Full text of Tomislav Perko on How to Travel The World With Almost No Money at TEDxTUHH conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: MP3 – How to travel the world with almost no money by Tomislav Perko at TEDxTUHH
Hey guys, I am Tom from Croatia. In the last couple of years, the world has been my home. I traveled, I hitchhiked, cars, trucks, horses, motorcycle, boats. I drove in buses, trains, rickshaws. I worked all jobs, spent time with locals. I volunteered. I became a monk. Just kidding, I sailed across the Indian Ocean. I tried things that I never tried before. I have seen things that I will remember as long as I live. And all that with almost no money.
That’s pretty much it. Thank you very much. No, most of the people when they see this video they react with, wow! I wish I could travel like that. And the thing is most of us actually can.
Before I started traveling, as Andrew said, I was a stockbroker, working 9 to 5, had a lot of money. And then the crash came, 2008. I lost my job. I lost the money and I lost the meaning. At that time I discovered one website CouchSurfing. I don’t know how many of you guys heard about CouchSurfing.
Okay. How many of you haven’t heard about CouchSurfing? Okay. For you guys, it’s an Internet website that allows you to host travelers in your own home. And at the same time it allows you to stay in other people’s homes while traveling yourself.
When I was hosting people in my apartment, over 150 of them, by listening to their stories and seeing the spark in their eyes, my thought was, wow! I wish I could travel like that. But I was afraid. The world is a very dangerous place, at least according to the media, our education, our family, church and so on. I was afraid of leaving my comfort zone and going by myself into the unknown world.
And I was also afraid of not having any money. And then the people that I hosted in my apartment told me two amazing things. First of all, you don’t have to be brave to travel. You just have to have a little bit of courage to start to lead. And the other thing they told me is that you don’t have to be rich to travel.
Actually all expenses while you’re traveling fall into three major categories. First is transportation to get from point A to point B. The other thing is accommodation. And the last is everything else: food, drinks and so on. And they told me if you minimize those three expenses to some minimum, it can be actually cheaper to travel than live in your own city.
I listened to them. And for the next five years I’ve been traveling around the world with almost no money. And this is how I did.
First thing, I hitchhiked. Apart from being free, apart from being really fast, it allowed me one amazing thing to have an adventure between point A and point B. And how many of you guys have ever a hitchhike? Okay. Quite a lot. Well, what are you doing?
Okay. I’m going to play you a short video called hitchhiking guide. Just to tell you a few unwritten rules about hitchhiking and some of my experiences.
[Video: When it comes to hitchhiking, everything is about using common sense. First, to start, you have to get out of the city, villages or wherever you live.
Lesson number two, stick up your thumb. Hitchhiking lesson number 36, look distance, like save stuff and try to wear some lean clothes or whatever or hike behind your backpack. Lesson number 54, do not hitchhike during night. Don’t be grumpy. Lesson number 58, eye contact with the drivers. Don’t hitchhike alone. I have a friend that I hitchhike with. Lesson number 21, talk with the drivers when you are in the car because that’s the only way you can repay them – they would like to hear some interesting stories, if you have one. It’s not just listen to their story, that’s sometimes enough. Lesson number 9, fasten your seatbelts if you have one. Hitchhike lesson number 62, be always happy. You’re hitchhiking, it’s your choice. Be patient – but no matter how long you wait, the right driver will come. There are no rules actually. Just go out there and enjoy your life and challenge yourself. – Video concludes.]
Thank you. There are other alternatives to transportation. One of them is walking. You guys know what that is. How many of you – so you just take your backpack and hit the road. Another way is cycling. It’s not maybe completely free because you have to buy the bicycle and eventually fix it. But it’s much more cheaper than the conventional method of transportation. And the last one is actually working in exchange for transportation. I did this when I was sailing across the Indian Ocean from Australia to Africa. And I didn’t have to pay for the ride, I just needed to do some work on the boat like do some night watches, cooking and stuff like that.
When it comes to accommodation, most of the time I use CouchSurfing. Because I had a lot of experience, I had a lot of these positive. references on the website and so on. And what I like about CouchSurfing the most is not only because it’s free, it allows you to have a different perspective of the destination. You’re not destined to stay in your hotel room or take the tours. You just hang out with your host. He takes you in places that you would probably never visit by yourself.
But also there are some other alternatives. One of them is camping. You have your tents, you can sleep almost anywhere you want. In the big cities I usually slept in parks, just have my sleeping bag and my mattress. And the last one when it comes to accommodation is volunteering. There are a lot of opportunities all around the world that offer you to work in exchange for accommodation, sometimes even food. So you get to sleep in beautiful rooms like this.
When it comes to all the other expenses, one of them is food. In rich cities, in rich countries I usually buy food in supermarkets which is the cheapest way and just eat on the street. You can also cook with your host which can be pretty, pretty unique experience to say the least. These are Germans actually. Sorry. But it was pretty delicious to say the least and one of the cheapest.
Another thing is dumpster diving. Maybe over 40% to 50% of the food that is being produced is being thrown away and a lot of people have a problem with that, so they go to supermarket bins after the closing hours and just take all the food that is not going to be sold day after.
And when it comes to drinks, booze, the usual try to avoid bars and restaurants and drink in parks. This is how you can travel really really cheap.
But one other thing when it comes to traveling is that you can earn money while you’re traveling. How to do that? I did a couple of times. One of them is busking, playing the guitar on the street. I’m not a musician. I know like probably four or five chords and four songs. So it’s like repeat all, you know like, people are passing by, so they’re like they don’t really know. But the most important thing is to have a story. I always had my small cartoon board which I wrote — actually somebody else wrote in a local language, where I’m from and what I’m doing there, what’s my story. And I think that’s what people donate a little bit of money, some sandwiches, sodas and so on. You won’t earn a lot of money by doing this but it can get you through the day.