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Life Worth Living

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  • Branwyn32Branwyn32 Raw Newbie

    TreeOfLife – I know exactly how you feel about going to another country, I’ve been of the same mind about leaving the US for years. I’ve done ALOT of research into this over the past few years and been through having serious relationships with someone in Australia and someone in the UK, so immigration research was a must do.

    I’m quite familiar with the immigration policies of a few countries though, including Canada, the UK, and Australia. None of them are at all easy to just show up and settle down in, unfortunately…not legally at least. Without going through the drawn out, extremely expensive (we’re talking high thousands of dollars) process of getting a work visa, you will not be able to work legally. You can only get a work visa if you can find a company offering to to hire and sponsor you, and to do that, they have to prove that no citizen of their country can do the job…in the case of the UK, it’s anyone in the entire European Union! (I’m not sure if that policy stands for the rest of Europe, but I assume it would in any EU country). So it’s very hard to obtain a work visa in any of those countries unless you have a very specialized job like a doctor or something. You could get an illegal job in a restaurant or something, but don’t expect to be payed or treated very well, and face all the same hardships you see illegal immigrants facing here.

    What you could look into is the BUNAC program http://www.bunac.org/ if you’ve been in school (with 8 or more credit hours for the semester) within the last 6 months. BUNAC provides a special student work visa for a small fee ($200-$300) and helps with all sorts of resources to find a job, find a place to live, airfare, etc. You can usually stay in the country for like 6 months on a BUNAC visa (and who knows what kind of connections you could make in that time to help you stay longer). It’s really an AWESOME organization. They have programs to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Ireland. They did have programs to the UK, but it’s being replaced this fall with a new special visa issued directly through the UK government, like a young people’s working holiday visa that’s good for 2 years. There is still an application fee, and in the cases of this and the other BUNAC visas, you still have to prove a small amount of settlement funds to show you can support yourself til you get a job. For the new UK visa it’s a little over $3000. For the other BUNAC visas I think it’s a bit less, but budget on $2000. Check the site and ask them to send you a brochure for more info. If you’re interested in the new UK visa, let me know and I can find the info when I get home tonight and post the links for you.

    BUNAC also has programs to Cambodia and a few countries in South America, but they are volunteer only. You’ll have to check the site for more info on those as I’m not as familiar with them.

    Someone mentioned wwoofing, which is also really cool. It stands for World Wide Opportunies on Organic Farms. In exchange for work on a participating farm you can food, accomodation, and learning opportunities. You won’t earn money though. But if you’re being fed and housed, you basic needs are already tended to and you really are living off the land, which is awesome. http://www.woof.org/

    For inspiration (despite a tragic end) I highly recommend reading Into the Wild by John Krakauer. Or of course anything by Thoreau, Emerson, or John Muir. :)

  • MOTHMOTH Raw Newbie

    Actually, if you follow the specified checklist on the Hawaii government website, your quarantine for pets in Hawaii can be reduced to less then a day – but you gotta follow the list to the letter. It’s not that difficult – just expensive.

  • It seems the biggest problem is getting citizenship… so inconvenient! Money truly does rule the world….

    Not stopping me though!!! :)

    Durianrider has given my girlfriend and I the motivation we needed. I’ve been thinking about riding across country on my bike, and after seeing him it just makes more sense to me. Emily (my girlfriend) and I are now “training” for summer season.

    “Bound to cover just a little more ground”

  • Branwyn32Branwyn32 Raw Newbie

    That is an AMAZING idea! I’ve thought about riding cross country before, it would be so utterly amazing!

    I think that could be an amazing start to the journey of freeing yourself. Hell if I was in alot better shape I’d ask to join you! :)

    I would definitely look into the BUNAC options too at some point, if you’ve been in school at all in the past 6 months or plan to be. Some countries also offer more complex working holiday visas apart from BUNAC (so school not needed), I would do some research on the official government immigration sites for the countries you’re interested in to see what visas are available to you. Warning…it’s VERY tedious…but worth the effort in the research!

    And remember WWOOF is worldwide so you could spend some time in a country WWOOFing, since that’ll get you food and shelter. Just need proof of a couple grand in your bank account (or letters from people in the States saying they will support you and proof of their funds) to get thru customs (and a return ticket, even if you plan on changing the date or something…it assures to the customs officers that you’re eventually going back home…as far as they know ;) )

    Also you should look at www.couchsurfing.com, it’s a network of young people around the world who travel and couchsurf and offer couches for you to sleep on! I would specifically look into the “Working Your Way Around the World” group: http://www.couchsurfing.org/group.html?gid=652

  • pianissimapianissima Raw Newbie

    you may want to visit the place in question first before you worry about immigrating. ;)

    good luck on the training.

  • Well, there is theory, and there is life… The truth is that a lot of foreigners manage to live in central america ;)

  • chicorychicory Raw Newbie

    I am curious to know how those with families and/ or people that are dependent on them are able to fulfill their dreams of trekking the globe, and without much moolah. I would love to travel again, but I have very little money, about $5 left after food and bills each week. How does one go about this? just start walking? ;). It is also a scary world out there especially for a woman backpacking/ traveling alone. Back in the day I hiked around new mexico solo for a few months… there were fabulous times of reflection, where you just become sky, ground, and two feet walking~ but then reality comes crashing down when some creep tries to pull you into their car! I swear, every year I get older there are more possessions, more people, more issues that hold you back. Ah to be 19 again!

  • chicorychicory Raw Newbie

    it is easy to say that if you haven’t been harassed, kidnapped, assaulted, raped! I used to travel quite a bit, but personal experience has showed me the ugly side of a lot of people. Met lots of cool people too though. But what if you have small children, elderly parents in need of assistance, how does one just pick up to follow their own desires, and leave your family behind?

  • angie207angie207 Raw Newbie

    Why on earth would anyone leave small children behind to follow “their own desires”? These things that people mention sound fun, but I am a mom. :) Fun times tonight, doing homework with a first-grader!

  • Branwyn: You stated ” Hell if I was in alot better shap I’d ask to join you”. That is the best part, you don’t need to be in the best shape! Think about it. You will work your body into the best shape by the time you are done. It may be a struggle in the beginning but you will quickly be in great shape riding all those miles. It’s amazing what your body can do if you put it in the correct environment!

  • Branwyn32Branwyn32 Raw Newbie

    TreeOfLife you have an excellent point! I guess I’m just scared like most others. I lack experience in cycling (though I love it), bike maintenance, and backpacking and am quite overweight and always have been.

    Are you and your gf really gonna do it next summer? Where do you guys live?

  • Yes we are going to start off with the US. I live in MA and she is currently studying out in CA (San Diego). We are going to start off the beginning of the summer looking for a homestead until she finishes school. After we find a pad, we are going to go from northern cali back to mass. When we make it back here, we will probably drive back out west, due to the fact she will have to start school soon. AND we can also move our stuff from east to west. That is the game plan, we will see if any obstacles come our way.

    Then, we plan on going to….?

  • chicorychicory Raw Newbie

    exactly angie… i think that it is nice to want to do those things… when you are young and free. If you have small children you shouldn’t be journeying. I don’t have kids personally, but I believe that there are people that do, and wonder, why?

  • pianissimapianissima Raw Newbie

    who wanted to leave their kids behind. i think there was mention of a dog.

    as for “being a girl.” places i’ve never felt safer traveling alone: new zealand and japan. most people i met went with very little money, working as they went along. new zealand is actually set up for this kind of travel.

    another thing i learned while i was away is that other cultures are far less likely to instill messages of fear around travel and taking risks. if you feel scared to travel alone in certain parts of the world that is valid and you could avoid it or go with a friend… but in most of the “backpacking” regions you’ll meet a hundred other people willing to share the journey with you if you want to. everyone is in the same boat and if you don’t want to be, you’ll NEVER be alone.

    =)

  • pianissimapianissima Raw Newbie

    treeoflife—do you work at the new restaurant in beverly? i’m in CT. nice to meet a fellow new englander.

  • Travelling with kids or babies is great, they enjoy it, well mine do and there are a lot of families on the road.

    As for residence issues, well this is not an issue if you are mobile. Tourism is not forbidden. So, three months in honduras, four in nicaragua, three in costa rica, six in panama… and so on, until you find a trick to stay longer. Some people live in costa rica and go out for a week-end every three or six months and then come back, this is legal for some weird reason. Land is expensive, but why owning, you can always help in a farm.

    If you feel the moment is right for you, just go!

    I just did and I am nearly forty ;)

  • angie207angie207 Raw Newbie

    superpapaya – Woohoo! Good for you – I love it that you’re doing what you want with your family! I would think that kids would love to travel, too. :) I know I would have loved it when I was a kid!

    I was just confused by the question of “how do you leave your family behind?” I didn’t think anyone here was intending to, or would, so it surprised me.

  • yes that sounded strange…

  • Superpapaya, Tell us (me) more. I have been at a loss for how to travel extensively (with kids and little money) for a while now. I’m nearing 40 and have a three year old and a 15 year old and I would love to do something like what you describe.

  • chicorychicory Raw Newbie

    my typing is getting confusing lol! i was just wondering how people did this sort of thing, that aren’t 19 20 years old…. most people in their late 20’s 30’s have families, (and I can imagine it’s difficult for EVERYONE in the bunch to want to trek) How they go about it… wait until retirement lol!? That was what confused me about “age is just a number” yeah, i guess, but don’t all of those things come with age? pianissima… it is great that you were able to travel different countries. I am sure there are a lot of places I would feel safer hiking than in the US. I can only speak from my own personal experience. The problem is not being broke while there, but being able to get cheap airfare TO the place. It would take me almost a year to save even $200.00 for a plane ticket. Don’t know if there are any flights out of the country for that kind of price. Also, does anyone know of any resources for traveling folk with limited mobility? are there groups of people confined to wheelchairs that travel together?

  • angie207angie207 Raw Newbie

    chicory – Can you grow any of your own food and/or trade work for produce at a farm in your area? If you want to save up for something you want to do, that may be a way to start?

  • chicorychicory Raw Newbie

    I have tried to grow my own food here for the last 2 years. The soil in our area is pure sand! i tried reconditioning it, but the sand just keeps pushing up to the top. I have been saving seeds though, and do grow my own greens, but am also trying to help sell my boyfriend’s house, as he now works out of state. I have asked around a few places, but no one will let me work for food or money :(. I have a lot of trouble working more than a few hours a day, as I am losing mobility, and hand coordination. There are also not many farms in my area, most are over an hour and a half away. When i move hopefully it will be a place where I can grow again, but it won’t be for at least a few months, and it will definitely be more north. Sorry for the rant.. I am just a bit jealous that so many have had such awesome experiences traveling, and the one time in my life that I did get to do it was wrought with terrible experiences. There is always Thoreau! Walden remains my inspiration for travel. My younger brother was saying the other day that he wants to start a commune. If he is serious about it, I am in! he knows a lot of good people that could help make it work.

  • 1sweetpea1sweetpea Raw Newbie

    My BF and I backpacked from Panama to Guatemala (via Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras) last winter for 6 weeks. We weren’t travelling on a shoestring per se, but it was certainly possible to keep costs down, sleeping in hostel dorms for $5 a night. Camping was even cheaper if you have your own equipment and are sharing costs with friends. There were lots of opportunities to stay at farms and work in exchange for food and board. We met people on Ometepe (a large island in Lake Nicaragua) that had really enjoyed their time on the farms there. It definitely helps to speak the language, though. We struggled in all countries, except Costa Rica, with my rudimentary (and rusty) Spanish. Anyone with some decent Spanish language skills will fare much better in finding opportunities to live and work in farming communities.

    I’d also like to say that we’ve travelled fairly extensively abroad and, though we live in Canada, which is a pretty expensive country, we’ve found the US to be nearly as expensive (more so, when our dollar is weaker). Most countries using the euro are really expensive for us now, even countries like Greece or the Czech Republic, that used to be cheap for travellers. The UK is not affordable, due to the exchange rate from pounds sterling to Canadian dollars. We haven’t been to Australia or New Zealand, but the standard of living is almost identical to that of Canada, so I wouldn’t expect anything to be cheaper, except maybe some produce, since the climate is better for growing. To us, cheap places have been: Morocco, Tunisia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Nicaragua and Honduras. If you’re seeking a place where most or all of the produce is locally grown, I’d recommend Costa Rica or any of the Southeast Asian countries. Not that much grows in Panama, surprisingly. Aside from B-grade bananas, Panama, plus the poorest of the Central American countries, had far less variety available in the stores and most of it was imported (more expensive than even at home, in some cases). Choose carefully if you are hoping to find a place where your raw food needs can be met locally, prices are low, employment is possible, residency is possible, the government doesn’t treat citizens like garbage, garbage itself doesn’t get piled up and set on fire and the crime and poverty aren’t such to send you high-tailing it back to the very country you abandoned in the first place. The grass is always greener elsewhere. Remember too, if you’re American, you’re not exactly on the “love in” list with most of the rest of the world’s population. Sorry to say that, but while they might not behave that way to your faces, they certainly have much to say once your backs are turned. You might not be as well-received as you once were. I don’t want to end on that note, so I’ll add that most places in the world are fabulous to visit. One of my very favourite destinations is Turkey. It’s not dirt cheap, but not that expensive, produce is abundant, the people are among the most hospitable in the world and the sights are divine! Save your pennies for a stay there as long as you can. We spent 6 weeks and could have stayed a year or more.

  • angie207angie207 Raw Newbie

    chicory – It sounds like you & I need to get our soil together – I live on an old riverbed. Soil = rocks stuck together with clay! :P Sorry to hear your troubles with mobility/coordination & working. I’ve had health problems prevent or limit what kinds of jobs I can have, too. :( Maybe you can get potting soil and grow your own tomatoes & greens (including wheatgrass, if you can use it) in pots or trays indoors all year! It may not save you enough to travel the world, but for me it’s therapeutic to grow my own food, besides saving money.

  • chicorychicory Raw Newbie

    sure.. let’s swap! I do have herbs and greens on every windowsill…. just need to be mindful of the cats~ last year one of my spinach planters became a litter box, despite how clean theirs was lol! I tried adding some soil from the woods into the garden, but there were funky fungi spores in the dirt, and the garden ended up with loads of stinky squid mushrooms everywhere. (sorry, don’t know that real name) but if you ever saw or smelled one you’ll never forget it. They look like pink tentacles coming up out of the ground and smell like rotten meat. flies were everywhere.. it was gross!

  • angie207angie207 Raw Newbie

    Ewwwww! Rotten meat growing in the garden. Heehee, sorry, but the way you described it made me laugh! :D

  • sweatpea, thank you for all of that lovely information. That is what I was looking to hear. Asia and costa rica have been on the top of my lists of places to live. I figured more so costa rica since I can pick up on spanish very easily. I would love to live or at least travel Asia, such beautiful land and wonderful foods! I hope to find out one day first hand (I’m planning a trip out to asia, real soon.)

  • Any exciting tropical stories out there?

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