Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

G is for Getting Around

Day 7 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge – Thoughts on Being a Nomad

Nomads can get around in as many different ways as there are kinds of transportation. You can travel as fast as a plane or as slow as your own walking pace. My favorite way of getting around depends on the situation and the location, and I usually end up picking the most practical (and affordable) choice available.

Arriving in Tahiti by plane from New Zealand

Arriving in Tahiti by plane from New Zealand

To cover long distances between destinations, I prefer taking a plane, with just that goal in mind. It is a method I have used many times, for relatively quick visits to family and friends in Belgium, for vacations back when those were part of my life and to start a backpacking journey. The more enjoyable way to travel big parts of the planet and see some of the areas along the way, is by train. I find this a comfortable and relaxing way to get around, as long as I have a seat to myself. Buses also have the advantage you don’t have to drive yourself, but I get motion sick and the “visibility” isn’t always great, so I am not too fond of them. The cost is usually right, though, especially outside first world countries.

Taking the bus on the North Island of New Zealand

Taking the bus on the North Island of New Zealand

While the true meaning of backpacking is “hiking multiple days (in nature) with a backpack holding all your gear”, the term also describes exploring the world with all your belongings packed in said pack. But, instead of mostly walking, you mostly take buses, or trains. I rarely ever covered long distances by foot, when backpacking for two years in my twenties.

Exploring Mexico by truck camper

Exploring Mexico by truck camper

I do believe that a car gives you the most freedom while traveling – and who doesn’t enjoy an exciting road trip? – but increased traffic and bad driving behavior of others take some of those pleasures away. All we can do is be very vigilant on the road, and we might as well do that in a camper, which is my preferred means to travel freely and have my home with me. Another way to – slowly – see the world while having your whole life with you, is by sailboat. To visit remote areas and immerse yourself in different cultures on island time, getting around in your own boat can’t be beaten.

Cruising throughout the Caribbean with our own catamaran

Cruising throughout the Caribbean with our own catamaran

I do realize that there are other cool options to travel from place to place, like by camel, donkey, elephant, and horse, but since I have only used those forms of transportation for short jaunts, I can’t comment on them too much, except that I get seasick on a camel! Another way to get around in the alternative category is hitchhiking. It is free and adventurous and, yes, it can be dangerous, but when performed in safe countries with hospitable people, it leads to so much more than moving from point A to point B. Hitchhiking has allowed me to really meet the local people, get invited into their homes and create long-lasting relationships and memories.

Hitchhiking with friends on South Pacific islands

Hitchhiking with friends on South Pacific islands

What is your favorite method of travel? What is your favorite way to get around in your own country? Have you tried any adventurous means of transportation?

(Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment of Thoughts on Being a Nomad: “H is for Health Care”)

20 Comments

  1. I can’t pick one favorite way of traveling. They all have they’re appeal, even riding camels 🙂

    Cheers – Ellen | http://thecynicalsailor.blogspot.com/2016/04/g-is-for-grounding-nancy-drew.html

  2. Travelling by train definitely tops my list of favorite ways to travel. Only drawback is the limited destinations, in my opinion.

    • Traveling by train ticks a lot of things off the fun way to get around list, Jen! I wish it would be easier to travel this way in North America! In Europe, there are many destinations to reach via train. And then there are the “great train journeys” Paul Theroux writes about. I would love to do those one day. the Trans-Siberian rail journey has been high on my list since I was a teenager!

  3. Any type of boat is at the top of the list, but I love hiking and backpacking too….and trains, how romantic and relaxing!

    • Looks like you love to get around no matter what way, Lucy! I enjoyed our eight years of cruising on our catamaran as well, but in the end, we were exhausted and sick of all the boat projects…

  4. I’m very curious to travel by train. Sadly, at least in the US, the cost is not all that much less than flying. I’ve tried in vain to convince my wife that a train trip would be the adventure, and while she likes the idea, like you, she’d rather drive (I drive, she sits and stares out the window. Lucky her), which is what we end up doing. I can’t sleep in the car, so when we drive, I am doing most of it.

    • If we would take the camper experience out of the equation, I would LOVE to travel by train. It is relaxing for everyone, you see the area, you can make as many stops as you want and you can stretch your legs. I’ve been wanting to do the Trans-Siberian railroad since I was a teenager and I would like to do some of the great train journeys in Africa and Central America as well. I agree that in the US it is – unfortunately – way too expensive to vacation by train. I hope your wife will get convinced about doing a train trip. Maybe in Europe? So much to see and all relatively close together and train stations everywhere! 🙂

  5. My favourite way to travel has to be by foot. I love hiking and getting up close and personal with nature. Coming in at a close second, is travelling by sailboat for exactly the same reason.

    Cheers,
    Stephanie

    http://www.svcambria.com/2016/04/the-to-z-challenge-g-is-for-guests.html

    • It’s nice to prefer the slow way of getting around, Stephanie, for the reason you mention. I totally agree and enjoy them as well. Problem is… there is so much to see and experience, and we only have one lifetime. 🙂 Not that this means we have to travel fast, of course.

  6. If I can, I guess my favourite way of getting around is walking. There’s something calming in it.

    Of course, for longer distances that isn’t always feasible 🙂 I guess I’d have to say trains, if it works out. A little more leg room, generally more interesting scenery than just a long stretch of road. I haven’t tried any less mainstream methods of transportation yet.

    Tracy (Black Boots, Long Legs)

    • How about a combination of trains and walking, Tracy? That sounds about right to me, especially in countries with a lot of train destinations. I love the room in trains as well and the scenery. Plus, you can be distracted and read a book without getting motion sick, while making your way to your destination! 🙂

  7. Living in North America it seem a plane is often required . Once in a location we are pretty open to most anything short of hitch hiking. More risk than I’m comfortable with. Just me. Trains work especially well in Europe. When jobs aren’t such a time constraint I’m sure we will road trip more.

    • For some reason, trains are much more incorporated in the European life than in the US. A shame, really, because the vast distances and the varied landscapes are great opportunities and reasons to travel by train. I guess it is possible, especially in New England, to get around by train, but it is so cost prohibitive, unfortunately. Road tripping still has a lot of romance to it, especially “out west”! Looking forward to reading about your car explorations, Sue!

  8. non ho mai viaggiato in austop preferisco dove si può l’auto o la mountain bike, ovvio per le grandi distanze non si può fare a meno dell’aereo
    i tuoi reportages sono molto piacevoli ed interessanti e il nome del tuo cane bellissimo
    un saluto

    • Thanks, Venti. You are right that it is much easier to cover vast distances by airplane, especially when in a hurry. You must be pretty fit, if you like and prefer a mountain bike to get around! Awesome!

  9. My favourite mode of travel is probably a plane, since it’s fast, but a car is certainly more comfortable. Hell, a sardine can would be more comfortable.

    As for adventurous, I’ve traveled by canoe, catamaran, horse, and microlight. I’ve also flown a Cessna…that was fun! And the trains in China…those were interesting. Beware the bathrooms!

    • Canoes and kayaks. Yes! That would be adventurous as well. I forgot to mention those, JM. What is a microlight? Light rail or something like that? I did the Cessna thing in New Zealand as well. Quite an experience, but I still wonder how much the pilot actually let us do things ourselves. 🙂 The bathrooms in China are the worst. Talking about an adventurous experience. I still have nightmares about sharing one concrete floor with a gutter along the edges with a bunch of other women. Or, using open door stalls with a grooved “canal” in the middle, on the ground, where you could see what passed by… Eeeeew!

  10. One of my favourite things about travelling is all the modes of transportation you get to use. The more “local” the better. Great post! I wrote a similar thing for my letter J post … great minds think alike 🙂

    • Local transport is often an adventure in itself. While I was younger I didn’t mind spending 12-36 hours on a local “chicken” bus, but now that I am coming of age, I might prefer a minivan or more comfortable bus with real seats instead of wooden benches. 🙂 I have to catch up on your blogs, Kim!

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