Author: billyfreeze

“Jumping Ship” in Russia

We slipped out of the museum, heads down so that our tour group wouldn’t notice us.  We looked around surreptitiously hoping that no police were watching us.  Not that they would necessarily know we were guilty of wrongdoing mind you,  but we couldn’t take a chance. As we made our way backwards through the entrance line, I felt an exhilarating surge through my body… It was the same feeling you have when you jump out of a plane and you realize that you can’t reverse that final step. I took one more backward glance to be certain we were not being chased down by anyone important and we started to laugh. We’d done it! We were in Russia without a visa! We were on our own! 20 something years ago, I had been a poor backpacker traveling through Africa with 6 months on my hands and a very flexible itinerary. My traveling companion, Helen and i had finally hit a diplomatic wall at the border of Tunisia and Libya and were not sure how we were going to get to Nairobi. At the time there were no Internet cafes. They hadn’t been invented yet…. The Middle Ages of traveling. One had to actually walk to airline offices and ask questions in person; barbaric but true. Through the traveling grapevine we had heard rumors about a cheap airline that for...

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10 Ways to NOT Get Robbed While Traveling

Everyone should get robbed once while traveling. There’s nothing like that exciting feeling of not having any money in a strange country and wondering how you’re going to replace your stuff. I got robbed my second time to Europe. It sucked. I still have no desire to go back to Madrid. That was a long time ago and I vowed at that moment that it would never happen again.Guess what? It hasn’t. The question that someone who gets robbed asks a million times is “what would I have done differently?” Let me tell you my story: I had been hitchhiking through Spain and encountered  a little difficulty getting rides from Barcelona to Madrid. I should have stopped in Zaragoza but I was determined to get to Madrid that night. My traveling companion and I were dropped off in the center of the city, an area called Sol, and started searching for an inexpensive place to stay. We both had backpacks, day packs and I was carrying a guitar as well.There were a fair number of people around but the strip of pension hotels were on a dimly lit street and had most of their lights off. We went to one and rang the doorbell. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw some tall young Arab men walking the same direction and one of them came up and...

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Strange Things I’ve Eaten Around the World

I recently got back from a trip to Central America and while traveling I posted a few pics of something a little strange I had ordered off the menu. My friends all agreed that there was no way they would ever order such a thing and couldn’t believe I would. I thought about it for a while and realized that I felt the same way but I almost had a responsibility to try it. You never know until you try it. I’ve spent the last 25 years of my life as an entertainer and I’ve had more than my share of improv classes at one time or another. The rule of improv is never say NO. Saying NO stops the scene dead in it’s tracks and makes what might be a great funny comedy into a dead end skit.  I’ve applied the same rule to life and travel whenever possible. Getting outside of your comfort zone and experiencing new things is what travel is all about.  This article is about a few culinary highlights and lowlights I’ve experienced in my adventures. The most recent odd thing I’ve eaten was in a beach bar in Nicaragua.  The name was not very appealing: Sea cockroaches. I don’t know if they sell a lot of these but a better name might be in order. I had been discussing weird foods the day before with...

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OMG! I lost my passport!

     When travelers complain about luggage getting lost or start packing 2 weeks before a trip, I’ve always told them the same thing. The only two things you really need for any international trip is money and a passport.In reality you can actually get by without money for a little while if you’re resourceful, but the passport is the key that opens the lock for international travel. In a paperless world, no one has really come up with a way to really identify you without this little magical booklet. All passports are not created equal either. An American passport makes traveling around most of Europe easy peasy. Countries like India and Russia are required to get visas for many places that someone from the states can breeze in and out of on a whim. So, knowing this, I’m surprised how many travelers don’t treat their passport like the treasure that it is. They’ll leave them on tables, absent-mindedly stuff them in pockets, and leave them in hotel rooms. Having said that, my advice is take care of your passport! You can replace one but it’s not fast and it’s not usually cheap. I’m telling you this because I’m the traveling wizard. I’m an expert who would never lose track of my passport or anyone else’s….until now! At this moment of writing I’m sitting in Nicaragua trying to figure out...

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Traveling as a lifestyle

As I’m going through some old photos tonight and posting them on Flickr, I see the evolution of my travels and recall my first adventures when I started discovering the world. If someone had told me when I was 20 years old that I would be gallivanting around the globe, I would probably not believed them. When I was 12, I collected stamps.I looked at each little square as I put it in my book and wondered what places like Deutch Bundepost and Malagasy might be like. I never dreamed years later when I first left America that I would be doing it a LOT. Lately I’ve been talking to a lot of people about my “religion” or lifestyle or whatever you want to call it. What I’ve discovered is that most people that I talk to, don’t really get it. The strange thing is everyone says they want to travel but most people don’t. When I say travel, I’m not talking about going to Cancun for a week, I’m not talking about a balcony suite on a Caribbean cruise, I’m not talking about going to New Orleans for a weekend. Yes, these can be traveling experiences, but most people I know that plan trips, do it the same way they pay a bill. They figure out a place that they can go cheap or a place where they...

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