Ever wonder how it’s financially possible for people like myself to spend so much time travelling around the world?
The answer is simple. We follow the universal rule for prolonged travel …
The less money we spend the more days we have exploring the world.
One of the golden rules to travelling for longer is not paying for accommodation. A travelers memories are a mixed up mess of tents, park benches, people’s floors, couches and when we’re lucky we may even sleep in a bed!
When you are asleep you are asleep. Sacrificing comfort on this part of our existence allows us to explore the world by day.
The accommodation for my stay in Tehran is in a basement and it’s free. The walls and ceilings are covered in posters and maps of Iran and surrounding countries. There is a small library tucked into a corner with travel books of many countries and cultures from around the world.
There are 4 wooden boxes people use to mimic beds. The rest of us are on the hard dirty floor without the protection of height which calms our minds from the reality of creepy crawlies.
On one occasion, the person in the sleeping space next to me wakes up with a cockroach on their face. Jumping up they see a cockroach running over my sleeping bag also. They think it best not to wake me up in this current situation and leave me as I am. I am horrified by both cockroach and reasoning the next day when the story is told to me.
There are moments of people wakening up with cockroaches inside their sleeping bags or even inside their clothes. So in fact I am one of the lucky ones. Some of us use earplugs and others have scarfs tied around ears whilst sleeping; to quieten the noise of feeding mosquitoes.
To have a shower we fill a bucket with hot water, stand a foot on each side of an Iranian style toilet in the ground and pour jugs of water over ourselves. It feels really good after a day spent exploring Tehran, our bodies suffocating in the cities’ heat and pollution. We are only aware that we are lucky to have hot water and forget about the contents of the hole underneath us.
Another way we save money is by not washing our clothes all that much …
We spend our days exploring Tehran and on return discuss each others experiences to learn further about an altogether alien city. The nights are spent sharing our perceptions, experience and knowledge of the Middle East; it’s cultures, conflicts, religions and politics. Sometimes these discussions can last until sunrise the next morning.
Meeting other people who travel the world extensively, independently and on a budget offers us valuable knowledge which is priceless. Definitely worth the cockroach on face moments. In fact, we absolutely love our basement and have the utmost of appreciation that this space has been made available for our use.
It’s a place of refuge and protection in a foreign land and allows the exchange of ideas, experiences and friendships.
When you wonder how it’s financially possible for people to spend so much time travelling, know it’s because we are prepared to have cockroach on face moments to save money, which allows us many more days of exploring the world.
P.S Note for Tom and Anne in Calis, Turkey – the email address I have written for you is incorrect – please can you enter your details in the form below so we can catch up 🙂 Thanks
[contact_form email=”firstname.lastname@example.org” subject=”For Tom and Anne, Calis, Turkey”]
Ishbel, creator of World Bike Girl, has spent her life on bicycles, from road racing, to velodrome sprinting to cycling the world. She has pedalled across 20 countries solo and promotes commuting by bicycle. Much to the dismay of her friends, she is an avid wearer of socks and sandals.