HOW TO SURVIVE LIVING ABROAD is available for free until December on Smashwords and Amazon.
GET IT HERE FREE ON AMAZON US
(The international Amazon stores are apparently still charging 99 cents for it. Hardly a fortune, you cheap bastard.)
GET IT HERE FREE ON SMASHWORDS
So this is a nice breezy little book I wrote which covers all aspects of living abroad other than English teaching, such as:
- funding your travels through means fraudulent and otherwise
- why cheap countries aren't necessarily that cheap
- are foreign women really the best choices for wives?
- personal security and you
- how to rip people's throats out with your bare hands
- where to hide stuff
And much more. Part memoir , part survival guide, part self-help book, and part savage fucking parody of all of the above.
And it's got actual links to useful information, too. UNPAID ones. That's how much fucking dignity English Teacher X has.
Here's an excerpt from CHAPTER THREE THE ACTUAL TRAVEL PART
MODERN AIR TRAVEL IS FUCKED
Whatever glamorous notion of international travel you have, you will be quickly disabused of in the blandly homogenized yet vaguely terrifying modern airports of the world, as you pass through ominous checkpoints manned by cheerless security personnel who at best will harass you with intrusive questions and high-radiation scanning and at worst will feel your genitals and selectively enforce arbitrary, pointless rules by confiscating harmless items from your luggage, just to keep you from getting too complacent.
People will be strewn about the airport like it’s a refugee camp, desperately seeking a comfortable place to sleep, contorting themselves impossibly in the chairs, trying to bathe themselves and move their bowels in the overcrowded bathrooms.
Air travel is like bus travel used to be – your fellow travelers will be refugees and dregs of society, traveling for plenty of reasons, none of them pleasurable.
Now the one percent travel by private plane or by yacht; the rest of us suffer in airplane seats designed like medieval torture instruments, and airports that are more like high-security shopping malls.
To be fair, the volume of people passing through airports in the modern world makes it unlikely that airport personnel will select you for more specific harassment.
But they certainly might.
They can do anything they want to you, let’s make that clear.
They can search all your possessions, look inside your laptop files, read your personal correspondence, and even decide to take a look up your asshole, should they deem it necessary.
Now, you might read of people saying you have rights not to answer questions, or to refuse them, etc.
And you probably do have those rights, as long as you are willing to be arrested.
You, as a young person with a lot of stamps in your passport, do probably fit a certain profile, so it’s likely you might get asked more questions about where you’re going and where you’ve been and so forth.
As long as you have your visa in order, you’re not likely to be bothered much when you’re entering another country. Even if you don’t have a place to stay, get the name of some hotel off the internet and say you’re going to stay there.
A nice prosperous Western doofus like you is much less worrisome for the customs and passport control people than the stream of Bangladeshi manual laborers, African refugees, Albanian gangsters, Filipino sex slaves, and so forth that they have to deal with on a daily basis.
Getting back home, however, might be more troublesome.
If you’re just kind of traveling around, have a nice innocent itinerary in mind to talk about. I’m sure no one is moronic enough to wax rhapsodic to customs about the awesome time they had doing drugs and banging whores in Thailand or Amsterdam.
If you’ve been abroad a while, and are returning to your home country after a lengthy absence, I can recommend saying you’re an English teacher. I’ve found that customs almost always loses interest in me when I tell them that. They see plenty of us scrubby bastards going back and forth these days, I suppose, and they know we’re generally broke, harmless, and beneath notice.
If you happen to have parental funding or have your own shady internet business, claiming to be an English teacher is a good cover story that will probably save you some hassle.
I’d imagine saying something vague like “I’m a consultant” or “investing” would also, but who knows – they might get interested in what you’re doing with your money, and where you’re keeping it. English teachers don’t have the problem of foreign bank accounts, because they’re usually broke.
You might consider familiarizing yourself with the name of a school in whatever country you’ve been in, of course; I’ve been asked if I had anything to prove where I worked, so if you really feel you might need it, get something with school letterhead, or a student’s book or whatever.
I’ve only had my shit torn apart by customs once, when I was coming back from Thailand in 1996. I was underweight, haggard, mumbling my answers, visibly nervous, and didn’t have a clear answer about what I was going to do when I got back to America.
Not that I was up to anything illegal – I just didn’t have any plans.
So, you know, try not to be underweight and haggard, don’t mumble your answers, don’t appear visibly nervous, and have some clear answers about where you’re going and what you’re doing. Don’t get defensive or argue with them. They didn’t make the laws. They’re getting paid like $12 an hour by Homeland Security to ask you some questions, so try to make it as easy as possible on the both of you.
But make up a story if you might need one, and get some details in.
Remember my experience with customs in Russia when I got a business visa – I had to explain what I was consulting about, and where.
It’s not like you’re a master criminal, anyway, so just give them a few clear answers. That’s all they want.
They just don’t want to be held responsible if you get into the country and commit some horrendous act of mayhem.