Five Ways Solo Travel Can Make You A Better Man

The meme of quitting your job and traveling the world has been a trendy Gen-Y pipedream for a while now. It’s a safe bet that nearly every millennial has stated at some point they really want to quit and travel “when the time is right” or “when I have money”, but millions have actually stopped procrastinating and are meeting from all corners of the world right now. And while we’ve gotten plenty of corny and stupid pop culture illustrations of this fad with “Eat, Pray, Love” and other such feminist trash, solo travel is increasingly becoming a very appealing concept to the aspiring young red pill man.
It can be a daunting task at first – the idea of grabbing a backpack and trekking to parts unknown much to the bewilderment of your family or coworkers (i.e. “you’re going ALONE!? I could never do that..so depressing”) However, the advent of the youth hostel has made it not only bearable, but a tool at your disposal for your long term growth as a man. After a dozen experiences and counting I can say with absolute certainty I have learned more about self-reliance, history, and other cultures – all gains which have inspired me to push harder toward other masculine pursuits.

Here are 5 reasons you should travel solo at least once in your life:

1. Your comfort zone will be obliterated.

It’s one thing to be in a foreign city (God forbid there is a language or currency barrier), but now you’re thrust into a scenario where you are most likely staying in a youth hostel – that is to say sharing a bedroom with all sorts of bizarre creatures in very uncomfortable conditions. Of course, while this can’t be compared to sleeping in a ditch in a warzone per se, it does boast a tinge of the sort of character development a man gains by exposing himself to and surviving an unusual situation.

2. You will sample exotic women and won’t be disappointed.

Not all cultures put an emphasis on work (especially in their women) like the west. Believe it or not in other parts of the world people don’t wait until 65 to get a passport. Some Thai and Chinese travelers have told me that at 18 they were for all intents and purposes pushed out of the nest by their parents and told to “go to America for a year” to learn and grow. Be it eastern Europe, South America, or Asia youth hostels are where these traveling women congregate, giving you a chance to expose yourself to higher quality women without ever leaving your own borders.

When it comes to game, I have met uber-feminine girls from places like Argentina, Germany, and the Czech Republic, who did not hesitate for a second to utter the words “I like you” while donning a modest sundress and laughing at cheesy beta jokes. These women were the yin to the western girl’s yang – the kinds of women who lend a kernel of hope to the red pill man whose masculine spirit has fallen asleep in exhausting anticipation of the coming resurrection of neomasculinity.

3. You will see talent all around which will motivate you.

When traveling solo and staying in a hostel, a large portion of time is spent lounging around the venue talking to fellow travelers. It’s not uncommon to go days at a time skipping the pre-planned tourist gigs entirely in favor of sitting on a couch getting to know people from thousands of miles away. Throughout these lazy days you will see many people practicing skills that they take with them on the road.

Recently during a trip to Philadelphia two German girls picked up a guitar and serenaded me in English (their third language mind you) to a half-dozen American and British-written songs. Not only was I vastly impressed with their level of English, but it was deeply refreshing to encounter two pretty girls who’d managed to get off Instagram long enough to cultivate a skill. In fact, they demonstrated multiple skills at once in a modest and feminine way. To top it off, the positive vibes they gave off inspired me so much that I dug my old bagpipe chanter out of a drawer and began practicing the day I got home.

4. Networking

Many travelers are freelancers or aspiring entrepreneurs trying to build a business or cultivate a talent, and these are the people you will mingle with unless you have thousands to blow on a hotel room. They are often bootstrapping and will gravitate to hostels because of the cheap lodging, ease of mobility, and vicinity to their target market – usually other young people. As a result, they tend to be more open to hear about what you have going on because they see a potential client in you. There is a great potential for mutualism where not only can you spread your product but also may benefit from theirs (while possibly making a friend in the process.)

This can be a valuable piece of knowledge for the contributors of this site who have a book, product, or design and want to reach more people face to face. It was in a hostel in San Francisco where a guy actually asked me if he could buy my book, eliminating the enormous hassle of advertising entirely. A stimulating conversation in a bar on St. Patrick’s Day was all the advertising needed.

5. Experience

Day to day life can be so boring and monotonous people actually kill themselves over it. In one Apple factory in China, 17 people have taken their lives after being high on hours and low on hope for too long while producing those shiny objects we take for granted. Even back home “the grind” takes its toll so much so that heart attacks increase by 33% on Monday mornings.

Fortunately, backpacking solo offers an alternative and a breath of fresh air. Gone are the days of having to spend $10,000 for an “all inclusive” trip that you had to save up for all year. Hostels now offer a cost-efficient means of traveling on a whim, largely eliminating the insecurity accompanied by going solo, all the while learning the history of unfamiliar landscapes and meeting people on the go who serve as a connection and motivator that can and will make you a better man than before.

Why You Should Travel More

I recently took a 3 day cruise from Orlando to Nassau, Bahamas and it truly put things into a new kind of perspective for me. I have been traveling since 2012, often solo, and never restricted to either land, air, or sea. I’ve done it all, but after this trip I’ve come to the conclusion that a cruise offers a unique form of enlightenment that flying (which is special in its own way) and driving simply cannot duplicate.

Cruise lines get a bad reputation, and some of it is well deserved. It is not a secret that major sailing companies overwork and underpay their employees to such an extent that they will not hire Americans simply so they are not bound by our minimum wage and labor laws – the treatment of American workers by their employers is ghastly, the treatment of cruise line employees by their overlords is even worse.

Not only do they severely underpay their employees, but they pass the responsibility onto the customers to subsidize their atrocious wages by adding mandatory tips to every single service purchase throughout the cruise, which are then supposedly passed on to the employees. In other words: “We’ll pay our people almost nothing, but charge you extra so they are not technically working for free. Then we will undoubtedly keep a portion of the compulsory tipping for straight, unrestricted profit.” This double-theft is unchecked capitalism at its finest.

On the other hand, some of the critique of cruising is unwarranted and flat out ignorant. There are people petrified of leaving their comfort zone, who heard one story three years ago about a Carnival ship having a sewage backup and another ship having a fire, and for this reason will they never step foot on a ship. Others are worried about seasickness or a rogue wave. Whatever the excuses are, these people don’t know what they’re missing..

In terms of a customer experience, I am biased towards a company like Carnival much like I am towards Southwest Airlines. Carnival has a staff that is overwhelmingly honest, hard working, and cheerful. They have beautiful ships which are easy on the eyes with enough to do for everyone. Their base rate to actually get on the ship is very reasonable, and (many people who I talked to agreed) is dollar for dollar the best value in a vacation you get in this day and age.

For about $100 a day, you receive a room, unlimited food, endless entertainment, 24/7 housekeeping, transportation to one or multiple islands, and some truly amazing scenery. It also doesn’t hurt the masculine man that women are foaming at the mouth to hookup on a cruise ship, and exponentially easier to game than they are in your standard downtown nightclub. During a 3 night cruise, I had a married woman (whose husband was absent) and a girl with a boyfriend (who was in the same club at the time) hitting on me on two separate nights.

The one common thread I noticed among all cruisers – old or young, black or white, male or female, was they were all having a good time. It is not uncommon on a cruise to hold the elevator for everyone you see, to have a deep conversation with strangers over dinner, to laugh with the staff gathered from all corners of the world, and to dance unexpectedly even while claiming to hate dancing. The reason for this is because everyone on the ship has one thing in common – absolute freedom in the present moment.

Human beings are at their best and experience mental equilibrium and homeostasis (balance) when they are in their natural disposition – a place where money is no object and where deadlines don’t exist. After all, these are man-made, artificial constraints that hinder only one species of primate (us). No other species on earth willfully displaces itself in this manner. A feral cat is at her natural disposition in the wild, a shark in the ocean, etc. Humans are at their natural disposition wherever there is freedom – and most often when a person travels they have taken that time to forget about money and deadlines.

Want to be alone on your balcony and read? Walk 20 yards to the other end of the ship. Want to party at a nightclub? Walk 20 yards. Want to relax in a spa? Walk 20 yards. Want to fuck a stranger? Walk 20 yards. Did we on the Carnival Sensation get so lucky to incidentally have a conglomerate of the 2,000 nicest people on the planet on one ship, or does what the ship represents bring out the best in normal, everyday people?

Gestures like kindness and generosity as well as expressions like smiling and laughter are contagious, as I can tell you from experience. The treatment I received from my fellow human beings during this 72 hours pulled me out of a personal funk I was previously in where unproductivity and depression were seeping into my daily life. However, I left this ship with a new energy and had such a good time that I am going again in two months.

Humans are not at their natural disposition sitting at a cubicle or in traffic. It is in these environments where the same exact people from this cruise overwhelmingly experience irritability and aggression in their natural, everyday state instead of the peace and serenity they felt this past weekend. They have suppressed their nature and spread this negativity which is also without question more contagious than the most potent viruses known to man.

A friend recently asked me why I constantly travel when I don’t have my finances in order to the extent I want, and my answer was because obsession with any one thing, including the idea of being rich, sucks the life from a man like any other addiction. Sometimes this elusive notion of “happiness” is just a matter of stopping and smelling the roses (or the sea.) This is why this brand is a multi-faceted one, where travel is seated at the right hand and is the holy spirit of New Dark Triad.

 

Currency Contradiction

A philosopher who did his best work slightly before our time spoke about money being “no object”, zoning in on the very essence of the Matrix, its social implications, and their dire consequences. His name was Alan Watts, and his premise was half-genius. Watts rightly understood that the capitalist machine was designed to use, abuse, exploit, and finally discard a person, stripping them of their time, health, identity, sanity, and ultimately the one thing they traded all of the aforementioned for in the first place – the pension and gold watch they were promised. Then all too frequently but not so surprisingly, the person dies just a few years later.

There is something intrinsically wrong with a system that commits this sort of mass scale, nonviolent crime against humanity. It is a kind of soft-slavery, where every miniscule detail of the arrangement is precisely measured, controlled, supervised, rewarded, and punished. Today, we call this micromanaging. A more modern philosopher and perennial badass/critical thinker named Joe Rogan put it aptly during a podcast when he claimed “instead of finding something to contribute, you just find something to do with your time.”

What is even more disturbing is how frequently ‘the little guy’ accepts his role as an obedient lapdog with little to no say in life until the mythical fantasy of “retirement”, many of whom never live to see. People miss birthdays, holidays, and graduations because of their obligations to the capitalist machine and a boss they despise, all for the greater good of hauling ass toward the elusive day when one’s life will finally be their own.

“At least you’ve got a job”, a man tells his disaffected, frustrated grandson.

“I can’t take the trip with you, I have to work”, a woman tells her lover.

“Take the city test – they have a great 401k and you can retire in 29 years”, a stranger tells another during a friendly exchange

These are all direct quotes spoken to me or close friends of mine in very recent memory, and there were quotes far more disturbing that I refrain from posting only because the purveyors of said quotes know of this blog.

The pursuit of money is not in and of itself dangerous, but the unwise pursuit of the almighty dollar indebts, enslaves, and kills. The mantra of working smart vs. working hard is the key differentiator in this argument.

Working for “the man” is rarely ever an example of working smart. Have you ever noticed the unchained aggression coupled with the morbid obesity of your average bus driver or train conductor? The fact that these individuals claim a salary that positions them in the richest 10% of the world does nothing to alleviate their internal torture over working long hours in dark, Vitamin-D deprived tunnels with rats and deranged vagrants abound.

My father worked “hard” his entire life, beginning a factory job at age 16 and keeping calm while carrying on, inching ever close to that golden carrot called retirement which was to come at age 62. He died suddenly at age 56 from “natural causes”. Word got around the plant fast, his coworkers coming to his funeral to sympathize and pay respects for two hours, before the show went on. Four decades of devotion, two hours of gratitude. Then it was business as usual again at the New York Times.

Where philosophers leave a stone unturned is the missing solution to the problem. Just being sophisticated enough to see the system as a problem is not enough. The act of dropping out of the rat race by itself is not living happily ever after. If you don’t believe this, try living without income for a month. Sure, the absence of 40+ hours of phony subservience and a few cancer sticks crammed into a 15 minute break is refreshing to say the least, but the welfare kings & queens who literally retire at 28 live lives of equally quiet desperation. Being an unproductive meanderer is just as unfulfilling as doing a task you hate, with the exception of the freedom to be said unproductive meanderer. But purpose and meaning are equally absent.

My father opted to “just deal with” his various health problems, because he could not afford decent medical care. This is the point where the money being ‘no object’ mantra gets to be a bit comical. If Persons A and B simultaneously get afflicted with the same deadly virus, which has an incubation period of 72 hours, it is the person with a million dollars who will be flown by helicopter to the best hospital on the continent. The other may very well die in his bed waiting for the shivers to subside, “I don’t really have the money to pay these bills” being his very last words.

If a man has the desire and discipline to transcend a life of quiet desperation and simply live a life of quiet, bless his little heart. For it is this meditation guru and stringent minimalist that the “money doesn’t buy happiness” meme works for. But for those of us who want the freedom to do cool shit this takes a constant cash flow. There are only two ways about this – do something you enjoy for a living, or have enough money that it literally works for you.

The latter is a method that takes time, patience, and often a bit of an upper hand to begin with, but it is the closest thing we know to money growing on trees – the one thing your “hard working” grandfather told you never happens. The former is one that anyone can abide by. Everybody is good at something, and occupations exist for virtually every hobby which will pay you to do something you might very well do for free. Upon this realization, there is virtually no excuse left that can justify continuing to burden oneself by playing by this rigged game.

It is not the idea of working for someone else which is the problem, for the moment you begin to enjoy what you do your day job is no longer a job at all. The other cliché of “never working a day in your life” then rings liberating and true, and serves as a beacon of hope for those born without the entrepreneurial gene. Monetizing on your talents is to defeat the root of all evil.

Confirmation Bias

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

– Mark Twain

An important component of Critical Thinking is questioning information as it is put before you. This is preceded by the knowledge that nearly everyone has a confirmation bias. I talked a little bit about this in my article The Ugly Side of Critical Thinking, where I discuss how critical thinking usually carries the loss of a certain kind of innocence once you realize everybody wants something from you. This goes for friends and spouses who you know and love, as well as perfect strangers or celebrities you watch on TV or read about, who want to sway your view a certain way. One of the ways popular media faces attempt to manipulate you the viewer is with statistics.

In psychology and cognitive science, confirmation bias is a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions, leading to statistical errors.

It’s truly remarkable to see how agenda-driven ideologues on opposite sides of an issue can manipulate the exact same statistic to draw polar opposite conclusions. For example:

In the wake of an increase in police violence against minority communities and vice versa the last few years, Fox News right-wing correspondent Bill O’Reilly cited a statistic on his show which claimed that based on 12 million police arrests in the year 2013, only about 400 resulted in fatal violence against civilians. This lead O’Reilly to the conclusion that “99.9% of police interactions with the public result in no violence”, thereby insinuating there is not a problem with police brutality in the country. Using that exact same statistic of 400 casualties, the Los Angeles Daily News published an article in May 2015 which indicated that an American civilian was 267x more likely to get killed by a police officer than a citizen of Denmark.

We also know that feminists have been lying by omission since their beginnings several decades ago. Besides the debunked 77% pay gap myth that doesn’t account for the type of work, maternity leave, etc., they have recently been trumpeting out a myth that 1/5 women are the victims of “sexual assault” on college campus in order to push this “rape culture” narrative, which helps to keep Daddy Government subservient to the feminist agenda. What is never conveyed when discussing this misleading stat is the extremely small sample of women polled, and the sketchy way in which the questions were worded. The study only interviewed 5,446 women across two universities, and included vague generalities such as

“Were you unable to provide consent or stop what was happening because you were passed out, drugged, drunk, incapacitated or asleep?”

or

“Discussing sexual encounters that you think (but are not certain) happened.” 

What the proctors of the poll were trying to do was broaden the definition of sexual assault to include things such as kissing, shoulder massaging, ass touching, crude sexual comments, and even consensual sex between two drunken adults. This poll had about as much to do with actual rape as a study of finch sleep patterns in the Galapagos Islands, yet to this day we have President Obama and Hillary Clinton shamelessly trumpeting the 1/5 myth.

Even statistics you know to be true should be cited sparingly, unless you can cite and support the claim on the spot. When talking to some strangers at a hostel recently, I stated that it is a known scientific fact that men produce 7-8x the libido of women on an average daily basis, but of course did not bring “my files” on vacation with me. Despite it being a biologically accepted truth that men have a much higher sex drive than women, someone from the conversation decided to challenge me on it. The study that substantiates this claim looks a little something like this when cited correctly;

Torjesen PA, Sandnes L (Mar 2004). “Serum testosterone in women as measured by an automated immunoassay and a RIA”. Clinical Chemistry 50 (3): 678; author reply 678–9. doi:10.1373/clinchem.2003.027565. PMID 14981046.

By not having this memorized, using it was ill-advised and ultimately made me look bad, and really served as a distraction from a larger point I was trying to make. If you are in the presence of a critical thinker, they will challenge you on your claims (as they should), and you should be prepared with real life examples rather than statistics. And of course, when someone else is citing “statistics” to prove a point, understand they probably have a dog in the fight, and always question what it is they’re not telling you.

5 Things That Make A Good Hostel

Staying in a hostel is a gamble. It’s not at all like the ridiculous horror series that probably convinced millions of gullible people to never stay in one, but they can (in a much more trivial set of ways than the movies) be very unpleasant if you don’t do your research. Here is a most basic pocket guide of a handful of things to look for when you’re traveling solo and can’t split larger hotel costs.

1. The ability to get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep deprivation is one of the most brutal forms of torture known to man, and while probably not at the level of  actual “torture”, incidentally not being able to sleep for whatever reason while on vacation can ruin the entire thing. A few things go into this, so consider this a criteria;

  • Comfort of beds – a no brainer
  • Quality of metal bunks (that do not creak or shake)
  • Room temperature (I’ve stayed in hostels where I woke up in a pool of sweat and ones where body parts went numb from the cold)
  • Size of the room – a 6 bed, 500 sq ft. dorm makes it easier to navigate around the room and drown out low volume noises than a 6 bed, 200 sq ft. dorm. Larger rooms usually mean a larger hostel in general, which means less noisy drunks can be heard through the walls.
  • Gender inclusion – if you are a man, stay in a mixed dorm. Women are much quieter sleepers which means less snoring and also less body odor. (It’s also funny to see what pretty women look like when they first wake up.)

2. Location

While location also means entertainment, i.e. distance to the city center, that’s not nearly as important as a convenient location with access to basic amenities like food and medicine nearby. You should have a grocery store and a pharmacy within walking distance of the hostel, because it can be hell on earth if you don’t. It’s a bonus if you also can walk to or only have to take one bus to the main attractions. While the prices may seem alluring outside the city, don’t stay 30 miles from the tourist spots for the sake of $20 a night – you will spend it on buses and trains anyway.

3. Vending machines

While this one seems pretty trivial, I can’t stress it enough. Because most hostels don’t offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner packages, a well-stocked vending machine can make the difference between a snack to hold you over between dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast, and being in a terrible mood because you’re hungry and can’t eat. I’ve stayed in some above average hostels that I truly resented because not only did they not serve food themselves, but there were no 24 hour delivery chains in close proximity nor did they have a vending machine. Starving is no way to spend your vacation.

A well stocked vending machine has water, soft drinks, a few healthy snacks, a few sugar or salty snacks, and cold sandwiches or TV dinners that actually represent half a meal. Bonus points if it has toiletries like toothpaste or condoms.

4. Social vibe

A hostel can have comfy beds, be in a good location, and have lots of food options but feel like a dud if there is no social vibe. During my stay in hostels, I have met people on one continent, stayed in touch, and met them again on another continent, all because we connected due to the good hostel vibes. I’ve also seen dozens of people sitting in a lounge staring at their smartphones and not talking because there is nothing going on.

The better hostels will be constantly promoting events and parties. In Barcelona, 9 of us from the hostel went to a soccer game together by train, then dispersed into 4 small groups based on seating, then met up again after the game. We did a team huddle & chanted the hostel’s name while picking a meeting spot to gather after. The vibe makes all the difference in the world for the introverted solo traveler.

5. WiFi & Price

The price of a good hostel should range between $25-39 a night for a 4-8 bed dorm. Any more than that and you should expect nothing less than caviar and wine (or you’re visiting a very expensive city), and for any less you can probably expect a dip in quality. $30 a night is a good starting point for the “going rate.”

I’ve stayed in chains that claim to be 4-star accommodation that had WiFi ONLY in the lounge, which often close between 10PM-12AM. Even in the lounge the signal was spotty, and after hours you are out of luck. These places fail to realize they are called INTERNATIONAL YOUTH HOSTELS for a reason. People are on different time zones, and young people who can afford to travel are frequently entrepreneurs who rely on the web to make money, so cutting off access at what might only be 4 PM according to someone’s biological clock is silly and offensive. In 2015, if you don’t have a strong WiFi signal on the entire premises you are not a 4-star joint by any stretch of the imagination.

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I hope this guide saves the aspiring backpacker all the night terrors I have been through the past few years!

10 Things Learned From A Month In Europe

Only a portion of travel is sightseeing, partying, or meeting charming women with cute accents that put North American women to absolute shame. You can never escape the commonalities of everyday life which make time go by in a flash, and if you don’t pay attention to your surroundings and experiences, they will pass you by and you won’t remember the most important thing – how you felt during the ride.

This is why I recommend every traveler keep a journal. That time spent on the train commuting from Germany to Poland should not be spent on Facebook or Candy Crush Saga, but on regrouping through deep reflection. Not only does it mean a clearer head during your next pit stop, but it will carry significance in the distant future when your memory begins to fade. And in the very end, writing is a means for your next of kin to remember your story by.

On the plane ride from Rome to Barcelona, I decided to take a step back and take notes on things I learned (or knew but had reinforced) during a month overseas.

1. Travel makes the world a very small place. You can travel to any spot on the globe in less than 24 hours, and many countries in less than the equivalent of one shift at work. This reminds us how insignificant our existence truly is on this tiny rock floating around among billions of universes. When we talk about what it means to be ´larger than life´ it is humbling to understand that is really not so large at all.

2. English is even more common than you might think. It was spoken throughout my travels, even on inter-European flights from Holland-Germany and Switzerland-Spain. Western Imperialism knows no bounds.

3. Flying is a much better experience in Europe than it is in the USA. WiFi is free at many airports, many airlines allow free checked bags, flights within the continent are dirt cheap (some under $50), and you get far better treatment on the plane. Even on short one hour flights, it’s not uncommon to get a drink, sandwich, and piece of chocolate (big ups to Swiss Air.) This really exposes the major US airlines for the greed machines they are, when you compare not even getting a snack on five hour coast to coast flight from New York-Los Angeles.

4. The more humans work a “job” (not to be confused with vocation), the more they hate their lives. ‘Employee cultures’ like London bring out the dread in people in the form of exhausted eyes and quick tempers. The old brick & mortar style of work, such as your typical 9-5 bank job, still dominate the workforce and entrepreneurship is scant. By contrast, there is a reason England´s Dutch and Scandinavian neighbors, known for their 30 hour work weeks and absence of the rat race, consistently poll as the happiest people on earth. There is a direct correlation.

5. The TSA is today’s greatest example of unchecked tyranny that is running rampant in my homeland. Besides shamelessly capitalizing on the threat of terrorism to collect endless revenue (the 9/11 security fee charged on every award travel ticket, for example) they also privately interrogate or perform cavity searches on their own citizens for little or no reason. Compare that to Italy, where airport security was a 4 minute total process from start to finish, where shoes and belts stay on and body scanners don’t exist.

6. There is prejudice everywhere. During a hostel dinner in Rome, I was called a “typical American” by an overzealous Australian guy who got offended over some obviously exaggerated jokes I told about the European economy. In Barcelona, a couple of Australian girls described their country as ¨misogynistic¨, then looked at me aghast and tried to pick a fight with me when I told them about the active war on masculinity in the USA. It was not a good week for Australia, and if you feel guilty the next time you make judgments based on stereotypes, give yourself a break. Anyone who denies being even a little xenophobic is a self-righteous clown.

7. Backpacking is a rapidly growing trend. It’s still largely a cult of young 20-somethings, heavily misunderstood by the Baby Boomers and all those who came before them. To them we are all a bunch of lazy hippies who haven´t come to know the ¨real world¨ yet, but this movement isn´t going anywhere anytime soon. It is not uncommon to meet Gen Y’ers on the road for seasons or even a year at a time, and they come from each and every corner of the world. Their backgrounds are different, but they are there looking for the exact same things – perspective, experience, and purpose. Hostels, which are both sociable and affordable, have made this possible. The trend will continue to grow as more and more youth reject the careful, security-based bill of goods they were sold from a very young age.

8. The worst part are the travel days. It´s a day wasted commuting, and the discomfort associated with long hours on planes, trains, and buses as well as long lines at airport security zap any energy you might have had in the previous city. It also has an emotional toll, especially on the solo traveler. When moving on to a new city, all of the friendly and familiar faces you just bonded with are suddenly a memory, many to never be seen or heard from again. The first night wandering town for your first meal in your new city is the somber crash after the high. Even if you didn’t like the prior city, you will come to see the good in it, because at least you weren’t a lone wolf in the wilderness as you are now, once again. But you adapt fairly quickly, rinse, and repeat. If you keep in touch with 10% of the people you met along the way, your time was well worth it.

9. Feminism is increasingly pervasive, but to a much lesser extent than what we are used to in North America depending on where you go. I now believe in the manosphere blueprint for traveling overseas to marry a traditional local girl and bringing her back with you. In Rome, I met a cute and ultra-feminine Argentinian girl who ultimately flaked, but was a pleasure to talk to the two nights she was around. In Barcelona, I danced at a local concert with a Czech girl who ate up my game, even though it was far from my best. These girls were the stuff of oneitis, as they had managed to evade the feminist virus into the prime of their lives. North American men must see it for themselves to believe these women still exist.

10. The United States of America with its 2.2 million prisoners and war on civil rights and liberties is far from the land of the free. Putting people in prison for personal choices like soft drug use or paid, consentual sex is a profitable industry in the USA. For true, unadulterated freedom one must see a city like Amsterdam, where victimless crime is an oxymoron that doesn´t logically follow. When the government leaves its people alone and the population is not overworked, you see as close to a functioning utopia as the human race is capable of.

Honorable mention; Beware of ¨lazy days.¨ With a month or more on the road, they are inevitable. They suck, and for one reason or another (a sore throat, hangover, homesickness) you´ll be turned off to things you enjoyed just the day before. The sound of a screaming mob of drunks in the hostel lobby will annoy the shit out of you, even though you were a part of the mob the night before. Snoring in the dorm will cause you to want to commit murder. My best advice is to try to be productive (if you can obtain 5 seconds of peace & quiet) and let it pass.

With that said, every man should embark on a journey of self discovery like this and come up with a ´Top 10´ list for himself. Bon voyage.

Europe Notes

London 7/27 – 8/2 – Past Accolades

As early as childhood, I wanted to go to England. As an American, it has always been fascinating to ponder where we came from – the country we fought a bloody war with to gain independence, only to become a mirror image of later.

The country of England is richly steeped in history, nobility, and architecture, and if you are visiting this country for sightseeing or historical insight, you will not be disappointed. There is so much to see and so much to do, you will never be able to see all the points of attraction during the length of an average trip.

There is a reason the castles, phone booths, and palaces are the stuff of wall decorations – they simply don’t make civilizations like this anymore. When you look up, you get the feeling great men built what is before your eyes. I have titled this sub-section “past accolades” because unfortunately I feel as though England is running on their past, and not much else. It is Western Europe’s version of New York City, and while New York City represents the crème of the crop of tourism in the USA, there’s a reason I moved out of there last spring.

London is even more expensive than NYC, something I thought I’d never say. It is not uncommon to pay the equivalent of $2-3 for a can of soda. The locals explained that rent (near the city center of London) can cost upwards of $2,000 a month for a studio apartment. The hostel I stayed in charged for everything  from breakfast, to towels to shampoo. I have now been to 20 states in the union and over a dozen countries, and have never seen this type of nickel and diming before.

Large areas of London are outright ghettos. The outskirts are sketchy at best, with litter, graffiti, and garbage everywhere. It seems surreal to stand across the street from the famous Houses of Parliament and see a trash can next to you overflowing out of the corner of your eye. Not unlike New York City, when you leave the comfort and awe of downtown it is not always a pretty picture. There are loud, agitated mobs of people always in a rush, and the ‘rat race’ is ever prevalent. England comes off as an ’employee culture’, where the old rules of work rule and entrepreneurs have an even longer shot to succeed.

The British people are cordial and have a neutral-positive view of Americans (though their contempt for the French is very transparent.) It seems that more than a few Brits in the countryside understand my sentiments expressed here, as I spoke to locals in Northampton (small village 60 miles north of London) who told stories of the “real England” in the old days. It appears those days are now a story of yesteryear, and are not coming back any time soon. To their credit, the countryside population were brimming with old-style hospitality.

The women were surprisingly polite, contrary to what I’d heard from other accounts. They will happily give you directions or recommend a place to go. Even those who are not interested will have a laugh and “play the game” for a minutes before going on their way. There are still beautiful girls in Western Europe despite the pervasive feminism there (probably more prevalent in the fat & ugly.) There is still a pinch of snobbishness in both men and women to support the stereotype of British arrogance, as I was confronted by an overzealous pedestrian being uber-territorial on two different occasions.

Unfortunately, the jet lag I experienced severely hampered my ability to enjoy this portion of the trip as I should have. (I will address this problem in my next book.) As someone who already adheres to a somewhat abnormal second-shift sleep schedule, the last thing I needed was to travel eastbound by 5 time-zones, making days shorter rather than longer. Waking up at 11:30 in Florida meant waking up at 4:30 pm in London, with most of the exhibits closing at 5:30 pm. Exhaustion played a part and tarnished (perhaps unfairly) my image of the city.

It’s going to take me a while to come to grips with the damage this trip did to my wallet. I must emphasize primarily this is not an ideal destination for the solo budget traveler!

BEST PART: Sights

WORST PART: Price

VISIT AGAIN: Maybe in the distant future

Amsterdam 8/2 – 8/8 – Utopia

The Netherlands in a country notorious (along with its Scandinavian neighbors) for being one of the happiest places on earth, and while I didn’t see a bunch of people galloping around with cult-like smiles on their faces, I do think this is about the best humanity can do in the world we live in, in terms of equilibrium and peace. The worst thing I saw in 6 days in Amsterdam was a cyclist curse at a driver for cutting him off (and he was probably a tourist.)

The streets are filled with people riding bikes, most people are bilingual, there is healthy diversity of ethnicities, and there is an enormous emphasis placed on personal freedom. Not the kind of freedom the United States of America parades on bumper stickers while it slowly drifts toward fascism, but a true freedom where the government leaves its people alone.

Personal choices like the free exercise of soft drugs has created a mellowed out society where people do not have to run, hide, or kill within a black market just to satisfy the common impulse to alter consciousness. Holland is a great debunker of the myth that THC is a gateway drug, as hard drugs are strictly illegal here, and are a very small problem. Prostitution is legal, making it easy for men to get laid and for women to make a great living. This is also a great revenue generator for the city and popular tourist attraction. Absolute freedom means many Dutch prisons are currently closing because there are not enough people in them.

Sightseeing is a nice experience due to the architecture and famous canals, but outside the city center/Red Light District of Amsterdam the list of things to do is scant. Venture out into the countryside and you’re likely to see nothing but windmills.

The women are friendly and really tall.

On a positive note, I had a great hostel experience at ‘WOW Amsterdam’ which made the trip quite a bit better. Accommodation (or lack thereof) can make or break a trip.

In a world without family I’d consider living here for part of the year. The caveat is I would have to travel even more frequently and just use it as a home base, because within a utopia it is easy to find stagnancy. It is against human nature to do the exact same thing all day, every day and expect not to feel a void. The Netherlands are no different, and that’s why there are a few Dutch people (3 or 4) who come off as unpleasant as its not a particularly “exciting” place to be.

BEST PART: Lifestyle

WORST PART: Things to do

VISIT AGAIN: Yes

Rome 8/8 – 8/14Ancient

Besides Athens, there will be no other city quite like Rome. From the Colosseum to the Vatican, there is no better spot for old-fashioned tourism. Standing in these structures is akin to having an out-of-body experience.

If you can manage to put your smartphone away for a few minutes (after snapping some great pictures of course) and just breathe in the air, you will almost be able to travel back in time and see lions and roaring crowds. In the case of the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel may in fact change your life. There are thousands of stories to be interpreted any which way you perceive them, and this applies to more than just Catholics. They take the rules very seriously there and do not allow any speaking, pictures, or revealing clothing.

Italy in general is a country that has not adapted, nor does it seem to have any desire to. Walking through the small village of Zagarolo over 60 km from Rome, you get a taste of exactly what small villages looked like in Italy a hundred years ago. They haven’t changed a bit. They speak only Italian and eat pasta, pizza, and bologna. They are not integrated or inclusive. The men wear wife beaters and the women speak in loud, exaggerated accents. Take this lack of an evolution for what you wish – it has its positives and negatives.

The costs of travel are reasonable. It cost only 12 to get into the Colosseum and 12 with my trusty student ID to get into the Vatican (20 for everyone else.), whereas secondary attractions in London cost about twice as much. The groceries were very cheap, if not too appealing to Americans (I can only eat sauce and high-calorie carbs so much before feeling like a fat ass.) The seats on the trains are more comfortable than airplane seats in the USA.

Pickpocketing is a huge problem here, as are annoying beggars and aggressive salesmen everywhere you go. They are not shy about getting right in your space, and reacting in a loud fashion if they do not get their way. As the descendant of Italian Americans, I can speak to the absence of civility, and caution any travelers about how much of a culture shock this can be.

At the train station, scam artists come up to the machines and forcibly offer to “help”  you buy your ticket, then demand money after it prints. At tourist hot spots, salesmen pounce on you like vultures and follow you until you have said no at least 4 times.

Italian women are not friendly to tourists. This part of the trip is making Barcelona look really good right about now.

BEST PART: History

WORST PART: Beggars/Scammers

VISIT AGAIN: Probably not

BARCELONA 8/14 – 8/20 – Wild

Barcelona is an amazing city. In the same way I liked Amsterdam for it’s relaxed atmosphere and utopian feeling, I liked Barcelona for all the opposite reasons. Barcelona is not a utopia, but a free for all.

“Barca” (as the soccer fans call it) is among the most lively of party cities I’ve ever seen. I have drank in places like New York City and Los Angeles, and even those famous hotspots did not compare to a few nights spent out in Spain’s fiesta capitol. One night in particular a few of us hit up a club called “Opium”, which is literally on the beach. When I say there had to be 700 people there on a Sunday night, I am not exaggerating. We happened to be in Barcelona at the right time of year, during a yearly festival that is not taken lightly.

When not clubbing, we barely had to leave the hostel to find great nightlife. You could find us walking around the neighborhood of “Gracia” with small concerts on every corner. One night, I met a tall and charming Czech girl who liked my dumb jokes so much she actually uttered the words “I like you.” (This was very strange for me, as an American girl born only a few miles from me in Staten Island actually uttered the words “I don’t like you” unprovoked only a night earlier! Credit them both for their blunt honesty, and behold the difference in attitudes between Eastern Europe and “Jersey Shore.”) We then danced, and as I twirled her in her modest yellow dress, I made a promise to myself to visit the Czech Republic on my next trip overseas. (Lena, I would have married you if you’d have stayed out a bit later…)

The renowned architecture of Spain is based largely on the work of one man, Antoni Gaudi. For the best example of his style, the Sagrada Familia is a unique structure like no other you’ve seen before.

I also got the chance to get to a soccer game, where Barcelona somehow lost in a 1-1 tie (very different than North America where Winning % means more than total goals scored.) The atmosphere was really exciting, but it was hard to tell from the nosebleed seats. These were last minute tickets, but even the train to the stadium was buzzing largely thanks to our group.

It is impossible to assess the Spanish women overall because Barcelona was overrun with tourists. For a better sample, I might have been better off hitting Madrid or Valencia.

Lastly, for all the 2nd amendment advocates in the USA afraid their government is coming tomorrow, you should have a look at places like Barcelona and Paris (where I’ve been diverted to on my way home, and where I write this section from.) Not only are the police out in full force, but the military occupies the street (in Barcelona) and the airport (in Paris.) Men in camo gear armed with fully-automatic weaponry walk around grilling people and it appears to be business as usual. The right-wing gun lovers in the USA would have a heart attack if what I saw this week ever came to America, and I can understand the sentiment. It is intimidation of average citizens under the guise of “security.”

BEST PART: Nightlife

WORST PART: Tourists vastly outnumbering natives

VISIT AGAIN: Yes