July 11, 2005
2 Weeks. I'm counting off the days before I depart for Kham, the Litang Horse Festival. and beyond. I have a few private rules about "out there" travel, the first being that one should not take more than they can easily carry. This is a little list I wrote for myself long ago:
How to Prepare
1. One bag.
2. Bring a small book with photos from your life.
3. 2 places to hide money (I use a moneybelt and a pouch).
4. Cash converted to local currency.
5. Xerox all documents, credit cards ect.
6. Study the Lonely Planet (and other guide books), but leave them at home.
7. Bring a notebook, and use it.
8. Find the best map.
9. Take the smallest road.
10. Get lost (because this is where the journey begins)
What to do once you are there
1. Don't randomly stick a camera in people's faces. Slow down. Hang out. Take out your camera only when you are leaving.
2. Eat what local people eat, as long as it's hot.
3. Drink more water than you think you need, but make sure it is well purified (I use idodine).
4. Travel using local trains and buses.
5. Avoid places with English menus unless you are in England.
6. Wander around at night (only then can you guarantee anonymity).
7. Even if you can't speak the language you can always talk to people via sign language and patience. If you can't communicate at the very least smile.
8. Ask questions.
9. Don't complain about: bathrooms, hotels, food, buses, etc
10. Go someplace that scares you a little.