Posted by: Alicia Phillips | July 4, 2013

Planes, Trains, and…….Ferries?

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I never realized how many different ways there are to travel. I used to think of travelling as flying somewhere, renting a car, and staying in hotels. Sticking with the same people who’ve been travelling with and seeing all the tourist spots. Boring! And I would never have considered travelling alone! Now I am convinced it is the only way to travel!

My family, mainly my mom, have raised concerns to me about my mode of travelling. Seems to her that I am sacrificing my safety a little in order to save a few bucks. Which, admittedly may be a little bit true, but I’m doing more than saving a few bucks- I’m meeting some incredible people and seeing some amazing things that I might not see if I were to fly everywhere and stay in hotels every night.

So I thought I would elaborate on how im travelling, not only to ease my mother’s mind, but to talk about all the amazing opportunities I’ve found that you may not be familiar with.

Lets start with transportation.

Nothing too terribly exciting here. I flew from Fiji to Sydney and since then I have been moving around the country in trains, buses, ferries, and my own two feet. However I have looked in to these camper vans that need relocating. These companies need their vehicles moved, so you find one of these vans and you “return” it to another city for $1 a day, plus gasoline. Pretty sweet, eh? But, seeing as how I havent been behind the wheel in over two years, I don’t think this is the best option for me. Plus, I don’t have an international drivers license.

I’m also looking in to coseating, or ridesharing. I put up an ad on gumtree (Australia’s version of criagslist) saying where I was and where I am needing to go. I said I would share gas and food if someone was willing to drive and so far I have gotten dozens of responses! Tons of people do it and not only do you save money, but you could make a friend as well!

And I’ve only just started, I’m sure once I hit SE Asia there will be more interesting ways to get around: rickshaws, tuktuk, boat, elephant, who knows?

Also, I’m not planning on staying in any hotels while I travel. Where’s the fun in that?

Youth hostels and backpacker dorms are where it’s at! I currently am staying at a yha in the blue mountains. I am staying in a room with 4 other people from 3 separate countries. I just had a 2 hour conversation with my room-mate (who is from Malaysia) about volunteering abroad and the pros and cons of humanitarian aid. Interesting to hear her side of things.  I’ve also met a nice Bristish girl who I’ve shared dinner with the last two night. There are nice clean shared bathrooms with hot water. There is a huge communal living room with couches and fireplaces, a huge kitchen with cubby holes for you to store your groceries and 2 large refrigerators to store everyone’s cold things. You write your name on a tag and just trust that no one will use your stuff. When people leave they put their leftover food on the free shelf for others to use. There are so many different kinds of people staying here, and a lot of them are travelling alone so it is easy to meet people and make friends. All of this for $30 bucks a night! Plus, there is free wifi!

You need to do your research when staying at a hostel though. I stayed at one before that was a total party hostel. Lots of drunk kids running around and being loud and rowdy. SO far YHA’s have been my best experience. It is international, they are in every country im travelling to, they are genrally safe, and all kinds of people, young and old, families and single travellers, stay here.

Another opportunity I have taken advantage of is wwoofing. I had never heard of this before I joined the Peace Corps, but a lot of the other volunteers had done it before and convinced me to give it a try. Which I did, and it was AMAZING. My next blog post will be all about that so stay tuned. If you’ve never heard of it either, wwoof stands for willing workers on organic farms.  It is an international organization that puts you in contact with farmers who need an extra hand on their farms and are willing to put you up and feed you in exchange for a few hours of work a day! Not only do you get a free place to stay but you get to see a farm in a foreign country, learn about that farm and the methods they use to farm it, see a region of a country through the eyes of a local instead of a tourist, and most likely meet amazing people. It’s a fantastic organization and you can wwoof all over the world, even in America! Check it out sometime.

Another program I got in to while in Fiji is couch surfing. A great organization that puts you in contact with people who are willing to let you sleep on their couch or spare room instead of paying for a hotel room.  You don’t pay them and hosts are not supposed to accept money. I had a lovely German man come stay with me for 3 nights once and it was so cool to get to know him and talk to him about his life and his experiences.  The site is monitored and everytime you surf or host someone you are encouraged to write a reference for them. Either positive or negative. This shows up on that person  profile and you can read these before you decide to stay with them. I will probably be doing this all over SE Asia. Plus there is a whole Peace Corps couch surfing network!

There are a hundred different organizations that encourage travel like this. I don’t see how I will ever be able to travel any other way. Getting the chance to meet new and interesting people is much more important to me than having my own bathroom and tv to myself.

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Responses

  1. This is so amazing and scary all at the same time. I feel so sheltered!! I’m thankful to have friends like you to open my eyes to a whole new world I didn’t even know existed. Please be safe!!


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