No. 20 – The Dawning Of My Wanderlust

From the late 1960s to the late 1970s on my annual vacations, I went, at least once a year, on what were known as “18 to 30 holidays”. These were, and probably still are holidays where fifteen or so people in their late teens and twenties who are complete strangers to each other, pile into a mini-bus driven by an experienced employee of whatever travel company is organizing the trip, to travel together around, usually, Europe.

Fourteen days later, after crossing back across the channel at, usually, Dover, the fifteen co-passengers disperse either the best of friends or worst of enemies. I usually remained friends with most of my fellow travelers and I remained long-term friends with several of them, and at least one of the drivers.

My first trip, which I took during the summer after my first year working in Glasgow, went down through France and Spain before we took a trip across to Morocco, where we visited Marrakesh and Rabat, before returning through Gibraltar, Spain, and France. Every night we’d sleep in tents that we had erected on camping grounds which had eating and drinking facilities, with the emphasis on the latter.

I quickly learned that it was important for me to get quickly accepted by the group so that my disabilities would be ignored. To achieve that I adopted the following two main strategies from my very first trip to the last.

  • When loading the mini-bus roof rack in the morning or unloading it in the evening I made sure that I was the one who climbed, albeit with some difficulty, onto the roof to receive and store the cases and rolled-up tents. I was too small to be able to hand items up to somebody else on the roof, and so to be seen to be a “useful” member of the “team” it was important that I was the one on the top.

  • There was always a joint cash float to pay for campground fees and the occasional toll fee etc. Remember that I went on these trips before the advent of the Euro, so the common float had to be continually changed from currency to currency. I would always volunteer to be in charge of this float, using my accounting background, and therefore I gained a lot of respect when everybody realized that I could operate this daunting task effectively.

I can’t remember all the details of all my trips over that period of ten-plus years, but I will set out the highlights below:

  • My second trip to Morocco was over a Christmas and New Year period was memorable for two distinct reasons. While in Marrakesh I had my passport stolen from my jacket pocket, which taught me a lesson I never forgot during my whole life. I had to leave the group and go on my own by train to Rabat where the British Embassy was. There I got special papers, to get me back home. After getting the necessary papers, I spent a couple of days on my own, before I was able to meet up with the rest of the group after they arrived by road. Coincidentally I rejoined the group on the 30th of December. It was a very cosmopolitan group and there were members from all over the world from New Zealand to California. To celebrate the New Year I worked out when everybody’s New Year was back home, and we had New Year drinks starting late in the morning of the 31st to celebrate the New Year in New Zealand, and a few of us were still up mid-morning on the 1st January to celebrate when the New Year arrived in California. Going back to the loss of my passport, it arrived in an unstamped envelope at the Embassy in Rabat two years later. It had never been used, and it was returned to me, although, by that time it had expired.

  • On two occasions I went down probably the most dangerous road in Europe, being the road which was/is the road down what used to be Yugoslavia en route to Greece. I was very interested in the Acropolis and clambered over the remains on several occasions on each visit. On the first trip, we carried on through Turkey to Istanbul. On the second trip I and my fellow travelers boarded a boat and we spent a week sailing around the Greek islands which was very relaxing. On both trips, on the return journey, we took the ferry across to Southern Italy and visited Rome, Florence, and Venice.

  • On another trip I circumnavigated the Baltic by going up through the Scandinavian countries before crossing from Finland into Russia. It was the time of the cold war and border crossings into and out of Russia were tense. We visited Leningrad before traveling on to Moscow. On one occasion between Leningrad and Moscow, the driver accidentally took a wrong turning and before we had traveled half a mile down the wrong road, we were stopped by a police car who pointed out our error and escorted us onto the right road. So, we were being watched wherever we went. In Moscow, we saw the body of Lenin lying in state which was a bit weird. After about five days it was with a huge sigh of relief that we crossed the border into Poland. Of all the borders I have ever crossed, the difference in the atmosphere between the Russian side and the Polish side was the most distinct I have ever experienced.

  • When I was a little older, towards my upper twenties, I flew to California and had probably the most active day in my life in San Francisco, where I visited Alcatraz and many other tourist sites, The following day I flew to Los Angeles after paying more for the taxi to the airport than I did for the flight. I met up with a new group, and over the next four weeks, we drove right across the States to New York. We visited far too many places to list here, but the highlights were L.A. itself, Disneyland, Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, San Antonio, Texas, a three-hour excursion into Mexico, where I beat a Mexican at pool in a grubby bar, Washington D.C., and New York. When in New York, I stood on the roof of one of the World Trade Center towers, never dreaming that I was standing where the history of the world would be changed some 25 years later. I also climbed the Statue of Liberty, attended a Yankees Baseball game, and sat away up at the back of Madison Square Gardens to watch Mohammad Ali’s fifth last fight when he struggled to beat Earnie Shavers on points. Before the fight, I bought a program for $2, and 25 years later, I sold it for $350 on Ebay.

  • My last trip before I started to travel seriously for work, was not with a holiday company, but I was a member of a post-graduate club in London and a group of us got together and organized a trip together. The trip was to Afghanistan, India, and Nepal. The number one highlight was visiting The Taj Mahal, which must be the most remarkable man-made sight in the world, on a par with The Great Wall Of China, and The Grand Palace in Bangkok, but seeing millions of people “cleansing” themselves in the filthy looking Ganges river, together with experiencing the magical city of Kathmandu were also major highlights.

So how can I relate my traveling adventures as a young, slightly disabled adult, to the adventures of a budding affiliate marketer? The answer that I have come up with is the determination and self-confidence I had to rely on to overcome several unexpected serious situations that I was faced with while traveling, compared to the similar qualities that budding marketers must show to be able to overcome all of the unexpected serious situations which they will undoubtedly encounter on the road to owning a profitable internet business.

Okay, what situations when traveling am I talking about?

  • I have previously mentioned that I had my passport stolen in Morocco which meant that I had to leave the group for a few days during which I had to travel by train, find a hotel, find the Embassy, and generally survive on my own in a country where I didn’t speak the language. During those few days. There were times that I was panicky and very nervous, but I never gave up and finally was able to rejoin my colleagues with the necessary paperwork to get home.

  • While I was in Moscow, the group traveled to a tourist attraction by underground. The leader/driver of the group had been before and knew where to get off the underground train and when he announced that we had arrived and he got up to go to the door, the rest of us followed. I, as usual, was at the back of the group, and without notice the doors closed with a bang just before I was able to get out. I can remember the horror on the faces of my fellow travelers as they turned to see me still on the train. As the train left the station, the name of which was written on the wall of the tunnel in Russian letters, which are completely different from English characters. I managed to count the number of letters in the name and I noticed that the first letter resembled an “O” with several other squiggles. I got off the train at the next station, left the platform, and found a diagram which was obviously directions from the station I was now at. It was fairly obvious that several lines crossed at that station, but by counting the letters in all the neighboring stations, and looking for an initial letter that resembled an “O” I was able to work out which platform I needed to get back to the station I should have been at. I can’t remember exactly how I was able to find the correct platform, but ten minutes later I was safely back with the rest of the group who had waited at the original station, hoping that I would be able to find my way back.

  • On the Indian trip we were booked to fly from Delhi to Agra where the Taj Mahal is situated. There were ten of us traveling together, but when we got to the domestic airport in Delhi we discovered that an error had been made by somebody and there were only nine empty seats. I put my hand up to be the one to struggle through the Delhi traffic by taxi to the station and attempt to catch a train to Agra. Everything ended up okay. I even met a doctor on the train who gave me a tablet that cured a dose of “Delhi Belly” I was suffering from.

These three situations, when they were happening were downright frightening. However, I gritted my teeth at the time, persevered, used my brain to the maximum extent, and survived by not panicking. Somewhat similarly budding Internet Marketers, including me, can, (the correct word is “will”) face many situations which, when they happen, you will describe as “disastrous”. Whether it be having your autoresponder service canceled, having your social media advertising campaigns stopped, or one of a million and one other things that can go wrong, do as I did then, and currently do now. Don’t panic, use all the help that is available to you. Use Google, use help desks, use YouTube, and use ingenuity, and you will survive all of the problems that Internet Marketing will throw at you.

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