Frequently Asked Questions and Answers Section re:RTW trip

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

Well, now that I am finished my first big trip, I suppose I have gained some wisdoms. I sure hope so anyway. Over the years, I have received a few emails asking me for some questions and information. I have decided to add a FAQ that may benefit some and amuse others. I must say that I feel a little weird having a FAQ section but it appears that you guys want it. I am by no means an authority and take no responsibility for any “bad” advice I may give. I am just telling you what I know from MY experiences but we all know that things change. So here goes. I will add to it whenever necessary, so ask away. I like to help.

1. How did you manage to afford such a long trip?

Well. It certainly wasn`t by selling lemonade by the side of the road. Although that may have been the beginning. I learned at a very young age about saving money. Thank you to my parents who would not spoil me with toys and candy but gave me a weekly allowance for doing chores. I remember the very first thing I saved for…a My Little Pony ($8.99). It took me months of strict self discipline and lots of dishwashing. From time to time, I would visit my prospective purchase in order to “keep my eye on the prize.” I would wait outside while my friends would buy candy in the corner store on the way home from school. I would count my earnings regularly until one day, I had enough.

I was walking on air as made my way to the toy section of the local department store. I spent hours carefully choosing between my three favorite pony figures. My top choice in hand, I stood in line all by myself waiting to pay. When I reached the cashier, I proudly placed my item on the table and reached deep into my pocket. I handed the neatly folded notes to the lady, who was now beaming at me with a huge smile of respect. I will never forget that moment. She handed me my change (yes I got change…it happened to be on sale) and I thanked her kindly. I excitedly clutched my new purchase in its crispy plastic bag as I exited through the heavy glass doors. I felt about 10 feet tall as I began to understand the value of earning and saving.

I suppose that was how I did it. Lots of hard work, self-discipline, sacrifice, prioritizing and determination. Oh, and patience. Next, I saved up for the My Little Pony Castle. And I got that too. I bought my first TV when I was 14, my first car when I was 17, and my first house when I was 19. Each penny paid was earned by me.

My friends always had new clothes but I would just get what I needed. So I didn`t have the brand names and I remember being teased about my clothes. Kids sure can be mean but I guess in the end, it made me resilient. Sure I missed a lot of parties because I had to get up early for work but I was tenacious. I would rather party on the beach in South Africa or stay up all night in Buenos Aires any day. It was a lot of pressure, responsibility and stress but it made me very strong and independent.

2. Why did you decide to travel?

It wasn`t my intention to travel around the world. It was never really my goal. When my parents divorced, we didn`t have much money so if I wanted something, I had to work for it. My mom couldn`t give me allowance anymore so I found other little jobs. I moved out very young and realized that although I had been accepted, I could not afford to go to University. So instead of borrowing (I hate being in debt), I decided to work and save the money. I didn`t know what I wanted to study yet anyway and didn`t want to waste money on a degree I wouldn`t use. By the time I had enough money, I still didn`t really know what I wanted to study. I guess I thought that travelling would be a better use of my money and that I would learn a lot more than in a classroom. Plus I had worked so hard for so many years, I desparately needed a vacation. Or more like a sabbatical.

3. What did you do for work before you left?

I have had many jobs over the years. I have been a retail clothing sales clerk (I learned that I hate folding clothes), secretary for real estate (I learned about administration and property investment), fitness instructor (I learned about exercise and nutrition), office manager (I learned about sales, management, accounting, marketing, and customer service), project administrator for IT (I learned about communications and computers), and assistant project manager for IT (I learned about more about computers, organization, and corporate environment). I have also done volunteer work as a teachers aide, event organizer as well as presiding over several commitees.

4. How old are you?

On July 13, 2002 when I left to travel I was 26. My birthday is in January. I am Aquarius and a Rabbit.

5. What was your favorite place?

Depends for what. I seem to prefer the Southern Hemisphere though. Some countries that I really enjoyed were Scotland, Spain, New Zealand, South Africa, Egypt, Hawaii (not a country but well, you know), Argentina and I loved the Seychelles. But Canada is my favorite place.

6. Where was your favorite hostel?

I have a few. In South Africa, I liked Cintsas` Buccaneers Backpackers www.cintsa.com so much that I stayed and worked there for a month. In Mission Beach Australia, I thoroughly enjoyed The Beach Shack www.missionbeachshack.com and well, my first hostel was The Funny Farm in Switzerland www.funny-farm.ch which set the bar pretty high. In Scotland, there is a circuit of backpacker hostels on the MacBackpackers tour www.macbackpackers.com which really knocked my socks off.

7. So what are you going to do now?

I will see what comes up. Haven`t made any definite plans.

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