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Posts Tagged ‘Around the World’

So, if you know me (Lisa) at all, you’d know that I’m a bit of a worry wort with an over-active imagination.  Some of you may have read that here.  Well, this morning I woke up grinding my teeth after having a pretty vivid dream about Corey & I traveling with a huge group of people for our entire Round the World (RTW).  It left me feeling a bit tense.

Many people do travel like this, with a big group, but that’s not our plan.  I freaked out thinking about following an itinerary that’s not for us & sticking out like a sore thumb.  Don’t get me wrong, we will stick out, there’s no way to blend in with our travel gear, Corey’s skin color/height and the fact that neither one of us can speak a second langauge (we will learn the everyday phrases, but won’t be experts).  However, we would like to try out best to stand out as little as possible!

I’ve only done one trip overseas, which happened to be with a group & I ended up having a great time.  We did, however, have one obnoxious American in our group, who more often than not, embarrassed all of us.  By obnoxious American, I mean, loud, arrogant, ignorant of  her surroundings, pompous and a bit rude when things didn’t go her way. 

From what I’ve heard from other travellers, every country has some horrible stereotypes that we will eventual run in to.  Apparently, Canadians are also rude and obnoxious, Australians are arrogant, Indians are pushy, Italians are poor drivers and the list goes on.  My point is that just because some people fall into these stereotypes doesn’t mean that everyone from a certain country falls into their stereotype.  The few Canadians I’ve met/corresponded with have been nothing but nice and helpful towards me.  Why go anywhere if people are already what we assume they are?  If someone went to insert hectic American city here (New York, LA, Chicago, D.C.) and had a horrible experience, they might assume that all of America is like that, which it not the case.

There will be times while travelling that we might be so stressed that our unpleasant sides may peak their nasty heads.  Let’s face it, nobody is happy all the time and every now and again people need to vent.  We’ll be trying our best not to let the stress of travel bring out the negative stereotype in us!

For you seasoned travellers, what people have you run into that have proved the stereotype wrong?

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Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations

Image via Wikipedia

 

For the first time in the extensive history of Wallagrams, I , Corey Waller, am contributing to our infamous pre-travel blog.  I have to say that I’m a little apprehensive in this first post because it has been a  long time since I’ve thoughtfully written anything of any real substance.  I guess the best way to introduce myself is to tell you all of my aspirations, goals, probably most importantly, my role in working towards our dream trip around the world. My travel history is very short and not very exciting.  I have never been out of the country and have only spent time in a handful of states other than Wisconsin.  I never really even thought about going abroad until after high school when my interest in global history and current events around the world took off.  It was at that point that I really felt a strong desire to see the rest of the world.  I initially wanted to go to all the usual places, Western Europe and maybe go on an African safari, but the more I learned about the rest of world and the more I watched others on TV, mainly Anthony Bourdain, the more I have wanted to see the world that most do not see. 

Once Lisa and I got married, our one and only goal was to save money to take a year-long trip to see the world.  However, as Lisa has already articulated saving money isn’t the easiest action.  What she has failed to mention is how hard it can be for people to earn enough money to make saving a sufficient amount plausible.  My wife reads a ridiculous amount of other travel blogs in her spare time.  I know it helps her focus on travel and learn more about extended world travel.  However, sometimes it does get her down that these people are out on the road and we  are still in the infant stages of saving.  She was able to discern a couple of common traits that most of these travelers had.  Most seemed to be in their early to mid thirties and had been saving for years.  The younger ones seemed to either come from money or had high paying jobs that allowed them to expedient the saving process (not all, but most).  Unfortunately for us,  we are in our mid twenties, we don’t come from money, and we don’t nessacarily have what you would call high paying jobs.  That, however, doesn’t make things impossible and hopeless. 

Once we decided to get engaged and several months later, get married, I knew it was to time for my focus to change into making enough to provide for my new wife and our future goals.  I worked in a small factory a year plus before our engagement.  After not much progress on the new job hunt, I decided to give them a try again.  They welcomed me back with open arms and put me on the fast-tract to advancement.  I’m not saying that my work at the factory is hard compared to other industries, but I’ve worked very hard at my job from day one.  If there is one attribute that my parents and grandparents instilled in me, it was being a hard worker.  Since starting up again at the factory I’ve received several raises and eventually a promotion to assistant foreman.  The great thing about this factory, aside from their support of me, has been the fact that we work 4 10-hour days.  This gave me two options, a long 3 day weekend or an opportunity to make more money on the weekend.  It was a no brainer, I would make more money. 

Some years ago, I started to help out our neighbor Al and his tile setting business.  My brother started out with Al, but became somewhat unreliable, so I started working as a helper for Al.  Over the next 6 years, Al graciously taught me pretty much everything that there is to know about setting tile.  I started off simply mixing mud and making cuts.  Now I have to ability and the confidence to set tile and work my own jobs.  I actually just finished off my first stand up shower last weekend and was quite surprised at how well it turned out.  All this thanks to Al’s tutelage. Sometimes its been tasking working 11, 13, 17 days in  row at time, but in the end it will all the worth it when we’re on the plane heading to our first destination.  I think with our work ethics and research/planning that we are definitely on the right track.   

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 We had our first couchsurfing (couchsurfing.org) experience last night.  For those of you who haven’t heard of it, couchsurfing is a way to meet other people who share their love for traveling and adventure.  There are 2 ways to do that: either travel to someone’s home or be a host.  Hosting can be offering up your couch for someone to spend the night(s) or you can just meet up for drinks.  At some point I think we will change our user settings so that our couch is available, but right now it’s just on the “meet for coffee or drinks” setting.    

Pauline

 

  So, it all started a week ago when a girl sent me a message asking if I wanted to hang out while she was in town.  I took a look at her profile, saw her references & decided to have her over for dinner.  Pauline is a student from Belgium who decided to come to Wisconsin for a bit before going back to school in a couple of weeks.  She arrived on August 10th & has already seen & done more than I have living here for 3 years!   

Pauline & I

 

  We had a good time talking to her about travelling, photography, biking & the weird laws that Americans have.  One example: getting in trouble for having an open container in your car.  If this same scenario happened in Belgium, as long as you weren’t drinking & driving, you’d be free to go on your merry way.  Here you’d go to jail for the night.  We don’t drink at all, which I thought she would find strange.  But Pauline said that compared to her hometown, people here hardly drink.  I found that funny, because people drink so much more here (in the Milwaukee area) than they do in Raleigh!  Anyway, it was just really nice to meet someone who was so nice & happy to meet new people.  Pauline said that it was refreshing to meet many Americans & be able to see that we’re not all loud, obnoxious & ignorant.   Overall, we had a great time & I hope that we’re able to hang out with her again before she leaves!   

Pauline, me & Corey

 

So, we have taken our first baby steps into the world of couchsurfing.  Pauline already knew the family she was staying with & they were having such a hard time understanding why she would meet with strangers in place she hasn’t been to before.  I think that Americans are taught not to trust anybody & always keep your guard up.  I’m not saying that every person we will encounter won’t be dangerous, but not every stranger is a criminal either.  I definitely want to have a few more visits like this before we decide to have people over for a weekend or more.  But, we have to start somewhere & in order to meet people we’re going to need to be more social.  Wish us luck!

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