The One Way Ticket

If you’re as restless as I am, buying a one way ticket is the best way to start your journey.

Nothing inspires and ignites me like getting ready to travel.

A wise man at a sticky dueling piano bar in Boston once told me that there are two types of people in this world: those who know their culture and try to push the limits of it, and those who don’t know their culture, and explore unfamiliar worlds in the hopes of finding somewhere they belong. I suppose am the latter, absorbing the parts of different cultures that I like and rejecting those that I don’t. I consider myself to have a chronic and recurring case of wanderlust, otherwise known as “the travel bug”, which makes me hunger for new experiences. It all started when I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain junior year of college. I got my first taste of what it feels like to be an individual in a new society, and I became addicted, booking as many weekend trips around Europe as I could.

Last year, I felt it was time for another spontaneous adventure. I booked my first one way ticket to Sicily, Italy and decided to the figure the rest out once I got there. Of course, I wasn’t completely irresponsible; I frequented the site http://www.workaway.info/ to find someone to host me in exchange for free labor. I find sites like this one, helpx.net and wwoof.net (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) to be great outlets to find people who encourage travelers to stay for a while and get to know their culture through mutually beneficial relationships. In Sicily, I worked for two months at CCly Hostel in Catania, where I slept in an 8 bed dorm with other travelers and volunteers and basically ran the hostel, doing everything from making breakfast to checking in guests to cleaning toilets. While I was there, I met so many awesome and inspirational fellow travelers, and I was able to really get to know the island of Sicily, while also taking a long weekend trip to Istanbul, a few weeks teaching English in Poland, terminating in a few more weeks touring the south of Spain (more on last year’s trip in another post).

Now, my restlessness has gotten to me again, and I feel the need to visit the uncharted (by me) lands of Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina. My bank account will probably only allow me to stay for three months or so, despite rarely having to pay room and board because I will be volunteering my way through the four countries. But experiences are worth more to me than almost anything else. As skeptical philosopher David Hume said, the self is “nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions…”  I intend to experience this trip hard and fast (thank god for adderall), absorbing as much as I can as quickly as I can.

Check out my next post to see what and how I packed my one backpack. I don’t want to call it a “packing tips” post just yet, because, as I’ve never been south of the northern hemisphere before, I have no idea if I’m doing this right. Trial and error, folks!

 

**UPDATE- Instead of Argentina, I went to Colombia, and couldn’t be more pleased by my decision. I felt that Argentina was too large of a country to try to fit into a few weeks, and I also wasn’t pleased with the idea of paying for an expensive visa to enter the country, an oversight in my prior research.

 

by Rebecca Bellan

7 comments

  1. milliecoakley · September 30, 2014

    Great post! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Ryan · September 30, 2014

    You’re amazing

  3. Mariana Escolastico · September 30, 2014

    Great Post! Would love to read about your one way ticket experience! Sicily sounds amazing! Istanbul too! Is there a post about that? Sicily looks lovely but seems scary to go alone. Teaching english sounds like great way to travel. You make it sound so easy!

    • Womanwanders · September 30, 2014

      Hi there! Haven’t gotten around to posting about Sicily and Istanbul. It was a little over a year ago that I went on those trips, so I need to take some serious time to remember all the details. Wish I started this blog sooner! Sicily wasn’t scary. The men are a bit aggressive, as they are in Istanbul (only it’s worse in Istanbul because they speak English, haha), but anywhere can be scary. You just have to have your wits about you at all times and try not to stick out too much. Teaching English is a great way to travel, but my favorite is working in hostels. You get to meet so many people and make unforgettable memories. Traveling is easy! I hope you are planning a trip for yourself soon! Thank you for reading.

  4. anon · September 30, 2014

    Does the hostel in CCly still work with volunteers? Did you come across them on helpx? What programs do you recommend for teaching english?

    • Womanwanders · September 30, 2014

      Hey, sorry for the late response. I do believe that they still accept volunteers. I found them on workaways.info. I’ve only done one program teaching English, although I am sure there are so many to choose from. I really enjoyed working for Angloville in Poland. You go on retreats where you stay in luxury hotels/resorts around the country side and get to know the other volunteers and the Polish business men and women engaged in the program.