Tag Archives: The Lost Girls

Meet, Plan Go! Boston

This was my first blogger-in-person type deal, and it was definitely interesting.  I really loved being in a room full of people who care so much about travel and value it so highly, instead of always being “the weird one” or “the one who travels.”

I brought my roommate Alex with me, because she loves to travel (Egypt, Syria) and is really interested in teaching English abroad after she graduates in December.  On the whole, the place read more like an alcoholics anonymous meeting than anything, which was fine because we’re addicts, too.  I was waiting for someone to say, “Hi, my name is Adventurous Kate, and I quit my job today so I can travel.”  (In reality, someone else did this for her.)  I was waiting for the group to say, “Hi, Kate,” but instead we all just clapped for her.   Oddly enough, Kate is from my hometown and was in the Drama club with my older brother, and she was friends with a lot of my friendsolder sisters.

I was predisposed to liking Rob Verger because of his blurb on the Meet Plan Go site, but meeting him only made me like him more.  His travel philosophy of staying in one place for a while and really getting to know the culture (including language!) gels with my own views, and it’s a subject I so rarely hear travel bloggers covering.  He was also super helpful to Alex, because one of his major experiences was with Teaching Abroad.

Lillie Marshall (I can’t help but think of How I Met Your Mother) showed her schoolteacher tendencies by quieting chatty bloggers with Teacher Voice, and wore a great dress from Ghana.

I loved getting to hear from David Kramer, who has been very focused on Latin America.  His wife is Colombian, so they’re raising their daughter as a bilingual, bicultural traveler (how cool is that?!)  It was also funny to see how even though all of these people are considered big, expert travelers, they were only experts on one aspect or type of travel, and were often novices on others.  Like David, who immediately admited to never having been anywhere but the Americas, and said he welcomed the other travelers’ advice.  He also works in the non-profit sector and got his start teaching English abroad, so I was pretty interested in that.

Ryan Larkin rounded out the group as one of the youngest on the panel.  He has worked at EF, did ASB (Alternative Spring Break) and most notably volunteered at Edge of Seven in Nepal.  Working amongst the locals, and under their direction, he helped build a school with minimal equipment for two grueling but rewarding weeks.  The longer you stay the better the deal ends up being, and it’s definitely something I would consider doing for a few months.

Meeting Amanda Pressner was great, and I felt more like I was getting drinks with a friend than talking to an incredibly succesful RTW travel blogger who also happens to have co-authored a book.  She was humble and realistic about travel, blogging and the book industry, and seemed genuinely interested in talking to and helping out me and my roommate.  Even though I have no desire to travel in the manner she did, The Lost Girls was the first travel blog I read, and I devoured the whole of the archives in a month or so.  It was just great to meet one of the first people who made me think that there’s a whole world of this out there.

They did a great job selecting panelists tghat covered the spectrum.  Solo travel, couple travel, women’s travel, travel with kids, RTW, regional, vegan and vegetarian, travel with friends, quitting your job, working remotely, freelancing, doing a program, taking a leave of absence, they pretty much covered it all.  I’m definitely more excited now about my upcoming travel and blogging plans, and I’m looking forward to more events like this one.  And can I just say that it was wicked awesome to have a Boston-centric event.  Between travel and all being from here, it felt like we all had a lot of common language.

Why on earth don’t I have pictures?  Because I’m a rookie, that’s why.  Thanks to all involved in the planning, it was a great time!  Hope to see you all again soon!

Backpacking is a good way to travel…

…But not a good way to do anything else.

Included in “anything else”?  Meeting locals, learning the language, getting to know the country, and becoming immersed in the culture.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of literature (books, articles, blogs) written for, by and about backpackers.  I love travel and it’s all they talk about, so I thought it would be great and inspiring.

Not so.  I think the ’round the world’ deal is impractical.  I would rather go to one region at a time, with similar climates to save space with gear.  This of course would also allow for more time in each individual place.  But I also hate the idea of being just a tourist.  Many of these backpackers made comments about how it doesn’t matter if your clothes are dirty, because you’ll only be hanging out with other backpackers.  Or they made the bold suggestion that hey, every once in a while, you should try some local food.  But only if you’re feeling brave.  And of course, one of my personal favorites, is the total disregard for local culture and values, manifesting itself in attire.  Um no, a two piece bikini is not acceptable everywhere, and neither is a miniskirt. 

A lot of these backpackers seem mostly concerned with hooking up with people of as many different nationalities as possible, looking cute, and seeing tons of countries with no repeats.  So, yes, if you literally want to move from one place to the next, rapidly, while stopping only to sew your wild oats, backpacking is for you.  The physical act of travel (on the cheap) is their specialty.

But that’s not my deal.

I want to live in a bunch of different places, for a few years at a time in each.  The six weeks I spent in Egypt seemed short, and I’m eager to stay somewhere on a slightly-permanent basis.  Even in high school, I immediately knew I wanted to return to Paris for a few years. I was talking about the importance of being there for more than a year with Marisa.  You need to see the way the place cycles through every holidayand temperature change.  How activity waxes and wanes.

Travel shouldn’t be about checking things off your list.  It should be meaningful, it should inherently change who you are, adding to your personality and life story.  In my mind, a lot of experiences gleaned from backpacking are akin to a layover.  You might’ve been there for a bit, and you probably have a couple stories from it.  But what did it really mean to you?  One backpacker can say she went to India, true, but she spent the entire time in her room because it was so “uncivilized.”  In my mind, she got as much out of India as I did out of several hours in Germany.  I can check “drank German beer in Germany” off of my life list, but I don’t know what the countryside looks like.  I haven’t attempted German, or relaxed with locals to get their perspective on…anything, really.

So keep your 36 countries in 52 weeks.  I set my own pace.  I’ll cover the globe.  Eventually.  A place is like good food, and I savor it.