Friday, 16 December 2011

Trip summary/advice for other travellers

While it's still fresh in my mind, I thought I'd do a post with some info for anyone thinking of doing a similar trip. Here are some things I've learnt:

  • There are certain things you should always have with you. Imodium, sick bags, painkillers and toilet paper (especially in countries where they don't tend to use it) can make a really big difference in some situations. You won't forget them twice. 
  • Shampoo and shower gel are basically the same thing. While there's some things which are indispensable, others can be redundant. When buying a cheap phone, try to get one which uses a type of charger you're already carrying. I managed to use the same USB charger for my phone, kindle and iPod. 
  • (Some) gadgets are cool. While you don't want to risk taking too many expensive things, a few things can make long journeys a lot more comfortable. I was grateful for having my iPod nano and Kindle 3g, especially on 10+ hour train journeys and flights. The kindle also allows you to take huge amounts of books without actually having to carry them. 
  • Sleep for free. Couchsurfing isn't just about a free bed, but that's just another advantage. You get to meet locals who know more about the place you're visiting than any other people you're likely to meet, and get a unique insight into life wherever you go. 
  • Travel in low season. Although not always possible or preferable (low season can mean terrible weather, in which case it might not be worth it), travelling in low season is cheaper, less stressful, and more flexible. You don't have to book things as far in advance (or at all, sometimes), and everywhere you go will be less busy. 
  • Don't plan everything. The best experiences I had were often things that were suggested by people I met, or just happened. Although sometimes it's good to book things in advance, leave yourself some time to do things you might not have thought of while planning your trip.

That's all I can think of for now, but I may add more things to this list later. Now here's a list of books I read on my trip, with the ones I enjoyed the most in bold
  • In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan
  • The Game by Neil Strauss
  • The Quants by Scott Patterson
  • Booky Wook 2 by Russell Brand
  • Slash by Slash and Anthony Bozza
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The New Paradigm for Financial Markets by George Soros
  • The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams
  • Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Business Stripped Bare by Richard Branson
  • Superfreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
  • Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton
  • The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
  • The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • Beat The Market by Edward Thorp
  • Screw It, Let's Do It by Richard Branson
  • The (Mis)Behaviour of Markets by Benoit Mandelbrot
  • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  • On The Road by Jack Kerouac
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • What Do You Care What Other People Think by Richard Feynman
  • The Great Crash by Selwyn Parker
  • Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

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