Topics: what's the best way to go backpacking??

A friend of mine, a fellow European, summarized how relationships on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean work in a comical, but also pretty accurate way: “In America, the girl is Barbie and the guy is Ken. In Europe both are both.” So how does this actually apply to the way relationships differ from each other in two continents whose inhabitants once belonged to the same culture?

Well, for one, it has obvious, superficial reasons, such as the typically super-white teeth and perfectly groomed appearances that Americans tend to have compared to their more natural-yet-not-necessarily-better-looking European counterparts. But then again, Americans tend to dress up less often and like wearing their sneakers and sweatpants everywhere without ever being judged, a level of a relaxed attitude I would sometimes like to see in my own country.

But aside from visual aspects, girls in the States expect to live their lives like Barbie in her dreamhouse, with her super-manly successful boyfriend. They want to live the American Dream. But while these expectations are high, I often find that putting guys on a pedestal and doing anything in order to get their attention is a big part of getting to this ultimate goal.

You re not too young. I wanted to do this and didn t and have regretted it every day - GO NOW! Quickly before the responsibilities of College/Work/Family inpeed on your life. Besides that kind of travel is more educational than any ivy league. ok. off my soap box. What to do: 1) Figure out your itennery. Your costs will follow this directly. 2) Buy very up-to-date travel books and figure out specifics. 3) Sign up for couchsurfing.com for possible free places to crash. 4) Check out people doing/have done what you want to do. I follow Dave who is on his RTW trip at http://www.gobackpacking.com he has his whole itennery, budget, etc. posted on his site and GREAT tips about how and how much he saved. 5) have fun. How much money? Probably 10,000 per person is a rough estimate if you re living on the very cheap for a year. Check out boots n all http://www.bootsnall.com they have a specific section on budgeting and costs calculator and travel expense estimates just for RTW travelers. Large car? No. Too much hassle/expense. Unless you re planning on traveling with 6-8 other people the whole time it won t be worth it. If you are planning on traveling with that many it d be worth your time to look into using a tour service. Tips- do it. Just go for it and don t let naysayers stand in your way. Embrace the fear, because it will be very, very scary. Invest in a GOOD backpack that fits you right, try out malarial medication before you go, and keep a journal. Have a great time!

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If planning a three to four-day trip, stay in San Pedro, the main town, and make excursions to the nearby salt lake, geysers and observatories. If you have a week, hire a driver or car and cross into Bolivia or explore the northern mines and churches. Peak summer holiday season in Chile is Christmas to late February.

San Pedro de Atacama, which lies beside its namesake salt flat at 7,900ft above sea level, morphed, during the Nineties, from a quartz and copper mining town into a backpacker hang-out. It is now a picturesque, if overbuilt, resort town with tree-lined plazas, a pretty, 17th-century church and more cybercafes than you’d ever need. When the luxury Explora hotel opened in 1998, it kicked off a gentrification process that shows no sign of abating. This means posh hotels, wine bars and great food are everywhere, but the narrow streets can get very busy.

The most popular excursion from San Pedro is to the El Tatio geysers, at 14,173ft above sea level. As these are 55 miles from town, a 4am start is required. The drama begins when the rising sun slants across the field of some 80 geysers – which spurt highest when the cold morning atmosphere prevents the steam from evaporating.

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Lyndell, that is a great report. I can't believe you lost your camera and all the photos. That would have really hurt. It sounds like you had a great time even though some of the meals you had weren't to your liking. I really liked Goult myself and would like to stay there some time.

Glad you got home safe and sound.
Schnauzer

Enjoyed reading your trip report - brought back some nice memories! So sorry about your camera - I have often worried about losing mine. Had friends that left theirs in a cafe once, but were fortunate and got it back. It's losing the photos that so sad as cameras can be replaced!

Glad you had such a nice trip. And thanks again for sharing it.

Honestly, your best bet is to do research online. No guidebook will be nearly as up-to-date as the internet. You will find much better success (1) researching online, (2) talking to past students who have studied abroad, and (3) talking to your college counselor or study abroad office. I know that it can be overwhelmingly, so take your time and ask lots of questions. The best study abroad program I can recommend, especially for students studying abroad for the first time, is Select Study Abroad. They run amazing programs in Florence, Italy. Florence is really the most amazing place to study abroad - always ranked #1 for best cities and best food in Europe! You ideally want a program that includes a lot of course site visits and trips and activities, as well as ones that are just plain fun and exciting. If you want the best and most-inclusive study abroad program, Select Study Abroad is the only way to go. Courses are taught on-site by Italian professors who speak English fluently and there are a number of fascinating courses. You have the option of participating in a wide variety of activities; anything thing from special late-night museum visits to food and wine tastings, tower climbs, karaoke nights, and more. The program also includes more travel (including hotel accommodations, transportation, all entrance fees, etc.) than any other program. The Directors are young and energetic Americans, speak Italian fluently, and make sure you have the experience of a lifetime. Check them out. It will change your life.

Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.

Fields of grass scattered with wildflowers, quaint buildings and cobblestone lanes… cycling through the countryside of Italy is a great way to get around.

Italy enjoys a temperate climate most of the year, with June, July and August being the warmest months. Popular tourist spots can get very busy and crowded during the European summer, but the sun is shining and the weather is hot so it's still a great time to go.

Whether you’re seeking to recapture your ancestral heritage or simply wish to discover a beautiful and poignant part of the world, this small group tour offers ample opportunity for enrichment, enlightenment, and enjoyment. Both leisurely and comprehensive, it provides a generous overview of five distinctly different – and fascinating – nations.

Day 2: Arrive Warsaw After arriving in the Polish capital late this morning, we have free time before we gather for tonight’s welcome dinner at our hotel. D

Day 4: Warsaw/Auschwitz/Krakow Today we journey south to the industrial city of Oswiecim – Auschwitz in German – and the concentration camp that is now a museum chronicling the horrors of the Nazis’ Final Solution. We tour Auschwitz and also visit the vast camp at Birkenau before traveling on to Krakow, arriving late this afternoon. B,L,D

again Jesuit History Founded in 1540 by Ignatius Loyola, who was declared a Saint by the Catholic Church in 1622, the Jesuits are the largest Catholic religious order in the world, with more than 18,000 members working in 112 countries. Online resources can offer a quick impression of Jesuits, their history and the state of the Society of Jesus today. For a more leisurely read you might want to consult the chapter, "Ignatius, the Jesuits, and Jesuit Education," in What Are We? An Introduction to Boston College and Its Jesuit Tradition. For a standard history of the Jesuits in English, see William V. Bangert s A History of the Society of Jesus (Institute of Jesuit Sources, June 1986). The most authoritative discussion of the early Jesuits is by John O Malley, The First Jesuits (Harvard University Press, 1993) There is not enough material on an important part of Jesuit history, namely, its suppression in the late 18th century. Recently, Loyola Press has done a great service in presenting On the Suppression of the Society of Jesus, A Contemporary Account, by Giulio Cesare Cordara, S.J., translation and notes by John P. Murphy, S.J. Perhaps the highest recommendation we can give this volume is that of John O Malley who says that this volume is a "page turner -- it reads almost as if it were written yesterday."

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That's what these forums are all about--you read posts to get ideas and then you give ideas in your posts when you return.

There are many questions about which town to stay in on the Amalfi Coast and I think you gave us some good insight as to the differences. It's on our list of "go to" places so I was interersted in your thoughts.

Looking forward to reading about the rest of your trip.

I'm wondering how crowded Positano was? We were there the weekend Oct 6 and left due to the crowds. We love the area, but would want to return only if less crowded, so appreciate hearing about it a bit later in Oct. thanks