• Archive for April, 2008.

  • The Trip of A Lifetime

    Published by buzzingtalk at April 16th, 2008

    Everyone has their idea of one - even if it is just that - a passing idea.

     Mark Beaumont, a man from Scotland, smashed the world record for cycling across the world 2 months ago and I’ve been following his progress via TV documentries and the internet - seeing someone undertake such an amazing feat has got my brain tingling about that trip of a lifetime I am one day to make. How, where, or what it will involve I am not sure, but I know it will be a round the world trip, overland wherever possible - maybe I will take my bike? Either way, reading or following stories like this make me hungry for the day when I have enough money, health and brains to work out how to go about this trip.

    Does anyone have any ideas?

    10 Tips for Packing before a Trip!

    Published by buzzingtalk at April 13th, 2008
    Here are my top 10 packing tips, borne of my experinences so far in travelling around south east asia and europe. These tips are aimed at western travellers heading to asia, but obviously they remain relevant for any situation - it’s just that I haven’t been in that situation myself to back it up :)

    1. Don’t pack too far in advance! I always pack the night before.  This means i don’t sit there mulling over what to take or not take for a month and end up taking loads of crap you don’t need. If you do find yourself packing early, unpack the night before and pack again. I’m sure you’ll find things that aren’t really that necissary.

    2. Keep a list of the essentials - passport, monies, cards, ID, driving license, tickets, photocopies, prescription drugs. If you forget any of these, well you might not make it onto the plane, but you might not be able to get it easily when you arrive. Anything else is secondary - clothes, shoes, toiletries - you can pick these up, often cheaper in the eastern world if coming from the west, so pack light and buy stuff there, and when you return, give leftovers away to other travellers at your hostel. 

    3. If flying from the UK and packing light, a way to get around the liquids ban is to NOT TAKE ANY. Unless its entierley necissary of course - but like the tip above says, just buy shampoo, lotion and moisturisor stuff out there. You can find smaller ‘travel’ cartons of things to save yourself lugging around the typical western family sized bottles.

    4. BAGS! In normal UK life I’m not a bag person but when it comes to travelling, I’ll find myself immersed in bag politics. I reccomend a good, sturdy backpack, a daypack, money belt as standard. I also pack lots of carrier/plastic bags - for laundry, rubbish, bagging stuff up to keep it waterproof, to carry shopping in…their uses are endless. Colour/brand code your bags for laundry - for me, Sainsburys = clean, Tesco = dirty. This makes finding things in your pack easier and a lot quicker than having to empty it out and root around for that spare sock.

    5. Backpack - now I’m sure many people may think differently, but expensive does NOT equal good. I’ve never spent more than £20 on a backpack or suitcase, I’ve been using the same case and pack for travelling for 6 years with a combined cost of £30 and they are still going strong. The important part is to make sure it fits and is comfortable for YOU to use. Go into a nice shop and try on various backpacks, make sure you find out as much as possible about different sizes, how much they hold, what it will feel like etc. Then, if you’ve got the cash, grab it from the shop. But, for most of us, spending £150 on a backpack is not possible. So, head onto the internet. Buy a pack that you can refund. Look out for all the features you did/didn’t want when you found the perfect pack in the shops. Send it back if it doesn’t fit - keep hunting. You will suceed. But make sure to do this as early as possible! When it arrives, pack it full and go for a walk. This lets you find out how it will feel when the pack is full but it will also wear it in a bit so its a bit more comfortable when you set off.

    6. Waterproofing - Don’t underestimate the rains! It may be summer where you’re headed but it doesn’t mean you won’t get caught in some rain during your trip. And trust me, it always comes when you least expect it to. So bag up - either inside the pack, or outside with a waterproof sheath you can buy online on the cheap. You can make your own too - I made one out of an old tent ground sheet, looked a bit cheap but who cares when your stuff is nice and dry?

    7. ID - Find a way of making sure your pack stands out from the rest. There is nothing more annoying than arriving at your destination to find the rest of the plane had the same idea to go for the black sack. Personalise it - maybe add patches, ribbons, sew some patterns on it, paint it - anything to make it easily identifiable. This not only makes it easier for you to spot your pack on the ferris wheel of doom which is met when picking up your luggage, but it also makes it safer - an oppurunist local theif is much less likely to steal a pack that blatently isn’t his.

    8. Pack Safety - this is an important and crucial part of travelling for those more weary of scams and such things. Everyone should be aware of the local scams - some are very blatent and can be diverted by simply walking away, some are very sneaky and involve baggage handlers stashing drugs in your pack, thus leaving you at risk of getting caught. From my experience in travelling, I’ve never felt like this was a real threat but it has never stopped me wrapping my pack before checking in - you can DIY with gaffer tape (a backpackers essential tool) and some binliners, or, as is provided in many major airports, you can have your luggage wrapped in cellophane for a few pounds/ringgit/baht. You can easily spot if your bag has been tampered with; if it has, go straight to security. Remember to keep any receipts or proof of wrapping your luggage. It may seem unneccasary but it does happen - be aware of this.

    9. Pack safety again - one of the worst things that can happen to you while backpacking is to do your back in - I did this a few years ago by not lifting my pack properly. You must look after your back! Get someone to help you into your pack, make sure to use all straps and belts to their potential to support you. As an asthmatic, I’m not too keen on the straps that go across your upper chest area as it can sometimes make it worse but I make sure that the shoulder and waist straps are taking the weight and supporting me OK.

    10. Be organised. Know which pockets/bags hold what, especially if you only have a top loader - keep the essentials at the top and the less important stuff at the bottom. Distribute valuables around the inside of the bag, don’t leave them in mesh pockets or easily acessable front pockets.

    Happy travelling!

    Just my luck…

    Published by buzzingtalk at April 9th, 2008

    After the dreaming and reality that I’m actually DJ’ing in Belgium next month settled in, the University of Lame has to go and release the (1 month late) exam timetable and kindly inform me that I now have an exam on the same day I’m meant to be going to belgium. This of course means I now have to fly, which I hate hate hate. And I’ll be very pressed for time, and flying = expensive.

     Had a nice plan to get a bus from London to Brussels, then take a nice trip to Amsterdam then bus back to london but NO! STUPID EXAM RUINS ALL!

     ***Angry Sarah***

    Now, thinking about it…

    Published by buzzingtalk at April 6th, 2008

    Starting a blog again turns me emo. It makes me want to talk to people, and at the moment, those people are teh Internets.

    I’m still trying to figure out my route this summer, so I’ve done a nice (rubbish) microsoft paint job, it looks like a colour scheme for a 1980s shellsuit but never mind:

    routemastah!

    Kuala Lumpur = My base, dads house!

    Red Squares = places I want to go (roughly)

    Purple/Green lines = Seperate trips (flight to borneo, back to KL, flight to Bali, back to KL)

    Black lines = routes I know I can travel on.

     Problem is…when the black line ends in Hanoi, how do I get on to the other cities? Is it best to travel into Laos from Vietnam or Cambodia? When can I enter back into Thailand and is the route pretty straightforward? Does it involve motorbikes? (becuase if it does, I’m not going that way!) Of course this route can be changed, I can fly into Hanoi and start there, the point is to try and do most of it overland. I’d do it all overland too, coming into exiting KL on the west and re-entering Malaysia from Thailand taking the jungle railway to a stop off in Singapore for some post travel shopping.

     Do any of you travellers know which is the best way to execute this? Or even know what routes are open/safe/easy, because if I know my options then I’m all set.

    Transport-wise, I’m going to train it from KL to Bangkok, then train/bus to and through Cambodia, bus to Vietnam then train up to Hanoi. But from there on I’m not too sure how to get about, and what to see/do in Laos. I’ve heard its beautiful there - so recommendations are welcome. I’d like to get a boat ride up the Mekong Delta too.

    Heres the origional map with no lines, just places I want to go. If you like, download it, scribble/draw and write on it and post it back/email if possible and I’ll post it up :)

    plain map

    Hey Woodie Guthrie, I wrote you a song…

    Published by buzzingtalk at April 6th, 2008

    Travelling. Got a need for the nomadic life at the moment. Not even a craving to head to international lands and speak a new language, but something as simple as packing a weekends worth of clothes, £20 and going somewhere outside the M25, the ring of doom seperating me from the rolling hills of the UK.

    Brighton, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol…All places I think I could get my brain back if I went there looking for it. All places where true freinds reside and let the good times roll, even if it is snowing outside and your life is a mess. Roll on summer, hedonistic weeks of non-stop partying, in the company of good people, good drink, good food and neverending memories.

     Pictures. So many pictures to take. Pictures so simple yet so personal it will never be the same. Festivals, mud, sunburn, wellingtons, tinnitus. Dancing next to a stranger, hugging them next year, sharing a cider with them the next…and what of this summer, and those faces from years ago?

     End of an era 6 weeks and counting, beginning of a new one, who knows? I’m quite happy to sit in the middle of the two for a while, on standby, waiting for a reason for someone to miss their flight and for me to take their place in the rat race called London. But until then, I’ll have my backpack, ukelele, £20 and smiles.