Monday, November 17, 2008

Matters of Import

A while ago Dr. Charles Cox of Miami Dade College gave a lecture in the "Last Lecture" style. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend because of an exam but my friend Mayra was able to record it for me. Dr. Cox is one of the best professors at MDC. He makes history so enternaining, I think, because he loves the subject (seems to be a trend with great teachers). The lecture is a mix of history and some parting words of wisdom. By the way I never saw him use notes once in class ( I took two), he just came in sat down and told us a story.
There doesn't seem to be a way I can simply upload the audio so I just attached a picture (I couldn't find one of him) and made a video on Windows Movie Maker. The whole lecture is about an hour but I have broken it up into roughly twenty minute intervals to make it more manageable.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

A Bit Of Research

For the past couple of weeks I have been doing a bit of reading regarding travel. I figured I'd let people know what I was reading. All of these have been acquired from local libraries so some are not the most up to date. Also there are many websites to gather information from and I have listed some under the links.

Going Abroad: The Bathroom Survival Guide by Eva Newman (1997 edition)
This thin little book offers a great reference to the different toilets to be found 'round the world. I figured if I should learn a bit about some etiquitte before I went and made a complete fool of myself. Even though this is a bit dated I thought it was well worth a read; even if only the first half of the book is read as the second half is some history.

Traveling Solo by Eleanor Berman (2001 edition)
I picked up this book because of the title mostly. Whereas this book is full of great vacation ideas for North America and a bit of Europe, there is very little in regard to the rest of the world (some mention of Nepal and East Africa). It also had a lot of information for a bit of an older crowd than I and people with more money to use in a shorter amount of time it seemed. There was some information about traveling alone and a small section for women traveling alone but nothing too worth while. I skimmed most of it because I was only looking for information on the areas that I am planning to go to, and on that note I might be the best judge of it.

A Rough Guide to First-Time Around the World by Doug Lanksy (Rough Guide Travel Guides, 2003 edition)
I personally thought this was a great nuts and bolts type of book. This book has everthing from working/volunteering to documents to culture shock to health and returning home. It even has a section on how to avoid scams. I haven't read very many travel books but this seems like a great introduction. On the other side of the coin is that there is quite a bit of information (as with any book of this type I'm sure) that I will probably forget. Well experience is supposedly a great teacher. Oh, there is also a regional profile area that highlights important facts about different areas of the world along with travel info to these places. There is also a nice section on Visa's but I got my information directly from embassies as I assume that this information is constantly changing.

The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World by Edward Hasbrouck (2000 edition)
The author of this book has worked in the travel industry and brings a lot of experience to his writing. He also interjects his view on a lot of topics throughout the book, things such as the different views that people in the third world have versus people in the first world and how we should react to that. Even though I sympathize with his views I feel that he could have simply written another book on those topics. I must also admit that I did not read this book in its entirety. There is a lot of information here. A lot. And even though I want to be prepared for this trip I don't want to much information. He is a huge advocate of planning and his book only goes into detail on the difficult aspects of travel both of which are great aspects of this book. I think there might come a day when I rue the day I decided to put this book down.

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts (2003 edition)
This is one of the more renown books on the list so far. This is not a book on the nuts and bolts. This book, as Potts puts it, "Views long-term travel not as an escape but as an adventure and a passion." I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The layout is also very nice because a section is read about a topic and then information is given for the nuts and bolts at the end as well as some words from other travelers.

Feel free to dispute anything I have said/say, I'm no expert.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Before the Beginning

So I finally got this thing started. Sorry it took me so long. First off, for those who don't know I have taken some time off from school to do a bit of travelling. I have no goals to achieve or anything to find; I merely want to go out on my own and have a look around.
I'm planning to leave mid-January-ish, with my destination being southeast Asia. I have yet to buy a ticket as I am looking into being an air courier; though if someone works with an airline and can help out I'd be much abliged (my only plug, I promise).
Until I leave I have plans to get some innoculations, do a bit of reading/ research, and get my one and only pack to weigh less than 20 lbs (about 9kg).

~more to come soon