Traveling this amazing country.
Replies: 28 - Last Post: Nov 10, 2012 6:21 PM Last Post By: box-of-rain
Nov 4, 2012 1:53 PM
Traveling this amazing country.Okay...I'm 24. Just turned 24. My whole life, I've wanted to travel, and I don't mean travel here, and then come back to my job, and then go travel somewhere else next year. I mean travel. Full time. For a long time. My whole life, I've been miserable, and been caught up in someone's explanation of why my dream is impossible. That's over now. I've cast off my shackles. I have a plan in place to travel like I want to, and I am pushing where I need to push to get the ball rolling. I eventually want to see the world, but I want to start with the country I live in. I've only been to a few states (Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri, and Florida. I've passed through Alabama and Mississippi on the way to Florida.) But I've only gone and done touristy type things, and that just doesn't suit me. What I want to do is go somewhere, say...Key West. Just to throw a name out there, and besides, KW is on the top of my list. I want to stay there for a month, or two months, or however long I feel so inclined to stay. My question is this - for long term travel, whats the best method? Should I drive there? Fly there? The only person encouraging me in this is my father, and his suggestion is that I get a travel trailer, but that sounds so....unfortunate, not to mention I don't have a truck and I don't have a travel trailer, and I'd like to do this as responsibly as I can. I don't have much. I don't need to take much with me. What would you recommend? Has anyone on here traveled long term and stayed somewhere for a while?
When you travel long term, what do you do? Do you stay somewhere for a while, or do you go somewhere for a short period of time, then somewhere else?
Other places that I want to go and stay for a while are Puerto Rico (I know, gotta fly there) and the USVI, Maine, Washington, Oregon, California, a few places here in Texas I'd like to re-visit and stay for a while, too.
Nov 4, 2012 2:18 PM
1Are you a trust fund kid with all the money you need?
These are tough times to pull into Key West and offer to wash windows for a place to sleep and eat. Do you have any talents?
A little pickup truck with a camper shell would be the most subtle plan to get a discreet sleep while traveling. You'll still need to wrangle a shower.
A 24 year old casting off shackles to do what he has wanted to do his entire life...oh the agony.
Nov 4, 2012 4:21 PM
2Welcome to Thorn Tree.
I wish you well, but Key West has to be one of the two or three worst places to go to "live off of the fat of the land." You can't afford to "live" there washing windows and picking up trash. You could possibly "exist" there for a month doing menial labor but it won't be much fun. You should also have a plan for that truck for a month or two or however long you want to stay. You will find parking to be at a premium. I also advise against sleeping in the truck. The prize for doing that is a "free" room at the Monroe County Jail.
Your competition for both skilled and unskilled labor will be bored/broke retirees. Some are finding the hard way that their retirement plan hasn't worked out as well as they had hoped and that Key West is more expensive than they feared. The rest are finding out that a "carefree" life in paradise gets tedious after 6 months or a year even for people that have "enough" money.
What marketable and portable skills do you have? PADI Dive Master? IT specialist? Boat handler? Boatwright? Chef?
Good luck to you.
Nov 4, 2012 5:17 PM
Nov 4, 2012 7:46 PM
Nov 4, 2012 8:07 PM
5Alright. Lots of negativity. That's okay, used to it. How I'm doing what I'm doing isn't important or anyone's business but my own. I wasn't inquiring specifically about Key West, merely throwing it out there as one of the places on my life. My question was about the HOW would you travel long terms, means of paying for it aside?
Nov 4, 2012 8:13 PM
6How I'm doing what I'm doing isn't important or anyone's business but my own. I wasn't inquiring specifically about Key West, merely throwing it out there as one of the places on my life. My question was about the HOW would you travel long terms, means of paying for it aside?
Hmm. How you want to do it isn't important, but your question was about the HOW. Son, you've wandered into a den of real travelers, as opposed to the virtual kind who just talk about it on the Internet. The means of paying for it is absolutely an integral part of the equation, as is a deeper description of the would-be traveler and his plans and goals.
We'd like to help you. A bunch of us have been where you are. But if you want to get information, you're going to have to give some. Otherwise, there is a whole shelf of guidebooks in the library.
Nov 4, 2012 9:18 PM
Nov 4, 2012 9:31 PM
8I once actually did move to Key West and joined a carnival. I lasted about a day. It sucked, and Key West, while worth seeing for a few days, got old quick. I was hitchhiking and sleeping outdoors a lot at the time, so I cut my losses and moved on. I'm nothing special, but I've traveled long term on all continents, by virtually every conceivable means. So can you, if you want. The means of movement doesn't really matter as much as making the decision to go, then putting it into action.
Basically, if you're flexible and rugged you don't need to plan very well--you just need to be willing to suffer from time to time. More practical would be to accumulate some marketable skills first--cooking, waiting tables, painting houses, banging nails, welding, or whatever else suits you. More practical still--have an escape hatch, so that if you really come up against it you can get home again, or wherever is safe and secure. Money, credit, and durable promises from family can all serve this purpose.
To be taken seriously, you've got to first be a serious person. That might mean stopping asking your dad what kind of car to drive and starting to step out into the great stream of life. Mostly, it all becomes clear once you take the first few steps.
Hope that's helpful.
Nov 4, 2012 10:11 PM
9How I'm doing what I'm doing isn't important
Well it is, if you want advice on that exact subject. When I travelled in my youth on a low budget, I went by bus or hitch-hiked. As I got older I could afford airfares or trains, and in my retirement I have a camper-trailer for travelling around my own country. So it depended on what stage of life I was at and what budget I had. There's no single way of doing it and if you aren't prepared to share any more details then there's not much more help anyone can give you.
Nov 4, 2012 10:36 PM
10When I was younger I car camped out of a VW Bug. Later a VW van. Then a Toyota Van and now airplanes, buses and rental cars. Stay in campgrounds, hostels, couchsurf, airbnb. stay with people in their homes. Listen. Just go, look for places or events or sunsets or rivers or people that interest you. Listen. Hang out. READ guidebooks, travel stories. MAPS. Hang out in local coffee shops in the mornings, talk to people. Listen. Read some more. Keep reading. Keep listening to others and to your own inner voices. Be very grateful that you have this opportunity!
Nov 4, 2012 10:54 PM
Exactly what part of your plan is in place? Are you saying that you've got the money and the time and are just trying to figure out what to do next? There is no "best" way. Its all about what your resources are, what your interests and intentions are, your level of tolerance for inconvenience. The considerations are all wrapped together, and the "best" solution is going to be idiosyncratic the traveler and the situation.
Look at it this way - This is your question: "I want to travel. I may or may not have some money, which is none of your business. I don't know where I'm going, but it's probably in the US. I don't know for how long, I guess I'll figure that out later. Should I fly or drive? how long should I stay each place?" What can anyone do with that?
This isn't negativity. Lots of people on this forum have been exactly where you're at, and stand ready to help you succeed. But here on TT, as in life, to a certain extent you get what you give. You want answers, first you need to figure out the questions.
Nov 4, 2012 11:34 PM
12I like your post Flagstuff.
The OP does ask questions. Like " My question is this -
1. for long term travel, whats the best method?
2. Should I drive there?
3. Fly there?
4. What would you recommend?
5. Has anyone on here traveled long term and stayed somewhere for a while?
6. When you travel long term, what do you do?
7. Do you stay somewhere for a while, or do you go somewhere for a short period of time, then somewhere else?"
Granted, these may not be the easiest questions to answer, they seem kind of awkward to me
but they are questions. I attempted to answer them in my own awkward way. He'll just have to
sort out my answers as best he can or ask better questions. He'll learn.
Nov 5, 2012 12:10 AM
Nov 5, 2012 7:30 AM
14@johnsang: I know the has "questions", and that was generous of you to attempt to answer them, such as they are. But his questions are not the kind that can be answered with any specificity. All you can say is "here's what I did", which may or may not have any bearing on the OP's particular situation. When I say the OP needs to figure out the questions, I mean the OP needs to provide more detailed information about his own intentions and resources, in order to ask questions that people can answer specifically and in a way that is likely to be meaningful, instead of asking a bunch of strangers to take a shot in the dark.
FWIW, here's what I did: I've never travelled for more than a few months at a time. This is "long-term" to a lot of people, a quick getaway to others. In each case, I saved money and worked ahead of time to organize my life such that I could be gone for a while. I planned ahead and figured out where I wanted to go, and based on my resources, figured out how long I could stay and how I would travel around while there.
Unless you have unlimited funds, in which case awesome, you'll eventually run out of money and will probably want to settle in for a while and work somewhere. A very straightforward way to do this is to follow the tourist seasons and take seasonal jobs in the hospitality industry. Lots of people move into summer towns and work as bartenders, river guides, taxi drivers, whatever. Then take a little time off in the fall to travel, and then settle into a ski town - get a job operating lifts, selling tickets, bartending, table waiting, whatever you can. Travel some more in spring, and repeat. Many young people live this way for quite a few years before "settling down".
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