you want to meet people, it's easier to do staying at cheaper places where you end up spending more time in shared public spaces (the extreme would be a bed in a shared dorm). If you prefer to be alone, just don't talk to anyone ... :p
    I'd love to be based in Europe and be able to go anywhere on the continent so easily. It's a 12-14 hr flight for me :confused:
     
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  9. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Friend

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    One useful trick if you're dropping into a popular destination for backpackers that has lots of touts who try to take you to a hotel/hostel (and get a commission) is to have the name of an establishment ready (pulled out of a guide book), even if you don't plan on staying there. That way, when they ask you if you have a place to stay, you'll look like you know where you're going and they'll move on in search of another target. Once you get away from the bus/train station, you can take your time and figure out where you want to go without being continually hassled.
     
  10. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Friend

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    When I was interning in Connecticut, I'd do what I called "homeless weekends" in NYC. I'd park in New Haven and take the commuter train to Grand Central (I think it was $12 back then) Id wander Manhattan for two maybe three days. Its amazing the amenities one can find that doesn't involve actually having a hotel room. Be young helps too. A nap in the park and you're ready to go for another 20 hours. And oh living on street food is awesome...
     
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  11. fraggler

    fraggler The Cable Guy - Friend

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    I have never been a hardcore ultralighter or backpack traveler, but have always preferred traveling light and cheaply. I normally travel with a carry on and a small backpack, even for 2-3 week international trips (my carry on converts to a fairly comfortable frame pack with nice padded belt if necessary). The only times I have checked luggage was when bringing specialty gear with me like multiple sets of dress clothes or mountain gear.

    Since I don't sleep well with activity or noise around me, the full hostel experience isn't for me, but we are in a golden era with websites like Hostelworld.com and Airbnb.com where you can travel very afforably, at whatever comfort level you need.

    I am a big fan of gear that helps me travel lighter and more efficiently (wool underwear ftw) and would to hear more of everyone's travel hacking tips, especially around gear and travelling light and comfortable.
     
  12. jacq

    jacq Friend

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    Yeah, I actually lived there for 15 years before moving stateside so I am somewhat familiar and being Asian allows me to blend lol. Somehow people always seem to think I don't speak English at all. I do want to do it with 2-3 people to form a little group rather than doing alone. I read the Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and I seriously want to do something similar now lol.

    I think traveling solo and meeting people pretty much made me a more outgoing person and I've only done like 4-5 short-term trips alone. I hope you give it a try!
     
  13. Cspirou

    Cspirou Friend

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    Definitely do not overpack when going to Vietnam. I stayed there for three weeks once so I brought a big bag. However everything was so cheap that I should have brought a minimal amount of stuff and bought what I wanted while I was there.
     
  14. jacq

    jacq Friend

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    Yeah definitely. I'm constantly on the lookout for ultralight setups when it comes to backpacking. This is probably the most impressive setup I've seen so far: http://imgur.com/a/7InQG. Geez!
     
  15. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Friend

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    Going semi-incognito is definitely a plus! But they can usually still pick you out though... LOL
     
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  16. jacq

    jacq Friend

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    They always seem to think I don't speak any English... Goddamn it. lol
     
  17. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Friend

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    Hey, don't knock it. Better than standing out like a big white sore thumb :p
     
  18. eastboundofnowhere

    eastboundofnowhere Acquaintance

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    Sort of, when I was younger I rode around the US on my motorcycle with literally a hammock and bug spray in the saddlebag. If I ended up somewhere too cold I would stay at a random $25/night hotel…I remember pushing the bike into the room and baring the door with a chair a few times. In retrospect, I am honestly surprised I wasn't stabbed or eaten by a bear. Still it's an experience I'm not brave/foolish enough to do now and I lived through it so pretty cool memories.
     
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