These are the travel notes from my World tour starting in November 2004, though the real trip started in December 2004. I say the real trip, since November was simply a brief stop over at my parents, in France.
Currently there are no notes from Myanmar and I will have to write them up when I make the time.
I will be adding to this section as I have time and thoughts that I want to share.
When I had originally planned this trip I thought that four months was going to be enough. I must have been smoking something good, since it was unrealistic. This four month trip turned out to be a seven month trip, and even that involved rushing certain segments.
For the most part I had a copy of the Lonely Planet with me, but I did not use as a bible, rather as a reference. The problem with guide books is that they are often out of date by the time you need to use them. I found the best thing was to talk to people, be it locals or travellers. You'll be surprised at the wealth of information that you can get and also at the friendliness of some of the people. People will probably also ask about what you did, where you stayed, since they will either want to learn from your experience or compare notes. Don't expect learn time friendships, but be happy to have met some friendly people along the way. Sometimes you will keep in touch with some of the people you meet and remeet them along the way.
When travelling around south east Asia you need to leave some of your expectations behind and be ready to travel differently. You stay in guest houses and eat out, since the cost is so low and anyhow there isn't anywhere that you could use as a kitchen. In almost every case the most you will need to pay is around 10 USD per night, with the cost being less in most cases. In most places having your own toilet paper is handy and you need to accept that the toilets aren't always designed to accept it, given the piping is too small, so you have to chuck it in a bin next the toilet. Learning to squat is also another skill worth mastering.
You will get taken advantage of, but then again tourists the world over are taken advantage of where ever they go - you have money and they need it. That is not to say to be careless with your money. Getting a feeling of what the cost of living is in each country and what things cost go a long way to extending your budget and not letting you look like a total mug. Back home you would feel bad if you were being overcharged, why should things be any different here? That is also the trick to bargening: trying to get down to the real value of the item being sold - when I say real value I am thinking of what it should be sold at and not what it cost the seller in the first place. If you don't like bargening, just shop around.
I had always thought you couldn't do Australia in less than a month, boy was I wrong. I am not even sure that you can do it in less than four months. It is such a big place and there is so much to see. While I met many people skipping the Australian deserts, I feel they are really missing on the landscape that defines Australia. The only part of Australia that is truly lush is the east coast, the rest is made of the outback. The outback is a mix of sparse forests, where there is as much space between the trees as there are tree, dry landscapes, bush and one or two dense forests.
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