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Old 10-16-2007, 12:13 AM   #1
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Default Is it a good time to travel solo?

Right now...currently i'm practically screwed..
Basically I'm not doing well in college (due to gpa my financial aid got cut and i'm not sure if i want to go back to school) and over all no money to boot (digging in the couch for gas money status).
I was thinking about doing something different (ever since I read that damn book The Alchemist when I was 15 I can't help but feel I'm suffocating where I'm at). Financially and academically might not be the best of times but i remember a friend saying once "with or without money you're always screwed, but the difference is with money you're f***** in one place but being broke has the merit of being f***** in many places" (in his own way it somewhat make sense... i think he means your locked with obligations with money while being without money forces you fluidly adapt from situation to situation).
I'm thinking of traveling alone (first of course saving up some cash) just cause i'm tired of making promises with friends to travel during winter break or summer break and never actually going anywhere.

woah, a lot of background info but here is the gist
-im timid, short statured (5'6ish), male, and asian (i think to a certain degree ethnicity does matter due to cultural background and difference in utility of socializing); is it a good idea to travel solo?
-should I focus on stabilizing current situation before I leap (mainly I'm thinking of joining the millitary primarily for financial purposes and secondly to get a sense of discipline) or just jump.
-where do you guys (the guys/gals that have traveled alone) get the courage/balls to travel alone?

thank you ^^
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Old 10-16-2007, 02:21 AM   #2
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Dude rock it man. Just up and go. Grab your pack, stick your thumb out and let the road take you.

Traveling solo will give you more than anything else you will ever do. You'll learn who you are, what your capable of, what your boundaries are, how much you can consume before passing out, your sex appeal, how long you can go without showering before you can't stand your own stench, if you hair looks good long and of course how many licks it does take to get to the center of a tootsie pop.

Get out there and do it brotha.
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Old 10-16-2007, 02:30 AM   #3
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While I don't have much traveling under my hat, I did just move cross country to live in a house with 5 other people I have never met, that I happened to find on the internet. For how many people back home knew me, this is a pretty far out thing. I know there are still people back home thinking "he just up and left". But I knew I had to do it. I did it, and I haven't looked back yet.

Although I will say, moving to LV, and the feeling I get, now really makes me wish I would have gone backpacking earlier. Strangely, I am thinking of possibly trying to get a short trip in sometime soon.

So, allow me to reiterate what Jake said... just do it man.

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Old 10-16-2007, 05:57 AM   #4
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Just do it. I wouldnt join the military unless you're 100% certain that's something you'd want. It is 5 years of your life, with a good chance of deployment...

If you walk backwards, you'll find out that you can go forward and people won't know if you're coming or going.

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Old 10-16-2007, 06:15 AM   #5
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Why not eh? I would find a job and save a bit of cash first and then yeah, pick a place you've always wanted to see and well...see it!
I have been to: Canada, USA, Iceland, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Poland, Germany, Sardinia, Switzerland, China, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Morocco.

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Old 10-16-2007, 07:11 AM   #6
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Go for it bro! You don't need to have everything together financially, but of course you'll need to at least save enough to travel. Take a semester off and work toward that goal, if it's important. Whatever you do, don't quit school and do nothing. Only make the move if you're going to work and make it happen!

Once your hanging out in a hostel, it really doesn't take much courage. Regardless of how timid you've been, decide not to be that guy when you travel. Force yourself to start conversations in the hostel and find out what people are up to. Most everybody is doing the same thing you are, just talk to them! It's easier than you think.

Good luck!
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Old 10-16-2007, 09:59 AM   #7
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DO IT. Seriously, traveling solo is an amazing thing, and you will not regret it. The socializing comes as you get into the groove of being on the road - sure, it may start out a bit intimidating but you'll learn to love talking to random people. Just jump. I admit I have always been jittery before heading out (and everyone tries to scare you with horror stories), but the road has never let me down.

Oh and I think being Asian is great. I'm glad I don't get as much attention as a 6.5 foot blonde, blue-eyed Caucasian. In a lot of the world you can blend in a bit more - or at least, that's what I've found. And being shorter means less grief in airplane seats and chicken buses jam-packed full of humanity.

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Old 10-16-2007, 10:16 PM   #8
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Let me give you some personal advice since it sounds like you are like an asian version of me prior to backpacking. I was pretty quiet and shy around people I didn't know real well. Your first travel experience will go like this:

Excitement about traveling
Worry about the realization that you need to do a ton of stuff
Back to excited about all the possibilities (planning stuff, looking up hostels, chatting with Tpunks etc)
Worry that you are missing something
Excitement builds as you leave your house
Worry that you may not have a good time and be lonely
Excitement as you get on the plane that will drop you in your new country
Adrenaline, sleep depravity and disorientation leads to a crappy feeling in your stomach (I generically call it the "first-day-in-Europe" feeling)
Excitement after the crappy first day at all the stuff you have to see
Astonishment at how you are navigating public transport, speaking languages, making friends and the like

Then you come here for a year and end up giving advice to someone who reminds you of you before backpacking. You'll have to keep this line in here to keep the streak alive just so you know


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Old 10-17-2007, 12:47 AM   #9
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Hey there,

I had a similar situation to you. I was paying for college out of my pocket and I failed out after a year. I decided to join the US Coast Guard, which was the second best decision of my life...But it is tough, because you have little control of what you will do for the next 4-5 years of your life. But it does help to give you a bit of direction and the experiences I had were great. Also in the Coast Guard you don't have as big a chance of being deployed to a war zone then you do in the other military services. So if Military is what you want to do, look into that as well. Most people over look it. Let me know if you have more questions about it.

I am also a shy person, but I always knew I wanted to travel, and after being stuck in the rat race for 7 years (after the Coast Guard) I decided I was in a rut and needed to try something new. So I quit my job and up and left for a 3 month tour of Europe. This was the best decision of my life. Do not let shyness deter you. When you are on the road there are days where you are quite happy being alone and exploring on your own. But there are also days where you NEED to talk to someone else, just to have someone to talk too. This will happen no matter what, because you unknowingly force yourself too.

Good luck with your decision...Also there are some great resources out there for people traveling with little or no money. And welcome to the boards too!
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Old 10-19-2007, 03:21 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the advices ^^
All in all it is up to get my arse up and do is still a daunting thought of traveling alone...

I especially appreciate hurr111's reply (it seems like you've went through a similar thought process in the past); I heard testing into the coast guard is really hard (army being the easiest), do they also have montgomery bill and extras for future financing in education?
Although I could still go back to school... but seeing that I don't know what to do there it will seem inevitable that i will drop out (prolly be drinking more than studying) so my thought process is - join millitary or find a job - save up a bunch of money - get out and explore - go back to school once i feel its the right time...
also do you guys have any advice on where should i hit first (relatively a friendly place and cheap)?
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Old 10-19-2007, 03:34 PM   #11
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hey just wanted to agree with the crowd in "just do it". sometimes you just have to. as for the military, you can get out of a financial mess through them, I joined the army paritally for that reason... I left college in the middle of my junior year. I was in a major I didn't like, I didn't know what I wanted to do, I was partying all the time (but in my own defense I had great grades and I was broke all the time. long sotry short, joined the military, and have had my ins and outs, but it's helped me out a lot, and if you get lucky you can travel a bit through them too.

that's my take. as for where to get started, a relatively "safe" place to start of course is western europe. if you don't know a language at all, perhaps try the UK, but really you shouldn't have too hard of a time in a good bit of western europe as many of them do know and speak english. europe is not exactly inexpensive but there are a lot more expensive places to go other than europe. I was able to spend next to nothing in spain while my friend went to greece and italy and came back with 50 cents in her bank account. I think there are plenty of ways to cut corners with travel... staying in hostels, shoppung in grocery stores instead of going out to eat, choosing an appropriate time to visit a place, etc. if you hang around these boards long enough you'll pick up on some definate ways to save. if we haven't done itr ourselves, we know someone who has.

good luck!

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Old 10-20-2007, 09:03 AM   #12
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Sorry for the slow reply, I am still on the road at the moment. As for what the Cooast Guard offers for services and money for school and such, I could't answer that. When I joined up in '96 you could get the Montgomery Bill and I assume you still can. If you are serious about the military, the best people to talk to are the recruiters. They can give you all the info you need. Just remember, they are always trying to convince you to join. Don't worry about the testing either.
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