Anyone who has ever gone backpacking can tell you that it’s a great way to see the world. You get to experience new cultures and landscapes while carrying…
Hello there! My name is Jim G. Thomason. I am a traveller who has spent the better part of his life on the road by discovering the various parts of the United States of America. The collective process of hiking, vagabonding, biking and so on has helped me take note of some of the most beautiful places in this country. As I started this journey soon after leaving college a year earlier in 2012, you can imagine the number of years I’ve spent on the road. So if my life seems to hit your list of adventures, then come on board because I’m sharing my vast knowledge to create a world full of explorers.
Anyone who has ever gone backpacking can tell you that it’s a great way to see the world. You get to experience new cultures and landscapes while carrying…
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Anyone who has ever gone backpacking can tell you that it’s a great way to see the world. You get to experience new cultures and landscapes while carrying all of your belongings on your back. However, there are some dangers to be aware of, and if you want to stay safe while backpacking, there are a few things you need to do.
What Is Backpacking?
First of all, it’s important to know what backpacking is. Backpacking refers to taking an extended trip, usually lasting a week or more, and carrying all of your belongings with you in a backpack. You will need to pack light, as you will be carrying your backpack for long periods of time.
Most backpacking trips involve hiking through different terrain, so you will need to be prepared for that. It’s important to wear the right shoes and bring enough food and water with you. You should also be aware of the potential dangers in the area you’re visiting, such as wildlife or dangerous weather conditions.
Packing The Right Gear
One of the most important things you can do to stay safe while backpacking is to pack the right gear. You will need to bring enough food and water to last you for the entire trip. It’s also important to pack clothing that is appropriate for the weather conditions you will be encountering.
If you are hiking through mountainous terrain, you will need to bring a map and compass so you don’t get lost. You should also have a first-aid kit in case of any emergencies.
It’s also a good idea to bring a flashlight and extra batteries, in case you find yourself in the dark. And, if you are camping overnight, you will need to bring a tent and a sleeping bag.
Learning About Potential Dangers Ahead Of Time
Another way to stay safe while backpacking is to learn about potential dangers ahead of time. This means doing some research on the area you are visiting and being aware of any hazards. Planning ahead of time before your trip will greatly help you enjoy it while still being safe.
For example, if you are hiking in an area with potentially dangerous wildlife, you will need to take precautions to avoid an encounter. This may include making noise as you hike so you don’t startle any animals, or carrying pepper spray in case of an attack.
If you are visiting an area with potentially volatile weather conditions, such as thunderstorms or flash floods, you will need to be aware of the risks and take steps to stay safe. This may include staying up-to-date on the latest weather forecasts and having a plan in place in case of severe weather.
Being Aware Of Your Surroundings
One of the most important things you can do to stay safe while backpacking is to be aware of your surroundings. This means being aware of the people and animals around you, as well as the terrain you are hiking through.
If you are hiking in an area with potentially dangerous wildlife, you will need to be on the lookout for signs of danger, such as fresh tracks or droppings. You should also avoid hiking alone and make noise as you hike so you don’t startle any animals.
If you are camping in an area with potentially volatile weather conditions, you will need to be aware of the risks and take steps to stay safe. This may include staying up-to-date on the latest weather forecasts and having a plan in place in case of severe weather.
By following these simple guidelines, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable backpacking experience.
Traveling is fun and exciting but one of the things that could be challenging is to find a huge budget for it. However, you can still enjoy traveling and experiencing the different sites, scenes, food, culture, and other awesome things different places have to offer without draining your bank account.
A lot of people don’t want to admit it, but when you’re traveling, accommodation is one of the biggest expenses. Instead of canceling your trip because of the cost, should just find ways how to save on your expenses while traveling. One of them is by saving on your accommodation cost.
Tips On Saving On Accommodation
Airbnb is a great way to save on your accommodation expenses. There are many places where you can find a room or an entire house for less than the cost of a hotel room. And, if you’re traveling with a group of people, this can be an even better option because you can split the cost between everyone.
Camping is not just for summertime! There are many places around the world that offer great camping opportunities all year round. Not only will you save money on your accommodation costs, but you’ll also get to enjoy nature and spend time outdoors.
Ever wanted to sleep under the blanket of stars? Camping is a perfect opportunity for that. Plus you also get to save on meals as you can cook your own food and save money that way.
Stay In A Hostel
Hostels are a great way to save on your accommodation costs and meet new people. You can find hostels in most major cities around the world and they offer both private and shared rooms. This is a great option if you’re traveling solo or with a friend.
Travel During The Off-Season
If you’re able to travel during the off-season, you’ll be able to save a lot of money on your accommodation costs. Most places have their high and low season for tourism and accommodation rates usually reflect that. So, if you can travel during the off-season, you’ll be able to find cheaper rates for hotels, hostels, and Air BnB.
Couchsurfing is a website and app that connects travelers with locals who are willing to offer them a place to stay. This is a great way to save on your accommodation costs and also get to meet new people and learn about their culture.
There are many ways to save on your accommodation costs while traveling. By using Airbnb, camping, staying in a hostel, or Couchsurfing, you’ll be able to enjoy your trip without spending a fortune on accommodation. Do you have any other tips on how to save money on accommodation? Share them with us in the comments below!
Hiking is a great way to experience nature in a deeper and more fulfilling way. Whether you are going to a summit or to a beautiful waterfall, knowing what to bring is crucial to your success and safety.
What do you do when things go wrong on a hike? You have to be prepared when that happens and you should have essential items in your backpack that will help you.
If you’re a first-timer, it’s easy to overpack and under-pack at the same time. Overpacking can easily tire you as you have to carry a heavy load. Sometimes, even with that heavy load, there might be some essential things that you’ve forgotten to pack.
Let me help you avoid that with this list of essential items for a day hike.
The first thing you need to have is your good old reliable hiking backpack. If you aren’t going very far, you can use any durable backpack you have. However, if you are really seriously getting into hiking, investing in a hiking backpack will be better.
Hiking backpacks are more comfortable to carry plus they are more durable.
For day hikes, a backpack with a 20-35 liter capacity would be enough. Hiking backpacks vary and they have different features too. One with a sleeve for your hydration pack is the best to get because it helps you easily drink water while you are hiking.
Additionally, one with a hip belt helps put the load on your hips and not just on your shoulders. Sternum straps are also great because they make sure the backpack is in place and won’t shift while you are hiking.
Also, choose the backpack that fits you well. Take note of your torso plus your body type to find one that suits you. Try wearing them before buying them to make sure.
Another important thing to think about is what you wear on your hike. Wearing layers isn’t only done during the colder months, it is done in all seasons to keep you safe and comfortable.
For your base layer, you should select something that is moisture-wicking and breathable. It can help regulate your body temperature.
Avoid cotton because it doesn’t provide much insulation especially when it is wet. Furthermore, it also isn’t great in the heat as it traps warmth. For warm summer days, a shirt that wicks moisture is great. If you want further sun protection, you can choose a long-sleeved one.
Adding mid layers is an option if it is a bit chilly or if you’re going to be there for a longer period of time. A fleece jacket will work well especially on a summit where it could be cold.
Additionally, temperatures in the morning, noon, and evening could vary and you may need something to shield you in the cold. This extra layer in your backpack is a lifesaver as it isn’t fun feeling cold while hiking.
The outer layers are your protection from other weather conditions such as rain. You may pack a raincoat, some gloves, or a hat if it is chilly. A buff, which you wear around the neck, is also a great way to protect your neck from the sun or wind. You can also use it to easily wipe off your sweat.
You also need to carefully select the footwear to use. Hiking boots and socks provide protection in all kinds of terrain. If you’re just on an easy or moderate trail, lightweight trail shoes will be enough. However, move up to those that have thick soles and ankle protection if you are hiking on more challenging terrain.
Sunscreen that won’t come off when you sweat and has an SPF of at least 30 would help protect your skin. Bring the bottle with you as you need to reapply it depending on how long you plan to take the hike.
Sunglasses and a brimmed hat that’s breathable are also great to take during hot and sunny hikes. In the snow, you’d still need to protect your eyes from the sun. The snow will reflect the sun’s rays and could cause sunburn too.
Your smartphone is a great navigational tool. With it, you can download apps to find trails of the best hikes in the US. Downloading the trains on your phone and making sure you switch the GPS on allows you to see and track your location in real-time.
However great they are, it is still best practice to have a backup. There are places where there aren’t any WiFi connections or cell reception. A compass and a map are great alternatives just in case something happens to your phone.
Unless you are highly familiar with the trail and have already hiked it before, it is best to bring a waterproof map and compass to avoid getting lost.
Water is essential to the body and hiking is a tiring activity. You need to make sure you are not dehydrated during and after the hike. In that case, you should bring water and lots of it. Staying well hydrated prevents your body from getting sick or feeling unwell. It also makes the body function efficiently.
As we’ve mentioned, there are hiking backpacks that have a hydration pocket that makes it easy to attach a tube and drink water. Apart from the water you bring, you may also want to bring a water filter if you are going for long hikes.
Keep your energy up by making sure you bring enough snacks to last throughout the day. Make sure they are packed with nutrients so your body gets what it needs. There are trail mixes, granola bars, nuts, and meals that you could bring.
While hiking, you’d be burning more calories than your usual daily activities so make sure you have enough food.
First Aid Kit
There are first aid kits that are lightweight and portable. You should always have one in your backpack during hiking. Although we’re all hoping that we won’t need it, it is best to have it in case something happens. Such emergencies may include minor cuts, blisters, or cramps. There are prepackaged emergency kits available.
It is also wise to bring a pack of waterproof matches or a lighter for your first aid kit just in case your day hike extends through the night. It can help you create a fire for heat and light at night. It can also help you become more visible in case of an emergency.
I know that you are hiking in the day but lights, whether a flashlight or headlamps can help you in case you’re still on the trail at night. It can also help you easily see through caves in the trail that you’d want to explore. Just make sure they are charged or with new batteries.
Are you heading south to Louisiana? Louisiana is mostly known for its Mardi Gras festivities. There are a lot of places to go to and a lot of things to see there. However, the best ones are the hidden gems.
These are places that you might have not heard of before. Some of you may have heard about them but they may not be the usual tourist sites. Well, these sites have their own stories to tell. Let’s take you through some of the most interesting places you can include in your travel plan when you visit Louisiana.
Starting our list is a cemetery. Didn’t we tell you that they are unusual spots? Well, this cemetery comes with a story about a girl named Julia Brown. One day she predicted that she’s going to die and will take the whole town with her.
She did die and everyone in town attended her funeral. It was on September 29, 1915. During the same day, there was a hurricane that hit Laplace. Everyone but two residents survived. The two residents were out of town on that day. Everyone in town is buried in the Frenier Cemetery with Julia.
Those who love nature may have already gone to this lake. However, it has its own unforgettable story too. It was in the late 1980s when they accidentally created a massive whirlpool.
Oil is being mined under the lake. However, miscalculations led the miners to drill through the ceiling. Although the workers escaped, a grand man-made whirlpool was created. It was the only time when the Gulf of Mexico flowed North. The whirlpool caused an earthquake around the lake and everything around it was consumed by the lake.
The Singing Oak
There is an Oak tree just across the street from the New Orleans Museum. It is also known as the Chime Tree due to the music it creates when the wind blows.
A local artist named Jim Hart attached the wind chimes on the branches. They are all painted in black so you can’t really see them. However, you can clearly hear them when the wind blows. One of the tallest wind chimes measures 14-feet long.
The Myrtle Plantation
If you are up for some spookiness, then why don’t you try spending the night at this B&B. It is known to be one of the most haunted houses in the US. Some say the plantation is built over a cemetery.
Prison Rodeo At Angola Penitentiary
Rodeos are exhilarating to watch. One thing that is different from this rodeo is that the participants are the prisoners. When it comes to prison rodeos, they hold the record for the longest-running one in the US.
There are several activities like wild cow milking, bull riding, and bareback riding. There is also an unusual activity called bull poker, where the players sit at a poker table while a bull runs towards them.
I have plenty of stories about the awesome experiences I’ve had while living the vagabond lifestyle. I simply love the freeing experience!
You don’t have daily schedules to follow, you can explore the world at your own time, and you get to enjoy lots of new experiences.
However, living the vagabond lifestyle can be also challenging at times, that’s especially true when the pandemic hit. With borders, public bathrooms, restaurants, campsites, shops, and even the public library closed, where’s a vagabond to go?
A Vagabond With A Home
Some people who live the vagabond lifestyle go all out. They don’t have a base to come home to, a familiar place to stay maybe once every year. However, there are some vagabonds that do have a place they come back to where they make all the plans before they go on to their next adventure, a place they call home.
Whether that place is of their own, a family member, or a close friend, it’s great to have one. However, due to the pandemic, vagabonds still fear the safety of those they’ll be staying with. After all, they’ve been outdoors for most of the time.
As I do have a place of my own, not too fancy but still quite cozy if I may say so myself, that isn’t much of a problem for me. But I have to admit, planning for adventures at the time of the pandemic is very challenging. I don’t want to get stuck somewhere and stare at the walls until the pandemic dies down.
So Where Do I Go?
I clearly don’t want to travel too far and get turned down because they’re close due to the pandemic. That’s what is so great with having a base, you have somewhere to come back to when all doors close down on you unexpectedly.
So I scour for places that I could go to and still be somewhat close to home. I needed to go somewhere open or wide open so social distancing could still be followed. I also preferred an area near the coast or the mountains.
Although I have already been through those places, the vagabond blood running through my veins is itching me to go somewhere and not stay stuck at home. But alas, the places I wanted to go to were closed. Then we were on lockdown so there was nothing left for me to do but stay home. What a nightmare!
Getting Stuck At Home Isn’t So Bad
Come to think of it, getting stuck at home may not be so bad. There are other people who were hit pretty badly by the pandemic. I’m still lucky that I’m healthy and would still be able to travel, especially now that there are vaccines and most places have already opened.
In fact, I’m now planning my next adventure. If there is something I learned from this is that being a vagabond helps you adapt to the situation you’re in.
I might have been stuck at home longer than I would like, but I just kept my hopes up of all these ending someday so we can all take on new adventures.
For the time being, I spent most of my time working out or researching. Now I have a list of places where I want to go and I am looking forward to checking each and every one of those soon.
Hitchhiking is an adventure itself. If you’ve never done it because of fear that the stranger will kill you, you’re not alone. Hitchhiking nowadays is a rare thing. With all those movies starting with a hitchhiker who is actually a murderer, many car owners and individuals are hesitant to try it.
However, I understand the urge to try new things, even just for once in your life. Hitchhiking is free and could be an exciting, amazing, and unforgettable experience. Believe me, some of my unforgettable and funny experiences were with a stranger I hitchhiked with. You might get hooked doing it, just like me.
Calming Your Nerves
Just thinking about hitchhiking could give you anxiety and that’s normal. Heck, the first time I did it, I was so nervous and sweaty like I was trying to hide something. Good thing I was given a ride by a retired police officer who’s currently working on his farm and can’t stop talking about his chickens. That calmed me down a bit. We talked and I opened up about it being my first time to hitchhike. He let out a loud sigh of release as he thought I was very nervous because I was up to no good.
So you see, being too nervous also gets drivers suspicious. Try to calm yourself down and don’t overthink that the stranger will kill you or harm you. However, do keep your guard up at all times for safety reasons as well.
Once you’ve done your first hitchhike, there would still be some nervousness because of the unknowns but you just have to trust that nothing will happen. Eventually, you’ll be able to control your nervousness. Just don’t ignore your instinct. If you really feel that something is off, it’s okay to refuse their offer.
How Do You Hitchhike?
There are a few simple things to remember when hitchhiking. The first is to find the right spot. Next is to make a sign. The third is to make sure you look decent. You should also prioritize your safety and lastly, enjoy the experience.
The Right Spot
The right spot to hitchhike is in a place where the driver can see you even from a distance. Think about long stretches of straight roads. If you’re at a turn or after a tunnel, there is a huge chance they won’t see you.
Additionally, you should also make sure that you are in an area where the car can actually pull over safely. If not, they won’t risk stopping their vehicles just to talk to you and give you a ride. When you plan to hitchhike for long distances, make sure you’re on the edge of the city in the direction where you are headed. Those in the middle of the city may go to different places and some may not be leaving the city at all.
Hold Your Sign Up
If drivers can see exactly where you are headed, it would be easier for them to decide to pick you up if they are headed the same way. Sometimes, you’d end up just where you want to go but other times, they can just get you half-way. That’s okay, it’s all part of the hitchhiking adventure.
For your sign, make sure that it is clearly visible. You can simply use cardboard and some markers. Sometimes, you can even write additional messages to get the driver’s attention. Got extra cookies in your bag? You can give them away as a thank you gesture.
My fellow vagabonds, although we love this lifestyle, sometimes, we’d have to look decent enough so that people will pick us up. Tidy your beard up a bit, comb your hair, and wear respectful clothing. Make sure you don’t smell too much or risk getting kicked out. Also, don’t forget to flash that smile.
Prioritize Your Safety
Although you are hitching a ride, that doesn’t mean you should just go with whoever offers you one. Trust your instincts and choose your drivers carefully. If you can, you should also try hitchhiking with a friend. Also, keep your pepper spray in a place where you can easily get it, just in case.
Enjoy The Experience
My first hitchhiking experience is unforgettable and so will yours be. Just enjoy the experience. Get to know people and socialize with them. Some people love to talk while driving so they can’t fall asleep. You might even learn a thing or two from them or their experiences in life.
Hitchhiking doesn’t have to be dangerous, it can be a fun an rewarding experience, but don’t take my word for it. Here’s some other great article from our absolute favorite online hitching resource on how to hitchhike safely…
Developing your own writing style and finding a voice that is unique to who you are and true to your values doesn’t happen overnight, trust me – I’ve been doing it for 15 years and it’s still “in process”.
The good news is, I’ve found, this process will happen without you even realizing it.
The free-wandering lifestyle of a vagabond adventurer is filled with spur-of-the-moment decisions, an incredible variety of places and people, and – most importantly – a healthy dose of planning.
That’s right: planning.
While there is plenty of spontaneity baked into my journeys, I do find myself spending a large part of it actually planning the next adventure.
I mean, let’s be honest: sleeping on the street sucks – and as a general rule – the better planned the adventure, the better time I have.
Are you someone who enjoys traveling and immersing yourself in new cultures? You might have what it takes to be a vagabonder.
While the carefree lifestyle a Vagabonder like me may seem out of reach, you don’t necessarily need to be rich to enjoy a life that allows you to have the freedom to travel. By understanding how to travel cheaply, you will be able to travel to various places without needing a huge bank account.
Below, we will be going over some of the top tips on traveling cheap I’ve learned over the 10+ years of traveling light…
Hiking can be an unforgettable experience and the United States happens to have a ton of hiking opportunities. Many of these trails attract millions of tourists a year.
With a country as big as our, there’s bound to be some hidden trails that not many people know about. Here’s a few that I’d like to share (just don’t mention it to anyone else :)…