|ANTON KROTOV||«Practice of Free Travels or Free Travels in Practice (In English) »||
Àâòîð ðóññêîãî òåêñòà: Àíòîí
Ïåðåâîä íà àíãëèéñêèé: Ðîìàí Íèêóëèí (Íîâîñèáèðñê), Âëàäèñëàâ Êðûøòàíîâñêèé (Ìîñêâà) è äð., 2007-08.
Âåðñèÿ îò 11.11.2008 ã. Çíàêîâ 93.000.
The outside world is very big, but having enough persistance you can eventually reach every corner of it.
If you want to travel, don't put off your intention. Don't wait till you get much money, take up an important post or retire on a pension and have a lot of spare time. In ten years you won't have so much spare time as you have today, and in twenty years it'll become very scarce. Though in future you may earn more money than you do now, the value of your worktime will also increase and you won't be able to afford a half-year vacation (because of increased cost of one working hour). Besides, you may eventually get children, grand- and grand-grandchildren, needing to be looked after.
That's why if you want to make The Big Journey, better start within the next few years before you are too domesticated and your desire vanish.
The Big Journey is a whole life that you live through in several months or years, depending on its duration. Usually it happens only once, since most of the people do not intend to engage in lifetime travel. When it's over you will find Your Vocation, and journey will become one of many steps leading to it.
In the future you probably won't have to make prolonged land travels. Perhaps in ten years you will make business trips or flight on a vacation to the same country that once took 3-4 months for you to reach by land. But impressions you get when traveling by land drastically differ from those of an airplane passenger.
The transportation specially adjusted to your needs, servants, night quarters, excursions to selected and specially equipped tourist places - all these details result in greatly reduced impressions compared to ones free traveler gets. We share the same cars with local people, we help them to pull out the trucks stuck in the mud, we spend nights in their houses and eat the same habitual food; today we are invited to his house by a poor man, tomorrow – by a millionaire businessman; we speak the local language (even if we know only a few words) and try to understand the people speaking their native language; we taste the natural food instead of restaurants, we smell the scents of bazaars, temples and streets; we live along with ordinary people of the country and learn much more about them than the clients of tourist firms, flashing by in luxurious jeeps.
Pineapples just picked out of bed and dates from a palm, the roads of Angola and highways of Turkey, thousands of real dusks and dawns on different coasts and beaches, true polar mosquitos at summer and auroras at winter, Magadan hobos and Indian Sikhs, vast northern expanses and tropical rainfalls... The fragrance of real life, the feeling of the whole humanity as worldwide brotherhood – you cannot buy it at any price in any tourist firm. The fragrance of true life!
Of course, the trip to Congo or Indonesia must be well prepared. It shouldn’t be spontaneous, and many details should be given consideration. Meet other free travelers, read books, collect information, set the fixed departure date, open necessary visas, select a reliable fellow traveler if you want. The financial question is actually the last one you should care for. Take all time and money you have and spend them easy. Remember that later you may get more money, but money won’t buy you time.
Everyone of us can make sure that the world is kind, people are bright, responsive and hospitable in every corner of our country as well as the whole planet. It is open to everybody and belongs to any person who ever think of it. The life is truly wonderful, and having returned from a long journey we start to look differently at common people around us, we try to treat them better and be a worthy men in worldwide human family.
You can travel not only in your home country, but also through different countries and continents.
The distinction between a free traveller, on one hand, and both a sportive-tent-type tourist and a hostel-guesthouse-type backpacker, on the other hand, is that the first spends most of his or her travelling time (for example, more than 15 days in a month) among people for whom communicating with him or her is not a paid job.
So, the distinction of free travels is communicating with people.
As a general rule, such trips cost one much less than organized tours. But our goal is not to save as much money as possible. The thing is, time and money are interdependent, and a person suffering with a lack of time spends more money during his or her trip, and vice versa.
In remote cities and countries we prefer not to use greenhouse conditions created especially for tourists. On the contrary, by sleeping at local people’s houses, eating local food, boarding the same vehicles and trains that simple local people do, communicating with them without interpreters and commentators, we get to know the life as it is, not as frightful journalists (or, on the contrary, authors of colourful tourist brochures) try to show it.
For travelling abroad, you need a passport. Visas of countries you visit will be stamped in it. You need to learn the rules of getting a passport in your home country; visas usually cost 20 – 50 USD for each country and are made in these countries’ embassies, and sometimes – at entry border posts. These expenses are compulsory. Except them, your trip in Europe, Asia or Africa during, for example, 6 months should cost you the same as your usual life in your home country during the same time. You can cross borders between countries only at specially established international border crossings.
Illegal border crossing is not our goal. Getting into a foreign country without a passport and a visa is dangerous! Do not make yourself a problem and do not spoil the reputation of A Free Traveller!
In foreign countries, like at home, you can hitch-hike, almost everywhere you can sleep in temples and monasteries, in tent and in locals’ houses, you can also find friends through the website www.hospitalityclub.org or similar websites. Almost all cities and towns of the world have Internet access, and you can always send an email or an SMS home to tell your parents you are fine. In many countries it is useful to have “road credentials” in English or in local language, such a document will show everyone you are a scientific traveller; with it you will probably get fruit and vegetables at bazaars for cheap and hot water in canteens for free.
Countries of Europe, Asia and Africa are in many ways different from Russia: you will not find winter roads, there will be almost no snow or ice, and hitch-hiking in winter is not much more difficult than in summer. There it is more difficult to travel in a locomotive cabin, and on the whole the railway network is not that extensive. Neither you will use cargo ships transferring goods to the Extreme North. Each country has its own features and distinctions. Learn about them beforehand from experienced travellers, search the Internet or get a guidebook.
You can travel through most countries of Europe, Asia and Africa overland (not counting a few short ferry hops), but for Australia, Americas and different islands that is not the case, and they are much harder to get into for a free traveller. There are almost no passenger sea ships left in the world, and to get a place on a cargo ship is a rare and unpredictable fortune. There are neither ferries nor roads across the Bering Strait, and only six people managed (in different years) to cross it by aerostop, all of them are from St. Petersburg. As yet, only few Russian travellers managed to get a free flight from East Timor to Australia.
Although, this book is only a beginner’s guide, not a reference for all life situations. It’s impossible to describe all routes and methods in one book, and the world is always changing. Drift of continents, changes of governments, political clashes, new sorts of transport and communication, - they change the world. Everything changes.
That’s why you should use your mind. Read this book and other books on hitch-hiking and travel, but do not stop thinking. Browse the web, question drivers, locals and fellow travellers on the road, at border crossings and in embassy queues. Host people from other countries at your home, find out more about the world from them. When listening to people, do not believe their every word immediately – test their knowledge by questioning others.
Have patience. Do not be nervous. Experiment. Smile. Do not drink alcohol. Keep your promises. Keep in mind that every sequence of events is always correct.