February 26th, 2000


Gerbie on tour 7

Gerbie on tour (7)

Several times I have received mail from people asking me questions about how and what, relating to this journey. I got the impression that a lot of people haven´t got a clue about what my life on the road looks like, apart from the things I see, as to be read from previous newsletters.

Life on the road continuously is about taking decisions. Where will I sleep tonight? When will I leave from here? What do I want to see in this city, in this area? What transport to take and when?

My way of travelling is based on improvising and being extremely flexible. In one of my travelguides it says something about backpacking not being a choice, but it is the only option. Many backpackers will confirm this statement. By not choosing for a package deal or a roundtrip, one has the chance of reallt getting to know a country. One is always busy gathering information, to get that, you automatically will get in touch with the locals.

But begin at the begin. Everything I have got with me is in this big backpack. Especially piles of socks and underwear to avoid having to wash too often, but in general as little as possible. A fleece for the cold area´s, but also for those horrible long distance busses, where the airco is working so well, that it seems that you are in Lapland in stead of in Mexico. For the rest only the very necessary as my toiletbag, firstaidkit, a sleeping bag and some other pieces of clothing.

The first decision any morning is where to sleep the next night. Stay where you are, find a new place or sometimes move to a next town, where you immediately have to find a place to dump your backpack. In the States it was simple. Stay in a Hostel. Not only the cheapest option, also a good one, as it is a good way of meeting other travellers. That way you can decide to so some sightseeing together, after which everybody goes their own ways again. In Mexico finding a place to stay goes differently. In big cities you´ll always find something, in smaller cities you will have to depend on the travel guide or tips from fellow travellers. Sometimes taking a nightbus is a good alternative. Not only does it save a night, it gives you an extra day as well and arriving early at the next destination, the first thing is finding a place for the next night.

Apart from sleeping in hostels, I have spent the night in pensions, motels, guesthouses, private rooms, a cabaña (beach cabin), in a rental car, busses, small hotels and a bungalow, even though that one resembled a cabin more than any other thing. The idea seems clear: don´t spend too much on nights, as long as you regularly get a good night sleep.

My itinarary is continuously being updated. In the US sometimes the Greyhound departure schedule decided my next destination. On the road I see some things I planned on seeing, the rest of the schedule is flexible and depends on travelguides, the route I am taking anyway, other travelleres experiences, tips from locals, help from tourist information or whoever decides to tell a good thing to do. Conclusion: anybody can tell me where to go. Is a place to my liking (Guanajuato) I will stay longer. Is it not worth it (Orlando, Merida) I will leave soon.

The easiest way to get in touch with locals is on the bus and in the terminals, at football or other sporting events or during live music. I have found out that sitting in the park and writing a travel impression is also a good way to be contacted.

Via which I get to my writing. As some of you may have seen on my homepage (http://welcome.to/gerbie) I do an attempt to write some travelstories. I have placed some of them on my site already. I haven´t updated it since ages, not beacause I stopped writing, but my computertime is limited, so I have been writing on old fashioned paper since. Someday I hope I will be able to work them all out, so everybody has a chance to read them. After that I will give it go and start translating them into English as well, as nearly all of them, are obviously in Dutch. These impressions are also the reason that my newsletters have been fairly factual. But as said before, with computertime limited, and these impressions faitly extended, it would be too much for some of you anyway.

For the rest life is simple. Find a place to sleep, decide what you want to do and see. Read email regularly, answer if you can, write impressions when you see something that impresses and wait, as travelling is waiting, listen to the worldservice on the radio when you can and read the local papers. Further I have managed to swap my books a few times while in Mexico, so I haven´t had much troubles while reading yet, but if everything else is done, there is always Mr.Tolstoj´s War and peace, in which I have managed over 600 pages by now, so only 1100 to go!

Any more questions? Please do mail them!

Take care and ´til the next mail,