Thoughts on Study and Travel

I decided to do some research on the feasibility on travelling while doing my post-grad in Teaching. You see, I don’t really know what I want to do in 2014, but moving to Perth to see more of my good friends over there is an option. Seeing them last week made me remember why I like them so much – I truly have amazing friends. Living in Perth is expensive though, and I think that maybe I should only move there if I’m working. My friends all work full-time and as a result have a much greater disposable income than I do, even if they do spend it all on shoes.

So I decided to calculate how much it would cost to live in Perth. I would say that at an absolute minimum, living in Perth would cost around $300 per week. I say that because I’d want to live in the same part of town that most of my friends do, where rent and bills would be around $200, then transport, food and entertainment would chew up the rest pretty quickly. Again, I would say I’m being conservative here. Extremely so.  That’s over $40 per day. Wow. I’m pretty sure I can travel through South East Asia for a lot less than that. Plus I wouldn’t be paying extra to go on holidays, as I likely would if I was living (stuck) in Perth for a year. Hell, I could probably travel Europe for less than that, even though prices are pretty high over there!

With that in mind, I decided to do some research on the internet to see if anyone else is crazy enough to do the same. Seems like there are quite a few, although half seem to have gone to a country and stayed there throughout their course, kind of like a study abroad thing, but online study rather than a local school. The inspiration for this post was coming across an article that started off with “traveling alone in a foreign country is not a good idea, especially for women”. Obviously the writer of the article has done exactly zero research on solo travellers around the world. The really annoying thing is that people might read the article and think the person writing it has some authority of the subject, especially since the rest of the piece had run of the mill advice (i.e. make sure you factor in all your expenses into your budget, use hostels to save money). I would make the point here that the author actually used the term ‘Youth Hostel’ – who does that anymore?

Anyway, I’m assuming the author has a nice job behind a desk and has not travelled extensively (especially not solo, heaven forbid!). Otherwise they would know that many thousands of travellers, young and old, male and female, whatever race or nationality they may be, have successfully travelled solo to all corners of the earth. Do I get scared travelling by myself? Sure. I’m not an idiot. I also get scared living here in Australia. I spent 4 years of my life nightclubbing in Northbridge, Perth, a district that was once considered (per capita) one of the most dangerous places in the world (for bashings and stabbings, which to be fair was mostly male-on-male violence). It annoys me that if a woman is attacked while travelling solo in a foreign country, travelling alone is considered dangerous. But if a person is attacked in a shopping mall, or a cinema, we don’t say – oh, that was a stupid thing to do, why would you go to the cinema by yourself – are you crazy? Of course that’s besides the fact that I think the victim is never to blame anyway, but it annoys me when people write or talk about things they know nothing about (yeah, ok – I do it all the time, but I’m willing to learn more about the subjects I write about!).

In the end I didn’t really learn that much about it. The people interviewed sounded like a pretty motivated bunch of people. For example, Allan Wilson, the guy behind the blog ‘Live Less Ordinary in South East Asia‘ completed three online degrees, even though he has a self confessed ‘attention span of a squirrel’. Otherwise who knows, I might have to move to Toowoomba and finish my degree on campus. Hmmm.. Toowoomba or Koh Tao?