Are you up for a bit of adventure?

There's more to travel than just getting on and off a plane!

Why not try something a bit different?

A year ago in Issue 007 I listed several unusual modes of travel. Many of you enjoyed that feature and wrote back with a few suggestions of your own - so I've put together a sequel: Unusual Modes of Travel II. Lets see how many we can come up with this time!


Women on the Road News: Contents for Issue #17

  • Unusual Modes of Travel II
  • What's New on the Website
  • Travel News from Across the Web
  • Cause of the Month: The Invisible War


More Unusual Modes of Travel

There are plenty of unusual modes of transport - something beyond the plane, train and bus. Next time you decide to hit the road, why not try something a little different?

1. Travel by bicycle
I'm more the type who pushes a bicycle uphill but there are few places you can't go with one, especially if you like getting up close and personal with people. It's best to stay away from main roads because however visible and padded you are, it simply isn't safe. But there are plenty of places where a bicycle is the best way to visit and paths have become a high art form - Switzerland and northern Europe are good examples. If you're up to seeing the world on two wheels, try reading Dervla Murphy's Full Tilt about her trip from Ireland to India, or Miles from Nowhere, by Barbara Savage. And if this is your kind of travel, you can make friends on the International Bicycle Travel Forum.

2. Travel by camper van
The Hippie Trail of the 1960-1970s saw hundreds of converted Volkswagen vans, Bedford vans or rickety buses heading East to Asia, filled with light-headed hippies trying to find themselves, understand the world or simply rebel and opt out for a while. The counter-culture is over but the 'magic East' still beckons. Even today travelers are adapting campervans and heading to India and beyond. Who knows - maybe someday the overland trail through Afghanistan, Iran and Burma will again play host to a parade of young seekers.

3. Travel by cruise ship
The only cruise I've ever been on was across the Atlantic with my parents when I was a child. It's not my thing but many people rave about this type of travel, especially these days when prices have never been lower. So if luxury shipboard travel is your thing, you can easily travel the Caribbean or Mediterranean or up to Alaska in this manner

4. Travel by ferry
Anywhere there are islands this is a common - and usually cheap - form of transport. You can cruise the Greek Islands this way, for example, or travel the breadth of Indonesia or to Singapore or Malaysia. Beware, though, some ferries in poorer countries are rustbuckets and accidents do happen so check out the vessel before you step on board.

5. Travel by freighter
This is not as cheap as it used to be but is still a good deal, especially on the longer journeys. Imagine a cruise - but stripped of the luxuries, docking longer in port, and not herding you through interminable excursions and shopping sprees. Their real attraction is that they go absolutely everywhere there's a port - no route is too offbeat. For a good overview of life as a freighter passenger have a look at GoNomad's freighter mini-guide.

6. Travel by motorcycle
You'd be surprised how many women travel long distance in this way. Many of them write about it, like Carla King (author of Under the Radar about her solo trip to China) or Beth Whitman (who rode solo from Seattle to Panama). I too have a motorcycle dream - to ride the Karakoram Highway... someday... Meantime if you'd like to share your motorcycle passions, try The Hubb!

7. Travel by river barge
River barge can mean a lot of things... taking a riverboat down the Brazilian Amazon, or a quick float on the canals of France (there's one right near my house) or the rivers of Thailand. These go from utter luxury to cramped and crowded - but if you're not a high seas person, you can still get to sail but mostly stay within sight of the shore.

And then there's travel by horseback, horse cart, mule, train, river barge, scooter, ski, yacht...


What's New This Month on Women on the Road, the Website

Slum Tourism
Visiting slums and poor areas have been around for a long time but have been made increasingly popular by movies like Slumdog Millionaire.

Susie of Arabia
A rare view into life as a foreign woman in Saudi Arabia.

Ghost Tourism
An increasingly popular form of travel, if you're partial to chills and thrills.

Travel Guidebook Reviews
A brief look at the most popular guidebook series - and at which one you should take with you.

International Travel Nursing
If you're a professional nurse, finding a job overseas will be easier for you than for many other professions.


Travel News From Across the Web

The World's Happiest Countries

Hotels Where Foreign Correspondents Stay

How to Survive Dangerous Border Crossings

World's Top 10 Ferry Rides

Top 10 Interesting Abandoned Places

10 Global Anniversaries in 2009

Top 10 Parks Around the World

New Travel Vocabulary

Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2009 - if you like the nuts and bolts of the travel industry

For art lovers...

A Traveler's 10 Best Musical Discoveries

Prado Museum Online

...and food lovers

Multicultural Snacking in Malaysia

BBQ Around the World

Cheap Eats in Japan

11 Common Foods that Relieve Illness on the Road

10 Best Countries for Vegetarian Travel

Destination Travel

Britain Doesn't Have to Be Expensive

America's Top 10 Tourist Attractions


Cause of the Month: Congo - The Invisible War

After a decade of fighting and millions dead, this war continues unabated. No one really talks or writes about it, yet it has killed more than 5 million people. Compare that with 500,000 in Darfur.

The war officially ended in 2003, and this may be why reporting on it is so thin. The war may be over but the fighting continues.

Certain provinces are still fighting, and there is ethnic violence between Hutu and Tutsi groups. Most of the fighting is by militia groups, with rape as a weapon of war commonly used, including gang rape.

Because it goes far beyond its own borders - it's involved nine countries in some way - this is the major war in Africa.

Read more about this Invisible War here:
International Crisis Group
Relief Web
DRC War Returns

And lets not forget...

March 10 was the 50th anniversary of Tibet's uprising and the Chinese reaction that followed. For more on that event, try the following links:
Free Tibet
Save Tibet


Next Month?

Wonderful gadgets for wonderful backpackers! Find out what's new, what's fun and what's feasible to take with you.


Don't Miss Out!

Please forward this newsletter to your friends. As always, it's published on the first Tuesday of every month. And if you don't want to miss anything new on Women on the Road, please subscribe to my RSS feed - that stands for Really Simple Syndication - and it really is.

Just visit my blog, and use the orange RSS/XML buttons in the left-hand column to add the feed to your feed reader. Or, copy and paste this link into your feed reader (http://www.women-on-the-road.com/Backpacking.xml).

Happy travels! Leyla