Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How to Travel Around the World

So in a couple of weeks, "Your Daily Remedy" shall be changing focus for a little while. Before you get suicidal and start thinking that I'm leaving or changing the way I'm writing or anything...don't worry. I'm not leaving you and will continue with my usual clever wit, and narcissistic style ;)

In case you couldn't tell from the post title, Your Daily Remedy will become a Travel Blog for a good portion of the summer.

And in case you also couldn't tell from the post title, I will literally be travelling AROUND THE WORLD! That's right. Leaving San Diego, traveling east, circumnavigating the globe.

I know what you're thinking..."Arun! That's awesome! YOU are awesome! But what makes you think you're even ROMOTELY qualified to write a post about How to Travel Around the World when you haven't even done so??!!?"

Thanks for the compliment and point well taken.

There are two aspects to a trip like this...positioning yourself to do an around the world trip, and learning from experience during/after the trip. Today, I'm writing about the former.

Most of us are NOT in a position to take this much time to take a trip. We have career commitments, monetary shortages, school, children, etc.

I worked for a company for nearly 4 years and never ONCE did I consider an around the world trip. Why? Because in order to do so, I would have had to not take a single vacation for the entire four years to accumulate enough time to do it! Obviously this is impractical.

So, I will explain how I positioned myself for this opportunity:

1. Either take a leave of absence, accumulate copious vacation, quit working for a company, or work for yourself

I did two of these things. I left my company because I disliked engineering and the corporate culture from the bottom looking up. I also started my own ventures to have some cash flow. As a result I have the flexibility to not have to be in any particular location to get some of my work done (although I will be working much less while on the trip).

2. Identify your destinations. Since I don't necessarily have an indefinite amount of time, I can't just spend a year going everywhere. I'm taking a couple of months and going to select destinations.

So, I have two options - either use my time to visit as many places as possible, or visit fewer destinations but stay and immerse myself in the culture. I chose the later. I want to get more than just a preview. I want to KNOW each country I visit. So I'm only going to three countries.

France -> China -> Australia.

I'm going to spend enough time in each area to really know it, have a girlfriend there (maybe two), and continue on.

3. Buy the ticket. This was obviously the most painful part because a "round the world" ticket costs a little more than your weekly allowance. I recommend using They offer the best rates and the travel agent optimizes everything for you.

They offer travel insurance, which I decided to buy but I would recommend NOT insuring the entire amount of the ticket. The likelihood of my entire trip falling through due to some unforeseen incident is slim, and the insurance isn't all that cheap. I insured for roughly 1/3rd of the cost of the ticket.

4. Get a Capital One Visa Card. It's the only credit card available that doesn't charge you for foreign transactions.

5. Identify travel needs. I've had to buy a bunch of new stuff to prepare for the trip including: all-in-one power converters, outlet multipliers (to charge multiple things at once), travel chargers, an ipod touch (yea!), a new backpack for frequent use etc.

The goal is to travel light (I won't be checking anything on the planes) yet comfortable. I'm going to be gone for awhile so I want to make things as homely as possible!

6. Choose destinations where you know people. I like people too much to ever do a trip like this on my own. Sooo, the only portions of this trip that I'm doing solo are the actual flights. I strategically chose destinations that A) Not only I wanted to go, but B) I had friends living there so I could have someone to hang out with.

I'm touring France with my Mom.

My friend Gina is putting me up in an AMAZING looking hotel that her work provides her: The Shanghai Union Square Marriot.

And my friend Frederico lives near Sydney, Australia. (As a side note, I'm particularly excited about Australia because I will FINALLY be the "charming American" guy with the accent! Ausi women watch out!)

This is a great way to save money AND hang out with friends (and Mom's).

So stay tuned! "Arun's 'Round The World Adventures of Awesomeness" will be coming soon!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Non-work Work Day

It's a wonder I actually got anything done when I worked an 8-5 job. Now, even more than before, I always feel like there's not enough hours in the day.

Most of my friends assume that I putter around all day doing this and that to pass the time. The truth is, I never get everything done that I have on my daily agenda. For example, I've been meaning to write a post for the past week-an- a-half, but simply haven't gotten around to it. My days are actually busier than they were when I had a corporate job!

When I worked as an Engineer, I spent a lot of hours at my desk, "working." Truth is, I completed a lot of work ahead of schedule which left me some time to complete other various odds and ends that needed taking care of. Now however, my time is ENTIRELY my own. I don't have to "be" anywhere simply for the sake of being there. I don't spend nearly as much time surfing youtube, reading blogs, etc. I try to keep my efficiency as high as possible and waste minimal amount of time.

I don't watch TV during the day (except ESPN while eating lunch when I'm at home).

I set my alarm at 7:22am every morning (why 7:22 you ask? because that is when that is when the radio morning show dishes out celebrity gossip...totally ridiculous, I know, but it's an entertaining way to start the day).

And what do I do during my 99% efficiency days?

7:22 - Wake up

7:45 - Out the door to gym for cardio workout

9:30 - Coffee Shop near the beach where I work on my laptop

1:30 - Weight Training

2:30 - Lunch

3:15 - More work / play music / general errands

6:00 - Evening activities

So that's a standard sort of day. The thing is, now that I don't work though, everyone always knows I'm available to hang out. So, for example, today I'm meeting Silvia for lunch. Yesterday I played tennis with Jenna in the morning.

Also, I'm much more willing to go out and do stuff in the evenings knowing that I don't have to trudge through an 8 hour day at work. Sure I'll still be tired the next morning (I still wake up at 7:22 even if I'm up late), but the day is WAY more manageable when I'm doing things I enjoy.

It's interesting to notice too, how many people really hate going to work. I almost PREFER weekdays now because I feel so much more productive than on the weekends and have fewer commitments to attend to. But log-on to facebook at anytime, and you'll see a myriad of status updates from people complaining about work.

Quitting Engineering is one of the best moves I've ever made. You spend 0ne-third of your life working, and you only live something like 25,000 days. That's a lot of days spent in misery if you're doing something you don't enjoy.

Now, I ENJOY working because I have a much higher sense of personal investment. Also, I am COMPLETELY in charge of when and where I work. It certainly takes a certain amount of discipline not to waste time puttering around and doing useless things.

STILL though, even though I don't work eight hours a day, there's things I don't have time for:

I've been meaning to brush up on my French - Je ne parles pas bien.

I want to start doing music production again - Haven't even touched the software

I need to start sending newsletters out regularly - only doing them once every two weeks

I just don't know how any of you people work....there's just not enough time in the day ;)