Budget travelers are hippie scum


WHY DON’T ALL you damn hippies get a life?

Looking around, you don’t see many hippies these days. Sure, you see bellbottoms, tie-dyes and Birkenstocks – why not, they’re comfortable – but the people in them don’t consider themselves hippies.

They don’t live on communes. They’re skeptical about love being “free.” And though some will hug trees, you can’t make them do it for very long.

Weird.

To the literal-minded observer, this is sheer chaos. How do you make sweeping judgments if you can’t go by appearances?

What’s wrong with these people? Did they miss orientation? Are imitation hippies worse than hippie hippies? Who’s counterfeiting hippies?

Shockingly, hippies aren’t not the only ones doing it wrong. It’s common to see baseball caps without baseball players under them. Biker jackets, in Buicks. Cowboy boots nowhere near the Range.

Even me – not only have I never been to Hawaii, I’m pretty sure my shirt hasn’t, either. I’m sure it’s the hippies’ fault we’re all so confused.

Hippies ruin pure travel

The problem of knowing who’s a hippie and who’s just dirty is magnified when abroad. Travel is a grungy business – many of us leave our Armanis and Donna Karans at home.

The Hippie Movement was a vibrant exploration of repressed human nature – in a nutshell, they believed “all you need is love.”

By dressing comfortably, we lose the trappings of respectability and ethnocentrism, risking hippie contamination. We may even appear… unemployed (hippies love unemployment).

“Budget travel” and “relaxing” are travel trends that lead us to mix with “different” company – some “very” “different” “company” indeed.

The downward spiral begins innocently: You meet someone from another country, perhaps talk to them. You accept a bottle from a friendly young lady. You begin to notice aesthetics and music.

You voice opinions and express your personality. Soon you’ll quit your job at the bank, view foreign policy as important and accept anything natural without question.

You are now a hippie.

Damn the hippie swine!

Once, being a hippie was a political statement. The Hippie Movement was a vibrant exploration of repressed human nature – in a nutshell, they believed “all you need is love.”

They promoted avoiding violence and materialism. They wanted closer relations with nature and one another.

But the hippie movement showed us dangerous new dimensions as well: an empowered youth, bold artwork and music, and a bigger choice on the menu than blind obedience. Many hippies today are harmless, nothing more than walking fashion statements. For some though, the hippie ideal remains a lifestyle choice.

Even though many of them wash their hair, there is no question that young people today embrace the most dangerous element of the hippie attitude: the independent spirit to question authority.

The damage is incalculable.

What makes hippies tick?

Hippies thwart global capitalism, scare children and cause pets to mess themselves. Hippies screw up the train schedule, pick on old ladies and fart in church.

They open the door to terrorists, the housing crunch and reality television. They foul the water supply. Hippies make policemen cranky. They promote male-pattern balding.

They disable psell check. Their music is… actually pretty good.

Aside from that, history shows meager reward from the hippie mindset (except that they eventually get older and own everything).

The worst thing about hippies: they’re out there. And you can’t tell by looking at ’em anymore. Depending on how paranoid you are, they can be anywhere. Plotting. Scheming. Conspiring to undermine your Way of Life and gank your cheese. (Is “gank” a hippie word? Forget I said it.)

We must prepare

Perhaps it was Frank Zappa who said it best, when asked if he was a woman because he had long hair. He replied, “You have a wooden leg. Does that make you a table?”

How do we separate those contributing to society from fun-loving degenerates?

Or perhaps this is just a satanic riddle, since Mr. Zappa looked like and was no doubt a hippie. But since the interviewer was almost certainly not a table, there may be some wisdom here.

If we can’t tell hippies from traveling pseudo-hippies, how do we tell hippies from non-hip? How do we separate those contributing to society from fun-loving degenerates? How do you avoid being mistaken for one o’ them damn fashionably attired traveler hippies?

The key to sheltered travel is to avoid introspection at all costs. JUDGE EVERYONE.

Remain vigilant against friendly and open-minded people abroad. Refuse to lighten up or engage in anything unfamiliar – repeat: do not engage.

If temptation strikes, repeat this phrase: “I’m not from around here.” And, if you meet people of a foreign lifestyle, call them hippies and make obscene gestures at them.

Whether they are or not is irrelevant: you’ll feel all warm and powerful. After all, the whole point of travel is to reinforce your previous beliefs and stereotypes through perpetual distance.


1. You can give back on Grand Bahama

Hurricane Dorian caused catastrophic damage on Grand Bahama, but today the island is largely up and running and ready to accept visitors.

Grand Bahamas is a great destination for travelers who want to give back. The dog- and cat-loving world rallied around the Humane Society of Grand Bahama during and after Hurricane Dorian. Six shelter workers and one volunteer rode out the storm inside the shelter until it flooded and their own lives were put in danger (they had to swim out to safety). But by staying so long, they saved the lives of many animals who would have otherwise perished (sadly, many still did).

The animal shelter itself was severely damaged, but thanks to a global fundraising effort is slowing start to re-build. They are happy for volunteer help with the animals — you can take a dog or two for an outing or socialize at the shelter with the cats. The shelter welcomes volunteers 11am-2pm Monday to Saturday. Many of the shelter’s staff lost everything in the storm, and donations of new or lightly used clothing are also welcome.

How to get there: The airport in Freeport has re-opened and there are flights on BahamasAir and Silver Airways to and from Fort Lauderdale most days of the week. The ferry between Freeport and Fort Lauderdale is also operating again, as is the cruise port. Many of the hotels and restaurants have opened their doors again.

Where to stay: Many of Grand Bahama’s hotels have re-opened, including the all-inclusive Viva Wyndham Fortuna , which saw major renovations post Dorian. Rates are also down about 25% and the property is located on a pretty stretch of sand on the island’s south shore. Other lodging options include Pelican Bay, Lighthouse Pointe at Grand Lucayan, Bell Channel Inn and Castaways Best Western.


I grew up during the 60’s & 70’s when VW’s and camping was all the rage. We enjoyed waking up by the water and hearing the sounds of nature around us. Our parents made sure we had plenty of marshmallows to roast over an open fire. We bathed in the river and fished for our meals. We met new people and enjoyed many activities that involved nature. Our sleeping bags kept the mosquitos away during the night and our tents provided comfort from the elements. Sometimes we’d ride horses and other times we’d get out in the water on paddleboats or canoes. Mom would help us make flower crowns and feather headbands and we ran around like wild kids. Nowhere to go and nowhere to be. I knew what I knew and what I knew was enough.

Today, Boho, Gypsy, Hippie, Glamping is a very popular outdoor activity that can be a super fun and a fulfilling way to be close to nature while vacationing. To me, the difference between camping and glamping is the conveniences glamping has over camping. Glamping can become expensive but it can also be a cheap way to travel if it’s done right.

If you plan to do a lot of glamping, you’ll want to invest in a vintage camper. A tent might be a more affordable option for you. Staying at campgrounds is an inexpensive way to spend the night compared to hotels/motels/resorts. You could even buy a Volkswagon van or gypsy wagon and update it to your preference.

Use bedding you already own. Pack sheets, pillows, and blankets. If you’re staying in a camper, you’ll have a built-in bed to sleep on. If not, you might want to shop for sleeping bags or air mattresses. I’d recommend buying the air mattress. They are easy to pack away when not in use and they don’t take long to blow up when needed. At my age, sleeping on the ground lost it’s appeal after I discovered air mattresses.

Buy your cookery at thrift stores. You can find anything you’d need from pots & pans to silverware. I could spend hours in thrift stores because I always find great deals on the things I need. You could pick up paper plates and plastic silverware if you’d rather have the convenience disposable products over washing dishes.

Pack your own food. You can either invest in a one-time cost of a nice cooler or pick up a cheap styrofoam cooler. If your camper has a fridge, you may be able to fit everything in it. I’d still take along a cooler with ice, but that’s just me. Before you go shopping for your glamping meals, make a meal planner checklist of what you’ll need and be sure to print out coupons before shopping.

You’ll need batteries for your spotlights or flashlights if your camper does not have a way to connect to an electrical outlet at the campsite. You might want to invest in a generator as well. I personally stay stocked up on Emergency Survival LED Lanterns, year round. They are Ultra Bright & Compact.

Don’t forget your bathroom essentials. Toilet paper, towels, washcloths, shampoo, toothbrushes, etc. And goodness knows, don’t forget your deodorant as being outdoors will cause you to perspire more. You’ll also need a drying rack to hang towels, washcloths and any wet clothing on. Clothes will mold if they stay wet.

Most of all, have fun. Find a location that everyone will enjoy. Be sure to check out the beautiful Glamping locations at Georgia State Parks.


Asheville Trip Cost = $154.19

[This includes about $31.20 for the gas needed to get there and back. If you want to count our bulk shopping then the total is $374.68 - but I don't feel like that counts since it's for necessary things we'll be using over the next several months.]

Not bad for a weekend away for two right?!

Sure, we could have done better in places, but like I said, we're not perfect and I'm excited to see if I get better at this throughout the year.

Traveling doesn't need to cost an arm and a leg - we had a place to stay, entertainment, gas, food, drinks and snacks for a little over $150 for two and a half days of traveling for two people. That's $30.84/ person/ day - seriously not bad.

I hope this helps inspire you towards more affordable travel and taking advantage of free opportunities that present themselves!


Europe Food On a Budget for (Non/) Vegetarians Travelers

While I have explored for 83 days Europe Trip in around 56,000 INR, my maximum expenditure was on food. I couldn’t resist when they advertised veg Ravioli and sushi. :-p Learning from my mistakes and expenditures on food, I have come up with this detailed Europe food guide for vegetarians and budget travelers. The guide also contains some suggestions for the nonvegetarians.

For the ease of understanding, I have divided my guide country-wise. But before that, you must be aware of a few facts.

  • Though milk and milk-products cost almost similar to any Indian products, the fruits and vegetables aren’t that cheap.
  • In any Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi/middle-eastern shop you will find cheap rice packets, spices and everything that you need. But be aware that many of them might not accept card payments.
  • Pastries in a few countries were really a cheap option with good taste and fresh berries on its top. All perishable items go for sale frequently due to strict laws. (And most of those items are good for immediate consumption).
  • Stay away from the supermarkets located in the basements of metro stations. Most of the time they have stale food. (I have had the worst experience in 3 cities).
  • Brown bread is also cheap and can be eaten with mayo/ flavored cream sauces available in the supermarkets.
  • Out of all the fruits, bananas were the cheapest.
  • Takeaway food is always cheaper than ‘Have it here’ food.
  • Turkish Restaurants and the chains like Doner Kebabs always have tasty yet reasonable food.
  • Once in a while, you can always treat yourself with some good restaurants. Most of them have meal options ranging from 8-10 Euros.

Ready to Eat Food Packets

Well, they have been a boon. I carried a number of packets including poha, upma, pasta, noodles, Paneer Butter Masala, Dal Makhni, Bisi Bele Bhat, Pongal, Sambar Mix and Puliyogare paste powder. This helped me in cutting down my expenses to almost 1/4 th .

While most of the packets from Mother’s Recipe and other brands turned out to be pathetic, MTR and Haldiram food were the best.

They have been at rescue during my cravings for some spicy food or hot Indian food (Most European Food is bland and cold, and even Europeans have agreed to it).

However, carrying them on a long journey can be a tedious task.

Spain

Apparently, the cheapest country that I visited during my visit (Don’t argue on this before seeing my itinerary and the places I had covered).

In the city of Barcelona, Cordoba, Seville, Madrid, and Granada, I have solely survived on the self-cooked food at my couch-surfers’ place. However, for the mid-day munchies, I highly relied on supermarkets and flea markets.

Any supermarket in Spain have the salads (veg/non) for around 2 Euros. A liter of beer in the supermarkets ranged from 90 cents to 1.5 Euros. If you have the facility for heating (an oven), then you can also try pasta, noodles, tortillas, and pizzas.

All the restaurants in Spain put-up their menus out on display, so before choosing any, please have a look at the menu. A personal advice would be to go at a restaurant away from the tourist areas. How do you get to know about a local restaurant? Put up a specific question in the Facebook Group “Backpacking Europe” or in the Couchsurfing Platform.

What to Try: Paella, Tapas, Gazpacho, Spanish Breakfast (Bread with tomato puree and olive oil), croquettes.

Supermarkets: Lidl, Carrefour, Mercadona

France

In the city like Paris, you might have to depend solely on supermarkets. Proxy and Monoprix are two of the main supermarkets for cheap food. Even the roadside stalls in Paris don’t sell anything at a normal rate.

(And please don’t ask for any French Toast anywhere, hahaha, that’s available only in India)

What to Try: Nothing so interesting as such, but do try pastries and ice-creams from famous bakeries. I had once tried their onion tarts but turned out to be pathetic.

Supermarkets: Proxy and Mono Prix

Belgium

Near midi-station in Brussels, you will find a number of shops and Turkish Restaurants where you can get everything at cheaper rates. I used to buy berry yoghurt (400 gm) for just 0.59 cents. And take some chips/strawberries/bread to have along with that.

In Brussels, farther you move from the main square, cheaper your food turns.

There are also a few veg restaurants that sell food based on weight. (Eg. 1.5 Euros per 100 gm)

  • In Brugge, subway or the restaurants at the railway station serve quite cheap food with a variety of options.
  • In Ghent, you can try the fries and burgers from any restaurants.
  • In Antwerp, you can try an Indian Buffet at Aahar Restaurant for 10 Euros, or else, supermarkets/ Doner Kebabs will always be at your rescue.

What to Try: Belgian Waffles, Fries and chocolates from Neuhaus/Leonidas. I personally did not like the most famous brand Marcolini.

Supermarkets: Express, Alber Heijn and Hema

Netherlands

The city of Amsterdam has a variety of food for all kinds of travelers. Thai to Turkish and Japanese to Indian, all stalls are available.

However, I never felt the need to going to any restaurant anywhere in the Netherlands.

The supermarket named Albert Heijn really has a good option for cheap food. The store located in the city center, near the Dam Square, gives you hot, yummy pizza (Medium sized) for just 4 Euros. You can also try their Pasta, Noodles, Sushi or other food packets. The best thing is that it would be freshly cooked just like in a restaurant.

I don’t think you would want anything else if you found one Albert Heijn Store anywhere.

What to Try: Hash Brownies from Bull Dog (They aren’t so strong in any stall).

Supermarkets: Albert Heijn Forever

Denmark

If you plan to visit Denmark, only God can save you from spending less than 150 Krones in a day. However, on the main shopping streets from the city hall, there are a few Chinese restaurants that give takeaway noodle box for 30 Krones (1 Danish Krone = 10 INR) and that is the cheapest you can find. The Burger King had an offer on a HamBurger for only 10 Krones.

The Tex-Max Grill Restaurant had an unlimited Buffet lunch option for 69 Krones (Again the cheapest in the city).

Even the supermarkets in Denmark don’t have much of good food.

What to Try: Cheese Pastries

Supermarkets: Netto

Germany

The best thing about Germany is that the food isn’t so bland. Even the McDonalds in Germany serves quite tasty and spicy burgers. In fact, their basic menu starts from 1 Euro for a burger.

Apart from that most cities in Germany have Food flea markets. You can buy different delicious dips and can have it with bread or fries.

Germany also has many Turkish restaurants that serve reasonable yet delicious varieties.

  • Berlin: McDonald’s, noodle boxes and sausages(Only non-veg)
  • Munich: Viktualienmarkt (You get superb spicy tofus, paneer, cheese, olives and mayo dips)
  • Frankfurt: YHAI Café and canteen, a wholesome buffet meal for all at just 6 Euros
  • Cologne: Must Try any of the River Side Café

What to Try: German Beers ,), Spatzle

Supermarkets: Rewe, Lidl (The cheapest market in Germany, and even the best one)

Austria

Vienna and Salzburg both have amazing options for those who wish to try something local. Especially, wurstel available at Bitzinger is a must try. While in Vienna, I even chanced upon trying out at Glacis Beisl which is more frequented by the locals. And even if you don’t eat much, do go there for the ambience of sitting in the middle of a beautiful patio. Do try Viennese Schnitzel if you are a non-vegetarian.

Veg Ravioli at Glacis Beisl in Vienna

Even coffee culture is quite famous in Vienna, you can try at any café in the old town.

What to try: Tafelspitz (non-veg) and for the people who eat only veg, you can try out the usual options at the restaurants.

Supermarkets: Spar and Penny

Czech Republic

Prague is the only city that I had covered in the Czech Republic and I mostly survived with self-cooked food as no stalls or even McDonalds doesn’t have an option for the vegetarians. No doubt there are a few vegetarian restaurants which you can try but the supermarkets and shops have better options to try.

Nothing in Prague is too expensive and thus you may want to try different restaurants near the Castle.

Also, note that most of the shops and restaurants in Prague do not accept cards.

Supermarkets: DM, Albert (Not so great)

If you have any inputs or suggestions for this post don’t hesitate to comment and help other readers.

You can also put forth your questions in case any.

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