I saw a hitchhiker on my way to work today. A lot of people look at hitchhikers and immediately (and often times mistakenly) think bum, hippie, addict, serial killer. But today I saw in this man freedom, courage, and adventure. I thought back to stories of my relatives who during the Great Depression took to the rails as professional hobos, looking for work in a new town and "seeing America right" on their way. I thought back to articles I've read about how hitchhiking culture is promoted in Hawaii, The Netherlands, and New Zealand. Then came thoughts of Jack Kerouac, Chris McCandless, even Kilgore Trout. There is a romance to hitchhiking. An unpredictable, caution-to-the-wind way of traveling that can't be rivaled by any cruise line, tour package, or resort stay. Could the falling dollar and poor economic situation force a shift back to the days when hitching a ride or hopping a train was more of a necessity? I have yet to venture in to the world of hitchhiking but it's on my list. In the meantime, I'm going to read lifelong hitcher Irv Thomas' account of a life on the road, Derelict Days. You can preview the book here on Amazon.
“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” - Robert Louis Stevenson
Land, Air, and See is issuing its first official travel warning:
Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to sing Frank Sinatra's "My Way" in a Philippine karaoke bar.
Karaoke bars across the Philippines are removing the song from their roster due what are being called the "'My Way' Killings." In the last ten years there have been over a dozen people murdered while singing, what we would have to assume to be, terrible renditions of the song. This is especially troubling to me because when I'm at a karaoke joint that doesn't have "Luck Be a Lady," "My Way" is my second choice.
I could see this happening over Miley Cyrus' "Party in the U.S.A." but not over 'Ol Blue Eyes.
In case you think this is a joke, check out The Guardian's coverage of it here.
International visitors are welcome on the Trail and are often an important source of labor, considering the short-term nature of the work. Overseas visitors wishing to work in Australia simply require a Working Visa which can be obtained from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
I'm in the running for $100.00 in cold, hard, slowly depreciating United States currency. My story, The Kiwi Drug Dealer and the Serbian Hooker, which appeared on the blog you are currently reading was chosen for a travel writing contest by the fine folks at XtremeTravelStories.com. I'm up against some pretty good stories so head over to the site, check out my competition, and vote accordingly (you can grade my story on the 1 through 5 stars system at the top of the page, 5 being the highest and most desirable star you could give me).
I'll post the results of the contest when it wraps up.
Click here to check out a short audio slideshow, an ode to the vintage camper, from travel filmmaker/writer Allison Otto.
A bad hotel can ruin a good trip. TripAdvisor has compiled a list of the Ten Dirtiest Hotels in the U.S. based on user reviews. If you can stomach it, click the links to each hotel and read horror stories like this one (mind the spelling):
"This hotel is like in a horrible horror movie! I have never seen a hotel like this. We arriverd in the room and immidietly a urine smell was getting over us. We opened the window, but we could not close it anymore. The carpet was verry dirty and had strange spots on it. That nite I could not sleep. Everytime the smell was waking me up. The bed was the a nightmare. It smelled to urine and had strange spots. There were bedbugs in it. I catcht one and showed it the next morning to the lady of the reception. She was not nice to me and told me: Maybe in your country it is not normal to have bugs in bed, but in our (original) country it is, so I don't know why you are complaining.
We wanted our money back. We already paid with the creditcard. She gave us an undecipherable form from to refund of our costs and promised we get our money back from the creditcard. She had no cash to refund she told us. She was angry we din not trust here. We were right. When we came home there were no refund, but the amount of money was taken from our creditcardaccount. We contact the creditcardcompany and eventualy we get our money back.
We left to a very nice motel near San Fransisco and there I washed all my clothes, because I was afraid I take the bedbugs or other bugs home. When I got my T- Shirt where I slept in from the plastic back, there was a terrible smell of urine on it. So the smell in the hotel came from the bed, where some one had urinated on, I think.
SO WARNING: DO NOT STAY IN THIS HOTEL!!! IT IS DANGEROUS FOR YOUR HEALTH!!
Whether you are a fan of the TV series LOST or not, you have to admire the clever marketing tactics of its creators and writers. To fuel the flames of anticipation for tomorrow night's season premiere, travel search engine site KAYAK made a one way trip on Oceanic Flight 815 from Sydney, Australia to Los Angeles, California available in search results. Here's what the flight details look like: