Posts Tagged With: Budget travel

Happy Anniversary!

Happy anniversary everyone!  This post marks the three year anniversary of An Out of the Way Place and what a three years it’s been!  In celebration, a special collection of some of the best photos from over the years can be found at the end of this post!

A photo from the Camino de Santiago - the trip that started it all.

A photo from the Camino de Santiago – the trip that started it all.

For those of you with me since the beginning, we’ve seen a lot of the world together.  Over 20 countries, a hike across Spain, an Ironman, a bike trip across Europe, and a trek to Everest base camp:  these have been just a few of the highlights of what has made the last three years the best years of my life and what I hope has been a very entertaining read for all of you!

For those of you who started reading recently, first of all welcome.  While these past three years Continue reading

Categories: An Out of The Way Place, Photography | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

A Nomad’s Life – Fitness

Fitness is big business.  In the US alone the industry pulls in about $18 billion and that doesn’t include dietary supplements ($20 billion) or the booming diet industry ($40 billion).  You might think that as a poor nomadic traveler I don’t contribute to this industry, but check out my gear:

$10 at a street market.

$10 at a street market.

Laugh all you want at my budget training equipment, but when I left the office three years ago Continue reading

Categories: Life, Travel, Words | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Night in the Hay

Being homeless has turned out pretty well for me.  Over the last few years I can count on one hand the nights I’ve been stuck sleeping on the street, but it’s hard to remember all the amazing places I’ve had a chance to rest my head.

I was digging through some of my photos from last year and was reminded of one particularly nice night when I slept in a barn.  It had been a long day of biking through a heat wave in southern France and as the sun neared the horizon it was time to look for a place to stay.  I was ready to just set myself up in the woods when I stumbled upon an old horse farm.  The lovely woman who ran the place was kind enough to give me a place to sleep in the hay and the old stone buildings that covered her property gave me plenty of things to photograph as the sun faded away.  One of my favorite photos is of her garden shed.

I couldn't have imagined a more perfect seen.

I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect scene.

Of course, not all my thoughts were spent contemplating artistic creation and biking all day left me in desperate need of nutrition.  Fortunately my kind hostess also provided an amazing spread of food.  I wish I could say I accepted her generosity hesitantly and with moderation, but the record shows otherwise.  It’s a good thing there are still people who like caring for the homeless.


I take my eating seriously.

Categories: Biking, France, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

The Dangers of Flying

Airports are a dangerous place. I don’t mean that you’re likely to get assaulted in one (although the security screenings come awfully close and have some really bad potential).  I mean that for an extreme-budget travelers like me, the pressure to spend budget breaking money reaches diamond making levels. Stress and boredom have an unmatched

The most obvious pressure comes from the food services.  I don’t know if there’s a demonic pact between the airlines and restaurants, but the fact that low cost airlines don’t serve meals causes me some serious issues.  I can handle a short flight within Europe, but an 18 hour transatlantic Odyssey pushes me to the edge of cannibalism. Today for instance, driven to desperation, I found myself eating at McDonalds.  Not only does that make me a bad person, but the food only fills you up for a couple hours so I’m already starving again.

Food isn’t the only money sucker at the airport either.  There are the piles of overpriced shops.  Maybe they don’t tempt some people, but for me spending hours waiting for a transfer surround by flashy shops is like ex-alcoholic hanging out at a bar during happy hour.  I’ve tried to change, but there’s a part of me that will always love shopping.  I know it’s a base, materialistic desire and that I don’t need the stuff, but when I’m in the store I don’t care.  I want to buy things.  I want new clothes. I want gifts for my friends.  I want crazy little shot glasses with pictures of Big Ben.

Today I managed distract myself by getting an in-store makeover.  My transfer was in Iceland, which is known for its spas, so I tried samples of all the fancy facial lotions and even some hair gel.  I wonder if the anti-aging serum I put on will really make me look younger.  In any case, I’m sure I looked insane, but one of the advantages of being an ex-lawyer is I still have some decent clothes so the sales people smile at me because they think I might actually buy something.  Uh oh, here comes the duty free lady on the plane.  Is there no end to these trials?!

Not surprisingly I forgot to take pictures of my less than inspiring day... This one is stolen from the internet.

Categories: General, Journeys | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

$30 and a Dream

For most competitors Ironman Wales will begin at 7am on Sunday the 11th.  For me it began Sunday the 4th when I left Glasgow.  I had a bike, $30 and my gear.  I was up against 400 plus miles, nearly continuous rain and a persistent headwind.   I had no places to stay and no tent.  I didn’t even have a map actually, but when you’ve come this close to catching a dream, obstacles like that are no obstacles at all.

The biking was the simplest and the hardest.  You move your feet in circles and you move forward.  All you have to do is not stop.  Fortunately at this point my legs are pretty strong, unfortunately sitting on a bike seat that long leaves me feeling like a eunuch.  It’s mind numbing as well, especially as I did the ride solo.  The roads I took were heavily trafficked, which would make listening to music akin to Russian roulette.  The result, a lot of time alone with your thoughts in the rain, is as hard on the mind as those persistent circles are on the legs.

I was lucky in regards to shelter.  Between the two endpoints, where I had friends waiting to help, I relied on the kindness of strangers.  Miraculously, I found someone to give me a place to stay every night, even if sometimes it wasn’t until midnight or even 2am.  Still, the amazing hospitality of these kind strangers inspired me, and more often than not even provided me with bodily sustenance.  I was fed pumpkin curry, fresh baked banana bread, crumpets and pancakes.  I even had my lunch packed for me!

One of the lovely places I was lucky enough to call home for a night.

I often had to stop for directions, but some people went so far as to print me maps.  When I needed water, bars always refilled me. Even the infamous Starbucks and McDonalds did their part, providing me with free internet.  Like making a cake from a box mix, just add concentrated power of will.

At least I know it's downhill from here.

My body hurts everywhere, everywhere I can still feel that is, but here I am.  The Ironman is just three days away and the forecast for that day is storms with high winds.  I like a challenge.  It’s possible they’ll cancel it if there’s thunder and lightening.  Even that doesn’t really matter.  There will always be another race to run, another mountain to climb.  In the end, it really is the journey, not the destination.

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

T. Roosevelt

Categories: Biking, Ironman, Journeys, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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