Wi-Fi Abroad

Well, if I want to continue freelancing while overseas I’m gonna have to figure out the whole wi-fi situation. Now, I completely understand there’s going to be wi-fi hotspots everywhere, but I need to plan for the worst, people.

I always heard of portable hot spots that you can buy but I never looked into them. Is there a monthly fee? Does it work like a cell phone bill? Was there some sort of data limit? It turns out that some of these things are true and some aren’t.

You can go to a Verizon store (my service provider) and put money down for a hotspot and pay $5 per month for two years, OR you can just buy the darn thing straight up for $199.99.

Either way, you can take it anywhere.

For one, having a hotspot in general is nice as a freelancer. You can do work in the car and out in the absolute middle of nowhere.

Freelancing is already an occupation without boundaries, so being able to truly work anywhere makes it even more “free.”

However, it isn’t free! A monthly plan for 4 gb of data is an extra $30 per month. Watch out for this, as Verizon likes to not make it clear on the site whether you’ll be paying a monthly data fee.

Anyway, a hot spot also solves another common problem: cell phones. If you use your hot spot to connect your phone to the internet, then you won’t have to pay roaming charges. It’s just kind of a badass purchase decision if you ask me.

You can walk around the Swiss Alps yelling “I GOT THE POWER” while holding your hotspot up in the air, streaming the next episode of Downtown Abby directly to your cell phone–or not because you only have 4 gb of data.

Deciding whether to get a hotspot is a difficult choice. I think it definitely falls more into the “want” category than “need,” but it’s still a nice option to have one when travelling abroad.

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Why The Disney College Program Is For Everyone

I’m gonna take a break from my normal rambling about travelling the world and talk about my Disney College Program.

A long time ago, I too was a cast member at Walt Disney World. I did the Fall Advantage Program in 2014, which lasted a total of 8 months. It was a rollercoaster journey from May to early January of 2015, and it changed my life in every sense of the phrase.

Nothing can describe my excitement as I hopped off the plane in Orlando. I was beaming–all alone mind you–but still beaming, anxious to see where my journey would take me. Would I meet lifelong friends? Would we have unforgettable experiences? Would I make magic for guests?

The answer, as I found out later, was a resounding yes.

The truth is I found much more than I ever could’ve imagined during these 8 months. I found out that Disney is truly an incredible company to work for, but it’s also pretty strict (as it should be). I learned that not all guests are happy, even though it is the happiest place on earth. I learned the feeling of pure joy when I met people from different cultures at work.

The benefits of working at Disney for people that already love Disney are obvious–you get to be a part of the very thing you cherish in your heart–but what about those that could care less about Disney?

For starters, screw the whole resume-building experience bit. You’ve heard that a bunch of times, and it’s pretty darn obvious, so I’m not gonna go there. Besides, if you’re doing the program just to build up your resume you shouldn’t do it.

If you look at Disney in a pessimistic way–thinking it’s just one big money-grab of a place, you should still do the program.

The main reason I say this is because you meet people. And there’s no shortage of variety. There’s brazilians, mexicans, canadians, new zealanders, french people, germans, chinese people, blah blah blah. One of my roommates was an older guy, and he was really freaking cool.

Not everybody on the program is a Disney fanatic, and chances are pretty high you’ll meet some people you’ll end up staying in contact with.

Second, because you’re forced to live in a totally new environment, you end up changing, big time. When you decide to move away from mommy and daddy for a long, long time, you learn things. You learn how to take care of yourself and pay rent and dust yourself off after a long day of work to do it all again the next day.

You learn what it takes to live in the real world.

Lastly, because I don’t want to take up too much of your time, your world becomes infinitely bigger. Yes, you make friends from around the world, but you realize that there’s a life outside of the small town you grew up in. You realize there’s so many cultures that act and think differently than you do.

You gain a whole new perspective on everything.

You don’t have to love Disney to do a college program, and I recommend it to any college student that wants to drastically broaden their horizons and change.

 

 

Prepping For A Trip Around The World

Planning a trip around the world is awesome. It not only puts you in a good mood, it also makes you more knowledgeable about a lot of things.

I mean, who the hell would drop everything, get a passport expedited, and literally buy a plane ticket to anywhere?

Ok, that does sound kind of awesome, but unfortunately I’ll be travelling on a budget and planning = saving money. So what are some of my goals, which I believe would be beneficial for anybody interested in travelling to hear, in prepping for my trip?

There’s a few.

First, I’ll need around $2,000.

I have student loans to pay and other expenses that add up to about $500 per month. So what about the other $1500? I want to have enough money to buy an emergency plane ticket home at any time—and they sometimes cost a pretty penny.

Next I want $1,000 in discretionary money.

I’ll need this for any hidden costs that pop up from here to there. I can plan all I want, but I’m sure I’ll miss SOMETHING along the way. I’m horrible at knowing the minor costs of travel.

DSLR Camera

Ok, next is pictures. To take good pictures you need a nice camera, and I want to either buy or borrow a nice DSLR camera for my trip around the world. I’m not trying to run into any copyright issues on my blog, and I’m also relatively interested in maybe breaking into freelance photography. This is a must have for me.

Next I need to figure out my cell phone dilemma.

Some might be reading this going, “That’s so easy to figure out,” but it’s unfortunately something I haven’t figured out yet. Do I add international data for my phone? Is there some sort of international cell service that I can hop on? That’s something I need to definitely take care of.

What about that guap, though?

Guap = currency. What about currency? How do I get money? I know some of you may be laughing but I honestly have no clue how to exchange currencies. What about cards, too? I want to have a credit card or something. All of this is such a whirlwind. This is something I’ll have to figure out.

Last but not least, I need a backup computer

Since I plan to freelance write while I’m travelling the world it makes sense to buy a backup computer just in case my old mac, oh, I don’t know, breaks. Without a computer I have absolutely no access to making money. In many ways this is one of the most important things for me to purchase.

These are just a few things. Obviously I have to figure out where to stay, where to buy food, and other things, but that changes from place to place. I have so many things to figure out, but this is a good starting list. Thanks for reading!

 

 

Why Travelling Today Scares Me

This post is pretty self-explanatory. Ever since the Paris attacks happened it’s made me a tad scared to travel.

Just the other week North Korea announced it successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb.

Of course bad things happen in the world all the time, but this happened in Paris, not in some far-off city that nobody has ever heard about. What if something like that happened to me while I was out and about?

I know the odds of it happening are very low, but what if? I’m part of the millenial generation, which grew up in a post 9/11 world chock-full of threats, recessions, and environmental concerns. Truthfully it’s natural for us to feel scared.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen in the next few months as I gear up to go on my adventure, but I don’t want to make any changes to the itinerary at all.

There’s always going to be evil in the world, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from going where they want to go and seeing what they want to see.

 

 

I Need A Passport

It just occured to me–I need a passport. 

It’s square one. The first step. Dreaming about travelling abroad with no passport is like trying out for football without pads.

There’s a plethora of things I need to figure out before I embark on my grand adventure, but if I’m really serious about it I need to get that little blue book.

So how do I do it?

I actually got my first passport when I was 12, but since it’s expired I need to get it renewed. Luckily there’s a website dedicated to helping people get their passport:

http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html

Since my old passport wasn’t issued after I turned 16, I have to physically apply for one in person. The cost of a new book is $110, the renewal fee is $25, and the cost to get my picture taken is $10. My gosh, that’s nearly $150.

I will tell you this: When I get my passport, I’m gonna plaster a picture of it all over this blog. When I get my passport that’s when I’ll know it’s serious.

That little blue book is my key to the world. And I’m going to get it.

I want to go to Istanbul

Just in case you haven’t been with me, a few days ago I decided I was going to travel the world and write at the same time. Notice I didn’t say anything about being a “Travel blogger,” because I plan to make money just being a regular freelancer instead.

That’s not to say I won’t blog about my journey, though.

I digress. Here’s the start of a new series called “I want to go to ______,” which basically outlines a few spots I want to travel to because I have absolutely no clue about the world in general. I’m kind of just picking it up as I go.

I heard about Istanbul from another wonderful site called Justonewayticket.com. It caught my attention because the cost of living is apparently insanely low–around $500 per month in fact.

Five. Hundred. Dollars.

That’s basically what I pay for rent here. And then that got my mind going. If I could live over there for the same amount of money it costs me to live here, maybe I could stay there.

Stay there? In a city I know nothing about? While also paying student loans off? With no car?

My goodness. How would I function? Who would I hang out with? All the uncertainty excited the hell out of me. What would my parents think about this? What would anybody think about this?

To be honest, about 24 hours ago I didn’t even know what country Istanbul was in (full disclosure). Turns out that it is, in fact, a city in Turkey, which is a country I also know nothing about. Luckily I picked up some information about it. Here we go.

Turkey

turkey-and-surrounding-countries1

Turkey is located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, but if you asked me it looks like it’s smack dab in the middle of Europe and the Middle-East. Humans have been in this area for a long, long time too.

I could go into the history for you, but I want that to be something I discover when I (possibly) move. I looked just now and it’s about 33 degrees in Istanbul, meaning they probably have some pretty tough winters.

Their economy and political system seem pretty intact. They have a Parliamentary representative democracy, which basically means they have both a Prime Minister and President, and the President’s role is more of a ceremonial one–which means he does next to nothing. Where can I find his job?

Turkey reportedly has some human rights issues regarding womens rights and press freedom. I guess I’ll get a better gauge of that when I go there (possibly).

Here’s a fun fact: Every male aged 20 to 41 years of age is required to serve in the military at some point for a period of 3 weeks to 1 year.

They also have a lot of animal diversity. Turkey has 80,000 different species, while the whole of Europe has just 60,000 species.

Turkey has the world’s 17th largest GDP. To put it in perspective, America has a GDP around $17.5 trillion as of a few years ago, and Turkey has a GDP floating around $1.5 trillion.

It’s infrastructure and economy has improved significantly recently, and tourism is one of the most important parts of its economy. Only a few thousand Americans travel to Istanbul every year.

The most practiced religion in Turkey is Islam, which is the chosen faith of 96.5% of religious people. Soccer is Turkey’s biggest sport.

istanbul-european-side

Here’s a little snapshot of Istanbul. Apparently there’s two sides–the Asian side and the European side. Here are some of the price points for things like apartments and food. And by the way, every third of an American Dollar makes up about one Turkish Lira.

You’ll see that the average studio apartment costs about 950 Lira, which translates to about $350 USD.

I’m told that most people like to live on the European side, so that’s where I’ll focus. Here’s a closer look at some of the districts.

Map_of_the_Districts_of_Istanbul

The center of Istanbul is located in Fatih, and I’m told Beyoglu and Sisli are good places to live. I checked Airbnb and they have some sick rates for apartments and rooms right in the city.

I’ve only begun to research Istanbul. I guess I’ll learn more about it when I live there (probably).

I Want To Be A Freelance Travel Writer

I want to become a freelance travel writer. There’s a couple recurring dreams that fly past my brain every now and then, and one of them is being able to write and travel the world at the same time.

I mean, could it really be that difficult? The average price of a hostel is about $20-$30 a night depending on where you are. I even found some nice rooms on Airbnb for $30-$45 per night.

If I were to make $125 per day freelancing (which is pretty doable), then I could make enough for a weeks rent in two days. And whenever I want to leave and go to a different country, it’s only about $100 per plane ride.

But what about trains?

The Eurorail is a nice option, with discounts for youth (anyone under 26 years of age). They can get you anywhere pretty much, and they’re even eager to help journalists working there. Speaking of journalism, I’d love to be a travel journalist too.

Anyway, I’d just go to the market to get food and cook it wherever I’m staying. That’s food, rent, and travel expenses, and I think I could cover it.

My gosh, what’s stopping me?

For one, a plane ticket over there and a passport. And I’d also love to have $2,000 stashed away just in case something happens and all my clients dry up on me. That way I could keep vacationing.

The one monkey wrench to it all is the fact that I’m paying back student loans. I’d have to have some money stashed away to take care of that monthly payment. I feel like I need to do this. I feel like I’ll learn so many things, but there’s just a few things stopping me.

But what’s really stopping me? Money? What happens when I get it? I need to take this journey. I’m single and I have nothing tying me down. I’m going to start planning now for a possible May or June vacation.

I want to go to Ireland, France, Germany (I’m German), Italy, and Greece. I don’t know where the hell I want to go there, but I’ll find out soon enough.