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Old 12-06-2013, 10:22 AM   #106
vintagespeed
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i've never done a ride as long as yours, but a couple short ones. on both rides there were days where me and my riding partner didn't "click" or mesh as we should have. last year my brother and i rode for 3 weeks and only had one argument the whole time and the same happened again this year with my riding buddy and i.

i've come to the understanding that on both trips the arguments were caused by me and my frustration over something trivial. on the next trip i will be more aware of this and try to calm those feelings or talk more about them with my riding partner before the tension builds to a boiling point.

can't wait for the next installment! you guys write a wonderful report and i appreciate your openness and awesome pictures.
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Old 12-06-2013, 10:39 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by UltiJayne View Post

I stayed in that room few weeks later (Nov) and they shifted the furniture.. side of bed was against the window and bunk against the wall where door is. It was a nice place and I parked the motorcycle inside the restaurant too.

Interesting that I started reading your RR few months ago and find myself sleeping in similar room you slept in.
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Old 12-06-2013, 07:26 PM   #108
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i have been reading and enjoying your rr since the beginning. time to admit it and say yours is one great adventure.

thanks jayne and phil.

phil, hope to see your full recovery soon.
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:17 PM   #109
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Laugh

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Originally Posted by WhicheverAnyWayCan View Post

Interesting that I started reading your RR few months ago and find myself sleeping in similar room you slept in.
Maybe you'll catch up to us! We're still stuck in Cusco!
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:30 PM   #110
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Cool2 Willies, Trout and Wax Palms: Salento, Colombia

As the road leading to the hot springs in Santa Rosa de Cabal turned to kilometers of dirt, I assured myself that it would be okay. I don't usually enjoy riding offroad, but this few kilometres of dirt was actually quite enjoyable, and I was all by myself.


Maybe I'm actually getting more confident??


I pulled down into the parking lot, and the attendants told me that my friend had been there a few minutes ago and then continued up the road. How did they know I was the friend? Guess there aren't too many gringas on motorcycles around there.



Apparently there were more than one set of hot springs along that road, and Tom had thought I may have continued to the second set. As I pulled out of the parking lot, he appeared on his Suzuki DR650. He reported that the other hot springs looked fancier (ie more expensive), so we decided to stay at these ones.
Me posing at the entrance to the hot springs

Tom on the path to the resort

The approach to the hot springs was much more beautiful than the resort itself (Apologies, I didn't take any pictures at the pools themselves)

I had been expecting something more natural than the 1970s style resort that we entered. It was about $15 each to enter, and several times we were approached by women selling mud masks, hikes to the source of the hot springs etc. The hot springs were a series of swimming pools filled with hot, yellow tinted water set in a beautiful location, with waterfalls and mountains all around. A holiday destination for middle class Colombians, we were the only white people there.


It wasn't a long ride to Salento, where I checked in to one of the most beautiful hostels I have ever stayed at. La Serrana was about a 15 minute walk outside of town, along a road that looks out over pastures filled with cows, horses and sheep, and green valleys. The hostel itself is like an old farm house, with an area for camping, and an organic garden. Every evening they cook a delicious, reasonably priced meal that is eaten in a separate kitchen/dining room building.
The stunning view from the road between town and the hostel

Tom had already been staying there for a couple of nights, and so was able to show me around.


That evening we went into town for dinner, and randomly wandered into a restaurant advertising the local speciality, trout. The food was delicious, one of the best meals I ate in Colombia. I hadn't really spoken much to Tom when we met him in Cartagena and Medellin, so it was fun learning about his family and life over the past six years he's been away from Australia. He met a girl while travelling in Asia, and eventually moved to Seattle to be with her. He spent four years in Seattle before buying a motorcycle and heading South in March 2013. He's also planning on visiting Ushuaia before he finally returns home to Australia.


The general concensus about Tom is that he is a real gentleman. His mother did something right. He is always concerned about the other people he is with, and puts their happiness ahead of his own. A trait rarely found in people these days.
Note the stairs going up the hill in the distance

We spent four nights in Salento. We met up with some of Tom's friends from Medellin, Lacey (Canada), Eliza (Aus) and Nick (NZ) and the five of us formed a stellar team. We climbed the big staircase in town (Lacey ran up and down it FIVE times while waiting for us, walking up once was enough for me!) to have a beer while watching the sunset from the top of the hill.
Sunset from the top of the stairs

The beautiful Solento sky

Later we learned how to play Tejo, a popular bar game that involves throwing heavy metal pucks at small paper envelopes full of gunpowder. Only in Colombia could this be considered a good idea. We had a great time!
Each folded triangle is explosive (and LOUD) when hit by a metal puck...

Tom with a Tejo puck and a beer (mandatory to buy beer to be allowed to play)

Me showing my expert, gunpowder exploding, form.

The gunpowder field of dreams - it's a long way to that target!

The next day we climbed into one of the ubiquitous Jeep taxis (referred to as Willies) and went to hike the Valle de Cocora. It was a beautiful hike, but much more strenuous than I had been expecting. I was suffering the tail end of a cold, and annoyingly could hear myself breathing because of clogged sinuses, but I pushed through and it was worth it in the end.
The jeeps have set times they go to and from the Valle de Cocora

Our Willy taxi

Lacey and Eliza ready to hike

They still use pack horses in Colombia, This guy greeted us at the start of the trail

Along the hike there were many streams to cross

Crossing one of the more stable bridges

Just one at a time on this bridge

One at a time for a reason!!

When we made it to the top, there were many beautiful hummingbirds buzzing around. The hot chocolate the park rangers gave me was very delicious!
My favourite of the many hummingbirds at the ranger station at the top of the hike

It wasn't the end of the strenuous part however, there was a choice of ways back down, the way we came, or a steep climb up to a peak, and then down through a valley filled with Colombia's national tree, the tall and skinny wax palm. We chose the palms.
Nick (showing how we all felt), Tom, me, Lacey and Eliza (random German guy who joined us in the back too).

Valle de Cocora: Wax palms are Colombia's national tree, and grow VERY tall

Me and the Valley of Cocora

On our way home, the back of those willies are not made for tall people

Back in town, we returned to a brilliant cafe called “Brunch” which serves delicious American style food and has a cinema room where you can chill and watch movies while you eat and drink. We went there several times, and one time we met Adrian and Lauren – an Australian couple riding two-up on a BMW GS1200. They are riding Alaska to Ushuaia in just five months. Quite a difference from the 14 months I had been on the road just to get to Colombia!


Tom and the gang toured a coffee plantation the next morning. As I had only recently been to the one with Phil and Kelly in Manizales, I used the time to sleep in and catch up on some blogging instead. I met everyone for lunch, after which we had been planning to ride horses up to a waterfall. However it started to rain and so we opted to change our plans. Tom and the girls hadn't had enough coffee, so did a coffee preparation course.



I was planning to go back to the hostel, but started talking to a man in the restaurant called Alan and his lady friend Martha. They bought me a glass of wine, and we eventually parted ways 3 or 4 hours later. I love randomly meeting new friends!


Nick was trying to convince us all to join him visiting the Galapagos islands in Ecuador. It's very expensive to go there, and so there was much debate about whether it was worth it or not. I was swayed by everyone's enthusiasm, and so emailed my friend Marty from Panama to ask what he thought about it, as I knew he had been to the Galapagos before. His reply?


“Come sailing with me there or fly there once I am there, as will need crew at stages and will be fun. Much cheaper.”
Wow – it turns out that he's taking Sabatayn, the sailboat we stayed on with him in Panama, to the Galapagos in February, and I'm invited. Awesome.


With that offer on the table, I decided not to spend $1000+ to go with the gang


The gang hanging out in the hammocks at our hostel

Salento was a very relaxing change from the big cities of Cartagena and Medellin. Lots to do, all in an extremely beautiful setting.



However the time had come to move on. I put in a couple of couchrequests, and Pipo in Buga accepted, so with Phil and Kelly still in Bogota, Buga became the next destination for Tom and I.
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:25 AM   #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintagespeed View Post
i've never done a ride as long as yours, but a couple short ones. on both rides there were days where me and my riding partner didn't "click" or mesh as we should have. last year my brother and i rode for 3 weeks and only had one argument the whole time and the same happened again this year with my riding buddy and i.

i've come to the understanding that on both trips the arguments were caused by me and my frustration over something trivial. on the next trip i will be more aware of this and try to calm those feelings or talk more about them with my riding partner before the tension builds to a boiling point.

...
Jayne and I have gone surprisingly long without such a split. But when it comes down to it, we both have different interests sometimes. Fortunatley we also both have bikes so we can go off, do what we want to do, and then meet up again later.
I think because we haven´t really split up this trip, when we finally did split it came after some building tension over time.

But most advice I´ve heard is that when there is a disagreement over where you want to go and you can´t do both, the best solution is to split up for a bit. Otherwise there will always be a lingering resentment that someone didn´t get to do what they wanted to do, and that can again lead to a future "boiling point".
Talking it out early is good advice.
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:28 AM   #112
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Originally Posted by NSFW View Post
i have been reading and enjoying your rr since the beginning. time to admit it and say yours is one great adventure.

thanks jayne and phil.

phil, hope to see your full recovery soon.
Much thanks!

I´ll have another update on myself and the bike (with pics) soon. Things are coming along well on both fronts.
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:00 AM   #113
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I did the Eurail thing with a friend in 95, we have always argued quit a bit but being stuck in close quarters in countries with unfamiliar languages became a strain.
I would take off for a bit on my own and meet him back at the train station sometimes, it didnt help.
When we got back to the states we did not talk to each other for months, afterwards it came to us that the miseries of the trip would define us as for a lifetime and of course we would look back on an amazing adventure the banter forgotten.

I think motorbikes has to be a bit better as you are not stuck around someone elses time frame I.E. a train schedule which ads to the stress IMO.
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:12 PM   #114
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Cool2 Miracles and Salsa: Buga and Cali

“I've got to work tonight, and I don't think my mum will be comfortable with strangers in the house.”


This was one of the first things Pipo, the couchsurfing host who had accepted our couch request in Buga, told us shortly after Tom and I arrived at his house.


As I have said before, I love couchsurfing. I love meeting new people, seeing how they live, and learning about new cultures. However sometimes it just doesn't work out. Tom and I arrived in Buga, which we had only gone to because we had a couch there, to find that our “host” hadn't asked his mum if we could stay.


On the way to Buga from Salento, Tom and I switched bikes. It was interesting riding Suzi, Tom's Suzuki DR650. There are many small differences in configuration, Tom's rear shock actually absorbs shocks, unlike mine, and Tom travels light. He has probably only about a quarter of the weight on his bike compared to mine (especially while I have Phil's duffle bag as well as my own), meaning Tom has faster acceleration and easier cornering. However other than that, a motorbike is a motorbike, kick it into gear and twist the throttle.



Cricket, Suzi and I, in front of a giant Colombian cow.

Riding his bike did make me wonder if having soft luggage, rather than my aluminium boxes, would have been a better choice, however weeks later when he crashed on the way to Cusco, his soft luggage was shredded, whilst my Dirt Baggs have stood up over 16 months of drops, and I've only taken them to a welder once.


Once we arrived at Pipo's house in Buga, after dropping the bombshell that his mother wasn't aware of our existence, Pipo was very nice. He walked us through town giving us a tour of the main sights. He couldn't get in touch with his mum, and so Tom and I insisted on finding a hotel where we could park the bikes instead. We really didn't want to deal with an angry mother!


We saw the town's main attraction, a statue of a black Jesus in the main cathedral (complete with people climbing the steps up to it on their knees), which reportedly performs miracles, and visited the hostel where Pipo works the night shift (no motorbike parking unfortunately, but very good micro brewed beers, and nice food). Pipo told us the story of the black Jesus and other interesting tidbits about the town.


Near the cathedral a young girl came running up to us and gave Pipo a hug. His niece I asked? No - his daughter. It seems every Latin American over the age of 20 has a child, even when you are least expecting it!


We found a nearby hotel that would let us park our bikes inside, and wasn't too expensive, then returned with our bikes and parked them in the lobby beside the fish pond.

Tom with the bikes in the lobby


Just pull them in there beside the tables and sofas...

The whole time riding through Colombia, I felt like a minor celebrity. There are millions of motorbikes in Colombia, probably a side effect of gasoline being so expensive. At every traffic light motorcyclists would admire my bike, and ask me where I was from, where I was going etc. Whenever I was stopped and standing beside the bike, people would ask to take pictures with me and the bike, and want to talk. I gave out a lot of stickers in Colombia.


In the hotel was no different, with all the other guests admiring the giant bikes parked in the middle of the hotel.


The next day Tom and I parted ways. He was going to make a beeline for Ecuador to meet the others to go to the Galapagos, while I was staying around waiting for the kids (Phil and Kelly) to catch up.


I rode into Cali, and met up with Carlos, a guy I had been in touch with through one of the many excellent KLR groups on Facebook. He took me to his home, which is built on top of his ice cream cart depot. Cricket fit right in.

Oil change with the ice cream carts


Trying out a different set of wheels. Decided to stick with Cricket.

He introduced me to his wife, Lady Jane, and his two children. They were very welcoming, gave me milk and cake, and soon invited me to stay the night with them too.

Carlos and Lady Jane (Note Carlos' sprocket necklace)

I changed Cricket's oil in amongst the ice cream carts, while Carlos made me a giant ice cream Sunday. I couldn't even finish half of it!


Making my sundae

I was welcomed as part of the family, met both grandmothers, and a great-grandmother. All of whom invited me to come stay with them. I was incredibly touched by how welcome I was made to feel.

Carlos' KLR

Lady Jane is a jeweller and has recently designed some KLR related jewelery, which I think is really special. I've asked her to make me a bracelet, and if you're interested, I can put you in touch.

One of Lady Jane's KLR bracelets


This man made the BEST empanadas in Cali


My visit with Carlos and his family was all too short, the next day they flew to Bogota for the tournament. I debated heading further South but eventually decided to I head into town to find a hostel. The first two hostels I went to either didn't have room, or didn't have parking for the bike. I was frustrated, but a little googling and a phone call later led me around the corner to the “El Viajero” hostel with a secure courtyard to park Cricket in, along with free yoga and salsa lessons and breakfast included.

Cricket parked in the hostel courtyard


I was the first guest in the girls dorm at El Viajero



The pool at the hostel

It was here that I met Erin, a cool American girl who has moved to Colombia. She was down in Cali visiting a friend of hers who she learnt to dance salsa with in the states. She was planning to head back home to Pereria but after we got talking I convinced her that we should go out dancing that evening instead.



She called her Colombian boyfriend and explained that she wouldn't be home that day, and we were on. Cali is reputed to be the salsa capital of the world.

Me and my awesome new friend Erin

I had the most amazing day in Cali with my new friend. I love meeting people who I instantly fall in love with. Erin and I did the free salsa class at the hostel, went for lunch, I helped her with her wordpress site where she blogs about life in Colombia, and then we went out and explored the neighbourhood, shared pizza, ate cake and generally fooled around.

A Cali street


I fit right in with the fish in the coffee shop

That evening we went out with her friend Joe, and Kirsten, another American girl we met at the hostel. Joe had his work cut out, being the only guy, but he performed admirably, dancing to nearly every song. He and Erin danced beautifully, and he was extremely patient with me. He taught me a lot of moves!

Joe, Kirsten, Erin and me


Joe and I tearing up the dancefloor


What a smile!


Salsa professional


Erin and Joe show us how it's done

On the way home we found a globe to play with.

Superman Joe and Superwoman Erin


We've got the whole world in our hands.

The next day we all ate breakfast together before scattering in all directions. Erin was heading home, and I was heading South.
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:18 PM   #115
UltiJayne OP
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Cool2

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBlurr View Post
I did the Eurail thing with a friend in 95, we have always argued quit a bit but being stuck in close quarters in countries with unfamiliar languages became a strain.
I would take off for a bit on my own and meet him back at the train station sometimes, it didnt help.
When we got back to the states we did not talk to each other for months, afterwards it came to us that the miseries of the trip would define us as for a lifetime and of course we would look back on an amazing adventure the banter forgotten.

I think motorbikes has to be a bit better as you are not stuck around someone elses time frame I.E. a train schedule which ads to the stress IMO.
When I was 19 I travelled through Europe with a friend and we also parted ways part way through the trip. I haven't kept in touch with her since.

Traveling with someone is a true test of a friendship. Luckily Phil and I had traveled together many times before setting out on this adventure.

I think having Kelly join the trip for two months changed the dynamic significantly. It was good for her and Phil to have some time alone, and when the three of us joined up again we were all glad to be back together.

It certainly is nice having our own bikes. Phil often takes off on day trips without me, which is great for us both.
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:14 AM   #116
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Your ride report is great! Please let us know if you need any help in Ecuador - we have maps, route advice and can help you with any repairs you may need on your bikes...Just stop in the shop, we'd love to meet you...
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Old 12-11-2013, 07:13 AM   #117
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Suscribed. Awesome Journey of you two! still reading 6 pages behind!
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Old 12-12-2013, 09:56 AM   #118
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Talking

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Your ride report is great! Please let us know if you need any help in Ecuador - we have maps, route advice and can help you with any repairs you may need on your bikes...Just stop in the shop, we'd love to meet you...
Thanks very much! But we're in Peru now... Ride report is very far behind, but working on catching up!
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:01 AM   #119
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Eek The Ugliest City in The World: Pasto, Colombia

I have never been so glad to see such an ugly city appear in front of me.
The ride from Cali to Pasto (just under 400km and about 7 hours) was much longer than the rides I had grown accustomed to in the tiny Central American countries, and the rain, fog and cold did not make the trip any more enjoyable.

Cricket looks pretty in the rain. So shiny!


I was wet, frozen and miserably counting down the kilometers on my GPS when I rounded the corner and was confronted by a conglomeration of grey, run-down buildings stretching as far as the eye could see. It wasn't pretty, but it was most welcome.


I found my way through the maze of one way streets to the Koala Inn, one of the only places that comes up when you search for hostels in Pasto. It was a simple doorway, leading up a set of stairs. I parked Cricket on the sidewalk while I checked in.


The entrance to the Koala Inn


The Koala Inn was once a nice hostel, but now it has been allowed to become rundown. However its Chinese owners were very accomodating, and it wasn't expensive for my own room with two double beds, and there was hot water and wifi. As I unloaded Cricket a very nice guy from South Korea called Hong helped me carry everything upstairs.

My room at the Koala Inn - cheap at twice the price!


I asked where I could safely park Cricket and the lady told me there was a parking lot around the corner. What she didn't tell me was that there are no parking lots open on a Sunday evening in the grim town of Pasto. This I had to learn the hard way – by riding around the maze of one way streets, banging on closed gates and asking passers by if they knew of a parqueo that was open. At one point I thought I was in luck as an old man opened a small door beside the entrance gate when I banged on it. He was willing for me to park my bike there, except he did not have the key to open the main gate and there was no way Cricket would fit through the tiny door he had opened.


If I wasn't wearing a helmet I would have pulled my hair out.
After a few more tries, feeling more than a little frustrated and very hungry, I pulled up beside a policeman walking along the road. I explained my problem and asked if I could park at the police station. He seemed open to the idea, but suggested we try around the corner first. I'd already been around EVERY corner, but I smiled and agreed. He tried the parqueo he was thinking of (which had a very misleading “open 24 hours” sign on it) and it was closed. He met me back at the corner and was just explaining how to get to the police station when the gates of the parking lot opened and a car pulled out!


My saviour the policia ran across the road and negotiated with the guy inside for me to park my bike there. He then came out and stopped traffic so I could ride the wrong way up the road into the lot.


The very kind parking lot attendant Diego told me that there was no security in that lot because the next day was a holiday, but that I could park in his other lot across the road (an enclosed parkade). I gratefully agreed, he unlocked the other gate, and finally Cricket was safe and sound.


All I had eaten since breakfast was a juice on the side of the road. For a few kilometers it seemed that every house had a sign outside advertising fresh orange juice. I chose one that had a covered patio so I could get out of the rain. I ordered a juice and was confounded by the number of choices I was given. Apparently one does not just get oranges in one's juice. Honey, sugar, some kind of pellet that looked like something you would feed a cat, and some kind of liquor were all possible inclusions. In the end I just asked her to put it all in.



It resulted in a rather strange, frothy, bittersweet concoction. I drank it anyway whilst teasing the young girl who kept sticking her head out of a doorway.


My juice lady prepares the special concoction


I ate dinner that evening with my new friend Hong and his German friend. I've found that when travelling on my own without Phil, I make new friends everywhere very quickly. Guess it's easier to talk to me when I'm not accompanied by a 6 foot 5 bearded Jesus.


The next day Hong and his friend headed off to see a lake and I did very little. It was a holiday so everything was closed and it rained all day. Pasto wasn't any nicer in the light of day than it had been the previous evening.

A dreary Pasto street

I was still trying to wait for Phil and Kelly to catch up, but they weren't travelling very fast. I was cold and so I decided to head to Ecuador without them, sure that they would catch up eventually.


The next morning everything was open again. As I packed my bike (once again parked on the sidewalk in front of the hostel) every member of staff in the sportswear shop next door came out for a picture with me.


It started by one guy coming over to check out the bike. I gave him a sticker. He got his friend to take a picture of him with me and Cricket. Then the friend wanted a picture too. Then they went inside, I assume to show the other six people in the shop their new cool pictures, because two minutes later I was surrounded paparazzi style by Colombians and camera phones. A whole photo shoot later, I finally was able to leave the ugliest city in the world (which happens to have some very friendly people in it).
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Old 12-12-2013, 10:49 AM   #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UltiJayne View Post
I've found that when travelling on my own without Phil, I make new friends everywhere very quickly.
^^This!

I know it's nice traveling with your brother and all but this is when you will really start traveling when you are alone with just the local people

It makes all the difference in the world imho, besides you get to go when and where you want without any question
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