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Old 10-12-2013, 01:12 PM   #1
Allyourbase
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On the road for 9 months, any travel wisdom?

So, hi guys!

I've popped into the forum on and off the past years, I reckon not everybody knows me, but I hope that is of secondary concern. Because what is relevant here is what else you people know.

For I am going to travel!

And I'm a lucky puppy that I can, seriously, wow. Here's why (a peek into allyourbase's history):

The past years were intense. A bunch of reorganisations, a years-long work conflict, and a chronic health issue that required surgery, have worn me out. Not to mention that travel was once impossible, for a person dealing with anxiety as I've been.

How much things can change! Right now, I'm basically pain and anxiety free. I'd saved money in case I lost my job, but that didn't happen. And I have a reasonable manager now, who granted me unpaid leave and a return afterwards.

...Profit! I have purchased more Lonely Planets than can be considered healthy and I'm vaccinated against the most obscure diseases. I have 10 months and some weeks, and will be on the road for 9 of them, if all goes well. My guy will join me for some parts. Gap year! At 34.

I could use some of your collective wisdom for must do, and - more entertaining probably - must miss tips for my destinations.

Want to share?

PLAN

I'm leaving november 1st and here's some destinations:

Antwerp
Istanbul
Dubai, UAE, Oman partly staying with a friend from FL
Birma/Myanmar (getting that visa was an adventure...)
Thailand, Cambodya, Vietnam, Laos
At some point I might make a visa-free 72 hr stopover in Beijing or visit a friend in Australia
Oh, yeah, I will also visit THE US! Yes, I'll be in San Francisco, will probably get pierced and visit the Armory... before I'm voluntarly locking myself up in a meditation center for an entire month of sitting still and shutting up. My life is one big contradiction, yeah, I know.
At some point the plan is to reach Africa: Malawi, Tanzania, and what else is there. Maybe I'll stay there, maybe I want to leave as fast as possible and find some snow somewhere. Who knows, maybe I'm flat out of money at that point.
I got some unplanned weeks in between all these things.
Will return to the Netherlands the first week of august.

Ah....

HOME

Does anyone here have any wisdom to share on these destinations? What's the local scams or a good way to save money? What food is the best you ever had, and what will make me vomit in a back alley? What will get me arrested in a blink of an eye? Any tips on quirky taxidermy or modern art musea? Any kink-related places of interest? Do you live there? Wanna have a coffee with me/us in a safe, public space?

For those interested, this is my FL-account, I might post updates there
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I write dark stories. Like something with encountering a gang of four in a dark alleyway.

And then there's: Kinky genderqueer meets veiled beauty.

Also: some dark D/s, some switchy bdsm, some noncon/reluctance, more of those things but genderqueer. And some Daddy/boi play, with a happy ending for a change.

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Old 10-13-2013, 12:30 AM   #2
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I would throw Dublin on the list.
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Old 10-13-2013, 01:06 AM   #3
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Mid-western US is very nice in the spring, summer and fall months. But, it can be pretty nasty in the winter months. Each mid-western city has its own bit of history, local tastes and sights to see.

The US is very large, and it's difficult to pick just a few of the many wonders it has to offer. But, don't think the west coast and the east coast are the only places of interest. That fly over country in-between is full of nice people, good food and interesting places to visit.
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Old 10-13-2013, 01:21 AM   #4
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I don't know how you're planning to go to Istanbul, but my suggestion is doing it by land and stopping over in a couple of the Central/Eastern European countries for longer than a day or two.

There's lots to see and a lot of European people have really weird assumptions of what's going on in the Balkans, for example, so that's what I always suggest when people want to go somewhere. It's simply a part of the Europe not many people seem to visit (except for Adriatic/Black sea resorts).

I'd try to throw in Georgia, but that's probably just my dream country, not yours.

And if you end up in my neck of the woods, I'm up for a cup of coffee, but your travel route so far comes nowhere near here.

Have an awesome trip!

I'll definitely be reading this thread, because I love travel stories and because I can't travel until next spring, I'm trying to live through other people.
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Old 10-13-2013, 01:56 AM   #5
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Best travel advice I ever got was 'multivitamins are your best friends'.

If you end up down Oz, you'll probably stop in Sydney. Don't bother with the paid tour boats of the Harbour. The ferry goes everywhere, is much much cheaper, and if you buy an all day ticket you can get off and on at whim.

Also, if you like jazz music, Soup Plus is a pretty neat basement jazz bar in the city.


If you end up in Brisbane (I love Brisbane, it's such a laid back but vibrant place), look me up and I'll happily take you to all the good places for coffee etc and the best corset makers in the country. The YHA on Roma street is a brilliant backpacker's, more than a few cuts above the standard offerings in that regard. Don't stay at Cloud9 no matter how tight your budget is.

ETA - I shouldn't have to say this, but Australia really is quite large. Getting from one state capital to another can really only be done by plane. Going to Darwin or Perth from any of the eastern capitals will cost you a motza. On the bright side, travel up and down the east coast is relatively in-expensive, even by plane.
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Old 10-13-2013, 06:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertslave View Post
I would throw Dublin on the list.
Oh, hey that is a good idea. Especially since once upon a time I took some classes in Irish language and history. How could I forget that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DVS View Post
Mid-western US is very nice in the spring, summer and fall months. But, it can be pretty nasty in the winter months. Each mid-western city has its own bit of history, local tastes and sights to see.

The US is very large, and it's difficult to pick just a few of the many wonders it has to offer. But, don't think the west coast and the east coast are the only places of interest. That fly over country in-between is full of nice people, good food and interesting places to visit.
Good advice. Thanks. I always already though that it's probably not true that those states in the middle don't have anything interesting going on. My only setback when it comes to the United States is that I don't have a driver's license... (Yeah, might sound crazy, but trust me, in The Netherlands a lot of people don't really need it.) That might make it difficult to just hop into a National Park or something, I reckon? (Here, there's always a bus, always, but we're a nation the size of a postcard.)

And I'm hoping march will be nice to me, because I'll be sitting still or walking realllly slowly for most of that month. (Oh here's some advice from me to others who consider meditation retreats... bring, uhm, laxatives. )

Quote:
Originally Posted by seela View Post
I don't know how you're planning to go to Istanbul, but my suggestion is doing it by land and stopping over in a couple of the Central/Eastern European countries for longer than a day or two.

There's lots to see and a lot of European people have really weird assumptions of what's going on in the Balkans, for example, so that's what I always suggest when people want to go somewhere. It's simply a part of the Europe not many people seem to visit (except for Adriatic/Black sea resorts).

I'd try to throw in Georgia, but that's probably just my dream country, not yours.

And if you end up in my neck of the woods, I'm up for a cup of coffee, but your travel route so far comes nowhere near here.

Have an awesome trip!

I'll definitely be reading this thread, because I love travel stories and because I can't travel until next spring, I'm trying to live through other people.
Unfortunately I'll fly to Istanbul for only a short stay, decided that last minute because of the availability of the Dubai couch, but I've actually considered what you just said, traveling more slowly. Because it's true, I have no idea about Eastern Europe, not really, but it's a region full of history. I might do this in reverse on the way back, and travel slower.

I've always wanted to visit Tjsernobyl, as well, but I am weird.

And I forgot where you're based these days!

Same here by the way, poke me if any of you are flying to Schiphol Airport. There's more to the Netherlands than Amsterdam. Though, admittedly, that city is pretty nice.
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I write dark stories. Like something with encountering a gang of four in a dark alleyway.

And then there's: Kinky genderqueer meets veiled beauty.

Also: some dark D/s, some switchy bdsm, some noncon/reluctance, more of those things but genderqueer. And some Daddy/boi play, with a happy ending for a change.

"We are all freaks to someone. Maybe even - if we’re honest - to ourselves."
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Old 10-13-2013, 06:54 AM   #7
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I'm in Finland, so not really on your route.

I really love it that you haven't made a tight itinerary for you trip. Often people have really tight schedules for what they want to see and do that there's barely any room for spontaneity in their trip.

Oh how I wish I could do something similar myself sometime. (Although I probably would just end up spending a lot of time in one place and then moving to another to spend a lot of time there - not a fan of the actual getting-from-place-to-place action.)

I'll probably have to bookmark fetlife so that I remember to check for any updates you might have there.
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Old 10-13-2013, 06:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knot_sweet View Post
Best travel advice I ever got was 'multivitamins are your best friends'.

If you end up down Oz, you'll probably stop in Sydney. Don't bother with the paid tour boats of the Harbour. The ferry goes everywhere, is much much cheaper, and if you buy an all day ticket you can get off and on at whim.

Also, if you like jazz music, Soup Plus is a pretty neat basement jazz bar in the city.


If you end up in Brisbane (I love Brisbane, it's such a laid back but vibrant place), look me up and I'll happily take you to all the good places for coffee etc and the best corset makers in the country. The YHA on Roma street is a brilliant backpacker's, more than a few cuts above the standard offerings in that regard. Don't stay at Cloud9 no matter how tight your budget is.

ETA - I shouldn't have to say this, but Australia really is quite large. Getting from one state capital to another can really only be done by plane. Going to Darwin or Perth from any of the eastern capitals will cost you a motza. On the bright side, travel up and down the east coast is relatively in-expensive, even by plane.
Multivitamins! Those aren't on the list yet, but they should be. I bet I'll need them. Finding something to eat in difficult countries is always more of a thing trying to figure out what won't make you violently ill, in stead of what tastes good and is healthy.

Australia, if that works out, will be Perth, but I do have a friend in Darwin as well. I'm totally aware that those two places are worlds apart though, yes!

Now I want to know what's wrong with Cloud9 in Brisbane...
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Share your favorite TED-talk, podcast, or speech!

I write dark stories. Like something with encountering a gang of four in a dark alleyway.

And then there's: Kinky genderqueer meets veiled beauty.

Also: some dark D/s, some switchy bdsm, some noncon/reluctance, more of those things but genderqueer. And some Daddy/boi play, with a happy ending for a change.

"We are all freaks to someone. Maybe even - if we’re honest - to ourselves."
— Kate Bornstein, Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation

Last edited by Allyourbase : 10-13-2013 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:10 AM   #9
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Perth is my hometown.

Infusion in the Plaza Arcade of the Hay St mall in the city is probably the best coffee.

The Perth Zoo is amazing. Not big, or probably as impressive as some zoos, but it has some of the most successful breeding of rare species in the world.

Fremantle is great, foodie heaven.

And the Indiana Tea House in Cottesloe is pretty cool.

If record stores are your thing, 78 Records in the city has some of the best local, unsigned music available in the country. Plus some really hard to find obscure overseas artists as well.


As for Cloud9...bed bugs are the least objectionable thing about the place... *shudder*
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:17 AM   #10
Allyourbase
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seela View Post
I'm in Finland, so not really on your route.

I really love it that you haven't made a tight itinerary for you trip. Often people have really tight schedules for what they want to see and do that there's barely any room for spontaneity in their trip.

Oh how I wish I could do something similar myself sometime. (Although I probably would just end up spending a lot of time in one place and then moving to another to spend a lot of time there - not a fan of the actual getting-from-place-to-place action.)

I'll probably have to bookmark fetlife so that I remember to check for any updates you might have there.
Well, I found I did have to plan more than I intended, because of vaccinations, malaria medication (shite that is expensive stuff) and visa requirements. So the large chunks of my trip are set. But the second half, the Africa-and-back-home is still open enough. Hey, I've been thinking of doing some Scandinavia at the end actually - my initial thought was that I'd like to see what life is like inside the polar circle. But this all depends. On money.

Really, budgeting for a trip like this is crazy.

Besides money and health, my other slight worry is the fact that I, unthinkingly, planned the muslim countries I want to see, before my trip to the US, and I've heard several stories of people who were denied entry at US-customs because of the stamps in their passport.

Well, that, and the fact that crossdressing is illegal in a lot of countries, and I guess, as a butch, that is what I do. But I'll wear earrings or whatever. We'll see.

I'm not going traveling to be comfortable, after all.
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I write dark stories. Like something with encountering a gang of four in a dark alleyway.

And then there's: Kinky genderqueer meets veiled beauty.

Also: some dark D/s, some switchy bdsm, some noncon/reluctance, more of those things but genderqueer. And some Daddy/boi play, with a happy ending for a change.

"We are all freaks to someone. Maybe even - if we’re honest - to ourselves."
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:24 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by knot_sweet View Post
Perth is my hometown.

Infusion in the Plaza Arcade of the Hay St mall in the city is probably the best coffee.

The Perth Zoo is amazing. Not big, or probably as impressive as some zoos, but it has some of the most successful breeding of rare species in the world.

Fremantle is great, foodie heaven.

And the Indiana Tea House in Cottesloe is pretty cool.

If record stores are your thing, 78 Records in the city has some of the best local, unsigned music available in the country. Plus some really hard to find obscure overseas artists as well.


As for Cloud9...bed bugs are the least objectionable thing about the place... *shudder*
Oh hey, Perth your hometown! Ok when it turns out I end up there, you're definitely getting a pm

Oh bedbugs... *shudder*

The zoo! Good idea! And I'm not much of a record person, but I do enjoy food and a good coffee.

Seriously, in asia I haven't had a coffee to my liking yet. I like my coffee with milk, without sugar. Which turns out to be impossible. They almost always use sweetened milk powder.
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Share your favorite TED-talk, podcast, or speech!

I write dark stories. Like something with encountering a gang of four in a dark alleyway.

And then there's: Kinky genderqueer meets veiled beauty.

Also: some dark D/s, some switchy bdsm, some noncon/reluctance, more of those things but genderqueer. And some Daddy/boi play, with a happy ending for a change.

"We are all freaks to someone. Maybe even - if we’re honest - to ourselves."
— Kate Bornstein, Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation
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Old 10-13-2013, 11:07 AM   #12
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1. Lonely Planet books are frequently unreliable IMO. I worked at one of the resorts they "interviewed". They spent all of five minutes on the property and asked me about three useless questions. For the most current info on any place you plan to visit, especially for food-related questions, visit the forums for that destination on tripadvisor.com. There are usually folks on those forums who actually live in those places and give you up to date info.

2. Visit your doctor and/or a travel doctor, tell him/her where you're going and ask if you can get a prescription for some of the most common medications you might need, with instructions for use. This the smartest thing I've learned to do over the years. It is extremely stressful to be stuck somewhere with severe diarrhea or a nasty ear infection and discover the local hospital or clinic is "questionable" at best. This happens more often than you think.

3. Bring a good flashlight or headlamp.

4. MOSQUITO REPELLANT!!! Especially for SE Asia. Be diligent and don't bother with "all natural". Coat yourself with DEET when you are in places where there is dengue fever.

5. For the really hot, humid places - light cotton clothing. Cotton.

6. If you haven't already done so, make sure you call your credit card company(s) and let them know what you're done, where you'll be, aprox dates etc. so they can put a note on your acct. Otherwise, if they start seeing transactions in Istanbul, they'll put a block on your acct. And even if you aren't planning to use credit cards, chances are you'll have to at least once.

I could go on and on. Those are the ones I thought of off the top of my head that will help keep the worst from happening. Have fun!!
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Old 10-13-2013, 01:20 PM   #13
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As a queer, you'll probably like SF (though I hear the LGBT scene is... more authentic? in Seattle now, and that SF is fast becoming a new silicon valley more than anything). All I know is that as a tourist, I hated it. Maybe I went with boring people, but we only ever did the same 3 or 4 things while we were there. Haight and Ashbury is, IIRC, simultaneously worn down and expensive. Ghiradelli Square feels incredibly fake. The Wharf is neat, but like Times Square in NYC, packed with too many bodies, and unlike Times Square in NYC, not enough to see. The food scene is great, but in a town like that, it'll suck your wallet dry pretty quickly. All the interesting areas seem like they'e packed into one part of town and outside of that is... empty and boring. And Daly City will depress you from just looking at it from the freeway. If you're doing SF, you'd probably want to get showed around by someone that lives there... and has a car.

I'd suggest the east coast if you want more bang for your buck, tbh. NYC and Boston being obvious choices.
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Old 10-13-2013, 02:47 PM   #14
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Unfortunately, I don't have much travel advice, having only been out of the American Southeast a handful of times. (Oh, the hazards of being poor.)

However, if you'd like to see more of the US without a driver's license and without spending tons of money on plane tickets, may I suggest Amtrak?

I've never ridden an Amtrak train, but a friend of mine came down to visit a couple of weeks ago. She took an Amtrak train from New York City to my town (about a 1,000 mi/1,610 km trip). It took much less time than the same trip by stinky old bus would have taken (I think it was about a 20-hour trip with 15 or 20 stops between NY and AL, which, while not super-fast, is still way less time than you'd spend in traffic between the two places), and she said that even in coach, the trains are fairly nice. They tend to run on time, too, at least in the Eastern US. And best of all, she couldn't have driven down here and back on the amount of money she paid for that train ticket.

So, yeah, if you're interested in exploring, that's probably a good way to do it. Admittedly, coverage for Amtrak is spotty over some of the sparsely populated Western states, but they appear to have a ton of stations in California, the Midwest, and the East Coast. We've even got several down here.

I hope you have lots of fun on your journey! Please keep us updated because I'm going to live vicariously through you.

ETA: Don't feel bad about secretly wanting to go to Chernobyl. It's on my extremely long list of places I want to go if I ever get lucky enough to go to Europe!
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Old 10-13-2013, 06:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keroin View Post
1. Lonely Planet books are frequently unreliable IMO. I worked at one of the resorts they "interviewed". They spent all of five minutes on the property and asked me about three useless questions. For the most current info on any place you plan to visit, especially for food-related questions, visit the forums for that destination on tripadvisor.com. There are usually folks on those forums who actually live in those places and give you up to date info.

2. Visit your doctor and/or a travel doctor, tell him/her where you're going and ask if you can get a prescription for some of the most common medications you might need, with instructions for use. This the smartest thing I've learned to do over the years. It is extremely stressful to be stuck somewhere with severe diarrhea or a nasty ear infection and discover the local hospital or clinic is "questionable" at best. This happens more often than you think.

3. Bring a good flashlight or headlamp.

4. MOSQUITO REPELLANT!!! Especially for SE Asia. Be diligent and don't bother with "all natural". Coat yourself with DEET when you are in places where there is dengue fever.

5. For the really hot, humid places - light cotton clothing. Cotton.

6. If you haven't already done so, make sure you call your credit card company(s) and let them know what you're done, where you'll be, aprox dates etc. so they can put a note on your acct. Otherwise, if they start seeing transactions in Istanbul, they'll put a block on your acct. And even if you aren't planning to use credit cards, chances are you'll have to at least once.

I could go on and on. Those are the ones I thought of off the top of my head that will help keep the worst from happening. Have fun!!
Awesome, thanks!

Yeah tripadvisor is very helpful, I've alreayd noticed that.

I'm bringing some common medication, clean needles, and a morning after pill. Hopefully I'll be able to get that across the borders.

And I'm a DEET fan, no worries. I'm taking an impregnated mosquito net as well.

Will call the creditcard company, I already had my card blocked when I paid for the retreat, so, yeah...
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I write dark stories. Like something with encountering a gang of four in a dark alleyway.

And then there's: Kinky genderqueer meets veiled beauty.

Also: some dark D/s, some switchy bdsm, some noncon/reluctance, more of those things but genderqueer. And some Daddy/boi play, with a happy ending for a change.

"We are all freaks to someone. Maybe even - if we’re honest - to ourselves."
— Kate Bornstein, Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:02 PM   #16
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As a queer, you'll probably like SF (though I hear the LGBT scene is... more authentic? in Seattle now, and that SF is fast becoming a new silicon valley more than anything). All I know is that as a tourist, I hated it. Maybe I went with boring people, but we only ever did the same 3 or 4 things while we were there. Haight and Ashbury is, IIRC, simultaneously worn down and expensive. Ghiradelli Square feels incredibly fake. The Wharf is neat, but like Times Square in NYC, packed with too many bodies, and unlike Times Square in NYC, not enough to see. The food scene is great, but in a town like that, it'll suck your wallet dry pretty quickly. All the interesting areas seem like they'e packed into one part of town and outside of that is... empty and boring. And Daly City will depress you from just looking at it from the freeway. If you're doing SF, you'd probably want to get showed around by someone that lives there... and has a car.

I'd suggest the east coast if you want more bang for your buck, tbh. NYC and Boston being obvious choices.
This helps, thanks. I'm slightly worried about what SF will do for my budget, yeah, so I might not stay there for too long. I'm counting on CouchSurfing to land me a bed with queer-friendly folks there, which might help with the sightseeing as well. I'm planning to see some modern art, the science museum, the Armory and, well, as a requirement for the retreat, I need to find a place to wash all my clothes in scent free detergent.

East coast is not yet on my radar, but will keep that in mind for any future plans.

And yeah, that damned driver's license...
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And then there's: Kinky genderqueer meets veiled beauty.

Also: some dark D/s, some switchy bdsm, some noncon/reluctance, more of those things but genderqueer. And some Daddy/boi play, with a happy ending for a change.

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Old 10-13-2013, 07:09 PM   #17
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Unfortunately, I don't have much travel advice, having only been out of the American Southeast a handful of times. (Oh, the hazards of being poor.)

However, if you'd like to see more of the US without a driver's license and without spending tons of money on plane tickets, may I suggest Amtrak?

I've never ridden an Amtrak train, but a friend of mine came down to visit a couple of weeks ago. She took an Amtrak train from New York City to my town (about a 1,000 mi/1,610 km trip). It took much less time than the same trip by stinky old bus would have taken (I think it was about a 20-hour trip with 15 or 20 stops between NY and AL, which, while not super-fast, is still way less time than you'd spend in traffic between the two places), and she said that even in coach, the trains are fairly nice. They tend to run on time, too, at least in the Eastern US. And best of all, she couldn't have driven down here and back on the amount of money she paid for that train ticket.

So, yeah, if you're interested in exploring, that's probably a good way to do it. Admittedly, coverage for Amtrak is spotty over some of the sparsely populated Western states, but they appear to have a ton of stations in California, the Midwest, and the East Coast. We've even got several down here.

I hope you have lots of fun on your journey! Please keep us updated because I'm going to live vicariously through you.

ETA: Don't feel bad about secretly wanting to go to Chernobyl. It's on my extremely long list of places I want to go if I ever get lucky enough to go to Europe!
Oh! I love trains yet I've never thought of doing some United States by rail. I guess in the back of my head I'd falsely remembered that taking the train in the US was more expensive than other options. I'm going to check out the coverage Amtrack has, if not for now, then later, because that sounds pretty interesting. Thanks!

Oh and if you ever fly into Europe, let me know. I don't know Chernobyl like my back yard, but I can give you some tips on the Netherlands, Spain, and, as a good Dutch person, I know my France. Oui.
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I write dark stories. Like something with encountering a gang of four in a dark alleyway.

And then there's: Kinky genderqueer meets veiled beauty.

Also: some dark D/s, some switchy bdsm, some noncon/reluctance, more of those things but genderqueer. And some Daddy/boi play, with a happy ending for a change.

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Old 10-13-2013, 08:44 PM   #18
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This helps, thanks. I'm slightly worried about what SF will do for my budget, yeah, so I might not stay there for too long. I'm counting on CouchSurfing to land me a bed with queer-friendly folks there, which might help with the sightseeing as well. I'm planning to see some modern art, the science museum, the Armory and, well, as a requirement for the retreat, I need to find a place to wash all my clothes in scent free detergent.

East coast is not yet on my radar, but will keep that in mind for any future plans.

And yeah, that damned driver's license...
I love love love the west coast more than anything, but I'd be the first to tell you that most of the cities aren't places you'd want to visit unless you knew someone from the area. Unless you're just in it for the beaches! But places like LA, SF, Seattle... the great parts are hidden away and hard to get to (if the whole town isn't impossible to navigate to begin with) so you're stuck with access to a handful cheesy things. (A place like LA is a total waste unless you've got a knowledgeable native with you for sure. ) It's just how a lot of these places developed compared to the more Euro-inspired or colonial towns of the east.

Anyways, enough about the states. :P
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:58 PM   #19
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As a queer, you'll probably like SF (though I hear the LGBT scene is... more authentic? in Seattle now, and that SF is fast becoming a new silicon valley more than anything). All I know is that as a tourist, I hated it. Maybe I went with boring people, but we only ever did the same 3 or 4 things while we were there. Haight and Ashbury is, IIRC, simultaneously worn down and expensive. Ghiradelli Square feels incredibly fake. The Wharf is neat, but like Times Square in NYC, packed with too many bodies, and unlike Times Square in NYC, not enough to see. The food scene is great, but in a town like that, it'll suck your wallet dry pretty quickly. All the interesting areas seem like they'e packed into one part of town and outside of that is... empty and boring. And Daly City will depress you from just looking at it from the freeway. If you're doing SF, you'd probably want to get showed around by someone that lives there... and has a car.

I'd suggest the east coast if you want more bang for your buck, tbh. NYC and Boston being obvious choices.
Yes, San Francisco is kind of a tourist trap--you definitely want to check it out with someone who knows the back door cool things to do.

Also, if you're able to, and really wanting to get some beautiful scenery in (along the lines of your mention of meditation) you may want to drive up north, through Mendocino, up into humboldt and check out the old growth redwood forests. The energy there is soul calming and there are some cool retreats you can check out up there if you're so inclined.
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Old 10-14-2013, 02:20 PM   #20
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Just a quick note on San Francisco, since it seems to be an essential part of your itinerary. Everyone who is telling you that SF is generally a pretty expensive place are being too kind. SF can be unconscionably expensive if you stick to the tourist-y spots that get all the ink in the guidebooks - or all the pixels online. However, there are also some low-dollar treats that are out of this world. I haven't been there, but one place that's on my list for next time is the (sorry, don't recall the name and don't have the time to look) coffee shop that does an open-mike day (I think Saturday) restricted to singers of opera. So if you want to hear some opera for the price of a couple of coffees...

In the SF area, BART and the local bus/trolley system make it completely unnecessary to have a car except to get to the suburbs, and even then not always. You can travel from SF to Berkeley and beyond on BART.

Teh Bunny's advice on Amtrak is good. It's an especially good option along the coasts, not so much in between. I'm in Chicago and I could use Amtrak to get to all four corners of the US with ease, but it's somewhat more difficult from the smaller cities.
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Old 10-14-2013, 02:28 PM   #21
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So, hi guys!

I've popped into the forum on and off the past years, I reckon not everybody knows me, but I hope that is of secondary concern. Because what is relevant here is what else you people know.
ahem

Glad to see you're well. While I've nothing intelligible to offer in the ways of your questions, I hope you have safe travels.
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Old 10-14-2013, 02:42 PM   #22
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ahem

Glad to see you're well. While I've nothing intelligible to offer in the ways of your questions, I hope you have safe travels.
Fuckin hell! CORBS!
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I write dark stories. Like something with encountering a gang of four in a dark alleyway.

And then there's: Kinky genderqueer meets veiled beauty.

Also: some dark D/s, some switchy bdsm, some noncon/reluctance, more of those things but genderqueer. And some Daddy/boi play, with a happy ending for a change.

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Old 10-14-2013, 06:18 PM   #23
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Thanks about the ton of advice on SF and around! It's an essential part by necessity, basically because it's the big international airport near the meditation center. But I will consider myself duly warned about the difficulty of getting around and the ease of spending money.

In case you wonder: hey you fly in from Asia to meditate in the US, why, on earth, you weird person? Oh good question, let me answer that for you before you ask it! I've talked about good retreat centers with a teacher in my lineage, and he didn't recommend me doing a first month long with an asian teacher. I'm following that advice because in the past, I have indeed sat in an asian monastery, and I couldn't have done that for an entire month in a satisfactory way because I am not embedded in that culture. Probably for others it could absolutely be the right place to sit, though, but not for me right now. Americans are not very exotic to me. But I think that is a good thing.

Another thing. Not that I'm going to try, but I am curious: do any of you have experiences with transporting kinky literature across borders into potentially difficult countries? Do they raid your backpack, take all the good stuff to burn it in a special porn-fireplace behind the airport, and leave the boring sci fi novel you read three times already, after having drawn a dress on the half-naked lady on the cover with black marker?
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I write dark stories. Like something with encountering a gang of four in a dark alleyway.

And then there's: Kinky genderqueer meets veiled beauty.

Also: some dark D/s, some switchy bdsm, some noncon/reluctance, more of those things but genderqueer. And some Daddy/boi play, with a happy ending for a change.

"We are all freaks to someone. Maybe even - if we’re honest - to ourselves."
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Old 10-14-2013, 06:47 PM   #24
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Teh Bunny's advice on Amtrak is good. It's an especially good option along the coasts, not so much in between. I'm in Chicago and I could use Amtrak to get to all four corners of the US with ease, but it's somewhat more difficult from the smaller cities.
Yep, that's true. This town's only got a station because it lies on the I-20 corridor, along the more or less straight line between Atlanta, Birmingham, and the place where the whole mess bears south toward Meridian, MS.
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Old 10-15-2013, 04:50 AM   #25
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Take a scanned copy of your passport and email it to yourself so if you passport gets stolen you at least have a copy of it.

Research where all of your Embassies or Consulates are so if anything goes wrong then you know where you can go for help if you need it.

Read the small print on your travel insurance and make sure it covers every single country you are going to and any activities you are planning on doing. Believe it or not most general insurances won't cover hiring a motorbike in Thailand and $80,000 to be medivacced from one country to another really puts a damper on your holiday.

If you rent any forms of transportation, take photos before you even leave the place otherwise you will get stung for damages.

Leave some oh shit money at home that a friend can Western Union over if you are desperate. Nothing worse than having your credit cards stolen and having no access to any cash to pay for food and accommodation. In my experience banks aren't overly helpful sending new credit cards to strange countries.
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