Here are the answers to a few of the most commonly asked questions that I’ve received. Further, I’m guessing that if you’ve had something you’re curious about, others have probably had the same thought. So if the question hasn’t already been asked, feel free to drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or post it in the comments below:
What Type of Camera Do You Use?
When I started my trip, I knew very little about photography, so I simply used a little Nikon Coolpix S220 (with 10 mexapixels) that I had gotten as a gift a few years ago, and carried this with me for the European leg of my trip.
Before heading off to Southeast Asia, however, I upgraded to a Canon S100 and loved it when it was actually working. However, I received the apparantly fatal “Lens Error” message in southern Thailand, and was thus without it — having to fall back on my crappy Nikon — until I got it fixed before heading into Cambodia. It lasted about a month before giving me the same error again, unfortunately, when I was in Vietnam. It is an awesome camera when it works, however, if my warranty doesn’t cover it when I get back, I’m going to go Office Space on it and shatter it into about a thousand pieces. I cannot recommend it in the slightest due to the “Lens Error” issue. EDIT — The warranty did cover this, and since being fixed for the second time, the error has yet to return and the camera has been performing wonderfully, being the work horse that has gotten me through the African and Asia portions of my trip.
In general, my only requirements are that it must be a point-and-shoot, as I don’t want to carry around anything that can’t hide inconspicuously in my pocket, and I don’t want anything heavy, bulky, or easily damaged (being that I live out of a back-pack). A DSLR would be great, and many folks carry them, but this would be way too heavy, too expensive, too breakable, and an easy target for theft for someone on the road as long as I am.
How Much Money Do You Spend or Budget for a Round-the-World Trip Like This?
Not to dodge the question, but the decision of how much money to budget for a trip like this is a deeply personal one. Given that where you plan to travel, how you plan to get there, when you plan on going, what types of places you choose for accomodation, how much you like to eat and drink, and what your general threshold for pain and discomfort is are all factors that will greatly affect your overall budget, the answer to this question is going to be different for each person. If you’d like some specific info as how I’ve gotten by in specific countries, feel free to drop me a quick email.
That being said, there is still a common misconception out there that one has to be fantastically wealthy to travel the world. This assertion couldn’t be further from the truth, however, and stems from the fact that in the Western culture in which I was raised, travel is thought of in the “Vacation” context, in which one would fly out to an exotic destination, stay in a fancy hotel, eat out at nice restaurants every night, and then fly back home a week later. Taking the cost of this short-term trip and extrapolating it into a more long-term adventure will obviously result in projected costs closer to that of the GDP of a small country.
If instead, you think of travel more in the “Living on the Road” terms, things become much less expensive. For example, in a long-term travel scenario, you’ll find yourself taking far fewer flights from place to place (opting for buses and trains, or simply staying in one place for longer periods of time), staying at more modest accomodations like hostels and guesthouses, eating cheap street foods as opposed to white-table-cloth restaurants, and simply sharing expenses with other travlers you’ve met along the way.
In fact, international travel can often be less expensive than simply living an ordinary life. To test this, I’d challenge you to make a spreadsheet of all of you monthly expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, health insurance, taxes, car payments, gasoline, groceries, utilities, entertainment expenses, restaurnat meals, drinks with friends, clothing, and all of the little indulgences that we all need every occasionally, break it down to a daily figure, and then compare that with what you would spend per day traveling and you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised. For me, my daily traveling expenses of anywhere from $35/day to $100/day (depending upon where I’m at and when I’m there) are significantly less than the totals I was seeing back in my old life. Of course, this doesn’t take into account the fact that most travelers don’t have an income while they are traveling, but that can be remedied by either saving up money for a few months or years prior to setting off (I started saving money 3 years before departing, for example) or by finding a means of making money on the road (of which there are more opportunities than you can imagine).
What is the Purpose or Idea Behind This Blog?
I never considered myself to be a “Blogger” type of person and rarely, if ever, read any blogs before setting off on my adventure. That being said, when looking for an appropriate means to keep friends and family up-to-date with my whereabouts and what adventures I’ve found myself undertaking, the blog format seemd to be the best way to go, as it allows me to share photos and tell stories about life on the road without sending out mass spam emails to my entire contact list. Further, folks can check it as frequently as they like without feeling any pressure to participate (or even read it at all, for that matter).
As time marched on, however, and the list of places I’ve visited grew, more and more followers joined from all over the world, allowing the blog to evolve alongside its readership. And as such, I was faced with the question of “What do I want my blog to be?” Given that there are thousands of resources, guidebooks, websites, and travel guides already in existence covering things like where to stay, what to eat, what to see, and the basics of traveling in each country, I deliberately make a point of avoiding any of these (with a few rare exceptions). Thus, the only purpose that I put forth for my photos and stories is that of entertainment, giving the reader a glimpse into the sights, sounds, aromas, and tastes that one would likely discover if they were to visit any of these cities or countries. My intention was to give others a way of vicariously living through my adventures while they may be stuck at home and only dreaming of an international trip. So basically, if someone says they feel like there were right beside me during my travels, then I’ll know I’m doing the job I set out for myself.
Can I Use One of Your Photos for an Upcoming Project, Travel Guide, Book Report, Film, Website, or Similar Endeavour?
Yes! Go ahead! I’d love it if you enjoyed one of my photos enough to make it a part of any project that you are working on (this is also why I don’t put watermarks on my photos). I only ask that, when using one of my photos, add a small credit to “Andrew Amiet” or “Temporarilylost.com” somewhere near the photos and drop me a quick note saying that you using the picture (the latter requirement is more for my curiosity than anything else). And best of luck on your projects!
What is Your Favorite City/Country/Experience While Traveling?
This question is akin to asking a chef what his favorite dish is, or asking a child what his or her favorite toy is: my answer will change depending upon the day, the hour, where I’ve been lately, my mood, the season, the phases of the moon, what underwear I’m currently wearing, etc. Basically, I try to look at each new place I visit objectively and without bias — taking in each place for what it is and valuing it on its own merits. It is still a fun topic to discuss over a few drinks though!
You Show Quite a Few Food Pictures on Your Blog — Do You Cook Yourself?
Everyone has there own reasons for traveling, mine just happens to favor the culinary side of things. Food is one of those universal things that can bring people together, instantly bridge any cultural barriers, and can say more with a fleeting aroma or flash of spice than one could convey in an entire series of books or in hours of descriptive prose. It is a passion that is shared all over the world, one that neatly sums up what a culture is all about, and allows anyone who is willing to participate. Is there any better expression or means of experiencing a culture than through that culture’s food?
And while I’m not able to do much cooking on the road, I am a passionate home cook whenever I get the chance. I’ve never had any formal training in the culinary arts, but I do endeavor to create dishes that I’m passionate about (or accurately recreate other dishes I’ve tried while abroad) and am constantly looking for ways to refine my techniques, whether that be pouring through my collection of cookbooks, culinary tomes, and food memoirs, taking informal classes in the countries I visit, or simply begging friends and family to show me how they themselves cook up their specialties.
I’ve Always Dreamed of Doing a Similar Trip, Do You Have Any Advice for Me?
From a general standpoint, I always try to follow my heart and believe that you can’t go wrong in doing so. So in that sense, if travel is something that makes you happy, then by all means, go for it. You’ll likely never regret taking a step out of the ordinary and embarking upon a long-term trip (though you will almost certainly regret NOT taking the trip later on in your life). If you are looking for any specific advice, however, feel free to drop me an email (email@example.com), as I always love to discuss travel with anyone of a similar mind and interests.
Have You Read Any Good Books While on the Road?
I am an avid reader, and given that I have a lot of time to kill while enduring the mind-numbingly long bus rides, train rides, and airport layovers, I always make sure to have at least a few books with me at all times. Generally, I stick to contemporary fiction and science fiction, although I do sprinkle in a few literary classics here and there. Here is a chronological list of the novels I’ve read since I started traveling:
Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami
The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson
Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World – Haruki Murakami
Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
The Foundation Trilogy – Isaac Asimov
Anathem – Neal Stephenson
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
100 Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
South of the Border, West of the Sun – Haruki Murakami
The Trial – Franz Kafka
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet – David Mitchell
After Dark – Haruki Murakami
The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao – Junot Diaz
Of Love and Other Demons – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Quiet American – Graham Greene
Ghostwritten – David Mitchell
1Q84 – Haruki Murakami
Black Swan Green – David Mitchell
Reamde – Neal Stephenson
The Glass Bead Game – Herman Hesse
Snow Country – Yasunari Kawabata
number9dream – David Mitchell
The Windup Girl – Paolo Bacigalupi
1984 – George Orwell
Dance, Dance, Dance – Haruki Murakami
Neuromancer – William Gibson
Still Life with Crows – Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman – Haruki Murakami
Sanshiro – Natsume Soseki
The Savage Detectives – Roberto Bolano
The Labrynth of Dreaming Books – Walter Moers
Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper – Fuscia Dunlop
Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
The Story of Sushi – Trevor Corson
Count Zero – William Gibson
Mona Lisa Overdrive – William Gibson
Fresh Off the Boat – Eddie Huang
Serve the People – Jen Lin-Liu
A Tiger in the Kitchen – Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
A Game of Thrones – George RR Martin
A Clash of Kings – George RR Martin
A Storm of Swords – George RR Martin
A Feast for Crows – George RR Martin
A Dance with Dragons – George RR Martin
Palm of the Hand Stories – Yasunari Kawabata
The Old Capital – Yasunari Kawabata
The Devotion of Suspect X – Keigo Higashino
Pattern Recognition – William Gibson
A Tale for the Time Being – Ruth Ozeki