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Leaving Everything Behind to Travel??

Travel Forums General Talk Leaving Everything Behind to Travel??

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1. Posted by heartofgold12 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 4y

Hi everyone, I am contemplating just packing up and leaving everything to become a fulltime backpacker.. but I have some questions and need some advice!

How safe is it for a female solo traveller?
How hard is it to find work on the road?
How much money should one have to start off?
Should I have a post secondary education before I go?
Is this a realistic goal?

I didn't know where to post this but if any one has any advice for me, that would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks! :)

2. Posted by Cyberia (Travel Guru 1827 posts) 4y

Where are you thinking of backpacking?

Like anywhere else, there are dangerous places, notably if you sleep rough. I'm on the Costa del Sol at present and there are a few rough sleepers in this area.

Or you could be robbed at any time. Backpackers usually don't have much money but for some, any if good. Local police don't care much about back packers who often quickly move on or are moved on, so such crimes rarely see court.

Taking lifts can be dangerous, particularly for a woman on her own.

Work? Not unless you have a needed skill. Times are tough everywhere now and you cannot just expect to walk into a job anywhere. Even fruit picking.

Money? Hostel accommodation is cheap in some places, not in others, and not available in others so a hotel. Food depending on what you like. Nights out can be expensive unless you can find some guy to pay for you.

Some places are expensive, some cheap, and the same with countries. You could spend months travelling around India for very little. Always make sure you have enough money to get home again. Taking out a year's insurance can be a good idea.

If you are reasonably presentable you could try couch surfing and the like where peoplelet you sleep at their place for nothing.

Education? Depends on what kind of work you want. Having a grounding in the three R's is good.

As to realistic, take a month off and try it out. It's not all sunny days and there can be times when there are lots of rainy days. Even strong sun can be hard going in hot countries.

You might try posting here:
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http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forum.jspa?forumID=53
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in the Travel on a shoestring section.

3. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 4y

Hi heartofgold,
Going out on the road for the first time is daunting to be sure. But don't worry. It is very possible, and people do it all the time. I did it once, and lasted 3.5 years before I wondered home. Then I couldn't settle down and have spent well over half of my time on the road in the 8 years since then. For me it required very little planning, and for the entire time I had no idea what my plan was more than a week or two in advance. I liked it that way. But, depending on your circumstances, it might require much more planning.

How safe is it for a female solo traveller?
It's hard for me to answer that one as I'm a guy. There are definitely places where women tend to feel less comfortable that guys - like many Muslim countries, India etc.. But I've also known many women to travel in these areas with no problems other than some unwanted attention from creepy guys. I think with the right precautions and being well aware of your surroundings, it is very possible. There are thousands of women travelling solo in many parts of the world.

How hard is it to find work on the road?
That depends on a few factors, mostly your age and where you are from. If you are under 30 (or 35 some places), and come from a Western country beside the USA, then you should look into Working Holiday Visas. For most citizens like Canadians, Aussies, Kiwis, Brits and many more, there are several countries that you can go work in very easily. Americans have a harder time, but there are a couple choices. Once you have one of these visa, then picking up odd jobs is possible. Cyberia mentions that these days work is harder to find, and maybe that's true. I guess I went at a good time. In Australia and NZ, I went to touristy or farming areas and always found work the day I rolled into town. If you are a native English speaker, then teaching English is a something to look into, though many countries require a degree of some sort in order to get both a job and a working visa. But you might be able to find something if you look around. As you travel, you could also look out for jobs at hostels. It's not usually good money, but you can get free accommodation and sometimes food. I did it in England for a summer and actually made a pretty decent wage. Finally, if you just want to save some money while getting to know the local culture, than WWOOFing is also a good option.

How much money should one have to start off?
This completely depends on where you're going and how long you want to travel before you look for work. As mentioned, India, and most of South Asia, as well as South East Asia is insanely cheap. Some parts of South America can also be really cheap. $10,000 could last you years in these countries if you budget well. On the other hand, Europe, Japan, Australia, etc.. tend to create this magical black hole in your bank account where money just seems to disappear. But, if you do like I did, and head to a place like Australia or NZ with $2000, and work for a month, then travel a month, then work for a month, travel....... then that money can last you forever.
There's no magical number of how much a backpacker needs. What you need to work out is where you want to go, how much flights are going to cost you (especially if you don't buy your return tickets in advance), what kind of travel you want to do, and how long your realistically think you'll go before finding work. If you are getting rid of everything back home but you plan to eventually make your way back there, then having a bit of reserve money to get set up upon your return is wise too.

Should I have a post secondary education before I go?
For the sake of finding some work, maybe. But my first endless roaming was done without my degree. For my purpose of kicking our Oceania and Asia for a few years, it really didn't make a difference at all. In the end I thought it was actually better that way because travels focused my interests and when I returned for the second half of my degree, it was a much better experience.
Once I got my degree it changed the way I traveled because I could get more permanent English teaching jobs and I could stay in one place for longer. Now that I have my Education degree, I can get professional positions around the world and can stay indefinitely in any country.

Is this a realistic goal?
Of course it is. Some friends and family back home might find it strange or a waste of money, or even dangerous. But once you get on the road you are going to discover a whole network of tens fo thousands of travelers, an international sub-culture if you will, where you will meet countless people who share your goal.

Happy planning,
Dave

4. Posted by Dodger (Inactive 875 posts) 4y

Your questions are so general it will be impossible for anyone to give you a black or white answer.

There are no hard and fast rules as to how you travel, that’s part of the beauty of travel. We are each on our own journey. You can talk to a hundred people and they will all have different advice and experiences. One person was robbed in Cairo, the other found it the most charming and safe place they had ever been, and so on.

Weather you find work on the road is totally up to your own initiative. I’ve met people with the highest degrees that couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag. Then others with no formal schooling who can talk their way into anything. Having said that, a degree does help in a resume, and in getting working visa’s.

As a male traveler it’s difficult for me to comment on how safe it is for a woman. Having common sense on the road is certainly essential. It does seem that woman should be more cautious in their dress and comments to people they meet. My experience has always been that if I am open and honest with people, then generally they are the same with me. But that’s not to say I haven’t been taken for a ride more than a few times. I guess it comes down to if you want to live your life in fear of what may happen, or be open to all people have good in them somewhere.

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