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Alex, 18, helpless newbie -- pleased to meet you!


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Scodischarge

Hi everybody! As you'll probably see me around quite a bit over the next few months, I thought I might as well introduce myself.
My name is Alex, I'm an 18 year old guy from Germany, lived in Zambia 'til 2011 - we can blame my wanderlust on that :) When I had to face the question of what I'd do after school, I stumbled across Christopher Schacht's book "Around The World On 50 Bucks" -- and a long period of thinking, praying and talking later, I decided to follow his example. So starting in June of next year (2022), I'm going to start from home with 50 Euro and travel around the world without plane or plan. I have never done anything comparable, know accordingly little about the topic and accordingly stupid frequent my questions are going to be :D

If you have any questions about me, please ask -- I'm looking forward to getting to know you! Thank you in advance for all your patience :)

All the best,
Alex

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Michael aka Mac

Hi Alex and welcome to Trailgroove.com.

I wanted to share something with you that took me years to finally understand the true meaning of what was said to me, and this seems to be a fitting example with regard to Christopher Schacht's book.

I was in the military, and had received the highest scores ever to be achieved at the Fort for their military entrance exam.  I was the strongest, fastest, and smartest so I was told.  Then one day our drill sergeant came up to me and told me this

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"One of these days soldier you are going to get another one of your fellow  soldiers killed, for they are going to try to do what you can do and fail."

At first, I was unfortunately taking that statement as a compliment. I had been following in my grandfather's footsteps and trying to be just like him. He was the best of the best in the military, and there was nothing that he couldn't do that he set his mind to. It wasn't until 10 years later that I finally understood what my Drill Sergeant was trying to tell me.  

In the military and life in general, people follow suit, with someone being the person that they are trying to be like.  My grandfather's example was very hard to follow and it was when my younger brother who is terrified of heights decided to climb up a very tall ladder to hang Xmas lights on the outdoor tree so that my gramps didn't have to climb it at his age, that I finally understood what the sergeant was trying to tell me.

Alex,  by the time I was 18, I had learned how to solder, weld, do household plumbing, build speaker boxes, do household electrical work, how to paint an entire house, cut glass and install windows, I learned how to build an extension to a house, how to mix concrete, automotive repair, roofing, how to install a fence, carpentry, sewing, cooking,  and even took courses in metal shop. I had taken advanced training in mathematics, chemistry and physics, and classes at an occupational school for electronic repair,  all prior to going to college for engineering.  I was also in the boy scouts and trained in self defense.

None of my friends or anyone that I knew had such a varied background of being a Jack of all trades at such a young age.  I was lucky to have been in so many advanced magnet programs with so many extra curriculum courses like horticulture, and print press type setting, etc.

Now I do not know you Alex, and for all I know you could be just like myself at that age, but if you are not, then trying to mimic someone else's life has the same dangers as what my Drill Sergeant was trying to tell me, but I was just too young and naïve to understand at the time. Thus the old saying   " If I only knew back then what I know now, life would be so different"

Christopher Schacht is a smart guy, that had a lot of experience prior to his adventures across the world. The term one in a million applies here as only 1 in a million people could do what he has done and become a success. 

I applaud your desire to do what he has done but I implore you to 1st better yourself with training in different areas like I had done, to not only better prepare yourself for what the world has in store for you, but also to give you a better opportunity to find work out there in the world to help finance your endeavors.

There is no shame on holding off on such an adventure until one is better prepared, and more experienced. You area young guy with your whole lifetime ahead of you .

If you still have your heart set on this adventure  people like myself are here to answer questions, but one thing I learned in survival, there is a point and time when one must come to the realization that what they are trying to achieve may be unachievable for them to finish. This is what separates a man with a good head on their shoulders from one that does not, knowing when to quit.

Edited by Michael aka Mac
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Scodischarge

Michael,

I cannot thank you enough for your response. When introducing myself and asking the same questions at a German backpacking forum, I was very much negatively surprised by the responses, which nearly all went along the lines of "you can't do it" and "even if you could, it's a bad idea". So reading your answer and realizing how much thought you invested in it, I am incredibly grateful that instead of simply discouraging me, you took the time and tried to instill in me a lesson you wish you had understood earlier yourself.

I won't pretend I'm as much of a high-flyer or jack-of-all-trades as you were. Even if I was, I don't think it would change a thing of what you said -- trying to live someone else's life is a bad idea. And I'm not trying to. I hope you can understand this better if I take you into how I arrived at the point I'm at now.

I'm the youngest of four. When my two-years-older sister finished school about three years ago, it hit me that my time at school - which had defined nearly every aspect of my life for most of my life - would soon end, too. This realization scared me. It seems trivial even to me now, and probably even more so to you. But in a 16 year old's mind it meant that his reality was about to end, and he had no idea what was coming next.

At this point, I had already read Christopher Schacht's book, but I didn't immediately make the connection, "hey, I wanna do that, too!" What he had experienced was so different from my life that it might as well have been ficticious, and of no real relevance to me. But it had gotten me daydreaming, in the same way a good science fiction book does: "Hah, I wonder what might happen to me if I did that, too?" It would take me another couple of months until the thought hit me: "Wait, why shouldn't I be able to do that?" The thought came out of nowhere -- it startled me so badly, I literally stumbled and fell down while walking! The thought didn't leave me, and I started to pay more attention to a yearning I'd been feeling for quite a while at that point: A desire to leave my comfort zone and the monotonous safety of my day-to-day life, a longing to witness all the works of nature which adorn the world (to borrow from Nightwish), to live in cultures different from the ones I know, and most of all to get to know the people within these cultures.

I started talking about these thoughts and dreams to trusted friends, who I knew could help me make the right decision and who wouldn't try to influence me one way or another. I talked with friends and family, who knew me and my abilities well, and who could tell me if this plan was in any way feasible.

I am not trying to mimic Christopher Schacht's life and adventures -- there is no way on earth to do that anyway. Reading and thinking about his book was simply another puzzle piece that started the process of finding out what's next for me. I am now convinced that starting this journey is the right path.

8 hours ago, Michael aka Mac said:

I implore you to 1st better yourself with training in different areas like I had done, to not only better prepare yourself for what the world has in store for you, but also to give you a better opportunity to find work out there in the world to help finance your endeavors.

There is no shame on holding off on such an adventure until one is better prepared, and more experienced. You area young guy with your whole lifetime ahead of you .

I had a similar discussion with my parents some time ago. They asked me if I would consider completing an apprenticeship before leaving on my journey. I did consider it and gave it a lot of thought. It's a good idea in every respect: I would earn some more money beforehand, properly learn skills that are needed everywhere and have two more years of experience under my belt.
On the other hand, if there is one thing every person I talked to about my journey - whether they supported my decision or not - agreed on, it is this: If I am ever going to do this, I'll do it after school. There will be no other time in my life in which I am so free of obligations to others or myself that I can do it with a clear conscience.
So yes, I have thought about your advice long and hard, but I've come to the conclusion that the risk is simply to high for me: Things might not change in the next couple of years, but if they do, and for some reason I can't go, I would regret it for the rest of my life.

7 hours ago, Michael aka Mac said:

... one thing I learned in survival, there is a point and time when one must come to the realization that what they are trying to achieve may be unachievable for them to finish. This is what separates a man with a good head on their shoulders from one that does not, knowing when to quit.

This warning struck a chord with me. I am a boxer, and there is one thing I have noticed about the mentality in our gym: We tell each other to listen to our bodies, warn each other that a boxing match isn't worth getting seriously hurt over and to know when to quit -- but at the same time, none of us would ever easily call it quits when we're in the ring, no matter the punishment we take. It's just not how we think.

I know that when travelling, there will be many difficulties along the way and challenges to face. But the greatest challenge for me might just be admitting that there is a problem I can't solve, and realizing that the only way forward is a one-way ticket home. It's the toughest decision I might have to make, but I am ready to make it. What happens along the way, which challenges I have to face, is all in someone else's hands, and I will deal with them when I meet them. Until then, all I can do - and what I have to do - is take the first step.


Michael, I dearly hope you understand that I'm not ignoring the advice and the warnings you gave me. I deeply appreciate them, and I realize how important they are. But all of them are points I have debated about with myself a long time ago, and even after carefully re-thinking them, my conclusion stands: The next step in my life will be starting on this journey.

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Michael aka Mac

Hi again Alex,  this post will have some specific items that I suggest for you to bring on your trip (towards the end of the post), along with some links for you, and it also includes a commentary from me in the beginning paragraphs.

Alex,  one of my greatest fears is that your post and plan for this 5 year survival trip may be an inspiration to others.  I am reminded of the horrific tales of Mount Everest, and the over 200 climbing related deaths associated with that mountain.

Nevertheless,  it seemed from your original post that your mind was already set, and it is for this reason why I am trying to best prepare your for your endeavor.  My opinion is  no different then the others that you have spoken to or got responses from on other outdoor sites, but in the end, if you are going to still do this, it is obvious to me that you need guidance.  

Let me begin with getting you into the right mind set. 

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  trying to live someone else's life is a bad idea. And I'm not trying to. I hope you can understand this better if I take you into how I arrived at the point I'm at now- Alex said

If this is truly the case, that you are not just following another man's quest,  then you shouldn't be focusing on his criteria for his trip.  You are in essence going on a sabbatical, without the job or pay.  It is known in Australia as a 'Walkabout'.

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A sabbatical can last anywhere from two months to a year. In general, six months is the standard length of time for a paid sabbatical. It gives you enough time and flexibility to do things such as travel, study or tend to personal obligations as a parent or caregiver- 

  A Walkabout a short period of wandering bush life engaged in by an Australian aborigine as an occasional interruption of regular work — a ritual journey

source: google search

Alex, there are many accounts of people taking a year off to live in the outdoors, like Les Stroud of the Survivorman  TV show had done with his wife. Doctors without Borders typically do a 9-12 month sabbatical. In general these walkabouts, sabbaticals, or life adventures range from a couple of months  to a year with most being on average of six months. So going for a year, you will encounter all of the four seasons.  There is really not much more that you are going to learn from going for 5 years that you couldn't achieve from one year. Even enrollment in the military is 4 years, so I question what the point of going more then a year achieves.

Next I would reconsider how much money you are bringing with you.  Since the time lapse of Christopher Schacht's book, the world has seen a huge jump in inflation. Here in the USA for example I have seen ground beef go from $1.99 lb. to $6.99 lb., tomatoes that I use to buy for $0.69 cents /lb. to $3.49 lb.  Again this seems to be following in Christopher's footsteps versus going on your own unique adventure. For a 12 month sabbatical, I suggest a minimum of $500 Euros. 

                                                   My  Suggestions:

Going on a 1 year "Australian" Walkabout is quite different then going on a week long camping trip. This changes dramatically when trying to do this on a extremely low budget. To save money on your trip, you are going have to rethink what items you are going to bring.

 Stoves and Lighting: If you are traveling for a years long sabbatical, and on a low budget, you are not going to want to waste all of your available cash on batteries and fuel. You are going to be needing to bring and follow what hikers on the Appalachian Trail do.  Your headlamp and flashlight should be rechargeable, with the added  option for them to be able to use regular batteries for times when you can't find somewhere to charge them ( this is best option so that you do not have to carry a rechargeable version and regular battery versions of them, thus saving weight on your pack/back).  

You should also buy and bring with you a portable power charger bank. This will allow you to charge your smart phone that has GPS, and to charge your headlamp and flashlight.

To further save your limited funds, you are going to want to get a folding/collapsible ultralightweight titanium wood burning stove that has an alcohol stove burner option.  Fuel is expensive, and it will eat away your funds faster then you could possible think.  I always carry a backup stove,  an Ezbit, that uses fuel tabs. Yes, these fuel tabs are not cheap, but this is a backup stove not your main one that you will be using. There will be times where you either cannot find anything to burn in your wood burning stove, or the wood that you find may be just too damn wet to ignite.

Stoves have a multi functional purpose in survival. They are not just for preparing food for us  but also a way to purify water by boiling. I am not sure how much survival training you have, but this is a freebie: never eat snow, A) it contains impurities, B). your body needs to heat and melt the snow when eaten which will actually cause a lower body temperature for you and will also dehydrate you more. Melting the snow in a pot over a fire will also purify the water it creates.

Sleeping Bag:  As I mentioned before, since you are going to be away for least a year, you will need a sleeping bag for all 4 seasons.  Buying just a cold weather sleeping bag will result in you sweating your @#$ off in the other 3 seasons.

There are a few ways to do this, all of which require a multiple layer setup. There are military sleeping bags that already have the multi layer setup complete in one bag like the USA Military 4 Piece Modular Sleeping Bag System made by Tennier SP0100-03-D-4047. The problem with making your own layered system is knowing what the actual temperature rating your final product has. 

I do not make it a habit to link to other sites I have posted in, but for the sake of simplicity and to save myself a lot of time typing, here are a few links to some gear that you should consider.

Knives: You are going to be having a wood burning stove so you are going to have to be able to cut and chop wood. There is something called Bushcraft which is a way to do such tasks as chopping, battoning  which is using a piece of wood and hitting it over your knife so that you can split a log, and making wood shavings to start a fire. These are a few of the knives that I personally own and suggest and these links will give you further detail of them. Below are three of the knives that I suggest, and no I do not get any profit or commission from you buying them.

Tops Mil S.p.i.e. 3

Scharade Schf57

KA-BAR Becker Companion BK2

and last the "Boker Magnum Lil giant".  this one you are going to have to just google. These knives all can be used for Bushcraft. Choose one of the four.

Last I strongly suggest for you to have in addition to one of those 4 knives this Victorinox Swiss Champ Swiss Army Knife

Baring a saw, knives, bottle and can opener, magnifying glass, metal file, chisel, awl, tweezers, toothpick, scissors, pliers, etc., this multi function tool will assist you in many of the bushcraft and grooming tasks that you will be facing.

Due to how long a trip you are going I suggest getting this Forever Match

A Mylar solar blanket when used correctly can save your life, again if used correctly, this is but one manufacture, and when looking to buy one you want the one that reflects the most heat back to you, which is listed on the products.

Also read this thread about solar blankets

You will want a magnesium fire starter and there are a lot of brands out there that either don't work, or just don't work efficiently. Read the cautions that I listed in this and realize you cannot extinguish it using water, although table salt would work to put it out.

A metal GI style canteen can be used to boil water in it, on top of being used for water storage. I personally own this and all things that I am linking. and this is the Lid for the canteen cup which is sold separately.

You are not going to want to bring one of your Bath towels with you on your trip due to weight and bulk, so use a camp towel

I also found carabiners to be of extreme importance, and use them all the time for numerous tasks.

 Alex,  I have spent several hours on this, not including the time spent on previous replies to your thread.  I am doing this specifically for not just you but for anyone, god forbid, that embarks on your quest, inspired by the same desires that you are expressing.

You may have heard the saying an eye for an eye... What you could do to repay me, is to use the time between now and your departure date to go online and watch countless "Survival Videos",  " Surviving in the Outdoors",  "How to make fire", " How to build a fire", "Bushcraft Techniques": " How to chop & split wood and make tinder", "First Aid" "What to do if someone is hypothermic" don't just watch one video of the subject matter for each but several different videos of each topic by multiply of creditable sources.

 AlfieAesthetics is the 1st one I suggest watching  Do Not eat anything that he suggests,  as his background is plant identification but in a different country then yours, and although some plants and mushrooms may appear to be the same  I can assure you they are not. He has numerous helpful videos.

I also want you to buy, read cover to cover, and bring with you the SaS hand size survival book.

And Alex,  this next thing is of the upmost importance. You need to try out each and every item piece of gear that you get in the real world PRIOR to going on your trip. Not only do you need to try them out, but use them in the same conditions that they are designed for. This is crucial for your survival.

Being a former boxer myself, you and I both know that one just doesn't jump into the ring on the 1st day. We train.  Endurance training and boxing is just like preparing for your trip.  You need to start camping in your backyard in these upcoming winter months with your new gear so that you can test to see how it works and to see if what you have will be sufficient for the cold winter months. Realize when you are doing things in the outdoor in winter your body is generating more heat then it does when you are sleeping so while you may be warm while doing activities, you will be much colder when laying down doing nothing. 

There is no excuse not test your gear and sleep outdoors this winter other then laziness, which I think would not describe the kind of person you are.

Also here is the link from other post so that you have all the links on one page

https://www.trailgroove.com/forums/topic/5604-1st-time-campers-camping-equipment-checklist-and-some-helpful-tips-tricks/?tab=comments#comment-15118

Edited by Michael aka Mac
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Michael aka Mac

Hey Alex,

I actually can't stop worrying about you camping in the winter months. Winter camping is unique and most people in general tend to stay away from it due to risk factors.  The primary risks being severe frost bite ( this is when  fingers, toes, hands & or feet need to be amputated)  hypothermia,  and death.

You though are in a different country then I am which actually may be to your benefit.  I want you to think of the possibility of losing a tad of spontaneity and add some structure to a portion of your adventure, if only for the winter months.  Unlike here in the USA, there are several locations in your neck of the woods in different countries where in December, January, February, & March that the temperature does not fall below 20 degrees Celsius ( That is 68 degrees Fahrenheit for all of you non metric people).  

 Parts of Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, and Italy for example you will most likely not experience extreme cold weather conditions. 

I wont lie. winter camping is dangerous especially for those not are not experienced campers, and even then many underestimate the weather and over estimate their own experience. 

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Scodischarge

Hi Michael,

Thank you once again for this very detailed list, and for adding your own comments and advice. My apologies for taking this long to reply, I wanted to give your recommendations the study they deserve, but was somewhat caught up in the less fun and more bureaucratic parts of preparation.

Let me first (hopefully) appease your worries concerning camping outdoors during the winter somewhat. When I do it to test the equipment, I will do it in my backyard, which is as controlled an environment as it gets: A warm living room is mere steps away, my father is a trained nurse, and if worse comes to worst, the next hospital is two minutes away by car (literally). Apart from all precautions I might take, if the gear is worth anything, it won't come to that -- temperature's haven't gone below -10°C (14°F) this winter yet, and are usually above.

Another thing I wanted to add: I'll try to travel avoiding the cold season, e.g. by the time temperatures start to drop in Europe, I hope to be travelling up the Nile and further south already. True, the Sahara gets pretty cold at night (single digit negatives (°C), Google says), but it does raise the question whether I need e.g. the four layered sleeping bag for the whole duration of the trip. To save weight and space, it seems to make more sense to acquire those parts of the equipment only when I will conceivably need them. Do you second that, or do you think I should be better safe than sorry and put up with the potentially needless bulk the entire time?

On to your gear recommendations. I looked into titanium stoves; is this the kind of stove you would recommend? https://www.fireboxstove.com/ultralight-stoves/3-inch-titanium-folding-firebox-nano
Apart from being lighter, does the titanium stove provide any other advantages over stainless steel?

Apart from that, I don't yet have any questions about the specific gear you linked; your explanations and reasoning were clear. But one big question has come up while reading your response and looking at the various pieces of equipment: What kind of trip are you preparing me for, exactly?
I'm not asking this as a joke or snidely, but because if I didn't communicate my intentions clearly before and caused you to get the wrong impression of my plans, then I would end up gearing up for the wrong kind of journey. So by asking, I simply hope to clear up any possible misunderstandings as soon as possible.

Finally, your queries have once again caused me to closely examine my motives for the criteria I'm setting on the trip: time frame, money, mode of travel.

Time:

The time frame of 5 years is not in itself a criterium or goal, but rather is the result of such a goal: namely, travelling wherever I want to and staying there for as long as I like it. Five years is simply a reasonable estimate on how long this might take, based on the experiences of people who travelled in a similar manner.

On 1/3/2022 at 6:00 PM, Michael aka Mac said:

There is really not much more that you are going to learn from going for 5 years that you couldn't achieve from one year. Even enrollment in the military is 4 years, so I question what the point of going more then a year achieves.

Why bother visiting school for more than a year? What's the point of meeting new people once you've made a couple of friends? Why would you hike to a new destination if you already know a decent trail?

Please forgive the snarky tone above, but I trust you get my point. If at any point during my journey I feel like I'm stagnating, not learning or growing, then I'm doing something wrong. Because no matter if I'm in Rwanda, Peru, Canada or back in Germany, I'll never be done learning, so long as I have the courage to step out there and embrace the unknown.

Money:

You brought up a good point about prices going up everywhere. And I'm not sure yet if I will start with only 50€. Because the truth is, whether I start with 50, 100 or 500 bucks, the amount doesn't matter. The reason for taking so little money is to force me to integrate myself, to live focused on people and focused on the culture, and to force me to work further to finance my travels.

[side note in case this caused any confusion before: Of course I'm going to work and earn extra money along the way, I hadn't planned on supporting myself for several years on 50€ alone. Also note that I'm obviously both prepared and able to spend a lot more on the right gear and equipment; 50€ is simply the money I'm going to start from home with)

Fun story I recall from an interview Mr Schacht gave: He actually started with 200€ extra as backup, but once he reached Spain, he sent it back home -- he simply didn't need it.

Transportation:

i.e. no use of planes. This I thought about for a long, long time. Not gonna lie, using an airplane would be a tremendous help, not only to cross the odd ocean, but also to skip over countries like Sudan, which are not only tough to get into, but could potentially complicate my plans further down the road.

However, I decided against using them. Here's what I wrote in my journal:

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... because it's not about destinations, it's about the journey. Because it's not about locations, but about people. Because I am convinced that precisely those places I would else skip [with an airplane] hold the most stirring encounters for me.

Your questions made me doubt myself and my motives, Michael, but it was the good kind of doubt. It allowed me to analyze why exactly I wanted to do this and gave me the opportunity to reconsider if needed. You've seen the results of these considerations above. In a nutshell: I want to go new places, do wild stuff, meet great people, and this is the way for me to do it.

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Michael aka Mac

Hi Alex,

I am going to begin with 2 quotes:

"The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. "

"No matter where you go, there you are"  -Buckaroo Bonzai 

There is a primitive survivalist named Cody Lundin that was given world wide fame by the TV show production "Duel Survival" that aired on the Discovery Channel.  The unusual aspect of his way of life is that he walks barefoot, without shoes.  Now, despite the fact that not wearing foot cover is not advisable, the thing it forces him to do is move through jungles and forests at a much slower pace then either you or myself would move at. With him moving at slower pace, he has more time to take things in from his surroundings, and has the ability to have a greater appreciation of what he sees.

I see so many long distance hikers that cover great distances  on their hikes. It is almost a pissing contest amongst other hikers on how far they can travel within any given day. What they are missing  out on is appreciating what is right in front of them at any given moment. The birds flying above, the squirrel or raccoon in the trees, the fox that is watching them out of mere curiosity, the rare plant life surrounding them, and the picturesque 360 degree views of the environment.

Point being that people can spend their entire life looking for something and not realize that the adventures they are seeking are right in front of them.

Your inquiries 

The stove you linked  is a style I am not fond of due to the pegs on top and bottom.  I find them to be less secure and more flimsy, but other then that  yes  that is the type of stove i was suggesting.  A cheaper version that doesn't have the same type of support pegs is the    Tomshoo stove

The sleeping bag I suggested is indeed bulky and heavy, but our everchanging climate can result in an extremely  frigid cold night out of the blue. You may have a few nights where a higher temperature rating sleeping bag will suffice only to have a cold wave come and hit you with freezing temperatures.

On 1/10/2022 at 5:35 PM, Scodischarge said:

But one big question has come up while reading your response and looking at the various pieces of equipment: What kind of trip are you preparing me for, exactly?

Alex,  what i am trying to prepare you for is the UNKNOWN.   My background is in the sciences, where we are ruled by the scientific method steps,( but it is also in outdoor survival ).  What variables  are known, what variables are not known.  The fact is Alex, the trip you are planning to go on is Filled to the Brim with the unknown. 

These are but a few of the unknowns

Where are you going to sleep each night,  what is the environment like ( are there places to set up a tent, how bout a hammock, where will you procreate water and food, what is the terrain going to be like, is there wood around to be gathered, what is the weather and temperature, are there hospitals or doctors nearby, how are you going to shower and wash your clothes,  where are you going to go to the bathroom,  and how and where are you going to resupply yourself).

I am trying to prepare you from everything to temperature, food and water procreation, and self rescue for when the "$h!! hits the fan". In the outdoors  it is not just shelter, water, food, fire,  but survival. Snakes, poisonous spiders & insects, hyenas, wolves, coyotes, bears to name but a few of the wildlife that you will pass paths with.  You can also expect twisted ankles, blisters, splinters, lacerations, dehydration, heat stroke, hyperthermia, diarrhea "Lions and tigers and bears, Oh Crap!"  oh, and let's not forget about things like poison Ivy.

A tangent from the discussion, a helpful Tip 

Alex, I want to share a brain storming idea I had while traveling in Europe for a over a month that saved me from carrying a lot of weight (of gear) that I didn't need at the time. In every airport, bus and train terminal that I went to, they all had one thing in common, "Storage Lockers".  I would use 1 or 2 of these storage lockers to hold everything that I knew I wasn't going to be needing for that part of my trip. If by chance my plans  had changed or there was an unforeseen circumstance that popped up  I would venture back to the station to access my stored gear. You still have to trek your gear from one station to the next but that is it.

On 1/10/2022 at 5:35 PM, Scodischarge said:

Why bother visiting school for more than a year? What's the point of meeting new people once you've made a couple of friends? Why would you hike to a new destination if you already know a decent trail?

In college I took a course in Philosophy, which ironically was one of my hardest courses and I was taking advanced mathematics, physics and engineering courses at the same time.  Studying Philosophy, there were many different point of views from  numerous deep thinkers of our world's past.  There were always 2 sides to every question that one would ponder on.  

These are the questions you need to ask yourself ( the ones quoted above). So Alex, for you, what is the point of meeting new people once you have made a couple of friends?  You and I are 2 different mentalities with different backgrounds and upbringing. We probably have different desires, beliefs, values, and hopes.  For me, meeting new people is easy, as I am not shy, rather forward, and can easily fit in no matter who I am with or where I am at, it is just my personality.

On the other hand, for me to consider someone a friend is quite rare.  I can count all of my male friends on one hand and female friends on the other, with fingers to spare on each hand. In my experience, finding a true friend that will always be there for you over the countless years, is a true rarity.  There are 7 friends listed in total on my Facebook page. Now I know people that have over 1000 friends on Facebook, but how many of them are really true friends, best friends, someone that has your back and best interests?  

Alex, I cannot answer those questions that you somewhat rhetorically mentioned. My answers would be different then yours. I am not saying this is the case, but from a standpoint, one could infer that you are saying that this trip of yours seems that of desperation and fear that this life journey has to be now, and has to be as long as it can as the ability to have such an adventure will never be accessible to you ever again.

The ultimate adventure trip... LIFE

Honestly Alex, I have personally never took the adventure that you are planning to do , a 5 year walkabout. I have on the other hand, lived in over 35 different places in my life  living in different states, and cities within, in the USA including Rhode Island, Massachusetts, California, Texas, New York, and I have spent stints in New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, and abroad in Mexico and traveled by train across Europe ending up in Zurich, Switzerland.

No, this was not 1 continuous journey across the world, and it did take way over 5 years, and over $50 Euro, but the experience, the true everlasting friendships, the knowledge, and memories could never be forgotten.

What I realize now, what is most important in life, least for myself, was putting down roots, a place that I could call home, long term relationships,  and starting one's own family.  

Alex, Life is an adventure in and of itself.  One never knows what lies ahead for them or where the path they are taking will lead them to.  I am not you and you are not me, but if the roles were reversed and I was in your shoes, what I would be doing if I was craving your desires, would be to go to different schools abroad for 6 months to a year at a time.

For example, taking 1 semester at college in Spain, then next semester in Portugal, then but another semester in Switzerland, followed by a semester in England, one in Italy, another in Canada, followed by one in the USA such as New York, one in Florida, and maybe for a change of pace and some fun & adventure,  a semester in the Netherlands & Japan. These would be some of my choices, yours of course would probably be different ( although New York would definitely be a good choice )

It might take you 6 years vs 5 but in the end you would also be getting some sort of college degree.  You would be meeting new people, seeing new countries, learning new languages & customs, experiencing new ways of life, new cuisines and culture ( think endless museums ) and learning new trades that will help finance your endeavors while going to all these different schools.  

One does not have to have survival experience or camping knowledge to do the above adventure.  You are not gong to get frostbite or attacked by wild animals, (that depends on the college you go to lol). Nor are your parents or friends going to be scared or worried about you in that adventure. But again this is but a suggestion, as I have mentioned  I am here to help you with any and all survival and camping questions that you will have, but please don't hate me for also trying to influence you to rethink your plan and changing it to one that will worry me far less.

Last - something else to think about

This is just something I want you to think about.  Let's say that right now you are hungry and thirsty so what do you do where you are currently?  You get up from the sofa,  walk to the kitchen, open the refrigerator, take out some food and a beverage, get out a pot, open a can of soup with a can opener, add some spices, turn on the stove,  get a glass from the cabinet and a bowl and a spoon for the soup, pour your beverage then put the container back in the frig to keep cool,  eat and drink your soup and beverage, go to the sink and turn on the faucet, grab a sponge and dish soap, wash your dishes, put them on the rack to dry, then head back to your sofa and watch some more TV.

Now same question but in the outdoors. Walk around your campsite looking for twigs, dry leaves, tree bark, small dead branches, larger size wood, get out your knife and shave some wood for tinder, get out your magnesium fire starter, shave some fragments off of it,  make a fire birds nest, make a fire pit, build a fire tepee, take out your ferro rod and striker, make sparks onto the fire birds nest, carry birds nest with fire embers to fire pit,  blow on embers in bird nest to start a fire to boil water. 

Ahh  the water part.  Get out your canteen, walk down to the river or stream,  as one needs to be nearby where ever you set up camp, either use a water filtration device to purify water or collect water in the canteen so that you can boil the water to purify it, set canteen over fire and wait up to 6 mins for it to boil, and now prepare and cook your food..

Ahh food part.  See where i am going.  Just realize  your life  has been a suburban one and not one living off the land.  When camping, the very basic things to do, daily tasks,  take a lot longer. This for many is very fun, when on a short trip that is, but doing this day by day for years is a different animal. 

Also take into consideration your evenings.  Despite my belief that safe camping means camping with someone else, camping alone for extended periods of time can for many be quite boring and lonely especially in the later hours of the day and night. Passing the time can be hard,  how many games of solitary are you going to play with your deck of cards before you are bored to tears. You are not going to be able to turn on the TV, or scroll through movies to stream, or play video games or what not. You are going to be a lot of times  camping alone, with no one to converse with at night. Expect boredom, and solitude.

Btw Alex, don't forget about the work aspect. Keep in mind that some places only pay you bimonthly by mailing you a check to your address. They are structured in such a way that they are not able to simply hand you cash.  Some establishments also ask for references, job history, proof of residency, and now even for medical vaccination history. This could limit you to under the table jobs, that only pay in cash, which are either rather dirty jobs, dangerous, or simply undesirable, (think cleaning toilets or shovelings manure). Some jobs like in Alaska, USA, are dangerous like crabbing, lobster, fishing vessels  that go out for a month at a time on the ocean.  (they are in the top 10 most dangerous professions) 

Have you thought about possibly staying as Hostels? a much cheaper road to take then a hotel or lodge  also looking for  rooms for rent could be an option. In some areas  they even rent houseboats, and during off peak times of the year, these can be very affordable on a low budget. In these situations, the daily chores of getting food, water, cooking, and keeping your food below 40F to prevent from spoiling will not be an issue and save you hours of footwork, giving you more time to experience what the place you are at has to offer.

I know someone that decided to become a teacher, but not for the reason you are probably thinking. He has the summer time off every year because of his choice of employment and every summer he goes away for 2  1/2  months to a different location around the world. in twenty years  he has spent . He has so far spent over 4 years abroad during his summer vacations, and like you his dream is to experience new things  around the world. Just because you are turning 18 it doesn't mean this is the only opportunity you will ever have to travel and experience life.  Your job choice will indeed be a factor. A flight attendant for example travels a lot and some choose to stay for a week at where ever their job brings them. 

One of my intentions is to indeed create doubt. I just want you to be fully aware  all the things that can go wrong, that can backfire, and also to show you other options, scenarios, and opportunities that you may not be aware of.  

No matter what path you choose Alex,  I will try to support your decision, and try to help you out with any questions or advice. But i am also making sure that you are aware that you have multiple other options at your fingertips, you just may not have come to that same conclusion yet. That is where life experience such as my own comes into play.

"If I only knew back then when I was younger what I now know today, things would have been different"   Alex, that saying is world wide and applies to every living soul. We all say that as when we were younger we didn't know any better, sometimes we just have to learn these things on our own, though hardship and mistakes, but other times knowing ahead of time could have prevented numerous undesirable outcomes.

Edited by Michael aka Mac
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Hi Alex

Michael is doing a great job of talking you through all the issues that might arise, and conditions you might meet.  I won't enter into that part of the discussion, because Michael's already got you thinking. 

But I would raise another question. I think what you really want is an adventure--and I am thoroughly on board with that idea.  I love it.  But I am going to raise a question Michael only touched on, when he mentioned the amount of money. In your posts, you are setting up a series of conditions that must be met.  Is that because you think you can't have an adventure without those conditions? 

I ask for two reasons. One of them is simple--I think it's possible to have an adventure under all sorts of different conditions, whether they include $50 or $500, walking or using buses or airplanes.  And adventure is simply an attempt to get us outside of ourselves--a search for ecstasy.  (Ex=out of;  stasis=stability, thus ecstasy means getting out of the current status). So while I appreciate your initial "conditions," I don't think they are completely necessary for you to have a real adventure.  (As an example, you could fly to a part of the world where you do not speak the language and then try to get home without using your native tongue, and do so without any money.  A different kind of adventure. Of fly to a port city and walk to the highest point in that country. Or hike the length of the Andes. All good adventures.) 

The reason I raise this issue is that if you set a series of conditions and then fail to meet one of them, you may conclude that your adventure is over and that you have failed.  Bad idea.  Instead, give yourself a break and give yourself a reason to keep going, even if you have to do something that doesn't fit your initial conditions for the adventure. And this also gives you the opportunity to take advantage of something that comes up along the way---like if a beautiful woman invites you to hike the length of the Andes with her...but you have to fly there! 

Just saying. 

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Michael aka Mac

Balzaccom  had mentioned to you  Alex, your conditions / restrictions that you are creating for your trip, and temporarily focused on the money aspect, but I believe he was also referring to all conditions that you are applying to your quest.  

21 hours ago, balzaccom said:

And this also gives you the opportunity to take advantage of something that comes up along the way---like if a beautiful woman invites you to hike the length of the Andes with her...but you have to fly there! 

Balzaccom, this reminded me of my trip to Zurich, Switzerland.  I had an itinerary that I established for myself for when I got to Zurich.  It was an interesting country, and the further I got from the train station , the less likely I was to find a person that spoke English.

I was about to cross the street when I saw an attractive young lady that was wearing a  "I Love New York " T-shirt, and without hesitation, I spoke the words " But have you ever even been to NY"   To my surprise, she replied to me in English,  yes  I have  and I loved it there.  

If I had stuck to my itinerary, I would have never had spent the entire day and night with her.  Seeing someone from NY sparked her fond memories of traveling there and we began speaking right there on the sidewalk.  After 30 mins of just standing there and talking about NY she said she had to go and meet up with her friends, and asked if I would like to tag along.

We all had lunch together and now I was speaking with everyone in her group including her best friend that was a professional Violinist from a well known philharmonic.  I was then asked to go to dinner with the group followed by an evening of music at a local joint where her best friend and others  played their instruments for our enjoyment.   

Alex,  just curious,  but have you ever looked into joining  organizations that send volunteers to other countries.  Sime of them even pay for your flight and room and board too.

https://www.goodnet.org/articles/397

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Michael aka Mac

Alex, I was just curious what preparations and precautions are you taking on this trip with regard to Covid?  I am sure with all the research that you have been doing that you have taken into consideration International Laws and each countries' Quarantine laws.  

Many countries require proof of vaccinations for Covid 19, and have a mandatary 1-2 week quarantine that forces you to stay at a designated hotel or lodging during the course of your quarantine, sadly , paid by you. So for example visiting 3 different countries over a course of 3 months requires up to 6 weeks quarantine, which would mean you are spending 1/2 of the 3 months  in quarantine for your trip.

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