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Unconventional Travel
Old 01-17-2006, 11:04 AM   #1
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Unconventional Travel

On another posting Sheryl said:

"Sheryl


speaking of extreme outdoor activities - if I can take this thread on a slight detour - I have always dreamed of going to Antarctica - I found this trip in my PADI dive magazine this morning, and am salivating. Must have something to do with watching March of the Penguins a couple weeks ago. However I have already promised SO that Christmas 2006 will be somewhere tropical.... and the ole' portfolio needs a couple bull market years before we pay for something like this... but a girl can dream, eh??
"

It got me to thinking of planned travel and differences (challenges?) between my wife & I on travel choices. I have planned for some years and plan to go this year and kayak in the Arctic. I bought an old Jeep Cherokee and I plan to drive 4,400 miles from Southern California up to Canada past Dawson Creek up the Dempster Hwy, the final 450 miles are a dirt road. The we would paddle around Inuvik and maybe get to a couple other towns like Tuk or Aklivic. My wife asks me why I want to go and I show her pictures of the vast open spaces and she replies "Theres a reason no one lives there!" and shows me pictures of Hawaii & Tahiti and says that "If you fall in the water there you don't die!"

My wife is retiring in June about the time we plan to leave. I expect to work another year or two, so this would be a long vacation, but it seems like if you want to do unconventional travel its better to do it 'young', what better reason for retiring early?

Anyone have some unconventional travel to report? How did you snyc them with your spouse?
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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-17-2006, 11:31 AM   #2
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Re: Unconventional Travel

travelled to/from/around Mexico by bus on a 6 week trip with my girlfriend (now my wife). It was pretty rough at times. Stayed in seedy motels. The woman had her limits as to how crappy a motel she would stay in.

Great experience - We have all probably flown across Middle America numerous times, but it was interesting to see Middle America from the ground at 60 mph instead of in a jet at 30,000 feet. Interesting characters along the way. Plus there were a number of out of the way places we went to in Mexico.

Not sure if I'd ever ride a bus from NC to Mexico (1600 miles, 2-3 days one way). But it was an interesting experience.

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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-17-2006, 11:34 AM   #3
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Re: Unconventional Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
There is a difference between unconventional travel and roughing it. I have done both. My wife prefers unconventional travel, but not necessarily roughing it.
Here's a trip we took a few years ago that splits the difference. DW was skeptical but ended up really enjoying it since someone else did all the cooking, the "cabins" had wooden floors (canvas top), and there was a flush toilet (three sided privy, with the open side facing drop-dead mountain scenery, and a 55-gallon barrel of water on the roof ).

And the hour plus flight in and out from Golden, BC was spectacular.

http://hiddentrails.com/outdoor/fish/hamber-flyout.htm

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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-17-2006, 11:57 AM   #4
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Re: Unconventional Travel

We did three months on a 28' sailboat in the Abacos Islands in 2003. Although it was hot, cramped, close quarters, the boat offered an economical way for us to see the islands and live like locals. I absolutely think that the older you get the harder it is to deal with inconveniences and hardships. I knew "kids" in their 20s who would pile 3 or 4 of them on a 30' sailboat and go to Grenada with no ill effects whatsoever. They didn't notice the conditions or considered them a decent trade. At the advanced age of 35, I now have requirements for our next sailboat that include an inside shower and a bigger cabin (or even god-forbid a Trawler instead of a sailboat).
We are contemplating a trip to Mongolia (horseback/camelback trip) for 2006 and comfort decisions will weigh on us--it is embarrassing to discover we aren't as rugged as we think we are! Sigh.
But one of the best rugged places I've ever stayed was these fabulous thatched huts on the reef offshore from Placencia, Belize, CA--no water except rainwater and you carried in all your food--except for lobsters caught reefwalking--and the snorkeling was incredible.
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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-17-2006, 01:43 PM   #5
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Re: Unconventional Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
Here's a trip we took a few years ago that splits the difference.* DW was skeptical but ended up really enjoying it since someone else did all the cooking, the "cabins" had wooden floors (canvas top), and there was a flush toilet (three sided privy, with the open side facing drop-dead mountain scenery, and a 55-gallon barrel of water on the roof* ).*

And the hour plus flight in and out from Golden, BC was spectacular.

http://hiddentrails.com/outdoor/fish/hamber-flyout.htm

I still enjoy "unconventional travel" if it is cheap and there
is little or no physical labor involved.

JG
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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-17-2006, 03:14 PM   #6
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Re: Unconventional Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheryl
I have always dreamed of going to Antarctica
Buy a freezer. Turn it on. Sit in it with the light off for a day or two. If it still looks like a good idea, rinse and repeat

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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-17-2006, 03:24 PM   #7
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Re: Unconventional Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by ()
Buy a freezer.* Turn it on.* Sit in it with the light off for a day or two.* If it still looks like a good idea, rinse and repeat

I would need some wind-driven snow and a big bucket of 33 degree water in there with me - don't think they make freezers big enough.
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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-17-2006, 03:49 PM   #8
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Re: Unconventional Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheryl
I would need some wind-driven snow and a big bucket of 33 degree water in there with me - don't think they make freezers big enough.
They sure do. When dad was in the fish business, he had freezers big enough to drive a truck into.
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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-17-2006, 04:51 PM   #9
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Re: Unconventional Travel

I recently drove across the USA and back and mostly slept in the back of my hatchback car in Wal Mart parking lots. For those of you who don't know, Wal Mart has a policy of allowing RV campers to spend the night in their lots at most stores, so it's a popular place for people who want to crash for free. And they are good about security... most of them had a guard constantly driving the lot all night.

It actually worked out tremendously well. I saved a bunch of money and it was in many ways more convenient than staying in a motel... no packing/unpacking and no need to spend time finding a motel. The DVD nav system on my car can always find the nearest Wal Mart wherever I am, and I find that in rural america in any relatively populated town there was almost always a Wal mart within 5 miles.

I also sometimes slept in trucker's rest stops, and usually showered in truck stop showers or at RV campgrounds.

One of the really refreshing aspects was the way it brought me more into the world... in a motel you usually go to your room after dinner and read or watch TV until bedtime, and then take your time getting up in the morning. But when you are sleeping in your car you find something to do until you're ready to actually sleep. And when you wake up you're on the road in a few minutes. It saves time to sleep in your car.

There were other relatively unconventional travel things I did in the past few years...

Riding the green tortoise bus through Costa Rica where people sleep on the bus and cook meals together.

Bicycling for 10 days in France and sleeping in "pensiones" where farmers rent out rooms.

Trekking in Nepal and sleeping in unheated teahouse rooms with often nothing more than a dusty mattress, or trekking in Thailand and sleeping on straw mats in a hill tribe house.

Sleeping on a liveaboard dive boat on the great barrier reef in a room with four other guys and a bed that was so short I couldn't extend my legs.

Living in Buddhist Monasteries for 10 days in Nepal and Myanmar. The Myanmar place was probably the most "roughing it" place I encountered; due to the prohibition on killing, the room was infested with ants and the straw mattress infested with bedbugs. Not to mention the electrical outlets that would spark when water from the shower dripped onto them.

And of course sleeping in Youth Hostels (bunk rooms) in Europe, New Zealand, and Australia.

Sadly, I still haven't found a girlfriend who is excited by this kind of travel... I'm sure she's out there though!
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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-17-2006, 05:01 PM   #10
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Re: Unconventional Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
They sure do.* When dad was in the fish business, he had freezers big enough to drive a truck into.
You are so right, I guess I just wasn't thinking inside a big enough box.
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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-17-2006, 05:03 PM   #11
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Re: Unconventional Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by fireme

Sadly, I still haven't found a girlfriend who is excited by this kind of travel... I'm sure she's out there though!
I'm sure she is. I'm not THAT unique! :
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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-18-2006, 01:12 PM   #12
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Re: Unconventional Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by fireme
Sadly, I still haven't found a girlfriend who is excited by this kind of travel... I'm sure she's out there though!
And when you find her, do like I did and marry her!
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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-18-2006, 03:09 PM   #13
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Re: Unconventional Travel

I don't know if you consider cycling unconventional, but I have been cycle touring since 1983. I have
one cross-country, 2 Los Angeles-Denver, 1 Denver-LA, PortlandOR-LA, LA to Lake Tahoe and
back, 2 weeks in New England, across Kansas (my only large group ride), across Oregon, Atlanta to
Waynesboro, LA to SanFrancisco and back, and many shorter tours. The cross country, New England,
and a some of shorter tours were done with a friend, Kansas was with a group, but most were alone.

I usually stay in motels, but have camped on some of the rides. I typically arise around 3-4am and hit
the road immediately. The first 3-5 hours of the day are quiet, with almost no traffic. In addition, since
much of my touring is in the desert, this is when the temperature is perfect for riding. I finish by around
noon for a typical 70-80 mile day with some mountains and rest stops.

As far as synching them with my (ex-)spouse, I was already touring long before we started dating. One
of the first favors I asked of her was a drop-off at the airport with my bike. She knew what she was
getting into (at least in that respect), and also enjoyed solo vacationing.
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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-18-2006, 03:12 PM   #14
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Re: Unconventional Travel

The Antarctica trip can be done in high comfort. *(I don't know about the diving part though - sounds chilly!!!!).

We have a (mostly) retired friend who guides a few birdwatching trips a year. *He guides a trip to Antartica every year and has gone there annually for over 10 years now? *

Very nice ships - all modern conveniences. *The waters can be rough on the long water crossing from South America. *That seems to be the major downside.

Yes, so $$$$$. *

We'll do it one of these days. *Icebergs, penguins, albatrosses, incredible scenery. *What's not to like?

No - doesn't resemble being locked inside a dark deep freeze I don't think.

Audrey
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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-18-2006, 04:12 PM   #15
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Re: Unconventional Travel

I think I posted recently that my dream vacation is an Antarctic expedition. Glad to see there are others who share that dream.

Can you tell me more about your friend's trips, Audrey?? What company does he work for/with?

Thanks
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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-18-2006, 04:43 PM   #16
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Re: Unconventional Travel

Hey There, Fireme -- I'm seriously considering Nepal / Tibet in May -- any tips you can send my way? Anything important to avoid?

As to the question of needing / wanting more comfort as you get older, the only way i've found to avoid that is to keep gettin' dirty!

If I don't manage at least TWO backpacking trips per year of at least a week each, I feel like I'm getting soft. That and a half-dozen car-camping trips, and all is well. "Use it or lose it" seems to apply to roughing it as well as to so many other things...
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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-18-2006, 04:50 PM   #17
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Re: Unconventional Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by fireme
Sadly, I still haven't found a girlfriend who is excited by this kind of travel... I'm sure she's out there though!
Seems like the best place to find one might be on the road. *While in India I was really suprised by the number of single women (of all ages) exploring the country on their own or with another girlfriend. *A lot of them were from Australia.

Actually the coolest thing I saw there was a Swedish family who were travelling together with 3 little kids (ages 3-8). *They were staying in youth hostels and budget guesthouses and travelling all over the country for a month in the cheapest sleeper trains... when we met them they had just come to Delhi after a 40 hour ride from Goa. *Their kids were really enthusiastic and the oldest one said she was saving her allowance so they could come back again sooner. *Really impressive to see a whole family doing the that kind of travel, especially in a place as hard as India.
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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-18-2006, 05:03 PM   #18
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Re: Unconventional Travel

I used to do unconventional travel in my younger years.* My wife prefers the Hyatt touch though.* A few months ago she somehow ended up booking a room at the Cadillac Hotel in Venice Beach.* It rather defined unconventional for us - very rustic, no tv, no chair, no phone (but 5 phone books).* We slept to a "dead on" Doors impersonation band playing into the wee hours of the morning.* We both ended up enjoying the experience, so maybe we'll end up doing more trips like that one.* * *
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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-18-2006, 06:23 PM   #19
 
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Re: Unconventional Travel

FlowGirl, we took part in an exchange, our Sons went to Sweden, the next year, two Swedish Teenagers stayed with us.

Fluent in English, French, German, they spoke a little Russian, and insisted on two hours a day of vigorous exercise.

The Swedes are Today's Business Person, Global thinking, Socially Responsible.
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Re: Unconventional Travel
Old 01-18-2006, 09:28 PM   #20
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Re: Unconventional Travel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheryl
I just wasn't thinking inside a big enough box.
Not gonna touch it with an 11' pole...

And the three or four of you starting to THINK about something related to a big box and an 11' pole, just stop thinking about it. Definitely dont say anything about it.
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