I'm going to be a little blunt and honest in this thread so you can get the best picture possible of me, and give me the best anwser that you see fit. (And don't be shy on reccomending any reading material. I will be quite embarrased if there is a book that answers all of this for me, but it sure beats makeing you read this awfully long post!)
First of all, I guess I better introduce myself!
I just grad. from a United States High school, and turned 18 years of age about three months ago. And with collage looming directley over the horizion, I thought it may be best for me to actually take a break from my education to gain something else.
After a whopping solid 6 solid hours of thought I determined that I have more to lose in not traveling, than takeing that risk. I wanted to do what so many people talked about doing but never did. I wanted to achieve something that would challange me, and allow me to come back to my peers with stories to tell, advice to give, most inportentley a true genuine experience that would allow me to see what I'm really made of.
So of course I was busy packing, and practiceing a handfull of japaneese words I learned off of a bowl of ramen I was eating, while charting my course to tokoyo! (scarcam lol) I was ready to dig through dumpsters for food, sleep in allys, and befriend total strangers who would hopefully not steal from me.
Over the last two days I'm happy to report that I have cooled down a little, and still have all the zeal of traveling, I'm just a little more level headed. (in other words japan is a little out of the question...the whole "I can't speak japaneese" thing kinda hurts in that area)
So there are a lot of basic questions that I would like to get answerd by people who have actually done this themselfs (thats you guys! )
As much as I want to leave tomorrow mourning as soon as my passport gets in. I have the wrong shoes, bags, clothes, the wrong everything. But the absolute worst thing has to be my lack of funds. Exactley how does the travaler handle his/her money? Do you take a large sum with you? Keep in in a forign account? Do you take just enough, and then work odd jobs, or try other things to earn money? I honestley can't wait for the months were the only thing I own is a backpack, another small bag, and a map...but I don't even have a thousand US dollars. How much money would I need before I even set out?
Getting more on topic about weather I should travel or not. See I'm starting to get this idea that the only people who travel are the ones who have sucessfull jobs, or people who got the golden parachute and have nothing else to do. Strictley speaking, am I trying to do this to young? One one hand I have sat next to the old people on trains overhearing them speak about thier travels, and on the other hand I have this strange mentality that the majority of people who are doing this are my age (unfortunitley I think I got that mentality from the media...so I have no idea if it is even true). So I hope you can see were I need your input!
I may be misdirected, and a little rash, but I am serious about this. And I want to make sure I can do everything possible to keep this from turning into a nightmare, and getting shipped back to the US by some goverment who found me sleeping on a park bench!
Any comments would be appreciated, and I'm always open to critisism.
Well .. I don't have much experience, I just want to say that I'm 18 too and I just finished (our equivalent of) high school as well, and I'm leaving in a week! I don't know how it'll turn out, but you wouldn't be the only 18-year old traveller out there, haha. I've saved money for this trip for quite some time, though, so it's not something that just popped into my head :P
I don't think you'll get far with $1000, so my advice is to get a job and work full time for a few months (I take it you still live at home, in which case saving is quite a lot easier :D) and then leave once you have enough money. That also gives you time to prepare and buy all the necessary things (a backpack, for one) without hurrying too much
I don't think you are too young. Age doesn't seem to be the limiting factor here, but rather the fact that you only have $1000.
As for the ages of people out their travelling, I think you will find people of all age ranges. The youngest person I met on the road was 1 year old (though admittedly she was travelling with her parents) and the oldest in their 70s. My grandmother took trips into her 80s, as did my sister's mother-in-law (who was the most efficient packer I ever saw - two outfits, one hanging in the bathroom drying, one being worn. At night, she washed the days outfit and yesterdays outfit was dry for tomorrow).
Oh, and nobody would steal from you in Japan. At least not the Japanese. I would watch out for sketchy backpackers in youth hostels though - they've been known to make off with an i-pod or two.
So my advice for you. I have two ideas.
Have you travelled much before - summer vacations and the like? If not, the other thing you might want to think about is taking a test trip - a few weeks away by yourself travelling around. You'll get a feel for how you do on the road, and if you really want to take a longer trip.
As you live in the USA, you actually can consider yourself pretty lucky, as you have a very big country that you could explore and have the option to work in legally while on the road. That could be a very good option for you, spend time crossing the country, settling into a place for a few months to work and build up some money before heading out of the country. I know that you probably have an urge to get out of America, but it truly is a very diverse place in terms of geography, climate, culture and even general day-to-day living.
I don't even want to read the followup....
My mother passed this last week...She never travelled....I have been to 36 countries so far. My mother (BEV!) lived those countries through me.
I went home, last week, to spread the ashes of my Mom. I encountered a family of folks who never saw outside their world of Southern Ontario. It was a rich and happy place. My cousins and aunts and uncles had grown a beautiful love through their connection to one place. They honoured my Mom in the way that she would have wanted. A group of family rooted in the same place that they always were...Loving and accepting that fate gives and takes away....
I was the executor of my Mom's WILL....She wanted to be spread where she lived...
I took a quarter of her ashes and will travel with them!
To Travel or Not To Travel?
There is a WORRRLLLLDDDD! out there! It is our responsibilibty to see it! Lives Lived! Thoughts Thought!
We are the Chosen, our Western Lives....How DARE we pretend that there is no other place but ours!