1. WAY OF LIFE
How do you start an adventure like this and how do you manage to live that way? How much does it cost to live like this? Do not you get tired of traveling? What do you eat when you travel? Do not you get sick (and what do you do when this happens?)? Is it not dangerous? Are not you afraid of traveling alone? Can you camp freely?
How do you start an adventure like this and how do you manage to live that way?
There is plenty of ways to take the leap into adventure. Some will have savings, others may work while traveling... What is clear is that if you are currently working and a big trip is taking shape in your mind, first you will have to give up your work or ask for a leave of absence if possible.
In my case I won two scholarships for exchange studies in other countries: one in Brazil and the other one in Mexico. With the first one I finished my studies in Biology so I decided it was the perfect moment to fulfill my dream: traveling through South America. With the second one I did not finish my studies (Psychology) but I am kind of taking a break.
In relation to how you could make it for living traveling. I try to spend as little money as possible when traveling. To accomplish this, I usually camp, cook my own food with a stove or eat in cheap food stalls in the street (for example, Latin America is full of this kind of establishments), hitchhike, not spend in partying... Besides, when you are running out of money you can consider working. There are too many ways for making some money. I have been working in the construction field in a town in Canada. I applied for a work permit called Working Holiday Visa (I have yet to develop a post with information about these permits) and I got it, but if you do not have a Visa that allows you to work legally no worries. You will figure out something for working or at least work in exchange of food and accommodation. I have done this as well. Many families will be happy to receive you. You can also consider websites such as woofing, workaway or helpx. Take a look in the post “How to keep traveling” for getting more information in these and other ways of making and save mone.
How much does it cost to live like this?
It depends on several things. On the one hand, the budget you use, which usually depends on the kind of traveler you are. For me there are basically four types: high budget, medium, backpacker and super tramp. Then, there are two factors mainly: the country/destiny and the speed at which you travel. For example traveling by public transport in countries such as Argentina, Chile or Brazil you will probably spend around 500-600 dollars a month (traveling at a fast average speed). In contrast, in Bolivia, Peru or Ecuador with 300-350 dollars you will have plenty for a month. In general, the faster you travel the more expenses you will have (unless you do everything by hitchhiking).
The funny thing is that you can spend less traveling than living in a city. For example, when I was living in Monterrey I spent on average 300-400 euros a month (rent and round trips). That is roughly the same amount of money I spent in the month and a half traveling in the country after leaving the city. And eating well in the street and restaurants! Read more here.
Don´t you get tired of traveling?
Yes and no. Traveling is my passion number one and all the things involved in this way of life is what keep me on the road. But at the same time, sometimes can be tiring. People think traveling is easy and funny all the time but it can be tough at times, especially for a dog traveler because there is much uncertainty most of the time in regard to where you will spend the night or how you will go from place to another. And when you get tired you start to miss things… Your bed, a hot shower, your parents gastronomy… And especially people. Being with your family, spoiled and well fed. Hang out with your friends, having some beers, making jokes and laughing. But then, something amazing happens once more and you start feeling great again traveling!
I travel as much as posible because we have only one life and there are thousands of places to know and millions of stories to listen. I could not stay very long at the same place living the same routine as always. Maybe later on, not now. On the one hand I envy people who are happy like this; on the other hand, I like to be a restless ass because that is what has allowed me to discover wonderful places and people. And this feeling of not knowing what will happen the next day when you close your eyes… This uncertainty that many people cannot stand makes me feel alive. A new adventure every day.
So yes, I also love being with my family and friends. I really miss them. It is hard leaving and not return in many months. Sometimes it is not easy to choose your priorities. However, I love so much traveling and this is what I want right now.
What do you eat when you travel?
Everything. I am omnivorous and more when I travel. I try to eat as healthy and balanced as possible. When I cook my diet is almost vegetarian, with soups, pastas, rice, salads, eggs, sandwiches, vegetables, lentils… But when I eat on the street I usually eat (almost) everything. I love to try the typical local dishes of each town or city. To me, gastronomy is very important in a trip. Besides, many times you are bought a meal by locals, and you cannot deny a homemade food of that caliber and in that company!
Don´t you get sick (and what you do when this happens)?
I have never been through anything worse than he typical traveler diarrhea. Eating rice and drinking lots of water is the best medicine. It is best to take certain precautions, especially with water from the tap in certain places. In many areas it is not that bad, it is just our intestinal flora is not adapted to the microorganisms of the place of destination.
Even if you do not believe it, there are also pharmacies and hospitals in the rest of the world. Anyway, you probably could not stop your mother packing a first aid kit in your backpack before you leave for the adventure! Just for the record, aspirins, ibuprofen and others do exist in other countries. I do not like taking pills, but I do recommend taking (or buying) stomach protectors. And take pills when necessary. In case of getting sick you can go to a hospital. You can also get shots at medical centers and hospitals.
In short, you have to do the same thing that if you get sick in your country.
Is it not dangerous?
This is a topic that is discussed a lot and generates controversy. I answer with another question: is it dangerous to go buy the bread? Or go for a drive? There is always a slight possibility that something goes wrong... Well, same thing happens with traveling. Although there are several elements that can make your trip somewhat dangerous, here we will focus on the "evil beings" that roam the world. Although there are several elements that can make your trip dangerous, here we will focus on the "evil human beings" that roam the world.
Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world and there are poverty and inequality, as well as criminal gangs and people with mental problems all over the world. Obviously, there are countries less safe than others, but usually nothing has to go wrong. Like most travelers I have talked with on the subject, I do not consider it dangerous to travel, at least in any of the countries I have visited. And I have been in countries that the media are determined to stigmatize, like Mexico or Brazil.
My experience tells me that the most dangerous places are the big cities, where it is recommended to take some precautions like not show off. Do not walk through a favela in Rio with the camera around your neck, or jewelry, because they will disappear in a matter of seconds. Anyway, the low budget traveler (you can see at a distance who has money and who does not) is not a target for the bad ones. I even had an experience with some narcos that gave me a ride in the north of Mexico, who were actually very nice with me (I got a good scare when I found out what "profession" they were engaged in, though).
Apart from some other fright like that, nothing really bad have happened to me. On the contrary, I have trusted people and I have felt very well treated. Anyway, you just could avoid these potential dangers staying home. And staying at home you would miss the beauties that are waiting for you out there. The beauties that overcome all these dangers.
I think the media do a lot of damage to certain countries, taking only the bad from them and distorting the reality of wonderful places. People only hear bad things from these countries and they end up believing the whole country is that way, when there are only a few dangerous places or neighborhoods of some specific city.
I encourage you to travel and see the reality with your own eyes. Do not miss all those beautiful people in whom you can trust and who will help you.
Are not you afraid of traveling alone?
Not at all. You will overcome the initial fear of the unknown as you travel and learn that people are good and kind. Fear is the first barrier that must be overcome to start a journey. I know people who have been slow to travel alone for fear of what might happen to them... And when they finally decided to undertake the adventure they saw that it is the best decision they have made in their life.
Do not be afraid to travel alone because it will be one of the greatest adventures of your life. You will open your mind to the fullest, you will meet a lot of good people (with some of them you will probably end up traveling) and you will live the most amazing adventures of your life.
Can you camp freely?
It depends on the country. Europe is usually quite strict about it (there are exceptions, such as the Scandinavian countries). Accustomed to where I grew up, which is extremely restrictive, the rest of the countries in which I have traveled seem like the paradise of camping to me. The American continent, both the south and the north, is a good destination for backpacking with a tent. In some, like the USA, there are areas that are suitable for camping, such as forests and parks, while it is prohibited in other places. In other destinations, like many countries in Latin America, you can camp anywhere: from the beach or the mountains to the town squares and the gas stations in the middle of nowhere. It is amazing to camp in nature and wake up in magical places full of pure air. And more if you do it with your dog, who will be already eager to get out with the first rays. You can read more about this in Nature and Camping section.
2. TRAVELING WITH DOG
Male or female? What is the breed of your dog? How old is she? Is she sterilized? What documents do I need to bring? Is traveling by plane dangerous for them? Do you give your dog some medicine for the flight? What do you do if she gets sick? Can you find easily vaccinations in other countries? What do you feed her? How is traveling with your dog? Does she like traveling? Does not she get tired? Does she behave well? Is not traveling very tough (transport)? Is not hard find accommodation?
Male or female?
Girl, a really nice "señorita". Sometimes she is a little cocky (cocky Coqui!) with other dogs, but she usually gets along very well with dogs. I think it is a bit easier to travel with a female, since there is less rivalry than between males. But above all it will depend on the character of your dog.
What is the breed of your dog?
Mixed. She is a mixture of mixtures! What most veterinarians agree after seeing her is that she has something of German Shepherd, but if that is true I would say that it must be from her great-great-grandfather... Anyway, I do not care about breeds.
How old is she?
She was born in May 2014. But, above all, a lot of world in her paws!
Is she sterilized?
Yes. For me it was a difficult decision, but, among other reasons, I did not want puppies. Keep in mind that if you are traveling with a female dog it will not be easy to be alert all time during “her days”. Especially in countries where street dogs are everywhere, as for example in many Latin American countries. So the odds of your dog gets pregnant would be high.
What documents do I need to bring?
It depends on the origin of your dog, as well as the destination. If you are planning to travel abroad, click here, where we go into detail.
However, the basic requirements for most countries are, basically, the same: rabies vaccine (in force, this means administered within the last year), microchip, external antiparasitic treatment (usually administered between 3 and 10 days prior to departure; Sometimes they will also ask you for an internal antiparasitic treatment), medical or animal health certificate by an official veterinarian. For other more demanding destinations you will be asked for additional documentation.
On the other hand, if your dog is European or North American (or from Japan, New Zealand or Australia) everything will be easier. If you live in an European country, I recommend you to get your dog an European passport before leaving on a trip, which is like the common “vaccination book” but with the European Union flag paste. I know it sounds stupid, but with this passport everything will be easier.
Is traveling by plane dangerous for them? Do you give your dog some medicine for the flight?
I am sure your dog will not enjoy the flight, but it is not dangerous either. If your dog is one of those who gets excited easily, he/she will probably get stressed inside the cage/kennel, so maybe the best would be give him/her a pill. My dog is very quiet and I have never given her anything for the flights (so far). By the way, if your dog is small enough (usually up to 7-8 kg including the cage), she could fly up with you and the passengers so congratulations to all these dogs and their owners ;)
Click here for more information on flying with your dog.
What do you do if she gets sick?
Same thing as with humans. You will have to do the same as if you were at home: take your bud to the vet. There are veterinary clinics all over the world.
Can you find easily vaccinations in other countries?
Of course. You can give him/her shots and the medicines he/she needs, put him/her the chip, do medical tests...
What do you feed her?
Usually with dog food. And calm down guys, there are many brands in all countries. If you have a dog with a special stomach or allergies you will have to try different brands until you get the good one in each country.
I also like to give and try my dog new things from time to time, because dogs also enjoy the gastronomy! But always trying that she gets her ration first. If I do not have dog food at some point, and I cannot buy any (there is no dog food in the village, I am in the mountains...), I give her what I cook or what I buy for myself in a restaurant or food stall.
How is traveling with your dog?
The most wonderful thing in the world. See her happy face when she runs through the forest, the mountains, the beach, when she swims in a river (or splashes, in the case of “dry” dogs such as Cocaí, who is not the most aquatic doggy), or when she makes new friends in every country is unique. Share a backpacking trip with your dog is really worth it. But not everything will be happiness, as traveling with your dog can mean (or not, if you do it right) sacrifice some things, such as time and places not to be missed. Besides, can be stressful at times. Take a look at the Advantages and Disadvantages of Traveling with Dog post to make yourself a broader idea.
Does she like traveling?
Hell yeah, she loves it! Dogs are adventurous by nature, they carry it in their genes of domesticated wolves. It is true that sometimes she gives me a “how well I would be made a ball on the couch, warm cozy and spoiled by the rest of the family", though. Or rather it would be something like that "Holy shit, take me home!". But that is just maybe 1% of the time!
Does not she get tired?
Just like us: the less used to running freely the more he/she will get tired. A dog that spends a lot of time at home and does not go out for a walk frequently will tend to tire faster. On the other hand, some breeds like bulldogs, due to their respiratory problems, can get tired easier.
If you travel for a while you will realize that the training has an effect. Your dog will become an adventurer!
Does she behave well?
She behaves great (much better than me). She is a really well-behaved dog, and I only have problems when a dog gets close when we are eating. She is very possessive with food.
Is not traveling very tough (transport)?
Yes. But you can do it! There are some countries where you will (usually) be allowed to take your dog with you on public transport (I mean in the passenger area), but this is the exception rather than the rule. So, you either take your shaggy buddy in the cellar if you have a cage and you are willing to carry it on your trip all the time (I do not recommend this option, for your dog and your own sake), or you get rid of the cage and look for other options (wise choice!). In this sense, among the possibilities are: renting a car (if your budget is high), buying a vehicle and then sell it before the end of your trip (if your journey is a long one and your pocket can afford this), biking, carpooling applications like Blablacar (works very well in Europe and other countries like Mexico), hitchhiking. The latter is my favorite for some reasons:
- Your dog will travel with you
- The adventure will be incredible
- You will meet the nicest people (everyone who gives you ride is awesome; or crazy!)
- You will save money
For getting around in big cities there are some applications that make life much easier: uber, cabify... These applications are getting more and more popular in more and more cities. I have only used them in Monterrey and there were no problems with the dog.
For detailed information on how to travel with your dog click here.
Is not hard find accommodation?
Yes... But you can do this too! There are many pet friendly places or that do not mind hosting you with your dog (that is, it is not allowed but they turn a blind eye). This is more common in rural areas or in countries where rules and laws are not so rigid (ie not Europe or North America). You have several options.
Camping. If you travel with a tent, you can go camping in a campground or in the woods (or in a fucking square in a town!).
Couchsurfing. Stay with people who offer their home for free. First, you would have to ask if they like dogs. You will meet very nice people and save money.
Airbnb. Same as couchsurfing but they do charge. The website shows you the ones who are dog friendly, and you can ask them in advance if there would be a problem with your dog.
Going hostel (or hotel) by hostel. My advice is that you get in the place without even asking if dogs are allowed. If you do ask, you will usually be told “NO”. Just enter the place pretending that traveling with your dog is the most common thing in the world.
Read more on Accommodation Options in a Dog Trip.