Preparing for the AT: Skills of Necessity
This week Frank and I had a full house and a full cottage. A young couple from Vermont came and stayed in the cottage for five days.
Two Japanese couch surfers were here for two days, followed by an older guy overnight.
And Warm Showers brought us a couple of bicyclists heading north to ride the Appalachian Trail.
The Japanese kids had been touring the world, actually.
They had been on the road for a year and the US was their last country. We enjoyed their stories.
They were unusually talkative. Well, I say unusually. I guess I’m more familiar with Japanese people their parents’ ages, who I have experienced as somewhat reserved. Maybe the younger set are different.
These two weren’t reserved. I wonder how much of that was their natural personalities, and how much came out of their year of travels. It seems to me like it would take a lot of confidence to do a globe-trotting trip, and that it would also loosen you up a lot if you were the uptight sort.
To pull off a trip like that successfully, you’d have to be able to go with the flow, be somewhat spontaneous, and mess well with people. MESH! Not mess!
First Aid Skills:
You will also need to be capable of performing first aid skills. I highly recommend that if you have never taken any courses on cpr,acls, first aid that you take them. You can find companies that can teach you in about a day.
I’m an extrovert and I adore people, but I think even I would get tired of staying with different people all the time. These kids don’t seem weary in the least. They seem as fresh as if they started their tour yesterday.
When I heard that they’d been traveling for a year, my first thought was, How are they affording this? After a few conversations, I found out.
They don’t actually Couch Surf all the time. They’re also part of an association called Bread and Build, which is where you work for food. It’s an international association, based in the UK, and it connects travelers with people who need basic work done. The travelers exchange work for food, and usually they get a little bit of cash as well.
So these two kids have done jobs for people all over the world.
From the sounds of it, the Bread and Build opportunities aren’t limitless.
Like, there aren’t lots of places in say, Guatemala, or Bangladesh, where local people even know about Bread and Build. Surprisingly, even in some of the most unexpected places and countries, Kimo and Takashe (sorry, forgot to formally introduce them to you) have found jobs with B&B.
One of these unusual places was New Guinea. Takashe told us about a job they did on a plantation called Singaua, on the coast. It was a coconut plantation run by an Australian couple, and they needed a couple of helping hands with a renovation they were doing by themselves.
Takashe and Kimo spent three weeks at this plantation.
On weekends, the couple took the kids snorkeling over a reef, on a jungle hike to see an amazing waterfall, and into the closest town to see a native dance festival.
They also paid them extra above the food, which gave the kids enough money to travel to their next location.
I very much enjoyed listening to their stories!