Helpful practical stuff

Helpful things for Depression/personal change:

Goldberg’s test to assess whether it’s possible you need help for depression – Black Dog Tribe, an online supportive community

Book: Overcoming Depression by Paul Gilbert

Book: Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

Book: Screw Work Let’s Play by John Williams
website here

Book: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Book: Sane New World by Ruby Wax

Book: Soul Weaving by Betty Staley

Travelling tips
Including a few tips I’ve learned so far myself and from fellow travellers rather than the obvious stuff from guidebooks. I’m listing some companies/sites I would recommend purely based on my experience.

Memorise your passport number and if you’re going to be buying travel tickets and booking things you need to have it with you! Also a laminated photocopy of your passport ID page is invaluable, especially in South America, though you can arrange that easily there if you’re already on the road. You know that your photocopy isn’t going to end up all mushed up and tattered, and it serves very well as official ID in almost all cases so you can leave your valuable original locked up somewhere safe.

Wear a cheap watch. If like me you tend to check the time by taking your phone out of your bag, you should change that habit when you’re travelling! Don’t draw attention to any valuables.

True Traveller Insurance –

G adventures tours. For me personally they’ve fitted the bill –

Tumble dryer sheets – they supposedly help to repel insects (although not a replacement for the proper stuff!) and are good for helping your packed up clothes smell nice.

Small carabinas can be useful for loads of things.

Lavender oil – to keep all those strange beds smelling nice AND ward off germs plus many more things listed here! (Other suppliers are available)

If you’re doing lots of walking (and to really see the places you’re going to, you should!) get a ‘hydration bladder’ – a soft drinking water pouch to put in your rucksack with a tube to reach round to your mouth. Saves you unscrewing the cap of a bottle every 2 minutes.

Don’t overpack! I left the UK with space remaining in my bag. You really do get used to needing much less stuff than you would use at home, and being happier for it.

Drysacks – specifically designed to sensibly keep things dry.

In South America: Navy blue and/or khaki clothes: avoid! These colours make you stand out a mile [in South America] as being English-speaking/a tourist.

Eat three meals a day, even if you’re not hungry. You won’t feel good if you run out of energy.

Take rubber flip-flops, rather than straw ones. Even though straw ones are far more comfy and often prettier, they don’t dry and they wear through after just a few weeks’ walking!

If you’re taking anti-malarials (antibiotics), look into taking some probiotic pills with you too.

Avoid pre-booking tours. You often pay more than when you get there AND it ties you to being in a given place on a given date. There are some rare exceptions to this (e.g. Inca Trail) but it honestly is so much easier than you might think to book stuff once you’re actually in a place. In fact scratch that, it’s easier and cheaper to arrange to go somewhere yourself by public transport; if you speak a bit of the language you really don’t need a tour, unless it’s in a national park and there are rules about solo travel without a guide.


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