Replies: 45 - Last Post: Nov 28, 2012 5:03 PM Last Post By: Kym_n_James
Apr 26, 2012 7:15 AM
15I looked over the past few pages. You're right, most of the posts consists of one of the following: Itinerary, budget, RTW tickets, "unmissable sights". This could get quite repetitive.
@OP and #15, I guess the better question is, what would you like to see on this forum?
I would like to see more people posting about their trip (before, during, post), but that could fall under the "Travel Bloggers" forum.
Apr 26, 2012 7:39 PM
16I wonder if we see so many rigid itineraries because they are submitted by folk who live in a near perfect world where everything (mostly) runs like clockwork, and people do what they say, when they say.
Perhaps the posters who ask for opinions on day by day (sometimes hour by hour) plans simply don´t appreciate that they will be travelling to places where ´yes´ is often the easiest answer to give someone just to keep them happy - be it true or not.
´No´ means ´Quite probably yes - but I don´t really know, and can´t be bothered finding out for you.´
And the word ´now´ is invariably used in jest.
Apr 27, 2012 12:07 PM
17It is nice to see a couple of others who wonder about all of this.
In regards to, "It is human nature t fear the unknown and feel more comfortable if you 'know' the future...", I agree lucapal. That is no doubt a major factor and as they can avoid it by planning they do. You are also right it is far easier to do so than in the past given the internet etc.
However, is what they get as a result, better than what travellers got in the past who did not have the ability to pre-book everywhere etc. ?
In my mind, travel is supposed to be about the unknown and going out of your comfort zone. Whereas a 'vacation' is about 2 weeks on a beach. I take vacations sometimes and book a flight, hotel, rental car or whatever ahead of time. A week or two somewhere with no intention of doing anything other than relaxing, swimming, eating and visiting a bar to socialize in the evening kind of thing.
But this is the Gap Year & RTW travel branch, not the vacation branch. What makes sense for a 2 week vacation doesn't necessarily make sense for someone with 6-12 months available to travel. Yet in fact, what most seem to be doing is planning every week, month or day AS IF it were the same thing.
Regardless of what anyone says about 'seeing the world' or 'finding themself' or whatever other reason they give for their trip, there is really only one reason why travel appeals to almost everyone. That is the FREEDOM from everyday life and the responsibilities it involves. Getting 'away from it all' is what appeals.
Yet the first thing most people do is immediately remove that freedom and impose arbitrary rules (an itinerary) to that time. They take freedom to do what they want every morning when they wake up and GIVE IT away. For me there is something fundamentally wrong with that picture.
As some here know, I once went somewhere thinking I would stay a week or so and ended up staying 7 years. I didn't have a plan that got me there. A meeting with a couple of fellow travellers in France resulted in sharing a VW camper to Italy and the ferry to Greece. In Athens a question to a bartender regarding which island should I visit got me a destination (as good as any other way to decide) and off I went.
After I had been there a few years I would often get asked by tourists I met, what made me decide to stay. I would always give the honest answer that I had never decided to stay, I just hadn't decided to move on yet. That (to whatever degree is possible for the individual) is what the freedom of travel is all about. Wake up each morning and decide what you are going to do that day.
Whether you end up visiting one place, 10 places or 50 places is not what matters. What matters is what you did during each day of your travels. It is about the experiences you have, not the list of places you can tick off a list.
Apr 28, 2012 5:48 PM
share the opinion of some of the other first those that travel with no plan are not posting about on this forum. Second that the people that are posting about plans would like an honest answer if there is a large hole that can not be done, like travelling to Sudan after Israel. They may also not only coming up with the year long plan for themselves but also for their families. As few of them do post back here is very little on weather that plan worked.
I have a question for the first poster, Do you pick up hitch hikers and do you invite travels that you meet to spend that night with you, or give them contacts for people on the road where you can stay? I ask as you have clear benefited form other doing both for you. I have a grandfather that did hitch hike in his twenty but today will not pick up any hitch hiker. Which I find find both odd and upsetting as he will tell you how it helped him and was a great thing but feels no need to pass on the experience to others.
Apr 28, 2012 6:14 PM
19If your question is directed to me nashtah, the answer is yes I will pick up a hitch hiker. I don't currently live in a place that tends to attract travellers but have invited people in the past to visit and stay with me. I am a firm believer that what goes around should come around.
I once hitched a ride with a house painter who lived in London. He gave me a ride nearly the length of England and invited me to stay the night with him and his wife. I will never forget his name Malcolm Lax or his hospitality. He made a habit of it apparently and all he asked in return was a postcard from somewhere you went some day. I've sent him dozens over the years until one was return 'addressee unknown' so I presume he had moved or passed away. If he turned up at my door tomorrow he would be welcome.
I have also met people who seemed to be welcoming and friendly but in fact had an ulterior motive. So it is also fair to say that you need to choose who you would welcome into your home. I would not for example join 'Couchsurfing' as I just feel you do not know who the person might turn out to be. I think I understand your grandfather's reluctance. It is not a question of not giving back, it is a question of learned caution based on experience.
With age most people become less of a risk taker than they were in their youth. I doubt I would attempt a trip such as I described in the OP with quite the same nonchalance. But I do have the urge to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela after watching a recent movie starring Martin Sheen called 'The Way'. So adventure is not entirely gone from my life yet.
Note in this article on the movie, Martin Sheen's comment about 'what you don't plan'.
Apr 28, 2012 6:50 PM
20Thank you for the reply
I asked because of the grandfather, ever his wife knows of bad experience with picking up hitch hiker nor does she know of him picking one up in forty years, that she can remember. I have since questioned people that have a great adventure that included hitch hiking, if they pick up hitch hikers, I have found that most don't or say that they don't.
The Camino de Santiago de Compostela is a great walk, however it referees to all of the paths that lead to santiago. If you want to walk alone or have any solitude I would not walk the Camino Frances, this opinion comes form walking it in July 2010. I found the frances to be very commercial and in no way off the beat path. The movie "The Way" is about the Camino Frances. I also walked the Via de la Plata, which is another one of the routes, which I found to be the opposite, lots of solitude.
I see "Couchsurfing" via of the website as the planners way of meeting and staying with locals, as you contact them days in advance and by use of reviews about both them, as well as them reading you reviews to see if you can stay. I find that people that invite you stay having no information about a person before meeting that day must be opening themselves up to the same rick if not larger.
Edited by: nashtah
Apr 28, 2012 10:55 PM
21I wish even 10% of all the one time posters who post vague, rhetorical, quite boring posts would come back and give a trip summary or a trip report.
Let everyone know how things went, what they did, where they went, how much it cost, mistakes they learned from for next time etc.
Surely that's asking to much right?
Take some, give some back. A continuous circle of help.
Apr 30, 2012 2:39 PM
22The accessibility of travel has changed.
In the past, travelers had to be rich or adventurous to make long-term journeys. Now, neither is required. There are so many travel guides and blogs that those uncomfortable with true adventure can still make these trips.
The difference is that many of these travelers would not have gone in the '70s.
While this may be upsetting for some, and lack the true spirit of travel, I am glad of it. I have come to terms with the fact that I am more tourist than traveler. There are more specific things I wish to see, than places I want to go. When I begin my solo world tour, I will have a plan, because I don't anticipate returning to certain areas of the world again. What's more, I have read many blogs and books by women travelling alone, but that doesn't completely displace the fear. Having a plan will give me courage.
I am happy there are true travelers, because they pave the way and make me want to see the world. However, I do not think travel should be reserved for the bold. That being said, it probably makes more sense to call your bank than your mother.
May 1, 2012 4:57 PM
23Well said JeanetteSpeaks. An intelligent response indeed.
"The difference is that many of these travelers would not have gone in the '70s."
I think you have hit the proverbial nail on the head and I'm kicking myself for not having thought of it. I have nothing against 'tourists' and am one myself sometimes when I take a 2 week vacation to a beach or whatever. Now I have to think about whether I am a travel snob when it comes to long term travel. Or are those who call themselves 'travellers' here when in fact they are planning a tour, deluding themselves that they are travellers?
May 2, 2012 1:48 AM
24I agree,up to a point.
There are plenty of people travelling who are neither rich nor adventurous.
I'm not convinced this is different from the past though..in the seventies there were plenty of long term,no-plan travellers who went to (say) Pushkar in India or Atitlan in Guatemala and spent months or years sitting around,getting stoned.
Nothing wrong with that,but nothing very adventurous either.
Not having a plan does not automatically mean that you are somehow a more adventurous person.
May 2, 2012 3:56 PM
25Some people are adventurous by nature and some people are not obviously. But one thing is for sure, you cannot plan an adventure. However you define it, it requires that there be the unknown and risk of some kind. While someone who plans might end up encountering the unknown and finding themselves in a risky situation when something does not go to plan, the whole point of planning is to avoid both the unknown and risk.
So someone who plans may encounter adventure by accident. Someone who does not plan will in fact encounter it by default.
"Not having a plan does not automatically mean that you are somehow a more adventurous person."
I would argue that it does indeed mean you are somehow more adventurous. You are willing to take a risk whereas the planner is trying to avoid risk. I think the mere fact someone goes off without a plan indicates they are more adventurous.
How ever a planner tries to justify planning, the bottom line is they are not willing to risk having a better or worse experience by leaving it up to chance.
It is up to each person to decide how they want to travel but any suggestion that there is not a difference in those who plan vs. those who wing does not make sense.
May 3, 2012 10:47 PM
26There are plans and there are plans. My first independent trip was in 1966 and I planned to go to Mexico for 8 weeks. Instead I ended up staying for 4 months and seeing much more of the country than I originally "planned". My original plan was Mexico City to Saltillo by train and to attend a 4 week language course and then return to Mexico City by bus making stops along the way. The first part happened as planned and then I stayed longer as a I met people and in the end I traveled over a much larger portion of the country.
I don't think it is simply a question of planning or not planning. Sometimes a framework or starting plan is worthwhile. I think it is more a question of being willing to throw caution to the wind and having the confidence to leave the plan behind because something interesting and possible becomes available that was not foreseen.
While I no longer pick up hitchhikers when driving (I don't own a car), within the last several years I have brought people home that I met on trains and planes who needed a place to stay. Some have become long time friends and introduced me to new places.
I am often reminded by my children that the world isn't as safe a place today as it was when I began traveling but I wonder if this really isn't an excuse not to be spontaneous.
I often find myself discouraging north American travelers from spending too much time in western Europe which is a place to which I am certain that they will return when older and having more money in their pockets to enjoy its many sites. Too many insist that they need to see these places now when I my opinion they would be better off having experiences elsewhere more consistent with their budget.
Back in the late 60s and 70s there was a pretty well established route in various parts of the world but it was also easy to get off that trail by meeting locals. Today, in many ways the world is smaller because communications are improved but it also seems harder for people to be more independent and spontaneous.
Edited by: everbrite
May 4, 2012 6:46 AM
27I agree with #23 and consider myself one of those that probably never would have travelled 30-40 years ago. Clearly it did only really attract certain types of people who had an urging wanderlust. These days, everybody travels it seems. The travel industry has turned into enormous beast that often forms integral parts of a country's economy, travel costs have reduced and improved in networking, technology and infrastructure. And plus, the traditional working life has evolved from married with a house & kids at 21 years old to single, 30 and a disposable income. So I guess the ratio of people that do things the old school way compared to itinerary makers jumping onboard is vastly different.
If I may share my introduction to travelling. Most of my family are home bodies who have never left the country and always treasured the gold on their doorsteps. Whilst many dream about exotic destinations from an early age and are fascinated by foreign cultures, I was content exploring the fauna, flora and wildlife of my backyard (grew up in a bushy Australian suburb) and the occasional trip to national parks, islands and so forth. That was exploring to me. Didn't care what went on in the outside world.
When I hit my mid-20's life changed dramatically for a variety of reasons and suddenly I found myself lacking in any challenge or excitement. I was bored and needed to get out. So I went to a travel agent and started planning what I was gonna do and bought a one world RTW flight with stops in 12 countries. Going out on a limb with a one-way ticket and no plans would have been inconceivable to me at the time. Didn't know jack about the world and had lived safely in my Aussie bubble for 25 years. To break free of that was a challenge enough so to claim a solo mission around the world was not an "adventure" according to you because I planned my itinerary sort of seems like you're saying my life-changing experience was a sanitised school excursion. Having some sense of security and objective or just completely winging it like a nomad/vagabond or wherever in-between is completely optional and it's an individual, instinctual thing. It's not whether you plan it or not that makes it an adventure, it's what happens while you're on the road, and like any good adventure it will be full of unpredictable twists and turns that never appeared on your itinerary list. That is learnt very quickly, and I maintain I would prefer to know very little about a site before arriving so the magic is not spoilt, just like not watching the trailers for movies. I deliberately researched close to nothing on Sacred Valley/Cusco/Macchu Pichu, I just got offered to do the Lares Trek by a mate and left the rest to chance, aside from basic essentials. That is how I started out and continue to this day to a varying degree. I too hope to do part of the Camino this year. A very experienced walker mate of mine sent me a map and bundles of info and said where do you want to go, I said I don't care, don't tell me anything, just pick a route and let's just do it.
Regarding lack of open-ended non-prepared travelling these days. I concur that those people aren't the type that post on thorn tree. I travelled around Patagonia with a good friend of mine who has since spent a further 18 months in SA (started out with a 6 month return ticket) and now living in a hippy type village in North Brazil, having sold her car and all worldly possessions remotely through her family, gone broke, floated down the amazon for a month, slept on wooden floors in a room of 6, selling handmade jewellery and teaching young kids maths in exchange for their parents hospitality, worked in a small resturant in the Bolivian Andeswhilst living in a commune...various stages of generally slumming it like you described. She doesn't need to consult TT for that. She's on couchsurfing.org instead making friends and linking up free accomodation.
May 5, 2012 12:54 PM
28I agree that most who wing it are not as likely to post here. Why would they? To ask what? I have also noticed before that the majority of regular posters here who answer questions, rarely if ever ask one. But remember my orginal question was, 'what has changed? Why do the majority plan everything?' I agree those who don't plan are not as likely to post here but I don't think they are in the majority. The planners are in the majority I believe and that was not the case in the past.
The word adventure is one of those words that is actually hard to define. Or at least for everyone to agree on a definition. So we hear about someone who ate in a Thai restaurant describing it as a 'culinary adventure'. Or someone who has never left their own backyard describing a visit to Disneyland as an 'adventure'. To a degree I suppose an adventure is in the mind of the individual.
But what cannot be argued is that you can plan an adventure. Nevertheless, we read here daily about someone, 'planning the adventure of a lifetime.' As John Lennon said, "life is what happens while you are busy making other plans". Substitute 'adventure' for 'life' and you have it.
I agree with what you wrote rythmbug. " It's not whether you plan it or not that makes it an adventure, it's what happens while you're on the road, and like any good adventure it will be full of unpredictable twists and turns that never appeared on your itinerary list."
But really a discussion of what is or is not 'adventure', while a fine topic to discuss, is not what the thread started out asking.
If people want to plan that's fine by me, it's their life. But bear in mind my original question was, 'when did young people become so risk adverse?' I think that question is a valid question. I think young people are generally more risk adverse than they were in the past. They are trying to avoid any unkown or risk, that's why they plan to a ridiculous degree in many cases. So why has this changed is still my question.
May 7, 2012 1:18 AM
29I think that nowadays people use this amazing tool that is the Internet and that planning a trip beforehand & 'making a list'- as you like to call this - is already part of the adventure.
As far as I am concerned, I love spending time on the internet (forums, travelblogs,) looking for advice and things to do or avoid prior to leaving, it's just part of the whole thing. When I am on a travelblog reading about daily budgets in a country, or a travel itinerary, I am already travelling.
Some people like to plan and reduce the 'risk', some just like to leave it for the last day. Yes it can be repetitive to answer the same questions all over again on here but a lot of people need to be reassured about their choices of destinations, their budget and things to see and do. It's just how it is these days. Many more people want to travel the world because they can afford it, because they have accessed this 'luxury' which only a few could afford years ago . Yet they had to work for a long time to finance it, go through a lot of sacrifices and long discussions with friends and families so at the end of the day if some of them want to make sure that they will be making the most of it by planning ahead, making sure they've included some of the best sights, that they will have enough money to allow themselves a few treats on the way, that they will be able to afford a flight from one continent to another at at certain time during their trip, etc etc..... well I don't think anyone can blame them.
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