Tuesday, February 01, 2011

You know what I like about travel?

If you guessed the beer, you would be mostly right. I like a lot of things about travel: new food, different culture, strange modes of transportation, the feeling that every day is fresh and full of unexpected awesomeness. Whether or not that awesomeness actually occurs, that's another story, but the potential for awesomeness is significantly higher, in my opinion, that in my daily life. But something I identified as liking a lot on this last trip to Belize was meeting fellow travelers. This is not an absolute statement, there are annoying travelers, pasty Americans in white tennis shoes, leathery old men who seem to drink all day and who knows what else, and dreadlocked 20 year olds from Europe. But we also met a lot of interesting people with very interesting life stories. Isn't that interesting?

We met a couple who was on a ~9 month bike trip from Mexico to Panama. Why you ask? Well, mostly for the fuck of it, but also because they were planning on opening an eco-lodge somewhere, and so were visiting about 15 eco-lodges along the way to get ideas about what works, what's feasible, and what could be done better. They were full of interesting stories, and after a few days of hanging out, tubing on the river, swimming in waterfalls, they hopped on their bikes and headed south.

We met a couple traveling, and the guy in the couple was the inventor of this thing: http://www.elliptigo.com/ It's like a bike, mixed with an elliptical machine, and he said that riding it was like running. The benefits were apparently great: you could stand up in a natural position, you could climb much better with it than with a bike, and you could go long distances very comfortably. He had been doing something else, but he dropped that to sink all of his time and energy in to this.

Met another guy, a British guy, in a little town we were staying, and it turns out he's a huge sailing enthusiast. His job is, wait for it, to sail rich people's new yachts from the place they are built to where ever they want them delivered. So he gets paid to do something he loves, namely being out at sea, sail multimillion dollar yachts, and at the end of it all, he finds himself in Thailand, or the West Indies, and takes a little vacation afterward. He also had one of the most unique and awesome business ideas I've ever heard. He was planning soon on "retiring" and living on his boat full time, sailing around the world. He was planning on running a low-key "yacht hostel" in which people would pay $30-40 a day for a room, and could sail with him for as long as they liked, to say Fiji, or Thailand. That way he would have enough money for beer and food, and then people could get where they wanted to go in a fun way. And since it would be super cheap, like a hostel, there would be no expectation of him to do shit like change the sheets, or provide any kind of guest service.

I have a lot of trips planned in my head right now: multi-week bike trip through Europe including monastery/brewery tour through Belgium, hiking a large portion of the PCT, southeast Asia since I hardly saw any of it when we were in the Philippines (except for Malaysia and Singapore)... But I'm also keen on a long trip, maybe a year or so, just going around living places for a while. And on a long trip like that, I think I would write these kinds of stories down, because sometimes people are awesome.

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