Questions are in! And wow, they’re…colourful. Half of you want serious help. The other half need serious help.
Just kidding. I’ll post responses weekly, and if you don’t see your question here, hang tight. Every one will go up eventually.
I’m in my first year of university for writing. The program is four years long, and I’ve been thinking of ways to stay in school and travel. Studying abroad came to mind, but I want to find something that focuses on writing. I don’t want to shell out a lot of money just to take some general English classes in another country. The fourth year of the programs is an internship. This can be anything writing relating, and could be done anywhere. I could get an internship/job in another country, But I don’t know if I can wait for another three years. I’m afraid if I think about this too much I’ll start to go over the “what-ifs” and I’ll wimp out. What should I do?
Oh man, do I ever understand this pickle. I’ve been broke my entire life and dreaming of travel since I was a kid, yet could never make it happen. I didn’t want to wait until after my education to save money and travel. I was 21 before I even left my province, to study in England for 6 weeks. I took out a student line of credit to help me out, and although I’m still paying it off, I don’t regret it for even a second.
GO NOW. Go now before you pop out a baby or lose your nerve or fall down a flight of stairs and permanently disable yourself. Morbid, right? It could happen.
I don’t know your university, but the brilliant thing about being a student is you can prolong the real world as long as possible and there’s nobody in a better position to travel than you. You owe the world nothing, exploit those student resources for all they’re worth.
I would arrange a date with a student counsellor and ask about your options. Chances are you can do an exchange, attend a university somewhere and attend classes that will SOMEHOW give you credit. There’s a loophole in everything, trust me, and almost every university I know supports exchanges and study abroad programs. Why? Because foreigners pay ridiculously high tuition fees to study in Canada, so it only makes sense to reciprocate and exchange goods (i.e. students). You just have to work for it. Hell, just do it for one semester and if you end up with a few extra credits you don’t need, who cares.
It’s a learning experience, and the time you spend abroad will boost your writing career like whoa. Come back to Canada all armed with amazing stories and write the hell out of them. THEN go abroad again in your fourth year for the internship, why not? Do it do it do it!
How do you suggest I start conversations with strangers while travelling alone?
You’re in luck, because being the incredibly awkward person that I am, I’m fortunate enough to still be able to make friends on the road. I call this the Lonely Desperate Person approach: nobody’s really off limits, but some people are easier to get to know than others.
Aim for the smaller groups. Chances aren’t you won’t be able to weasel your way into a tight-knit group of 13 travellers, unless you’re female and they’re all hormonal, drunken males. Some of the coolest travel folks you’ll ever meet? Couples. Not the ones making out in the corner, the ones being friendly and open. This may seem unlikely, but they might be starting to get sick of each other and could use some additional company.
Stay in hostels, or Couchsurf. Get over your fears and stop thinking everyone is out to get you. Do your research beforehand, and you’ll be just fine. Don’t be naive.
The best piece of advice I can give, however, is smile. It is outstanding how smiles change everything. I have a tendency to scowl sometimes when I’m in public, I can’t help it. I’m lost in my own little world and you could be screaming my name from across the street and I’ll just keep walking. You know what’s better? Walk with your head upright, relax your tensed-up face, and smile. Don’t be a maniac and grin like someone who has a dirty secret, simply be approachable. Then people will come to you, and you won’t have to do a damned thing.
What’s the sixteenth-fastest land animal?
According to this undeniably legitimate and trustworthy Homework Spot website, the 16th fastest land animal in the world is a domestic rabbit, tied with jackal and mule deer. This is confirmed by the fact that the rabbits’ foremost predators, the fox and coyote, are directly above the rabbit in the list. Ever hear a dying rabbit scream? It’s enough to make you a vegetarian.
Want to submit your own questions? Just use the form in the right-hand column! Nothing is out of bounds. Except nude photos.