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View Poll Results: Where in the World Should I Go? [help me choose my 6 month+ travel launching point]

Voters
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  • Western Europe

    4 18.18%
  • China

    6 27.27%
  • Middle East/Northern Africa

    2 9.09%
  • South America

    3 13.64%
  • South East Asia

    1 4.55%
  • Africa

    0 0%
  • Far Eastern Europe/Central Asia/Russia

    2 9.09%
  • Mediterranean Loop

    4 18.18%
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  1. #11
    johnnywalker's Avatar
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    I've traveled quite extensively in the course of my work. My three favourite places in the world are Peru, New Zealand and Vietnam, in no particular order. Although I speak Spanish (not as well as I used to) being monolingual would not be a problem. I've been to Iran and enjoyed the country and the people, but I'm not sure it's a good destination for a first-timer. Peru has the advantages of lots of historical (archeological) sites and being close to other latin american countries (my wife traveled extensively in south america and recommends Ecuador, second Peru); Vietnam has the advantage of varied landscapes from north to south and close to Laos and Cambodia (Laos is very nice, a little more laid back than Vietnam but I've never been to Cambodia). Neither have I been to the south island of New Zealand (which most people rave about at the "right" time of year).
    In none of these countries have I ever been concerned about my personal safety, but in Peru one should be aware of their surroundings and keep close track of the important things (passport, money and cameras).
    If you decide to go to any one of these places I'd be happy to offer more information on places to visit.
    Last edited by johnnywalker; 04-21-2010 at 07:54 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
    Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284

  2. #12

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    I'm going to suggest Asia and south east Asia if you want to get out of your comfort zone. It'll be an awakening in many ways. Definitely not the Ceeps You might want to go to Australia if you want to pad your funds. Should be easy to find casual work there (friends worked orchards, vineyards etc...) and the people you'll meet there will probably become life long friends. I would suggest bringing minimal camera gear and simply enjoy the trip and all that unfolds as you travel.

  3. #13
    Andrew K's Avatar
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    Australia is great - I know - as I live here...but it is expensive for the budget traveller - even if you can pick up the odd job (legally or otherwise..)

    Most amazing place I've been to is China. You don't need to drive (and thankfully most of the population doesn't). Food is great whether you eat meat or are a vegetarian. People are very friendly (although watch out for those who walk up to you on the street in a major city and want to practice their English - yes, they are really trying to sell you something!). I spent a week in Beijing, and by then end of it felt comfortable getting around - maybe not like a local, but still very comfortable...and never once felt unsafe..(plus there's a great camera complex in Wukusong with maybe 100 camera stores in a 2 storey mall)

    Many amazing sights - some unexpected. Just walking throuogh the streets is amazing - we were walking down a side street, and came across a open gate. Looking in was a circular arch - it was a 400 year old courtyard house, and the owner allowed us in to ahve a look. It's such an amazing place - in front of you is the 21st century, next to you is a scene that could have come out of the 19th century...

    Then catch a train/bus out into the country side - there are many places where they still don't see westerners often...The Great Wall - I only went because I thought if I don't go I will regret it..how right I was. We went to a part of the wall about 100km from Beijing that hadn't been re-built, and we were the only tourists there......it was almost surreal...I'm not a landscape photographer, but even I couldn't take a lousy photo...

    Asia as a whole can be a place of contrasts - you could also consider Cambodia (Angkor Wat temple complex is amazing - and enormous-and if you travel 30-40km from the main temple complex you get ruind temples all to yourself), then on to the Killing Fields (so sad), Vietnam (so much history), Thailand, Laos....

    I'd steer clear of Europe due to the cost, plus the fact the Iceland volcano may cause air traffic chaos again in the future....
    A camera is only a black box with a hole in it....

    my blog...some film, some digital http://andrewk1965.wordpress.com/

  4. #14

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    Agree about China. In general, you'll find there's little crime against Westerners or foreigners. 'pugger Colin Corneau seems to go to China every couple of years. You could easily spend half a year in China, Viet Nam and Cambodia. Just keep in mind summer will be excruciating for Canadians. Hot and humid like you've never experienced, makes Toronto summers seem like spring

  5. #15

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    I travel a lot, quite cheaply, with a backpack and camera bag, never have a car, and am almost always traveling alone. So, I have a few ideas here.

    -Would not recommend South America, but there's a qualification. Love it, but it's quite difficult without Spanish (or (Portuguese). I find the people who don't speak Spanish end up only talking to other tourists (and most were not traveling alone to begin with). I'm not sure I can agree with johnnywalker that it's "not a problem," although more popular countries like Peru will have more English speakers. HOWEVER--if you have 6 months to spare and want to choose a few places to LEARN Spanish, it will give you a great excuse to stay in one city/town for a month or so, and then the basis of language for the next few months. I'd definitely recommend Colombia as a great country for this. You can study in a high-energy city like Medellin for a few weeks, then move somewhere remote and laidback and off-the-beaten track like Mompos for a few more weeks. I think they might have a Spanish school set up by now. Mompos would be a great place to work on documenting people. The Spanish is quite clear through the center of the country. Bolivia's Spanish is also on the slower side, and it's a ridiculously gorgeous country. If you were to do a longer cross-continental journey, generally it would probably be best to get your Spanish down in an Andean area before tackling the coasts ...or Argentina.

    -Highly, highly, highly recommend the Middle East if you can. I went alone when I was 28 (turned 29 while there) and am a girl who looked 20 at the time. Did not feel in danger. Summer is damn hot, but it's dry heat and fewer tourists, and you could save the hotter countries for the second half of your six months. I only got to travel in the Middle East for 7.5 weeks, which I constantly regret...can only imagine how much I'd learn and what I would have seen with six months. I flew into Cairo and out of Istanbul and traveled only by public transportation in-between. Language is not a huge issue--I found more English speakers there than in South/Central America. It's eye-opening, as cliched as it might sound--as much as I love all my travels, there was just nothing quite as culturally impactful as this trip. I truly wish I had not been as nervous about photographing people as I was then...I wish I had a record of all the wonderful people I spoke with. For those of us in North America, the physical landscape alone is a huge change. Syria is still my absolute favorite country...would be happy staying for a month or more, rather than the measly 2 weeks I did.

    -For specific countries that are absolutely overflowing with documentary possibilities, my recommendations are Ethiopia and Myanmar, both because of photogenic beauty, unique cultures, friendly people. (Friendlier in Myanmar--I admit some people hate Ethiopia but to me, it is fascinating in its energetic craziness). Amount of English speakers is probably similar in both. Unfortunately you're not departing at an ideal time of year for either one, but honestly...both so interesting. The advantage with Myanmar is that you could combine it with a longer trip to nearby countries. Whether it's a Southeast Asia trip or a South Asia trip, you have to fly into Myanmar either way (cannot cross the borders by land) so it doesn't really matter where you're coming from, but you could at least be nearby in the region. Still though--summer is not ideal. Do you have to leave in June?

    As for costs, hosts, etc. I think Europe is too expensive, but your budget may tell you differently. Check couchsurfing.com or hospitalityclub.org. I used HC when I went to the Middle East. I don't really do it anymore as I have a job and am paid for my vacations, but it was great and I constantly meet people who love it. For the countries I've recommended, cheap lodging is easy to find anyway. I very rarely pay more than 10USD/night but my usual is closer to $6. My most ridiculous price was 86 cents on the Sinai Peninsula. Price basically depends on what you need, and really all I need is a bed. I prefer porcelain toilets but you take what you can get! For me, the lodging is the least important part of any trip, I'm there 8-10 hours a day at the most. The particular countries that intrigue me unfortunately often don't have good cuisines, so that budget goes down as well. If you want your trip to stretch out as long as possible, you can certainly save money without sacrificing enjoyment.

    Oh, and for this type of travel, urban environment is definitely not necessary to be car-free. You can also simply choose a place that's small enough to walk around.

    Can't really give recs on equipment, because I prefer 35mm.

    Sorry this got so long...travel is obviously my biggest passion .
    Last edited by naugastyle; 04-21-2010 at 09:28 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #16

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    Before deciding on an itinerary it may be good to think some more about the type of photos you want to take, in terms of subject matter, mood, environment, etc. You can do documentary photography of almost anything, but you probably have some more definite goals you want to accomplish with this trip. If you don't drive then good public transport is one thing that should narrow down your choices. Beyond that, I agree with many of the suggestions above. The only other suggestion I have is to not rule out Edinburgh, Scotland, during any season but summer. If you avoid the tourist crowds and accompanying kitsch, it is a very photogenic city. Even a short (i.e. less expensive) visit could be rewarding. Perhaps on your way home from someplace more exotic.

  7. #17
    johnnywalker's Avatar
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    Naugastyle has a point - it's easier in Latin America if you know the language, but I don't think you'll have a problem without it. Besides, in six months you will pick up a lot. Try and learn some before you go, if you decide to go there. Don't bother if you decide to go to southeast asia. Those languages are impossible, and it isn't necessary. No one expects you to be able to speak Vietnamese for instance and they will try very hard to understand what you are trying to get across. Get a GPS before you go, you'll never get lost. Always carry the address of where you're staying, so if you do get turned around you can just show it to a cyclo driver or a taxi.
    I spent a month alone in Vietnam without any issues. To eat, go into a restaurant and look lost. Someone will feed you. Or point to whatever the next table is having. They will write on a piece of paper how much you owe. If you want to go to a particular place, get someone who speaks english and the local language to write it down so you can show it to a driver.
    You will learn how to get by. You will have fun. It will be an adventure. You will be ok. Oh yes, learn the word for "bathroom" wherever you are. And get all the shots you need before you leave, and some really strong antibiotics just in case. I always take them and have never needed them.
    If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
    Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284

  8. #18

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    Hey this looks like fun so i`ll join in.
    How about a med. loop. Turkey, Crete, Nth.Africa, Portugal. Perhaps Morrocco in nth africa,get a bit of diversity and far enough out of comfort zone, without too much worry.
    I see NZ mentioned by a few. You do know that we are the forth best in the world at rugby and the world cup is on here, so if rugby ain`t your thing maybe stay out untill it is over because nothing else will be happening during cup time.
    regards
    CW

  9. #19
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    Should you by mistake end up near the North Pole on your journey, you are welcome to stay a night or two on our couch. You are a lucky man to have this opportunity (to travel, not the couch).

    r

    Mats
    Digital is for communication, film is for documentation.


    http://www.flickr.com/photos/studiopirilo

  10. #20
    Athiril's Avatar
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    Yeah its nice here.. I can also recommend Sweden. The ferry which you get a bed on to Finland from Sweden is also not that expensive.
    Last edited by Athiril; 04-22-2010 at 12:53 AM. Click to view previous post history.

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