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Taking Off Guide

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The Taking Off Guide is a sort-of guide to responsible nomadism. If 2 to 4 weeks of pre-planned vacation travel just isn't enough. Inspired by Getting back home guide (well, its title :) in this wiki: before you can get back you have to GO first!



Before you go

Major stuff to sort out

Purposefully not meant as an all-inclusive checklist for long-term travel - just to give a bare-bones idea of what's absolutely necessary when you just have to go and the time was yesterday. To give an idea that it's not all that hard to take off.

  • Flat - sublease / end lease / let out / sell / get house-sitters
    • Owning a house can be an asset: let it out and you have at least some monthly income secured!
    • Ending the lease is probably the best option, since you don't want to be on the other side of the world, looking for new subtenants.
      • Depends on your timeframe: anything less than a year, it might be more convenient to sublet
  • Stuff (all else except your backpack and the contents) - sell, lend, give, donate, dump, store - might be the most time-consuming and annoying task of all of these
  • While packing, make sure you keep some space in your backpack or suitcase and then check if you can bring anything for others (and bring back some for any in the country you are about to leave) on bringsome.com
  • Enough money for all the way (if you have a specific plan in mind) OR
  • Plan for self-sustainability (see _getting by_)
  • Decision on how to go -> booking tickets if necessary
  • Passport, valid for a long time (in many countries a condition for entry is a passport valid for more than half a year)

Nomadic-style travelling does not mean you should be irresponsible

  • travel insurance
  • vaccinations for certain countries, malaria medication (especially in Africa)
  • access to emergency funds for extreme circumstances
    • credit card with enough credit left, to be used only in emergencies
    • savings
    • friends, family to borrow money from ('not to leech off from!)
  • back-up plan(s) for whatever might or might not work out (well, this kind of covers too much ground)
  • after-returning plan (even if you wish not to)
  • self-defense course might come in handy, just in case.Or just buy a pepper spray (recommended especially for women).
  • checking visa policies, durations, entry requirements, etc for countries you intend to visit beforehand, even if it's still far ahead in time and you're not quite sure where you end up going. Not too easy to get eg. a credit card when you're a traveller not having one, landing in Los Angeles and you find out USA requires all incoming visitors to possess one (note: this is just a wild wild web rumor from one travel board - so it's also important to check the current / upcoming _official information_)


CouchSurfing, of course! - before you get out there might be good to establish at least some bonds with the community by hosting at least a few people. They might very well end up hosting you sometime soon! Genuine explorers of the world should not have problem getting into this en route but if you have the chance to do it before you go, take it.

  • Servas - older hosts but young at heart and great in Australia and NZ!
  • Hospitality Club - stronger in certain areas than CS
  • For other networks, see hospiltalityguide.net
  • GrowFood.org - a global network of organic farms where you can live, work and learn about farming.
  • WWOOF - World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (work on organic farms in exchange for meals and accommodation).
  • Help Exchange - Similar to WWOOF.org but not centered necessarily around organic farming. HelpX also has a lower initial cost for joining than WWOOF.

As a CouchSurfer, you wouldn't probably need or want to use these, but a few links to more traditional accommodations

  • HotelAgent.org - Hotel search engine that checks the world's leading online hotel sites such as Orbitz, Expedia, Asiarooms, Travelocity etc and lists the cheapest website for your city and hotel. Booking is made directly with the vendor of your choice.
  • bugeurope.com - hostels all over the world with reviews written by fellow travelers

Getting around

  • air-hitch (some bad reputation attached with the site(s)
  • air courier (return flights only and seem to be on the verge of destruction)

Getting by

  • Book: Working Your Way Around the World
  • Owning a house: collect rent money monthly
  • Teaching English abroad (usually requires TESL certificate; check the countries you may be visiting)
  • Working Holiday schemes (citizens of countries in parenthesis are eligible)
    • Age limits, usually <31
    • Mostly limited to temporary, casual work
    • New Zealand (most Western European countries + ...)
    • Australia (most Western European countries + ...)
    • Canada (UK, NZ, Aus)
    • Japan (US)
  • Au-pairing
  • other ways of making a living (if not money) out there
    • traineeship - might be hard to obtain, but is possible with keeping your eyes and ears open and making the necessary arrangements such as visas
    • volunteering for NGOs (non-governmental organizations) - not the gap-year programs aimed at middle-aged people on sabatticals or fresh-from-school gappers.
    • WWOOF - volunteering on organic farms in exchange of food and accommodation
    • Helpx.net - more varied volunteering opportunities
  • Couch Surfing Collectives - if you have the inspiration, time AND skills needed and happen to be in the area - they are not meant for leeching off of the community but to improve it in whatever way you can.

Occupations good for on the road

  • Anything that can be done off-site, online, telecommuting. Just remember to pay the taxes and do the paperwork to your home country. Usually needs an established base of clientele.

for example:

Wishful thinking ;-)

  • travel writer (magazine / guidebook contributor)
  • travel photographer
  • etc

More hands-on professions / exotic escapes

  • Be careful with the legalities there - in some countries (Finland for example) you need a permit for street-performances collecting money off of people)
  • electrician/mechanic (example site reference - exchange your skills for accommodation)
  • street artist of any kind - a good one
    • musician (busking can bring in some needed extra cash)
    • street performer
    • street artist(a) drawing / painting portraits or surrounding sceneries
  • tour guide
  • cruise ship staff
  • crewing on a yacht
  • scuba diving instructor
  • skiing instructor

Occupations with shortage of employees in certain countries

  • if you want to stay a bit longer and have the qualifications and experience you might want to consider getting a real working visa (need to have to have an offer an employment prior to applying)
  • Nurses! (UK, AUS, NZ, Saudi-Arabia, global even?)
  • New Zealand: computer-people, nurses, doctors and more skills needed

External resources

Personal tools