Friday, December 28, 2012

I Hate Tourist

Tourist, while a necessary evil in the the scheme of cash flow...are a horde of locust.

Everything that makes it easy to be a tourist, is also part of the problem.

Guide books, are written for just about every destination a soul could imagine itself going to.
The problem is that, these guides become tightropes, which must be walked along...A maze with only one path.

Masses of people  line up in front of buildings,monument and locations, all holding their personal copies of Lonely Planet or Frommer's.
All carrying the trademark tourist DSLR camera, that makes them an easy target.

Their footsteps quickly kill grass as they shuffle around
They crowding the area with annoying banter and confusion.
The click and flash of multiple cameras constantly goes off as everyone jockeys for the best position to get that "once in a lifetime" shot.
They will toss their gum and trash wherever they please, with no remorse.

They will create a market for hustlers and shady individuals to come out of the woodwork and sell  useless and overpriced trinkets and memorabilia.
Many of them will be scammed out of their money by a man or woman with a smile on their face.

They will rarely understand or speak the language, and often won't make an attempt.
They question their lack of success and claim the locals are simply unfriendly.


Every country has its own signature stereotype.
Israelis, will try to swindle and bargain you out of your shoes.
Asians, will arrive by the busload, taking pictures non-stop while tossing the peace sign in every frame.
American and British, will battle to be the loudest and fattest people in the area. 
Irish and Welsh, will sniff the nearest pub to get plastered in.
Americans, will also win the award for most arrogant and worst dressed.
Germans, show up not showered and rude...before heading to the nearest beach. 


Tourist


The list goes on...

Locations that were unknown in the past have been absolutely ruined monetarily, socially, and culturally, because of  tourism.

Berlin - The city of war and reunification, has now been turned into the world hipster meeting place.

Riga - An exotic Baltic location is now overrun with drunk men on bachelor parties, prostitutes and scam artist. Mini Documentary

Vang Vieng - A quiet river city, overrun by drunken backpackers, tubing down the river to the point of government intervention. Mini Documentary

Every "tourist" location has or will be ruined.

Nothing can stop it.

You can scout a new location, and visit new places..but one day down the road..it too will be overrun.

The only thing to do is... find a location beautiful and untouched.

...And be there first.

Don't be a tourist. 

Be a traveler.









Sunday, December 16, 2012

Don't Discount The Lesser Known

Paris   Rome  Barcelona  London
   Berlin  Amsterdam


Yes. Everybody wants to have these locations under their belt. Everyone wants the cross the most popular destinations off their list.
But what if I told you...Those places are pretty lame.
Imagine this,
You walk around the city center, you listen to the sounds of the street. All you here is the chatter of the English language. You slowly notice everyone around you is about 20 pounds heavier than expected. 
If you listen closely, you can here the clicks of cameras and the crackling of McDonalds wrapper.
 You're surround by tourist.

You can't even get a decent picture for yourself because every other fat tourist is standing around blocking the best views.

You look around and you see Starbucks and other international eateries.
This is not where you wanna be.
You did not travel half way around the world to queue in line with a bunch of tourist with SLR cameras.

Sure. You can have a decent time surrounded by your own. But you're not getting an "authentic" taste of the city.


Do yourself and break out of your comfort zone.

There are so many lesser known locations to visit.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Expect the Unexpected

When you plan a trip, don't expect everything to go as planned.
To many times, people fail to create contingency plans, and when things go wrong, they tend to go through mental breakdowns having no clue how to manage.
You can't always rely on other people to help you out when you are on your own.
Your mother isn't always there to do your laundry and loan you a couple dollars when you have nothing.
You have to understand, that in order to survive on your own, You have to plan on your own.

Before you walk out the door. Double check that you have everything in line.
  Think of the worst thing that could happen. 
        But do not fear it.

expect the unexpected

I spent days searching finding the cheapest plan ticket.
A week packing and getting myself ready for a 7 month trip.
When I finally landed, I found out my largest bag,with all my clothes....was lost in transit.

All the time spent preparing meant nothing. I was at the whim of the airport. I filled a complaint with the airline and prepared myself to buy at least two weeks worth of new clothes.

Normally a person would be lost in a new country by themselves. No official place of residence and no way to contact people.
 Luckily I planned ahead and already had The Most Important Tool Abroad, A Cell phone.
The extra time I spent looking for the Cheapest Plane Ticket saved me almost 500 dollars.
Buy a new wardrobe to fit the euro style wouldn't have been out of the question
Luckily, the next day, the airline called me and said my bag had arrived a day late and I could pick it up as soon as possible.

At the end of the day...have a plan for everything. You never know what might happen.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Is Manchester the Whore Capital of the UK?

Only because I haven't been anywhere worse yet.

When I got of the plane, everything felt fine. Average people in the airport doing average people things.
Business people in an attempt to get somewhere with a briefcase.

But then I left the airport.. I left the shelter that had protected both me..and the little me


Saturday, November 3, 2012

How to break into Spreepark, Berlin

It's easier than it sounds.





SpreePark was opened the same year the United State made its  first venture to the Moon. It lies somewhere in the back of a public park in what use to be Soviet controlled Berlin.
.
The walk through the woods is scary enough. Morning or Night...Try not to piss yourself when you hear the crackle of branches.

The history of the parks closure is based around its owner allowing the park to fall under millions of dollars worth of debt until it was eventually abandoned in 2001. 

* If that isn't bad enough the owner also was caught using park shipping containers to smuggle drugs from South America.

Apparently a lone security guard patrols the park, but after some recon... It became obvious he does not venture far from the front gates.

*I have no idea what the ramifications of being apprehended are. 
I wouldn't attempt this break-in if your jimmy is easily rustled. But..
Here is my guide:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sex On The Road

This might sound familiar to you.
Logistics, Logistics, Logistics.

manchester

It's rare, but maybe you meet a girl on the street or at 3 AM in  the smoke lounge of a club. Maybe she just happens to be "open" enough to want to do the dirty in the middle of the bike parking lot, or god forbid the gender neutral toilet stall.
But that isn't always what we strive for, and that's not how sex often happens.

Most women want to to live a fantasy that sex just happens. They don't want to face the facts that you had this planned in the back of your head since the millisecond you saw her. She wants it to be spontaneous.

In other words..You cant meet a girl and think she's gonna take a 30 minute Bus, Train or Taxi ride to your dirty hostel room.
That hostel room better be a 5-10 minute walk away.

The point of the story is. Even though you might only be in the country for a couple days, it might be in your best intent to create the illusion that you're not a poor hostel traveler and you live close by.

On the other hand, You might  be able to bypass everything and go to her place.
Either way, here's a little advice


First
Find out the best location.
You wanna stay somewhere that's close the the party area or in a popular part of the city. You get what you pay for. Being to far from the action is only a strain on you when you have to walk home by yourself...But also on the fantasy your trying to create when you pick up a girl on your trip.

Second.
If you can, spring for a private room at a hostel. Find a BedNBreakfast or maybe even use AirBNB to find a place to stay.

Last
Remember this story...


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Meeting Girls Abroad: During the Day

So, You finally decided to quit being a bitch and step outside your house.
 You see beautiful girls walking around everywhere, all dressed up, speaking whatever foreign language of the country you're in.
 But then that High School fear or rejection hits you again and you put your head down.

This is where you Man The Fuck Up and get over your fears.
 You are now living in a foreign country,away from home and away from your old friends. Get over your fears of rejections.
 You need to understand that, currently, you are only a small blip on the radar of life and no one is out making a list of people that talk to girls in public.

You should feel proud of yourself for walking up and talking to people on the street, because you have the balls that most people don't.

But when you do see the girl that tightens your pants...What do you say?.


The Most Important Tool Abroad: A Cell Phone

Don't lie to yourself.. You know you spend all your time on a mobile phone when you're in the states.

How annoying is it when someone never picks up their phone or doesn't have one!?

When you go abroad...Everyone else is the same way.

Logistics, Logistics, Logistics 

Will be said over and over again.

Do you think people will send your letters and emails to tell you to meet up at the bar in a couple hours? NO!
You need to go out and get a cell phone so people are able to text and call you.

I've known people that spent a month or more abroad without a phone....An made almost no friends.
Don't be that guy!
indian phone


Step 1: Get Cell Phone.

Before I even left I went on Ebay and bought a old Motorola Slvr.
Depending on your budget, you can buy whatever you want from Ebay,Amazon, a second hand store or wherever!
You may even have an unlocked phone already.
 ( Iphones are popular)
If you want, you could also wait till you get to the country.
Most airports and main train stations have little shops that cell phones and Sim Cards ( but you might be overcharged )

Step 2:  Find and in country provider

The most important thing is that is it unlocked and can be used anywhere in the world.

Sorry if you use Sprint or Verizon or any other CDMA phone, because most of the world use GSM phones. AKA Sim Cards.



You may get advice telling you to look into international Sim Cards, but I'm telling you that it's useless.

You will save much more time and money by finding a service provider within your country.
Many of them do not require contracts either.
All it takes is a quick Google Search.

List Of Providers in Europe
List Of Providers in the Americas

Do a little research on them yourself and find the best for you.
*Maybe you can even scout some forums on providers in your country specifically.

I found a prepaid service in Germany for 20 dollars a month that gave me 200 sms/minutes and 500mb of data. Considering receiving calls and text are free in most European countries. 200 minutes was more than enough.

If you happen to take long travel trips IE 1-2 weeks. It's usually still cheaper to by Sim card for temporary use.
When I arrived in both Prague and Paris it took no more than 30 minutes to buy a new Sim Card and activate it.

Step 3: Make friends and fill phone with numbers
Now you can  go off giving your brand new cell number to all the new girls and boys you meet at the bar on that drunken binge you took.
Hopefully you saved their number correctly and you call remember..and forget that night all over again!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

How To Get There: Trains and Buses

With Suburbs popping up everywhere, almost everyone owns a car.
 Well guess what? You don't own a car while your studying abroad or traveling. Unless you're some rich kid(you probably are anyway)
frankfurt


Learn to ride a bus.
 They're often cheaper that flying and sometimes Trains (we will get to Trains later)

At some point I took a bus from Budapest,Hungary to Vienna, Austria  for about 8 dollars. Yes, Its only about 150 miles. But it was half the price as taking the train.
Oh wow ! saving 8 dollars?!

Call it penny pinching..but if you understand "broke college student" you will understand that 8 dollars can go a long way. A couple dollars could mean a days meal when your on the road.


Every country has their own website to for train and bus travel.
While you can search for your countries specific website, I've found the German website Deutsche Bahn gives the time schedules for almost every bus and train system throughout Europe.
Germans are known for their punctuality. You can trust their time schedule.

I did end up sleeping in front of a police station in Austria...but that's another story

Learn to understand Airline hubs to help you choose the cheapest flights. Click here!

How To Get There: Using Airline Hubs to Fly Cheaper

A lot  of people decide to save the trouble and fly direct from the closest airport to them and then on to their destination.
airport lobby


A little known, common fact is that international hubs are often much cheaper than you think.

Coupled with using train systems or buses, you can cut your cost significantly and if your destination is flexible, you can easily find out what airlines fly from your airport.

Example.
Using Wikipedia to find information
Lets say you live in New York City and want to fly out of John. F. Kennedy International Airport

(Every Airport has a Wikipedia page listing the the airlines and their destinations. All you have to do is google it

Your destination is Bristol UK.
Instead of flying to Bristol, you would fly into London. and save a maybe 2-300 dollars ( Depending on the season and whatnot)

Hopefully this helps you in the future.

Maybe you've picked a destination..but want to find the cheapest prices?  Click here!

Analyzing a Culture: The German Example

You hop off the plane and look around.
 You see signs around the airport in a multitude of different languages.
  You notice shops that you've never seen before and products you've never heard of.

Doner

 
You have have a general idea of what you want to do next, but you see such people you've never seen before,dressed differently and speaking in a language that you vaguely understand.

Fast forward a couple days and you realize that,while things may not be a complete culture shock..something is different.
But what it is?


There is no sure fire way to understand a culture after only a culture. Its all subjective. You will look at everything in a different way based on how you were raised and think.
But you can always compare the little things to your life


Here is my example...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Separate Yourself From the Boys. Be a Man

Are you a man?
Do you want to study abroad?

Why not become a man in the process?
Learn how to manage on your own

Meet foreign women and get laid
Travel as much as possible as cheap as possible 
And everything in between


These days, It's not that less and less men are deciding to go to college. It's that more and more women are enrolling. 

-The male-female ratio in higher education has been steadily moved in favor of the females ever since the 1970s. Total enrollment figures show that females outnumbered their male counterparts for the first time in the late 1970s, and they have steadily increased their numerical advantage ever since. The superiority first came in public universities, but soon private universities saw female enrollment surpass male enrollment. Forbes

This fact isn't a problem.
The problem is there is no outlet catering to the young males that hasn't been fluffed up with air, or made so politically correct that it's disgusting.

"If half the population has less exposure to other cultures, it's a disadvantage to them as individuals and to us as a society," says Heather E. Barclay Hamir, director of study abroad at the University of Texas at Austin. -The Chronicle

This blog sets out to tell you how it really is and how it should be.