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Cheap travel hacks for the unhappy caveman

November 2, 2010

Travel can be the most beautiful of beasts or a most brutal of bitches. Get too close and you risk a bitter death. Stand too far off and it leads one to question, why get off the couch.

Honestly, I’m no travel guru. Travel hack is more like it.

Take for example the following display of poor travel etiquette:

  • While picking up some Guinness at the store yesterday. It took me 15 minutes of standing in line and fumbling with my credit card to finally be told my card doesn’t work on their machines. Something about a chip in the card.
  • The next stop was at the pharmacy to pick up some vitamin K. Guess what? You need a prescription from a medical doctor for vitamin K in Ireland.

Now an expert traveler, unlike myself, would have been prepared with plenty of local currency and known about the health care system. Shite, I couldn’t through the grocery store unscathed.

My New York Times best selling travel book would be titled:

A dumb Americans Guide of Travel Hacks:

Douchbaggery, Feaupaux’s, and Other travel Idiocies to avoid on the road

Get your copy today!!!

My travel woes didn’t stop with the vitamin K, however. I was on a mission to find canned pumpkin for making some pumpkin pies. (For my wife, she’s the one who bakes).

What is Halloween without a nice pumpkin pie?

Not one can of pumpkin in the entire country

I see plenty of pumpkins stacked in the local grocer just begging to be stuck with a knife, but no canned pumpkin.

Guess what? Four stores into my search the only answer I got was “Poompkin in a caan? Never heaard of it”. (Insert Irish accent here)

It seems the Irish haven’t figured out how to put pumpkin into a Tin (the correct use of the term “can)”. The term “Cans” here refer to soda cans, hence the confusion.

Frustrations are part of the normal travel experience. Fumbling around in an English speaking country, like Ireland, is down right embarrassing though. They speak English here, so no excuses about not understanding the language. Cant wait to get to India. : )(

Living in America we get used to “the customer is always right”. In most other places they could give “two-shites” about being right. We Americans have it too easy.

Obvious Vices!

Perhaps, you are asking if I read any travel guides before setting out on this journey?

Hell no! And waste time reading stuff like this…

Ireland (pronounced [ˈaɾlənd]( listen),; Irish: Éire, pronounced [ˈeːɾʲə] ( listen); Ulster Scots: Airlann) is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island in the world.[4] It lies to the northwest of continental Europe and is surrounded by hundreds of islands and islets.

What travel guide is going to tell you where to find canned pumpkins?

I much prefer the adventure of learning new things and conquering new challenges on my own. Besides, who is ever really 100% prepared for what life throws your way? You, sitting there right now reading this post, what is coming tomorrow or even 10 minutes from now?

We travel off the beaten tourist path. It offers opportunities to meet really cool people like our host family here in Ireland and their friends. Our time here has been wonderful. Thanks to our Irish hosts they dove us to the Cliffs of Moher (pictured above).

30 minutes after we arrived the rains rolled in. Most people left the area.

Here is some video:
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Cliffs Of Moher rains rolling in on Vimeo, posted with vodpod

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Cliffs of Moher bitter rains roll in on Vimeo, posted with vodpod

We rode out the rain and waited. And as a reward we given the opportunity to see this:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Cliffs of Moher clearing on Vimeo, posted with vodpod

What is next in life?

You may have a good idea of what is coming next in life, but sometimes the surprises bring us the most joy. Too many expectations increases anxiety and frustration. The other option is living in the moment and taking life one step at a time. Some call this serendipitous traveling.

DeeAnne White at Sharing Travel experiences had this to say about serendipitous travel.

1. Book a travel deal: Rather than deciding on a location, roll the dice.

2. Wander: Book a flight, a hotel room and nothing more.

3. Be open to what you discover: Try something you’d never think you’d enjoy

4. Talk to strangers: I know I’m suggesting you ignore your mother’s wise advice, but sometimes we miss out on the best things in life when we’re too cautious.

5. Let go: This may be the most difficult of all the suggestions, but you are on holiday after all.

Serendipitous travel puts you in the moment. But why do people think they need to travel to be serendipitous?

Agreed, the hardest part is letting go. But, everyone can take time in their lives to be more spontaneous, even if not traveling.

Philosophy of Travel

Understandable why so many travelers are philosophers. What the hell else do you have to do while traveling, but sit there and talk to yourself? : ))

Philosophy is about self examination and the environment that surrounds you, right. Continually facing the challenge brings out the inner Thoreau in us all.

In this way – through simplicity – Thoreau was able to find true wealth. “Superfluous wealth can buy superfluities only,” he wrote. “Money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.”

Funny how many US travelers face borderline anxiety disorders with the thought of a 3 Day trip to Canada, let alone a trip across the pond.

  • Have I read enough travel books?
  • Do I have enough clothes?
  • Do I have enough money?

Money is the excuse we all use to push away the source of the true source of anxiety; self examination of the soul. It was my biggest excuse for extended travel. Who wants to examine the “ugly financial gorilla standing in the corner” when it’s actually a mirror?

Now what would good travel prose be without some helpful travel tips?

The kind of tips you can implement into your life right now, not some ethereal B.S. Here is one that costs little to no money to help engage you with examining your own life.

Start Reading…

The Travelers Way

Step 1: Download the new Kindle Reader for Mac’s here. You do not need to buy a kindle, you can read books right on your computer screen. It saves me from having to buy and carry yet another item on my travels. If you have a PC or want to read on your phone, God help you with that one. Check out the free Kindle Reader apps here.

Step 2: Pick out some books to read and read them already. Turn off the Twitter feed and the CrackBook and put your nose in a virtual book. Heck you don’t even need to spend any money. You can read samples of books in just about every genre, like Chris Guillebeau:

The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World [Kindle Edition]

Check out his blog Art of Nonconformity. Here is his definition of travel hacking in North America.

Travel hacking, for anyone who is new to it, is my process of venturing out around the world on a low budget, using tools such as Round-the-World airfare, a big stash of Frequent Flyer Miles, mistake fares, elite status matches, and more.

If this reading doesn’t meet your fancy here are some books I’m currently reading:

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel [Kindle Edition] by Rolf Potts

You can read this modern day traveling vagabonds bible (of sorts) on philosophy of travel. His recent exploits on his travel blog No-Baggage Challenge, which included 6 weeks of travel with no baggage. I know what your asking where the hell would I put all of my nonsensical and redundant travel accouterments’?

The no-baggage journey is complete! After six weeks and more than 30,000 miles on five continents, I’ve come full-circle to New York — and [to] be honest, it feels kind of surreal. I didn’t pack many items for the journey, but I did manage to pack in a lot of experiences — so many that I feel like I’ve been gone a lot more than a month and a half. I feel both happy and tired (and I’d reckon my exhaustion has less to do with my lack of luggage than the fact that the world is a big place to cover in such a short time).

6 weeks without any luggage or bags is doable. But, for 52+ weeks (the length of our trip), hardly.

Travel hacking is part philosophy 101 class, part living travel guide book, part history lesson and part uncomfortable silence.

The silence comes when the person you are speaking to has no clue what you are saying.

The history lesson is not forgetting how adventurous people used to be in order to survive in this world.

Society did well prior to “Tweeting’ a text messaging on a smart phone, while drinking a Starbucks latte, passing an 18-wheeler on the highway at 75 mph.”

Is it any wonder anti depressants are so prevalent in America?

Why are people (In America) so unhappy?

Healing The Unhappy Caveman – Why The Human Mind Was Not Designed For Happiness And What You Can Do About It [Kindle Edition] by Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson explores the evolutionary psychology view that our mind was not made for happiness, it was made for survival. Hunter-gatherer societies of our ancestors were after two things in the smaller group societies at that time.

  1. Social status seekers-primarily by may of physical prowess and cunning survival
  2. Cooperation with their close fellow group members

In today’s society many people live an isolated existence;  Twittering a text on a smart phone, while sipping a latte with the radio blaring and passing an 18-wheeler on the highway doing 75 mph. Seemingly busying the mind with a more and more frantic devices to distract from the truth of our existence.

Healing The Unhappy Caveman – An Integral View – Introduction takes a closer look at this phenomena of the rampant unhappiness so prevelent in the Unites Sates today.

Were our hunter-gatherer ancestors unhappy?

The hunter in hunter-gatherer would imply travel. I would surmise our ancestors didn’t have time to sit around and brood over their feelings. they were too busy trying to survive.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

YouTube – Geico Cavemen Therapist 2, posted with vodpod

Perhaps the reason people long so much to “get away from it all” is because our  ancestral genes are pushing us to travel (and hunt – but a discussion for another time). Travel, if only briefly giving themselves permission to take time away from work.

Helpful questions for the weary and travel starved:

How can I travel more?

Look at the graph. It shows the number of “vacation” hours related to the amount of time we work. There isn’t much time to travel for an extended period of time is there?

For a moment entertain a what if. What if YOU had no restrictions in your life?

Here are 5 helpful questions for the weary and travel starved:

  1. How can I make enough money to “make it” traveling for a month or more?

  2. Where would I like to go?

  3. What would I like to do?

  4. Who would I like to see?

  5. Who would I like to do this with, if any body?

Go ahead answer these questions for yourself. Think BIG think BOLD, go ahead and put a trip into space on your list, Virgin Galactic is taking reservations:

Whats your excuse for not traveling more?

Please share where are the boldest places you would like to go in the comment section below. : )

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