I’ve been talking a lot lately to folks who are pushing hard towards their dreams. They’re working the equivalent of two full time jobs to break free from the one they’re sick of to change their whole lives. They’re courageous folks. But then, she goes out for drinks with a sister who ends up getting a whole bar full of dummies to mock her dream. And his family spends the holiday calling them absolutely crazy for bending over backwards to give their kids the world, literally.
But you know what I’ve decided? They’re right. All the naysayers. They’re right. Living your dreams is dumb. It’s unrealistic. It’s ridiculous. Why would anyone in their right minds give up the status quo? It’s so easy. So comfortable. It makes so much sense.
Here are five reasons you should give up all of those dreams of long term travel and just stay home.
1. You’ll sleep better
If there’s one thing that long term travel is, it’s one long parade of sleepless nights: The first night anywhere is a tough sell. Add that to mosquito ridden jungle nights with that infernal drone outside your hammock, and the sweltering nights in concrete rooms with bars on the windows but no screens, and the parade of couches and floors that we’re so very grateful to collapse on and, well, you get the idea.
Just stay home in your soft feather bed. Sure, you won’t have the fantastic beach picture, or that story about howler monkeys and jaguars screaming around you in the darkness, but you’ll also probably live longer and you’ll definitely be better rested.
Here’s one of many nights you’ll be glad to have missed.
2. You’ll be more comfortable
Who in their right mind gives up a warm house with a full kitchen, a bathtub, an easy drive to the grocery store and a flat screen T.V. for backpacks, long bus rides plagued by diarrhea, ocean crossings spent leaning over the rail, green with sea-sickness or pushing a bicycle with broken spokes for miles until she finds a repair shop. Who indeed?
All of the critics are right. It’s nuts. It’s too hard. It’s smarter and safer to stay home. Of course if I have to die of something I’d rather it be adventure than boredom, but that’s just me. Listen to the blow-hards in the bar who’ve done exactly *nothing* with their lives and follow the status quo, their lead is clearly the one to follow, over your heart’s.
3. You can pretend “they” don’t exist
If you stay home you can happily pretend that the whole scope of human experience and expression is wrapped up in your particular section of the Bible belt. You can comfortably assume that poverty is defined (and taken care of) by the welfare office of your particular state. You can avoid the unpleasantness of naked children with flies dotting their inner eyes. You can happily believe that “our way” is the “right way” and that everyone, everywhere else clearly just needs to be set aright by being exposed to our clearer way of thinking, or believing, or governance.
If you stay home, you can pretend that “they,” whoever they are, don’t exist; or if they do exist, you can continue in your fantasy that you understand them perfectly. You’ll never have to be brought to your knees by a pile of skulls, or experience the fear of swimming in a dangerous political demonstration, or ask a few seminal questions about the wisdom of the drug war from the point of an AK 47.
Just stay home, it will be easier to continue in your delusion. Because when those walls are broken down, and you have to come face to face with “them,” you have to come face to face with yourself.
4. You won’t know what you’re missing
The best part of giving up your dream and just staying home might be that you’ll never know what you’re missing. If you haven’t every cycled into the yard of complete strangers only to find that they’re chosen family for a lifetime, you’ll never know that wonder. If you’ve never heard your six year old utter the words, “I’ve been waiting for this my whole life,” as he stares up at the Eiffel Tower, then you won’t know how much you want that moment to happen again, and again. If you’ve never stepped onto a brand new continent and felt the rush of the world expanding exponentially, you won’t miss it.
Listen to that harpy who tells you that you’re ruining your life by reinventing yourself. She’s right. There’s nothing on the other side that is better than living life between Walmart, the office and the Elk’s lodge on Saturday nights, nothing you know you’re missing anyway.
It’s a serious downside to living your dreams, you know exactly what you’re missing.
5. You’ll be happier
Seriously, if you stay home, you’ll be happier. Once the travel bug bites, once you let it get a grip on your heart, you’re going to yearn like you’ve never yearned before. For places you’ve been, for places you haven’t been, for the home you left, for people you miss, it’s one big black hole of discontent. You’ll buy a mango in Wisconsin and whine that it’s not as good as the one you picked from a tree you were camped under in Puerto Arrista, Mexico. You’ll be sitting on a perfectly perfect beach on the Andaman Sea and be ungrateful enough to wish you could get a decent glass of southern sweet tea. You’ll be that jerk who can’t get through a dinner conversation without saying something about, “When we were in Africa…” Your kids will come to blows with “normal” kids in the park over the veracity of their camel stories. You can trust me on that.
Having just come back from another great trip, I’m reminded again of the richness of Europe and the gifts it keeps on giving to any traveler willing to seek them out. I went to France on assignment for three mid-size, nationally-distributed magazines, and set to work almost immediately. It’s amazing how profoundly engrossing traveling and learning can be, especially when you have the added incentive of a contract for a story that must be delivered. Poking around the countryside and investigating ancient abbeys, ruined castles, and little medieval towns gives me a charge like nothing else. It satisfies my twin desires of adventure and knowledge.
As usual, the interactions with locals carbonated the experience. Sharing a bench—and soon after, a lively conversation—with a local man in half-timbered Rouen or chatting with the lady at the café table next to mine in the pretty little Burgundian city of Beaune added texture to the photos I’d taken. The clusters of pixels in my camera contained beautiful images of churches and historic buildings, but the connections forged with the everyday residents of these places gave depth and perspective to the memories in my own mind—a depth and perspective I hope will be felt by my readers.
It’s the local people—like the kindly town archivist in the German city who helped me make sense of his community’s tragic WWII history—that are the real repositories of history and tradition. Without him, I’d never had known about the moving memorial that sits on a seldom-visited hill just outside the town. It was a powerful, emotional experience to visit the lonely hill—the last resting place of so many of his community who lost their lives while the dueling armies fought it out around them—alone at sunset.
At those times you realize that the pretty stuff is only architecture.
Other travelers met on the road have become new friends too; I’ll soon be swapping trip highlights over email with the LA filmmaker from the Rhine River Valley village of Bacharach, the Seattle-area photographer from St. Goar, and the US psychology student from Colmar.
As I sit here shaking off jetlag and organizing my hastily-scribbled notes, I smile as I think about the experiences I crammed into my short trip. The research I did and the photos I took will yield excellent material for my article assignments. But more importantly, the experiences are already sowing the seeds of ambition for my next adventure overseas.
When it comes to travel on a shoestring – my favorite style – the amount of money you spend or save on accommodation becomes a serious matter. There was a time when travelling to China was very, very cheap, and accommodation options where everywhere. Unfortunately, with China experiencing the economic boom, things have changed quite a lot. On the other hand, the development of Chinese tourism has also created a wide range of opportunities for all kinds of travellers, making it quite easy and affordable to find budget accommodation in comfortable, clean beds. Where?
Simple: at YHA, the first wonder of Chinese Budget accommodation!
Everywhere and anywhere in China, my first option is to look for the YGA symbol, which means Youth Hostelling International. This international franchise is widely spread all around the major tourist destinations of China, and at times also a bit out of the beaten track. Generally, this kind of hostels are the Chinese equivalent of the Southeast Asian guesthouses, are full of travelers, good vibes and dispense good travel information. Besides, they are generally very cheap to stay in, they provide free wi-fi connectivity, restaurant facilities, self-service kitchen areas, luggage storage options and, very important if you cannot speak any Mandarin Chinese, can help you book your onward train or flight tickets. You will pay a little surcharge, but believe me, it is worth to save time and effort.
Most likely if you are looking for the cheapest option, you will end up staying in a dormitory: have no fear, as YHA dormitories are usually big, equipped with your own locker, sparkling clean, spacious and comfortable. They are also great places to meet other travelers. Dorms usually come in different sizes, and are generally equipped with several rows of bunk beds able to accommodate 4, 6, 8, and even up to 10 or 12 people. Dorms are also very cheap, as they start from 20 to 40/50 yuan per bed. So far, I only found the higher end of the spectrum (50 yuan) in Shenzen, Beijing and Shanghai.
One of the best services provided is definitely the onward-travel hostel booking service: each hostel will have many cards advertising other hostels in the next “tourist towns”. Just glance trough and pick the one you like most, tell the receptionist and he/she will make a call to reserve your bed at your next destination. Generally, you will have to pay half of the fee to the hostel you are reserving from and once you get to your destination, you will pay the difference. It works like Hostelworld, but over the phone, and most times free train or bus station pick-ups are guaranteed.
Picture credits: Flickr/Travel Aficionado
It’s been in the air for a while, buzzing among the Southeast Asian traveler’s enclave, and making the day of many resolute overlanders. We all knew that the Golden land of Myanmar was changing. After the liberation of Aung San Suu Kyi, punk rockers storming the streets of Yangon, and everyone turning their backpacks to the country, something HAD to change, hadn’t it? And it has: now, the Thai-Myanmar borders are open to overland international traffic and travel, as reported by Mizzima.
People! Rejoice because the country that back in the 1980s wouldn’t let you in for more than 6 days, now has lifted travel restrictions on its eastern land borders. Regardless, the western side bordering with India and Bangladesh still remains locked, and pretty dangerous. Well, please be happy with this first accomplishment, and postpone your overland dreams of shaving off the bulk of Central Asia and China for the next decade, cool?
But my question is: how good will the opening of these land borders be for the country?
I am certainly not wishing that Myanmar stepped back into the darkness of its autocratic military regime, but at the same time, I am afraid that its face might change forever and ever. Something that was still quite magical will be lost, buried under a mound of foreign dollars.
In 2012, the country has already received 1 million tourists. 1 million! An awful lot for a place like Myanmar, which doesn’t have the infrastructures needed to support such an amount of arrivals. I’ve heard many horror stories of travelers who have been forced to sleep on guesthouses’ floors, and paying full price (a lapidary 20 $ minimum per person per night, quite a big sum for SE Asia today) as the demand for accommodation amply surpassed the supply. The Burmese are also starting to become a bit greedier, it seems. My experience goes back to year 2009, and I must say, I had a splendid time, and had basically the country all to myself. When I flew in – as it was impossible to enter by land back then-, my group of 4 whiteys was the only drops of clear skin inside of the airplane’s dark, bottled humanity. Now, the numbers have definitely changed: everyone I meet in Malaysia is bound -or he’s returning – from Myanmar. So much that it makes me feel like as of now, it’s Malaysia the place that nobody dares to visit!
The point of this post is to suggest to the new visitors to go to Myanmar with a respectful attitude, and an open mind. I would not like it if in five years I’ll meet people telling me how Myanmar be a new version of touristy Thailand. I’m crossing my fingers, but the responsibility is not on me. It’s on all those who decide to visit. Please, I am begging you, take care of Myanmar, until we can.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a first-timer, a travel newbie; everyone has a first time and there is a sweetness in that first trip that you’ll spend the rest of your life trying to recapture. The lessons you learn and the experiences you have will shape your life and your adventures to come and those are things to celebrate and embrace.
There is no shame in being a newbie. There is, however, a little danger in it and perhaps good reason not to advertise the fact. The road will be a little smoother for you if it’s not obvious that this is your first rodeo and you’ll have less of a target painted on your back if you avoid some of the more obvious “I’m a brand new traveler” advertisements.
If you’ve been around a bit, you’ll recognize yourself or your friends in some of these, no doubt. Don’t get offended, we all want to save the next guy the hassle, right?
1. Don’t Travel With A New Bag
My Dad’s sage wisdom for travel is this: Look like you have less than everyone else. This might be impossible a lot of places, but you can look like you have less by traveling with an old, used pack, or scuffing up the new one before you go. Buy a used pack and put the extra money towards your travels. As an added bonus, you’ll be less attached to it. If you already bought the new pack, sew some patches on it even if it doesn’t need it, rub it on the sidewalk and scuff the seams, take a pencil or a marker to it and mark it up a bit.
2. Don’t Wear Your Money-Belt On The Outside
The point of a money-belt is to hide the fact that you’re carrying valuables. If it’s hung around your neck on the beach, you’re advertising. Instead, carry your money in pockets that zip closed or purchase one of those cool, traveler waist packs that you find abroad that are out of some native fabric and have zippered pouches with buttoned overlays. If you must carry wads of extra cash and valuables with you when you’re out and about, do so more discretely, by using one of the fake battery safes, with a screw off bottom, instead. You’re much less likely to have a “spare battery” stolen off of your person than you are a money-belt swinging in the wind.
3. Don’t Buy The “Hanoi Backpacker’s Hostel” T-Shirt
Or if you do, at least don’t wear the damned thing in Hanoi. Nothing says, “This is my first rodeo,” quite like actually buying (and wearing) the t-shirt. Take it home, wear it in Kansas, it will look exotic there. Over here, it’s painting a target on your ass.
Of course you stick out when you visit a culture that is not your own; that’s the whole point. But you can fly below the radar of the pirates who prey on travelers by wearing clothes that don’t advertise that you’re a tourist and have been in town five seconds. If you’re lucky, you’ll be mistaken for a long term traveler, or an expat, or someone who is not traveling through with tons of money to spend on t-shirts!
4. Don’t Ask Stupid Questions
I’ve offended you already, haven’t I? Your Mama was right, there are no stupid questions. But there are questions that are unnecessary and will mark you as a first timer for sure. It’s impossible to list all of these, but this is what defines a stupid question in a given context: Its answer can be found without words if you will just pay attention.
Think about this for a second: What separates a tourist from a quasi-local? The need for directions and to have questions answered, right? If you know a place you don’t need to ask questions. Who do the pirates target? Mainly those who don’t know a place. There’s no shame in not knowing a place, I live my whole life in places I don’t know, but there’s no need to advertise the fact and put yourself at unnecessary risk.
What to do instead: Slow down, be cool, shut up and listen, use your eyes and do your homework. There will be signs. If there are no signs, there will be people to follow. If there are no people to follow then use your intuition and move in a likely direction. There are times to ask questions, even obvious ones, but don’t be the first guy rushing to ask, be the guy who tries to suss out the answer on his own first. Every teacher will tell you that finding the answer to a question through doing is a better way to learn than simply being given the answer.
5. Don’t Carry Your Guidebook
Guidebooks are great, for pre-game research and post-game toilet paper. They have no business in your hands on the street (and for god’s sake don’t take one from your local library with the bar code stickers on the outside). I know there are people arguing this point before they even get to the end of the paragraph. Are there exceptions? Yes, of course; there are always exceptions! By all means, carry that guidebook into the ancient ruins site so you can read the descriptions of each temple complex. The point I’m making is this: you don’t want to be the guy walking down the Champs Elyse with his nose buried in the guidebook. You can read about Paris from anywhere in the world, when you are actually in Paris stop reading, and be there.
What have I missed? What else can you do to avoid looking like it’s your first rodeo?
Let’s face it: It’s summer and you’re broke. If you’ve somehow managed to make it to Europe and have some money for food and shelter, you might not have cash for much else. Trust me, I’ve been there. Everyone knows activities in places like London, for example, is pricey. But it’s important to know that there are several fun and interesting things to see and do that are completely free.
With that in mind, this is the first in a series focusing on free sights and activities in some of Europe’s best cities.
Taking the London example, here’s just a short list of free activities that give you a good taste of that amazing city:
-The National Gallery is free, although that may surprise many. Yes, one of the world’s great art museums—hosting works by world-renown masters—does not charge for entry.
-Piccadilly Circus, the gateway to the West End, is a colorful sea of people—especially when the sun goes down and the neon lights wash over the surroundings. Great people watching.
-The Changing of the Guard at the palace is always a sight to behold. The military pomp has been tradition for centuries, epitomizing military precision.
-Regent’s Park includes the city zoo and a wildlife garden. An oasis of leafy tranquility in the heart of the metropolis.
-There’s also St. James’s Park, ringed by some of London’s biggest landmarks (Buckingham Palace and Whitehall) featuring gorgeous greens and a soothing lake when the Tube and the crowds drive you mad.
-Speaking of great urban parks, no list would be complete without mention of Hyde Park. Lots of open air festivals and concerts are held here, especially in summer. Amble on over and enjoy.
-The Tate Modern (free except for certain special exhibitions) hosts a dazzling array of modern art, if you’re into that sort of thing.
-The rightfully revered British Museum is another world-class treasure trove of history that deserves your time. It’s a jaw-droppingly thorough survey of human civilization.
Of course, the best parts of travel, meeting the people and sampling the culture, are always free—but having a list of other free stuff to do certainly helps.
A good traveler knows that it isn’t the number of places you’ve been that counts, it’s the number of meaningful experiences. Just like the saying, “it’s not the number of breaths you take that matters, it’s the number of moments that take your breath away.” Same with traveling. Miles mean little, so do stamps in your passport. That stuff is ancillary to the true story: the adventures themselves (be they emotional, fun, or just plain interesting) and the souls you were lucky enough to encounter along the way.
For example, a friend asked me today, “So how many places have you been to?” I get asked question a lot. My answer is always, “I don’t know. Never counted. But you know what? I’ve got a scar from Scotland, some friends from Florence and a parking bill from Budapest.”
All true, and all linked to great travel memories. All the best travelers use this sort of yardstick to measure their experiences abroad. The key is perspective: think qualitatively, not quantitatively.
Having said that, I think it’s safe to assume the Hungarian police have given up expecting me to pay that stupid fine they left on my windshield. To this day I’m not quite sure what it says on that thing, but it looks cool in a frame. As for the scar from Scotland, that’s another story altogether.
“Watch this Gramps,” he hissed to my Dad, “Do you know how to get the best price on a taxi? This is how… just watch Mom!”
My Dad chuckled, Ez continued his play by play narration:
“The cab driver will pull up, and Mom will ask him how much…. see…. okay, now she laughs, slams the door, thanks him and walks away…. now watch, he’s gonna follow her and roll the window down… he’ll give her a lower price, but she’ll keep walking… then he’ll ask her for her price… then he’ll laugh, but she’ll keep walking… and we’ll get it for her price in a minute!”
My Dad smirked at the boy, amused, “Gee, I wonder where she learned that?” From him, of course.
Haggling is both an art, and a science. There is a formula to it, the back and forth, the informed negotiation of knowing what a fair price is, and knowing how to “play the game.” Then there’s the flare of it, having fun, keeping everyone smiling and laughing, making sure it feels like a game, and not someone getting the shaft.
Haggling is expected in much of the world, it’s how business gets done, and it’s not something to be afraid of, it’s something to be enjoyed, and when you get good at it, there’s a certain amount of cultural respect that comes with being able to negotiate the nuances of a transaction and come to a fair price for everyone concerned.
It was a point of pride for me when I met a friend, who lives there, for lunch in Ubud, Bali, having spent the morning shopping for treasures at the local arts market, and he commented, “I see you got a good price, what did you buy?” I showed him.
“How do you know I got a good price?” I asked, quizzically.
“Black bag. If you get the white bag with stripes, it means you’ll pay too much, the other vendors will see you coming!” After that I carried my black bag everywhere.
I spent the better part of an afternoon as my Dad’s translator, slowly working an Tunisian fellow down on his price for a bernouce that my Dad was determined to wear home. “Your father, he is a hard man!” the seller announced, as my Dad forced me to really put the screws to the guy. “Tell me about it!” I quipped, “Try growing up with this kind of negotiator!” We both laughed, feeling one another’s pain. He acquiesced to my Dad’s bottom dollar price.
And then, my Dad handed him a wad of bills that he’d pre-prepared and tucked into his front pocket: the price he was willing to pay for the item in question, and not a dinar more. The man unrolled the bills and started to count: a wide grin crossing his face, he clapped my Dad on the shoulder, they laughed together and grinned hard across the language gap. Dad had paid 50% more than the price he negotiated the poor guy into a corner over.
There are two lessons I learned at my father’s knee about the art and science of haggling:
1. Don’t be afraid to do it!
When it’s culturally appropriate, haggle like crazy, keep your sense of humor and have a great time playing the game. Don’t be afraid to walk away, but never enter into negotiations if you aren’t prepared to follow it to the end. Haggling can be great fun and a good way to make friends!
2. Don’t be a cheap bastard!
Just because you CAN get that lady who is desperate to sell her weavings down to $5 USD for something you know darn well should be worth $30 doesn’t mean you should pay that. Play the game, negotiate hard, and then pay a fair price, preferably at least 50% more than you bargained down to, and in many cases, their asking price is still an excellent deal. If you’ve bargained hard, you’ve gained their respect, you’ll gain even more by demonstrating that you know the real value of what you’re buying.
What are your great haggling stories? Do you have a method that works for you?
Most of us travel so that we can see the world, get out of our “box” and explore another culture, or corner of the world. If we wanted everything to stay the same, we would just stay home! It boggles my mind when I see travelers who spend their entire time abroad trying to recreate home and, essentially, avoiding the local interactions they claim to want.
There’s nothing inherently “wrong” with staying at the Hilton, eating at McDonalds or shopping at the Dispensar Familiar (a box store that is owned by Walmart but is masquerading behind a “local” label) but don’t kid yourself into thinking you’re having a local experience, or contributing to the local economy when profits are funneled into big corporations “back home.” There are some simple ways to have a more “authentic” experience wherever you happen to be traveling and to make sure your dollar goes further within the local economy as well. Here are three of mine; perhaps you have some of your own to add:
1. Stay local
Sure, you might book that first night by the airport with your travel miles card, but after that, stay at a family run hotel or guesthouse. Go one step further, and stay somewhere not recommended in the guidebook. Those places are getting a big bump by virtue of their write up in Lonely Planet, but there are likely several other very good places run by families who have generations invested in a particular place that will stretch your buck and add depth to your journey. We’ve found, across the board, that these sorts of places yield “insider” information and recommendations if not personal invitations to explore with new found friends, the proprietors. You’ll also find a very interesting subset of traveler frequenting these places, they’re the people you want to meet, I promise you.
2. Eat where there’s no english menu
That is to say, eat where the local folks are eating. In Merida, Mexico, this might mean walking deep into the mercado, flipping over a five gallon pail and bellying up to the tile bar with the roadwork crew to eat the plata del dia. No need to know what you’re ordering, they only serve on thing per day. I guarantee your money isn’t padding the pocket of the big red clown with preternaturally large feet.
3. Hire a local
It’s possible that the slick looking “Green Travel” agency on the strip in Champasak is genuinely locally owned and operated, but I’m not betting my money on it, based on their advertising. If you have the time and the patience, track down a guy with a boat and book your own ride down the Mekong to the next town. I promise you’re paying extra through the agencies, and that money is probably not being invested the way you wish it was. Look for opportunities to hire local people to teach you things. Hire the Mayan woman who comes knocking to teach you to use a back-strap loom. Hire your cyclo driver in Hue, Vietnam to take you on his motorcycle out into the hills, he’ll bring two of his friends if you have as many people as we do, and it will be a cross-cultural party!
4. Send out your laundry
Okay, here’s a fourth, I couldn’t stop at three: Send out your laundry, and not through your hotel. The laundries that have hotel contracts are doing well, making lots of money. Take a walk, look for the hole in the wall that looks like it’s run by a mother-daughter team and give them your business.
How ‘bout you? What are your best tips for making sure your dollar stretches within a local economy and is spent to the betterment of the community you’re visiting?
Picture credit: Flickr/ United Nations Photo
When I moved to Asia in 2007, I was still tied under the wheels of the Machine, back home. Everything I was doing, experiencing, and trying to translate into a piece of writing, or any other form of “artistic text”, I did so with the wish that someone, back home, would recognize my efforts and get me that publishing deal I had wished for so much in virtue of my brave choice of moving abroad.
Reality is often different from our dreams. Especially when coming from a culturally under developing nation such as Italy, where trying to be an “artist” is guaranteed to put a very sorry expression across any parental face. Back then, it was with a sense of scorn that I looked at all the rejections, the nos and the maybes, as it dawned on me that, wherever I may have roamed, I was destined to be a total failure.
Still, I put together a blog, I chose the best pieces out of it and edited them for good and self-published an Italian written book on my life as a teacher in small town China. I cannot say it was successful, as it was not. It was just barely ok not to hang the keyboard to the wall, and start playing badminton instead.
It was at that point that I travelled, and travelled, and travelled deeper and wider all across East Asia. When I finally stopped again, as Hank Williams put it “No more darkness, no more night. Now I’m so happy, no sorrow in sight. Praise the Lord, I saw the light …”
Facing the most sacred Buddha statue in the Lama temple of Beijing, China, I bowed down and I expressed my wish. Maybe I was thinking that through such a foreign surrogate I would have reached my own, white-faced version of God. Well, I was wrong. Those Asian ears were indeed openly listening to my call. Slowly – as good things do not happen overnight -, I found out that I had overlooked what was happening around me. Exactly in the place I was living THEN. Developing countries have plenty of opportunities. Otherwise, they would not be called as such, I guess?
Asian publishers are not much different from Western ones, but possibly, they accept submission, and you do not need an agent, or spend too much money on it. It is still a tough process, but at least you will get rejection letters. Sometimes even explaining what is wrong with your stuff. The hard work is still there, the results are, however, greatest in the East. In a single hard working year, I have published more than I ever did in the past 5 or 6, kicked off the road by frustration, rejection, and let me tell it, a great dose of assholism.
My suggestion to all the wannabe writers (and another cite to one of the best movies of all times): when there is no more room in hell, look around wherever you are, and start pitching left and right. Then, your articles and stories will walk the earth.
MARCO FERRARESE explored 50 countries and lives in Penang, Malaysia since 2009. He is currently a PhD candidate at Monash University’s Sunway Campus, Kuala Lumpur, researching the anthropology of punk rock and heavy metal in Southeast Asia. Besides his academic endeavors, he blogs about overland Asian travel and extreme music in Asia at www.monkeyrockworld.com