Neither a Traveler Nor a Tourist – Are You A Moovist ?

I don’t like to be described as a traveler nor as a tourist. I’m something else. Since no word exists, I’m going to coin it here. I am a Moovist (pronounced Moove-ist).

I’ve met lots of people who are away from home. Among the backpacker crowd there is always that cute declaration that they’re not tourists, but travelers.

touristIf you’re like me, you’re neither a traveller nor a tourist. Not really anyway. I never knew what to call us so I decided to make up a new word – Moovism, Moovist. We’re not on our way around the world (at least not with a timetable that falls within 1-2 years or with a set agenda), we don’t have the money for fancy travel gear or cameras, we aren’t even really traveling…we’re moving. There is a big difference.

If you want to tell me I’m wrong and point to the many places I’ve been, then you need to look at this blog a little closer.

Reread some posts about the places I’ve been.
In 1995 I moved to Raleigh, North Carolina thinking it would be great. It wasn’t what I expected.
In 1996 I moved to Bellingham, Washington. It was and is great, but I wanted to be more than a big fish radio guy in a small pond. Besides, I wanted something different in terms of culture and weather.
In 1998 I got rid of my things again and moved to both Alaska and the UK with the intention of staying, though I didn’t.

In 2001, I got rid of all my possessions and went to Asia looking for a home. I wandered from China to Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and a few other places and ended up in Sumatra where I took a job teaching and started to build a life. This was at the point that George Bush was starting to create problems for Americans living in Muslim countries and I took the advice of my friends in Parapat and ‘went home for my own safety’. Only when I got back to the USA did I realize I had made a terrible mistake.

Later that year, I again got rid of everything and jumped to Hawaii with $100 and no plan but to escape the insane American patriotism that was gripping the USA post 9-11. I didn’t have enough money to go back to Asia, so I went to Hawaii where I thought there would be less fervor and insanity. I was right.
I admit that while in Hawaii I did some ‘traveling’ and some ‘tourism’ while exploring the other islands and going to Tahiti although with the Island of Kauai, I moved there for almost 2 years.

In 2003 I went to the Philippines and planned to stay but when the plot of my girlfriend’s brothers to kill me and my brother was discovered, I had to abandon my plans of building a mead empire in the barangay and my bride to be too, after all, when you marry a Filipina, you marry the family and if they want to kill you with big knives, it’s not a good sign of things to come.

After that, I stayed in Hawaii until 2008 when I achieved a degree in Anthropology from the University of Hawaii and once again got rid of all my possessions and set out to find a new home outside of the USA.
I made my way to the East Coast of the USA in the cheapest way seeing the people and places I didn’t want to miss and then I jumped the pond to Spain, started exploring Europe in search of a place to live (Granada almost had me!) and then to Morocco where I fell in love and lived for nearly two years, though I did have to make a trip back to the USA to fix my paperwork so I could get married and I arranged my necessary movement to accommodate seeing some places I’d never been (travel and tourism – see? I’m guilty too) Germany, Ireland, France, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Quebec, etc.

Are they travelers? The point is that I was actually on my way to someplace for the purpose of living there. I wasn’t just traveling to see, though I admit that in all of my moovism there is an element of both the touristic and the travelistic. I mean, I want to see places and things along the way. I believe that the journey is just as important as the destination and in some cases, more important. I’m a traveler and a tourist and for that, I deserve to be insulted and belittled too. Maybe I’m just confused. Somehow though, travel and tourism just seem – fucked up.
I came to Turkey- not as a tourist but evaluating if it would be possible to move here with my wife. Sure, we did a lot of travelistic and touristic things, but mainly we were looking to see if we could live here. We decided yes and so back in Morocco, I got rid of just about everything she would let me and I moved again.

Look, seriously. I’m not dissing you travelers out of spite. I love that you go out and see the world. I’m not dissing the tourists without a purpose either, I love that they are expanding their worldview (and their wastelines). If they hadn’t of shown those slides, maybe you never would have left home, but what I’m saying is that I don’t feel at home with travel or tourism as it exists anymore. You both make me envious, excited and slightly disgusted at the same time. We need to rethink global tourism.

So, by way of closing here is my new ‘cute’ breakdown of the difference between travelers, tourists, and moovists.

Tourist – Someone who has a set agenda, knows what they will see, where they will be, and when they will return to home, family, work, etc.

Traveler – Someone who travels without as many known details as the tourist but still plans to return at some point to home, family, work, etc.

Moovist – Someone who gives up home, family, work, etc. and sets off to another place with the intention of staying for an indefinite period of time and no plans of returning to home, family, work etc. I suppose, you could also say a Moovist is a vagabond.

I’m a Moovist although I admit, I’ve also been a tourist, a traveler, and of course, I remain a vagabond.

Maybe I’m worse than a tourist because I don’t spend as much money and worse than a traveler because I don’t go away at the end of the day. I don’t know.

What about you? How can we improve the act of travel? What is wrong with global travel today? What is right with it?

Puenting of Life – Bridge Jumping in Peru – Part 2

Exclusive for Vagobond by Sandra Riesco

Jerry offered me a glass and I took it. Almost everybody did and as soon as I drank it my body relaxed, my stupid laughter stopped, I warmed up and began to breathe properly.

Peruvian bridge jumpersSuddenly, it was my turn. I stood holding the rail; I could see the mountains covered in green vegetation for miles. The blue sky was speckled with clouds spreading around as if they were daring the sun to show its face. The only thing in my life at that moment was the idea of jumping into an abyss, like if I were given the opportunity to fly.

The first three steps were crucial. Freddy and the assistant were go to hold me steady. Jerry would be on the other side of the bridge to check me after I had jumped. All I had to do was focus on jumping as if into a swimming pool, stretching my arms as much as I could and literally intend to fly.

The only thing in my mind was then Freddy’s words, he went on motivating me, telling me how easy and amazing this would be. His words were just part of the wind, I couldn’t pay attention anymore. I just held his shoulders and took my first step. Then, not even in a second, I knew there was not going back, just upward.

At the precise moment of jumping from the bridge I didn’t see anything other than the landscape flowing around me. The feeling of pure adrenaline invaded my body, replacing the panic that I had accumulated.

My heart raced briefly but then, just as quickly, I felt an overwhelming sense of sheer calm. Everything was over; I was swinging on the ropes like a little girl, lying on the sky, at 150 meters in the air and without a worry in the world. Someone passed me a rope and pulled me back to the ground. I went up the bridge where everybody was waiting and clapping for me.

 

I sat on a rock next to the other jumpers Miguel, one of them, showed me some photos he had taken. He also told me how he had done this several times before.”No matter how many times you do it, the feeling of fear never goes away.”

One by one, we watched all the participants jumping, each of them at their own pace but without giving up. Before long, a few drops of water announced the possibility of rain. The sun was hiding behind ominous clouds. We had spent hours there and yet it all seemed to have gone in a flash. I felt completely exhausted and absolutely starving, thankful for the snacks I had saved from earlier.

On our journey back we stopped at Barba Blanca, a tiny village hidden among the mountains. There, the locals rushed to our bus to offer drinks and food. We had corn and cheese, fruit, chicken wings and even burgers. After five minutes of devouring anything edible that came into our sight we resumed our journey home.

fishing in Peru sunsetNobody said a word, everybody was sleeping and my body had stopped responding to my commands. I had exhausted my body and my mind, the adrenaline and extremes of the day had flushed my entire system and I felt ready to face anything. I knew I would be able to succeed no matter how difficult it seemed or how high the jump would be.

A Puenting trip can be organized by almost any tour operator but be sure to check for a reliable outfit with a good safety record.

This specialist in South America tour packages offers various adventure activities.

Travel This Year And Next: Where You Should Consider

Right now you may feel like travel is just a dream away. Something that we once found so easy has now become something we have to plan and account for during the next few months and beyond. We have all just been through a global pandemic, and while it isn’t over yet, things have started to ease and because of that restrictions are beginning to lift. This means that travel is a real possibility now that things have started to ease. 

 

So now that travel is possibly an option when it comes the rest of the year and next, you may be wondering where to go and what to do. We now won’t take travel for granted again. However, if you are starting to dream about it, you might be wondering where to go. With that in mind, here are some of the destinations that you might want to think about for next few months and beyond. 

Image source – Pixabay – CC0 License 

 

Head to Canada to enjoy a winter experience

 

Depending on where you are in the world, winter might not be as you see in a picture perfect scene on a postcard. You might not experience much snow or chilled weather, and in fact, it could just be rather grey and wet. So you might want to book a vacation somewhere in the winter for the real experience. Canada offers the chance to see real snow and enjoy the many activities you can enjoy in the snow, such as skiing, snowboarding or just relaxing and building a snowman. Places like Mont Tremblant in Quebec can offer a relaxing getaway for friends or family to enjoy the slopes and wonder. Canada also has a lot to offer when it comes to cities such as Toronto and Vancouver. It could definitely be a great option to consider. 

 

Travel to Thailand for an amazing value for money getaway

 

Thailand might seem like an extravagant holiday destination, but in fact, once you are there it can offer real value for money. The cost of living in regards to accommodation and food can be very reasonable, meaning it is an achievable holiday to take. Thailand offers the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, but also you can take a more relaxing vacation island hopping to places like Koh Samui or Koh Phangan. Offering beautiful scenery, white sandy beaches, and glorious blue oceans. What more could you want? Some people would say that Thailand isn’t usually a family orientated place, but there are some beautiful destinations perfect for family travel and the slower pace and are an excellent opportunity for children to really relax and bond as a family unit. 

 

Educational destinations in Asia

 

While Asia may not be normally on the list for family travel, places like India, China and Japan can offer excellent vacations where education is at the heart of it. From different cultures and diverse landscapes to learning all about the future technology as most of what we use today comes from locations such as Japan and China. It could give you an excellent opportunity to explain things like this and to learn about different technology elements. Also Indian and Chinese food are two of the inch-loved cuisines that many love, so it definitely gives you a chance to enjoy it more authentically. Further to that, you could think about seeing some of the most iconic sites such as the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall Of China. 

Image source – Pixabay – CC0 License 

 

Do you want to travel to the USA?

 

The USA has many different destinations to visit, and possibly some of them may already be on your bucket list. Locations such as New York, Florida and Las Vegas. However, there are so many other locations that you might want to think about. One question you might have is – how to fly from California during COVID? With the location being on the news in recent months, there are restrictions in place but it is still a location you could travel to in the future. Other places to think about would be Texas and seeing cities like San Antonio, Houston and Dallas. Or even places such as Vermont or Missouri could be locations that you could add to your bucket list for sure. 

 

Explore Australia on a road trip to remember

 

Australia is a vast country and could be seen as one of those places that is a trip of a lifetime to take. So make the most of your time there and take a road trip to explore as much of the country as possible. Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne offer amazing city vibes. Melbourne is, in fact, been voted as the most liveable city in the world and definitely could be a great option to consider for a future visit. But while you are there you must take a swim in the Great Barrier Reef. It is one of the seven wonders of the world and certainly could be a great experience of a lifetime. However, you might want to consider using more time for this type of holiday. The country is so big that you wouldn’t be able to see even half of it during a standard holiday. This could certainly be a trip of a lifetime for sure, and definitely might be a place that you might want to try and go back to more than once. With ease of lockdown travel restrictions to Australia should be lifted soon enough. 

 

Enjoy a cultural experience in Europe

 

Europe really has a lot to offer, and it can certainly be the perfect location for family travel adventures. A cultural stay in Europe means you could take in the sights and sounds of France, the history, and food that Italy has to offer or even enjoy the green landscape that England has to offer. As a family, there can be a lot to do in some of the most culturally enhanced places but there are also some beautiful seaside resorts that you can enjoy. Europe has a lot to offer anyone wanting a vacation with a difference, mixing city history with beach locations you are truly spoilt for choice. 

 

Let’s hope this has offered you a bit of inspiration for your future travel plans. 

 

Puenting of Life – Bridge Jumping in Peru – Part 1

Exclusive for Vagobond by Sandra Riesco.

I had spent weeks absorbed with the stress of my son’s diagnosis for attention deficit disorder and transfer to a specialist school. “I need a break,” I was thinking when I decided to sign up to go puenting. Puenting translates literally as “bridging”, the perfect way to describe what I was about to do: jump from a bridge into a 170m deep canyon held only by a 20m rope.

jumping off bridges in PeruI didn’t mind getting up before dawn to reach the meeting point in Lima, Peru’s capital city and gateway to the country’s many adventure destinations. A friend was taking care of my son and I was going to spend a day working off the stress.

We headed out of the chaos of the city and up towards the highlands, in the foothills of the Andes, just two hours away from my downtown home. Stopping for snacks along the way I realized I was too apprehensive to be hungry, so I ended up stashing my biscuits for after the jump.

As the road climbed, the polluted city seemed to fall away from behind us, with mountains and greenery replacing the urban grime.

There were two guides with us, Freddy and Jerry, and eighteen people. Most of them were university students, excited by their impending adrenaline rush. The bus was full of nervous chatter and laughter, conversation occupied by final exams, presidential candidates and the elections, although I expected only as a way to put the fear out of their minds.

But for me, the most terrifying prospect was the perilous road and the steady flow of vehicles racing past us, often no more than inches away from our bus.

jumping off bridges in PeruFinally arriving in one piece, we got off the bus and stood on the bridge looking out over the Autisha canyon. The mountains were overwhelmingly high and incredibly steep. The canyon seemed like an enormous throat ready to swallow us whole as we jumped in. At the bottom, rocks pointed out of the earth in forms that seemed purpose designed to scare us, far above. From this distance, the narrow ribbon of river didn’t even look like it was flowing.

Freddy provided a detailed explanation. Basically, the secret of a successful jump lies on not thinking about it too much. “Great!  “I thought to myself, as if that would work. When they asked for volunteers I raised my hand immediately.  Every muscle in my body had tightened and I noticed myself laughing over every meaningless comment I heard.

One of the assistants helped me into my harness and spoke some encouraging words. “My mind hears you, Italo, but my body doesn’t,” I thought.

Then Freddy and Jerry brought over a sports bag that contained the ropes and the rest of the safety equipment. Plus several bottles of pisco, Peru’s famously potent liquor. “Ok,” said Freddy. “How about some pisco to overcome your fear?”

It sounded like a joke but it was true. I looked at the bottles and looked at Freddy smiling. Then I thought:
“First, I don’t drink pure pisco. Second, why would I drink pisco when doing a sport? Third, ok, who cares if I drink a bit?”

World Travel Diarrhea – An Ugly Topic – Some Simple Cures

Montezuma’s revenge, Delhi belly, Hong Kong dog, Tiki trots, Casablanca crud, Katmandu quickstep. But travelers from Mexico, India, Nepal, Morocco, and other places might call it the ‘Lincoln’s Loose Logs’ or ‘Shock and Awe’, because they can get it when they visit the United States too.

One of the likely challenges a traveler may face as he embarks on either business or leisure travel pertains to his health. A major occurrence is diarrhea. Traveler diarrheaThis is the passage of semi-formed or watery stool. Most times, it calls for urgency and the affected person may not be able to hold it for sometime as may be done for a normal pooping. At times it happens amidst vomiting, flatulence and abdominal pain which may last for 3 to 4 days. Hence, it is necessary for travelers to ensure that this ugly experience does not occur during traveling.

Bacteria are the most common microbe that cause diarrhea. However, it may also be caused by other parasites and viruses.

The destination actually is also a major factor on which contracting the runs depends. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 30 to 50% of travelers will contract diarrhea during a stay of 1 to 2 weeks in some areas of high risk. The risk also varies from time to time in temperate climates.

Places of low risk

Truly, there are some countries of the world with very low prevalence of diarrhea. The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and countries in northern and western Europe fall under this category.This doesn’t mean people don’t poop their pants in these countries though.

Places of intermediate risk

Some of the places where risk of diarrhea is average are places like Eastern Europe, South Africa, and the Caribbean Islands. Chances are that you will just have average amounts of flatulence in these places too.

Places of high risk

Areas in the world with high risk of diarrhea are Africa, Asia, Middle East, also Central and South America. This isn’t because of the people in these countries it’s because the rich countries of the world have generally treated these countries like shit thus leading to the current loose stools in these places.

Causes of the runs:

The chief cause of diarrhea is intake of contaminated food and this is because of the presence of bacteria. Some of the bacteria that may cause this ailment are:

Enterotoxigenic E.coli (ETEC) requires large inoculum to get the disease. This is common in developing countries due to low sanitation efforts. It is characterized by frequent stooling, abdominal pain and low-grade fever.

Another bacterium is the Entroaggregative E.coli (EAEC) which is rated as the cause of over 25 per cent of diarrhea experienced by travelers.

Its symptoms are similar to that of Enterotoxigenic E. coli. Campylobacter jejuni, a causative microrganism common in developed countries, though risk of contacting it is more prevalent in the developing world. The diarrhea caused by this bacterium is characterized by blood stools.

Salmonella spp is associated with food borne epidemics in developed countries. Shigella spp is also a cause of traveler’s diarrhea which may also be bloody and accompanied by cramps in the abdomen and fever.
As for Vibrio spp, it is linked with intake of partially cooked seafood. Also, Giardia lamblia is an intestinal flagellate that is associated with intake of polluted surface water in poor sanitary environments.

The list of pathogens continues. Therefore, travelers, in order to have poopie-pants-free vacations must endeavor to take necessary health measures and exercise some caution.

How to Avoid the trots:

* Avoid uncooked vegetables, especially salads, fruits you can’t peel, undercooked meat, raw shellfish, ice cubes, and drinks made from impure water.
* Try to make sure the dishes and silverware you use have been cleaned in purified water.
* Drink only water that has been carbonated and sealed in bottles or cans. Clean the part of the container that touches your mouth and purified water. Boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes purifies it, as does iodine liquid or tablets.
* Drink acidic drinks like colas and orange juice when possible. They help keep down the E. coli count, the bacteria most responsible for digestive distress.
* Drink acidophilus milk or eat yogurt before your trip. The bacterial colonies established in your digestive system before your trip and maintained during it, reduce the chance of a loose stools catching you by surprise.

Cures on the road:

Here are two possible ‘cocktails’ that might help reduce your diarrhea once you have it.

1) In a glass, put 8 ounces of fruit juice; 1/2 teaspoon of honey, corn syrup, or sugar; and a pinch of salt. In another glass, put 8 ounces of purified water and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Drink a couple of swallows alternately from each glass until finished.

2) Here’s the second formula: glucose, 20 grams; salt, 3.5 grams; baking soda, 2.5 grams; and potassium chloride, 20 grams. Just add to a quart or liter of purified water and drink.

Other options? What if you are stuck and you don’t have any of the above? Easy. Just eat clay or ashes. Or you could eat blueberries, plantains, blackberry roots, or Acorns. All of these have properties that will cause your diarrhea to disappear.

Thankfully, we don’t have to talk about it anymore.

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