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Willover’s Travels – Tips and Tricks.

Jenni in KS (when she’s not disputing what I’ve said or trying to pick holes in my posts) sometimes makes valuable contributions to the Dingo. In this case she has asked a number of questions on behalf of her son’s friend. So, while I’m sitting on the plane waiting to take off for Moscow (that’s a metaphor guys, don’t send me any emails asking how long I’ll be gone for!) I’ll answer them, and add a few bits of advice as well.

It sounds like you worked for a while until you got enough money for one of your journeys, then worked again once you were out of money until you could afford to go again. Did you have a place to come back
to in between?

Yes and no, I worked in either mining or industrial construction in remote areas of Australia to earn enough money to get me on the circuit* again. I did this for two reasons, a) at the time they were the best paying jobs in Oz, so I didn’t have to work too long, and b) accommodation (including all meals) was provided, which meant that I didn’t need to keep a base of my own. However, I did have some stuff in my parent’s garage in Sydney, and I did stay with them from time to time in between journeys. I should add that I worked for four years straight as an apprentice electrician before any of this happened. Once I got my Electrician’s Licence I started to travel.

Did you work odd jobs while on your travels?
Normally I worked as an electrician in Oz to earn the bulk of my travel money (around a thousand dollars was enough in those days, but I usually tried for a thousand in spending money after tickets), however there have been times when I’ve wanted to extend the trip, so I have also worked as a builder’s labourer, painter, carpenter, waiter, translator, handyman, fruit picker, wood cutter, car deliverer and a few other odds and sods. I’ve worked in New Zealand, America, Canada, Thailand, England and Bali (and of course, Australia).

What kind of places did you stay while you were travelling? (He specifically asked if you had to spend all your money on hotels or if you were sleeping on park benches.)
I have never slept on a park bench, and I never will. Oh wait, there was one time when I went to Queensland with my brother and his car broke down, so we had to sleep on park benches and in picnic shelters while we waited for dad to send him the money to get it fixed (he always was a dependant sort of a person, still is from what I’ve seen). But I don’t take any blame for this, as I had only just turned 15 at the time and I was 700 miles from home and didn’t have much control of my destiny yet. (When I was robbed in NZ six years later I didn’t even tell dad, as I knew he try would to get some money to me, and I didn’t want any help.)

One thing that you learn if you want to stretch the adventure out as long as possible, is to always do long trips overnight, that way you get accommodation thrown in, you may be sitting up, but you’re safe and you haven’t had to fork out for a room. This is actually why I flew to Athens via Moscow (but I’ll explain exactly why in the next episode, if there is enough interest for me to keep writing).

Another thing that helps is that there is a loose travel fraternity, and it’s not uncommon to meet someone in one country and stay with them in another (generally their homeland), for this reason it pays not to be a prissy whining traveller, if that’s how something is done in a country , that’s how it’s done; either deal with it, or fuck off back home to where things are done how you’re used to! It also pays to travel by yourself as you’re more likely to get invites when you’re on your own, plus you’re also more likely to meet people. Where couples tend to stick to together, singles (out of necessity) tend to mix much more.

Have I not been paying enough attention while reading your posts?
Probably not, you’re usually too busy trying to find fault with what I’ve written.

Any other thoughts?
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Yes, I wouldn’t mind a cheeseburger. Oh yes I do have another handy travel tip, taught to me by a Texan by the name of Howard. The best way to pack soft luggage (which is the only luggage you should ever travel with – handlers hate suitcases and regularly take out their frustrations on them), is to get a few nylon sack type backs with string pulls (you can buy them in any camping store now, but I used to get my aunt to make them for me). You need one for t-shirts, one for socks and underwear, one for sweaters (it’s best to follow the seasons, then you don’t need too much heavy clothing, one for your blanket (make sure it’s thin and pure wool), and a slightly larger one for dirty clothes. To pack your clothes (say your tees for example), fold them in half lengthwise and lay them neatly on top of each other, trying to keep the wrinkles to a minimum, then roll them up as tight as possible and stuff them into the sack, which should be just a fraction smaller in diameter than the clothes that you have just rolled up. You’d be surprise how good they look when you unroll them when you get to your destination.

Just one more thing, always carry a flashlight small enough to hold comfortably in your mouth so that you hands are free, a pair of tweezers. a pocket atlas (I find Bartholomew make the best ones) and a universal plug (there’s usually a sink but there’s never any plugs, this way you can always wash your underwear).

*There is a distinct low cost travel circuit that is fairly fluid in nature and can change without warning due to the changing popularity of destinations, the current political situation, the cost and standard of
accommodation as well as the cost of travel.

To join the circuit, basically all you have to do is
find a place where travellers congregate and tag along, you’ll eventually find out where the cheap and safe places stay are. Unfortunately this doesn’t work so well in America for some reason. But anywhere else, all you have to do is stay in a few backpacker hostels and you’ll soon have a pretty good idea of where the current circuit is.

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To answer your question

A few people asked if Beau and Belle still play with each other now that they’re grown up. The short answer is "Yes, every day", the longer answer can be seen by viewing more recent footage of them…

I think I got the names right this time

Now with music!

This is a bit long, but I like the song so I didn’t want to cut it short…

And yes, I know I screwed the names up, but thanks anyway.

Not another pet clip?!

I’m beginning to notice a trend here…a) they dogs have already done all the really good stuff by the time I finally get the camera, b) my filming technique holds little chance of winning an Oscar for cinematography, and c) I don’t have a video camera or any editing software so it’s pretty rough. That last point wasn’t a trend, it was a fact.

I was trying to show you how much faster Belle is than the other guys, she just toys with them. Normally she just bounces along like Pepe Le Peu* until they get within a foot or so, then she starts running. She could probably lap them them if they didn’t take a shortcut under the house to try and head her off!

So here it is, the quality is lousy, the action has mostly already passed and it might make you dizzy, but if you don’t have dogs of your own you may find it amusing…

   

* that is the most searched phrase on my blog, I have never checked the google searches and not found at least 3 searches for Pepe le Peu!

Willover’s Travels Pt 2

I paid the extra for a First Class ticket on the Indian Pacific since it was such a long trip (one of the longest in the world in fact) and I wanted a cabin to myself, there’s diagrams if you follow the link. I also booked the ticket so that I was on the train in the middle of the Nullarbor at midnight on the 31st of December, that way I could celebrate New Years in transit. That turned out to be a good decision becasue it was one of the best New Years Eve parties I’ve ever been to. Seeing as I had a first class ticket, I was able to use the club car, which not only had a bar, but a piano too, and there was a Japanese girl who could play quite well. I had my harmonicas so we played duets and sing-alongs all night. At midnight the chef brought out huge bowls of King prawns and champagne. It was one of the best nights that I can almost remember.

Three days after I left Sydney,  I arrived in Perth (again)…

While I had enough money to get me further than I got last time, I decided get a job just to give me a bit of a buffer; plane tickets always leave a bit of a hole in the finances. So for the second time (hmm, that link is actually better than this post), I phoned a number in the classifieds and was told what time to be at the airport the next day. This time I ended up in Mt Newman.

Three months later I was sitting on a plane to Bangkok. Having learned that hooking up with a hooker can really stall your travels, I determined that I wouldn’t hang out in Bangkok at the Atlanta Hotel* like I did last time, with all the associated risk (wow, just looking at that link, they’ve really cleaned up their act, it used to be pretty seedy). So the next day I caught a bus to Phuket. One day I may go into detail about the pitfalls of spending too much time in Bangkok.

You may well ask, "Why the hell would you even go to Bangkok again? Given that it brought you undone last time". A valid question that deserves an answer…well in those days, airfares were really expensive in Australia (they still are a bit high, but not as bad as way back in the 70s), so the idea was to fly to Bangkok and buy your tickets there, as they had the cheapest flights in the world at the time.

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Phuket is a great place, it’s free from hookers, it has cheap food and cheap accommodation and it’s right on the beach.  In addition, it’s one of my favourite places in the world, I’ve been there with ET (my best man and best friend), Mel (I was his best man),  MDW (I was her groom) and several times by myself, and every time was better then the one before. This particular trip I was there with Mel, my Canadian best friend who I actually met there. Funny, but I met both ET and Mel in Thailand 30 years ago and they are still my best friends, although I’m in contact with ET a bit more, (we talk once a week).

After about six weeks of just hanging around enjoying the beach and the seafood, it was time to leave, so we went back to Bangkok where Mel bought a ticket back to Canada (he’d been working in Oman for the past two years), and I bought one to Greece via Moscow. I really didn’t feel like doing the whole overland trip thing through India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey this time, so I just flew over them. I had been to India, and frankly it didn’t hold much of an attraction to me, and it just takes so long to get through those countries…

* A short note on travellers hotels in Bangkok. During the Vietnam war, the two most popular destinations for American servicemen were Bangkok and Sydney (with Bangkok being way ahead of Sydney), the result being a proliferation of western style hotels to cater for the GIs. After the war, these hotels fell on hard times for a few of years until in the mid to late 70s when Bangkok became a mecca for young travellers.

Celebrity Look alikes

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Beau could be famous

funny pictures
moar funny pictures