UPDATE: Europe Done, Africa On Deck

Posted by Joel on July 19th, 2008 filed in Uncategorized

I had planned to update this more frequently, but couldn’t find the time while I was travelling due to sporadic internet access and a desire to get out and see stuff outside. I haven’t had a lt of downtime in Europe. I expect I’ll have more in Africa, but probably less internet. Such is life.

My flickr account is still the best place to get updates, but for now I’ll post an update using questions my mom asked me in her last email.

What is new with you?

Just finishing up the European part of my trip. I am in Madrid and heading to cairo tomorrow. From Cairo I goto Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to meet my friend Eskinder. From there we’ll go to his Hometown of Gondar and after a couple weeks there I’ll head to Nairobi, Kenya and from there to Mombasa, Kenya where I’ll take some pictures at an orphanage run by a friend of a friend. Then I’ll go back to Cairo and then to the UK where I’ll spend 3 weeks getting a Visa for India and hanging out with UK pals and Anna who is coming over from NYC!

Everyone always want to know where you are and how the trip is going.  Do you get lonely and home sick some times?

It can get lonely sometimes, walking around a city where I don’t know anyone and can’t understand what people are saying. When I am in Hostels I can usually meet people who are travelling and we’ll go out together to see the city. Sometimes I prefer to strike out on my own, though, so I can spend more time taking pictures and getting off the beaten path.

I miss having friends around to takepictures with me, but I am usualy able to keep in touch with people through emails and chat which makes it easier.
Are you getting tired of living out of a back pack?

That hasn’t been a probem, really. I have been able to do laundry regularly (though sometimes a day or two past when i should) and I have brought plenty of things to keep myself entertained. One problem is that I have very little space to ADD things to my pack, so presents and souvenirs are rare. I take plenty of pictures, though.
Have you found the hostels and couch surfing to be a good way to travel?
Hostels are fantastic. Obviously more expensive than couchsurfing, but easier to arrange on short-notice and give plenty of opportunities to meet new people. Couch-surfing with friends is also great, though you can sometimes feel like you are imposing on them since they have work and school to attend to while you are there.

I had one successful couchsurfing.com expeience and my host was a really great guy that went outof his way to show me a good time in Helsinki. I tried a few other places, but in general my plans have been abit sporadic and it is tough to find a host 1-2 days in advance,especially since you need to wait for them to reply via email.

Is your money lasting like you thought?

I didn’t really have a precise budget for the trip, but more of a target. Since I worked an extra 2 weeks more than planned before I left, I can usually justify spening a bit more somewhere by saying that it is funded by the extra cash I earned for those 2 weeks.

That said, europe is pretty brutal on the wallet right now. Even with the railpass, train reservations cost extra ($7-$45 depending on whether it is a night train or express or regular) and food can be pricey. I try to eat frugally when i can. In Switzerland I ate a lot of bread and cheese and yogurt from supermarkets. But, when I find an interesting restaurant, particularly a vegetarian one, I will spend $15-$25 on a meal. Iam hoping that Africa will be a bit cheaper, but we’ll see!

Hopefully moreupdates to come, sooner than later!

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