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Me me me me me me me

I am a freelance author of magazine articles and blogs, specialising in hiking, outdoors and adventure-related travel stories from my 20 years of globe-trotting. Then there's the book that started it all - This is Not a Holiday - an introduction to the concept and practice of the warmdüschers and how to avoid them.

As of right now I've visited 114 countries, including El Salvador, Suriname, Sudan, Vanuatu, Bhutan, Andorra and Palestine. It's taken me 40 years so far and I'm not even halfway through! And they keep inventing new countries! I'm going to have to accelerate.

Many People think of travel as a pleasurable endeavour, a joyous escape from the drudgery of workaday life into a world filled with pools, cocktails and non-stop entertainment. Wrong. What I have just described is a holiday; travel is something quite different. Travel involves long bus journeys to remote villages where the food is inedible, there's nothing to see and nobody understands a word you're saying. Travel is not seeing the sights, it is seeing the lack of sights, seeing the people as they really live, eat and ride to work. Travel is a full-body, pan-sensual experience that cannot be summarised in a smug Sunday supplement article or directed to in a guidebook. There is no substitute for time spent on the road, because as easy as it is to miss - travel involves travelling, from place to place, and lots of it. It will not be easy and it will not be pleasant, yet the sense of fulfilment will be life-giving and self-perpetuating. Travel feeds on itself, an addictive force that takes over your world and changes you for the better. It is not a holiday, it is a way of life. If you arrive home relaxed, tanned and clutching a souvenir ashtray - you were on holiday. If, however, you return  exhausted, bruised and sorely in need of a holiday - then it sounds like you've been travelling. Get out there, see the world as it really is and make it your own. Destroy your prejudices, make the planet a better place, Live!

The non-Warmdüschers

In Grenada, Nicaragua in 2001 a group of like-minded travellers coalesced into a loose society based on their collective desire to spend as little money as possible while still having the best trip. The Austrian contingent provided a name, warmdüscher, for those other travellers who would pay extra money for a room with a hot shower. We were the opposite; we were the non-warmdüschers and proud of it.

Definition of a Warmdüscher :

Warmdüscher (va:mdu:fe). 2001 [From German warm - warm + düscher - shower] Literally warmshower. A person who, while travelling abroad, is not prepared to endure any degree of hardship, always preferring to utilise financial means if possible to ensure total comfort, even to the point of being knowingly swindled.

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