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1. Posted by lex (Full Member 32 posts) 12y

Hey guys,
I joined this site a week ago after a lucky google search and thought it was about time i announced myself properly. I'm alex (or lex) a 21year old 3rd year student at Sussex Uni in Brighton, UK and i'm absolutely desperate to get the next few hellish months of dissertations and finals out of the way so i can get back on the road!
This site, without sounding too sycophantic, is an absolute dream come true - no irritating advertising, fantastic layout, brilliant info and lovely people. I've already had two messages answered within 24 hours (thankyou tingo and ommadawn) and the forums are genuinely useful. I've never found forums to be any use but i'm converted now! So congratulations guys, im really impressed.
I suppose i should add a note about me and my travels so far. I was really lucky to go to an international boarding school so a lot of my friends live in fabulous places so i had an excuse for cheap visits to new york and the ukraine. I've also blagged a number of holidays as i sing in a few decent choirs so i've had all expenses paid gigs in Paris and Normandy, all over Portugal and also northen Italy- Lucky me!
My most recent major trip was also a choir tour (sadly not free this time) last summer - we covered Samoa, New Zealand, Western Australia and Singapore - and sang everywhere from schools, service stations, airports, concert halls and even a sheepbarn (in NZ) to 3000people on a beach in Broome,WA at sunset! It was a great experience but really hard work as wedidnt get that much time off- i definitely want to go back and travel around myself.
My biggest and best trip so far was my gap year though. i kind of threw myself in at the deep end and spent four months as a teaching volunteer in a remote village in Ghana, West Africa - where i had to learn bits of five different local dialects and get used to water and electricity for only 3 days of the week in between teaching 3-7year olds! As i felt settled in pretty quickly i terrified everyone at home by launching on a two month trip to Timbuktu in Mali, via Togo and Burkina Faso which is a hell of a lot further than it looked on the map in the bar...
West Africa is not an easy place to travel but immensely satisfying and you become independent very quickly. I had a few hairy moments at borders, especially near the Ivory Coast, but I safaried, sailed down the river Niger for a week in a boat made of reeds, rode camels to Timbuktu and slept on sand dunes in the Sahara Desert!
Compared to East Africa or Asia there are hardly any Western travellers which is part of the allure - more of a challenge but immense satisfaction. So if anyone is venturing to that part of the world i'd be glad to help out.

This 'brief note' has turned into a bit of an epic which shows how desperate i am not to do any studying and to get away again so thanks to anyone who bothers to read this far. I promise to make my future posts more concise!
Thanks again for the site and the opportunity to daydream about my next adventure, lex.

2. Posted by alainwee (Full Member 57 posts) 12y

Hi Lex. I do share the same opinion about this site with you. Love it. Members here are very helpful. Cheers.

Alain

3. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 12y

Hi Lex,

Welcome to the site! Great to have you on board - we always appreciate people who appreciate us

Cheers, Peter

4. Posted by bluewaav (Inactive 627 posts) 12y

Hey Lex,

You sound like a very interesting and adventurous person! It sounds like you've been to some incredible places. I went to an international boarding school, too, so I know where you're coming from. It's pretty cool to know you know people all over the world, hey?

I agree with you about this site, too. It's great! People are so friendly!

Well, see ya around!

Peace,
Steph

5. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 12y

Hey Lex and welcome to the site! I noticed your other post on travelogues and how you enjoyed a trip down memory lane there filling those in. Of course I checked them out; VERY impressive! I remember filling in my own travelogue back in the day... it can be pretty fun a few years later especially

Anyways, just wanted to add my welcome to the others and thanks for the VERY kind words regarding the site It seems there are a lot of happy travellers around the forums lately; great!

6. Posted by cookieyum (Inactive 75 posts) 12y

Hiya,
my name's sophie and i'm actually lex's sister and as everyone can see she can talk for england, but what she says is always very special and interesting. She's a very lucky girlie and has been to lots more exotic locations than me but i'm hoping to catch up this year. I'm off to chile in a couple of weeks to teach english for 5 months and in that time i hope to travel the length of the country and also visit machu picchu. Then lex is flying out in july and we will spend a month travelling round south america together which is going to be jolly exciting! We're hoping to make it to paraguay, buenos aires, iguazu falls and finally rio so we'd both appreciate any advice anyone has on how to make the most of the trip without spending loads of money because we are just a pair of penniless country bumpkins really and want to make it hope with a bit of cash left! By the way, like my sister, i think this site is fab and i reckon i'm gonna be depending on it pretty heavily over the next 6 months! Take care everyone, speak to you soon ally,Sophs.

7. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 12y

More siblings are always welcome Sophie!

Your trip sounds great and similar to the one my fiancee did 15 years or so ago. She loved it and still talks about it.... as a matter of fact, just this past weekend she happened to need a backpack and the ol' trustworthy one used back then came out of the closet. It's amazing how many memories an old backpack can contain!

Anyway, I have unfortunately only once been to that side of the world and didn't get any further than Costa Rica (which is great by the way if you can make it there...) so not much help from this are. There are a few folks hanging around that could be of help though but probably a post in that regions forum would get more response when you have any questions.

Look forward to seeing you girls around the forum some more in the next few months!

Cheers,

Sam

8. Posted by Rach-a (Respected Member 368 posts) 12y

Hi 'Lex' and 'Cookieyum'! I'm planning to visit South America towards the end of the year. I want to see Patagonia in Chile (for the scenery), Caracas and Angel Falls in Venezuela (also do some paragliding there). Also Sao Paulo in Brazil - then Rio De Janiero for some serious partying (and more paragliding)!! Also Buenos Aires in Argentina (apparantly this place has the best steaks in the world - I apologise if anyone is vegeratian - I personally couldn't survive that way) ;) Also water rafting wherever I can find it in South America. I was interested in your story (Lex). I thought I was adventourous - but sleeping in the sahara - and having barely any water or electricity - maybe I am slightly less adventourous than I thought I was - possibly would like to travel more comfortably. Saying that - it does open my eyes to how lucky we all are in the western world. I am thinking of doing some teaching whilst in South America - thing is these projects can work out rather expensive - but I feel I would get alot out of doing something like that. Maybe after you both go teaching in Chile - post a message to say how it went. Best of luck!!

9. Posted by lex (Full Member 32 posts) 12y

Hey Rach-a,
I think I was more ignorant than adventurous! If anyone had told me how hard it was going to be there is absolutely NO WAY I would have gone! But having never travelled independently before I had nothing to compare it to so just got on with it thinking it was a pretty normal travelling exprerience.
My naivety definitely got me into trouble a fair few times but its all a learning curve. Although i definitely wouldnt wish to spend, say, another 27hour journey crammed in the back of a truck with goats and chickens it was an achievement of sorts - i surprised myself with what i could cope with so i reckon there's an upside to even the most disastrous journey or event; if you've got through it you can laugh about it and never do it again!
You sound incredibly adventurous to me as it is - I've never been paragliding or water rafting although i'd love to try - but next to those i think fumbling around with a candle in the dark and saving up water is pretty tame! Let us know when youre in S.A. - you never know we might be able to hook up somewhere along the way! XX

10. Posted by Rach-a (Respected Member 368 posts) 12y

Hi Lex,

Yeh maybe paragliding and white water rafting is considered adventurous - but some would probably call it a little mad :) I am heading out to South America in August / September time this year - just taking the money I have saved and hoping it will last fairly well I will be spending just a few months out there which should be enough to explore all the cultural spots, soak up the sunshine and scenery and achieve the ultimate adrenalin rush It would be good if could meet up there. I am maybe starting in Argentina first and working way round from there but am a little unsure of which direction to go. I haven't really made any strict plans as I am not really a planner - if I do get a decent plan in mind it will probably all change completely when I am out there so it isn't worth it really. I just plan to bring myself and a number of items and make my way round by any means possible :)

As you say if there are bad experiences I will probably just laugh them off. It is all part of the adventure Things that don't sound that good on paper were probably a really good experience (sort of) for the traveller who experienced them. Anyway I am sure to find out the good, the bad and the ugly when I am out there and am pretty much prepared for anything. At least I think I am anyway :)