Then I got back to America for a few weeks, and then in October took off to Peru. I've been here for a month now, and I'm about to cross over the border into Ecuador tomorrow.
|Colca Canyon, Inca terraces|
The thing that is striking me above all else:
It's so fucking EASY now.
I mean mostly the organizational / administrative parts of travel. You can book plane tickets and hotel rooms pretty much anyplace in the world on the internet, and you can be relatively assured you'll get something up to whatever standards you happen to have. While the $10 options of 20 years ago seem to be fewer, in Vietnam and Peru, $25 - $30 gets you a comfortable hotel room of your own with all the "mod cons" like hot water and cable and wi-fi.
You can even book local bus and train tickets online. If you're ever in Peru, the Cruz Del Sur bus service is very convenient and comfortable.
I think back to the 90s. Fuck, man.
You had maybe a Lonely Planet guide book to recommend some hotel to you. If you could find the place at all, you had no assurance that they'd have any rooms, or really what the rooms would be like. (As a matter of course, the books were about two years out of date.) You might have to spend half the day wandering around looking for hotels or hostels, during the busy seasons.
(My first backpacking trip, in Europe in July of 1992, I had so much trouble finding rooms I eventually pretty much just gave up and slept on train station floors most of the trip.)
Trying to find local bus schedules and things like that, fuck, that was a nightmare back in the day. I mean you had your Eurrail Pass thing in Europe, but other than that, you kind of just had to take Lonely Planet's word for it or try to find the local bus station and stand in line and hope for the best.
Now? Easy as click click click.
Of course, plane tickets are not getting any cheaper, that's one thing. 20 years ago I flew from the US to Bangkok one way for $350; the one-way flight from Saigon to Las Vegas was $1100 (and that was the cheapest I could find by a few hundred bucks.)
Anyway. If travel happens to be your dream, these days, you have no fucking excuse at all. Get some money together and go baby go.
Oh speaking of administrative things:
Anne Sterzinger did a write-up on me and my new memoir in Takimag. Welcome if you are visiting because of that, and check out some free stuff:
Complete Collected Cartoons is FREE ON AMAZON for the next few days.
Now I'm also trying out my own e-book store at e-junkie (off-putting name though it is, it seems to work well.) I'm offering a special deal there, also, if you haven't read my first two memoirs yet -- you can buy both TO TRAVEL HOPELESSLY and VODKABERG in PDF and EPUB formats for only $5. A savings of,like 20 percent of something. (You have to use Paypal.)
SPECIAL DEAL -- TO TRAVEL HOPELESSLY + VODKABERG only $5 HERE.