Saturday, March 19, 2011

Check Me Out As a Guest Blogger on CheapoTravel Blog

Today, I was featured as a Guest Blogger on Cheap O Travel Blog, with the following article (LINK:

Global Unemployment: The Travel Industry’s Salvation?

Please welcome guest blogger Erika from

While in Thailand and Cambodia last September, I observed a shift in the profiles of backpacking hostel-hoppers.  Of course, you still had plenty of Thai fisherman pant and tank-top clad Gap Year twenty-somethings.  The surprise was the strong showing of mid-thirty to early-forty-something European and American singles and couples.
You see, average, working Americans get two weeks of vacation per year.  So, an Asian trek, plus holidays, family obligations and summer weekends, is usually too tall of an order.  And, while Europeans certainly have more flexibility, with four or sometimes blissfully five weeks of holiday, at least my French friends’ employers limit their time off to ten days in a row.

Over smiley toast at communal breakfast tables, I got some answers.  Turns out, most of these travelers had begun and thrived in a career in their twenties and early thirties.  Due to the economic crisis, they were now unemployed, not just for a few months, but for nine months minimum.

This realization made me feel less lonely — and, lots less guilty — as I too fit this profile.

Knowing how I had made my trip happen— odd job and gift cash, a kind husband and being ok with being nearly broke upon my return — I had to know how my new kindred spirits had managed.  Answers included: subletting apartments, selling luxury items, dipping into car savings, and sympathetic gifts from family.  The lower cost of living in many of the Asian countries, compared to the U.S. and Europe, had also been a deciding “destination” factor.

No matter what the “how,” however, the “why” was consistent across the board.  As one early forty-something American man at my hostel in Siem Reap put it: “I looked for a job for nine months, and it was all a black hole.  I was so depressed, and had no energy left.  So, when my girlfriend took time off from her job to travel for a year, I said, well, I’ve never been to Asia…and, when am I going to have the time to do this again?”
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