Sunday, November 23, 2014

Around the Fucking World in 80 Days: Lonely Planet Indeed

So I left the Sandbox at the end of July, and I went to Vietnam for three weeks to see some friends there. Then I flew into America via Las Vegas, and spent some time in America, including doing that survival hike in Utah. Then in September, I flew to Turkey to meet the Girlfriend in Marmaris.



So give or take one time zone, I literally flew around the world in 80 days. (Turkey and the Kingdom are a few hours away from each other.)



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  (As a matter of course, the books were about two years out of date.)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. 

Add to Cart


13 comments:

Ken said...

Excuse the coarseness but the Lonely Planet is a fucking piece of shit publication.

Fuck the lonely planet.

It nearly got me killed twice. I had a guide book to the Turkey/Georgia region only a couple months after it had been printed. It was wrong the open border points were closed military zones which I strayed into. Got myself stopped and had a load of Turks pointing their guns at me. Same deal with the Georgian border too. Quite a few people have been caught on other borders because what they wrote was so out of date.

Accommodation? The moment it gets into a Lonely planet guide it gives the hostel/hotel a licence to print money and put their prices up and reduce the quality significantly. In the past with 18-24 months before the next printing of the book they would scam many travellers.


BTW X if you think it is so easy. Maybe go the extra mile and travel overland instead? I did some significant overland travelling in a piece of shit car from 2006-2008. It can still be like the wild west in some places. Air travel and the well beaten path is far too easy.

Anonymous said...

LMBO I love that on the first picture, your girlfriend is slim, but every other person nearby is grossly obese.

And yeah, nice post, indeed shit's easy nowadays (I started traveling in 2006, so I won't pretend it had never been easy for me). The challenges are still there, when you go off the tourist track (99.9% of the world), and even then, at least you can pretty much always fall back on the internet to find info.

englishteacherx said...

Oh, hell, yeah, don't get me wrong -- you can get off the trail and get in loads of trouble very easily.

I'll write another post about the disgusting tourists of Marmaris sometime.

englishteacherx said...

And I mean, you don't need to go far from home to get off the trail and get in trouble. I got lost in East Saint Louis not too long ago, which is definitely some extreme adventure touris.

Anonymous said...

Judging by the dunderheaded, racist, Fox News comments following your story, I wouldn't be to proud of getting readers from Takimag.

Anonymous said...

Any publicity is good publicity, except if Opie and Anthony make fun of your bullshit stories on the air.

Anonymous said...

zzzzzzzzzzzz

Tom said...

have you used airbnb?

It was my travel revelation. It's so effing awesome. That's from a guy who hates the word "awesome" from the bottom of his heart.

Tom said...

Ken, no offense, but the fault is your for relying on lonely Planet to guide you through militarized zones. That's retarded.

Tom said...

@ anonymous

Going on your failure to communicate with logical meaningful sentences, I'd be careful throwing around "dunderhead" insults for the foreseeable future.

Anonymous said...

sorry for my lack of clarity, dickface. Did you not read the comments, or are you also racist and ignore statistical facts in favor of Fox News populism? One commenter expressed doubt that a Ghanese girl could be beautiful, a comment so idiotic it doesn't even need to be addressed. The others bewailed all the smelly South Americans being let in every day (according to them) unchecked, and all the crime they are causing -- despite the fact that crime rates and immigration rates are both consistently falling.

http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/04/23/net-migration-from-mexico-falls-to-zero-and-perhaps-less/

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304066504576345553135009870

That is my definition of DUNDERHEAD, Tom.

englishteacherx said...

I was a bit surprised by how so many of the commenteres managed to take a story about a doofus English teacher abroad, and make it into a platform to bitch about immigration reform. One-track minds indeed.

Anonymous said...

X are you in Ecuador? Let me know if you're in Quito