Do you ‘like” my style of Independent travel to Sepilok?

by The Longest Way Home ~ October 3rd, 2011. Published in: Travel blog » Sabah (Malaysian Borneo).
Packing up a shop in Malaysia

Time to pack up, all the independent travelers have gone on a tour to the restaurant

The horror of of actually reading something about independent travel in Sabah

400 ringgit (USD$125) for a day trip to see Orangutans?! I shuddered while turning more pages in the hostel’s well-worn photo album style brochure. The cheapest thing they had was a 190 ringgit river boat cruise. Also known as, “lots of water, with nothing to see”.

I looked over at the common area to see a gaggle of long thin legs stretched out in front of a TV set. No one cared.

“What has become of backpacking and travel?”

Lazy rich backpackers taking the easy option?

Even in my guide-book or online there was plenty about how to get to Sepilok rehabilitation center to see Orangutans in Sabah without a tour. A local bus for example goes right by the place. Yet, over a free breakfast they were all talking about the expensive tours … Why were these people paying so much? I didn’t, and don’t, get it?!

I asked the receptionist where the local bus stop was. She looked up from the TV with glazed eyes and mentioned something about it being down the road. Then she pushed the brochure at me again.  The words were a struggle for her to speak as I continued to ask about a local bus. Anything from then on was met with shrugs. So be it.

How to get to Sepilok? You can only take a tour, there is no other way to do it …

I was up at 6.30am. Self service breakfast at the hostel meant I was dining alone, and due to a need for more than a single slice of air filled bread to eat, a recollection of the street stalls outside moved me in that direction. Thankfully the local lady vendor, without a hint of English, was able to provide me with better instructions to the local bus stop than the hostel girl.

The bus station was still empty at 8am. A few travelers wandered in and out. But, mainly it was locals. The bus passing Sepilok was also empty as I boarded. Either I was wrong about all this, or this was Asian timing at it’s best.

Taking the local bus to Sepilok

At 8.30am a nice driver entered the bus with a small bag of sweets. He handed me some and nodded knowingly as a few more travelers showed up. By 9am we were full, just like that. The journey was about 1 hour and cost a whopping great 4 ringgit. What’s more the bus dropped us off directly inside the orangutan rehabilitation center with a promise to be back at 4pm.

Tour bus driver in Malaysia

Tour bus to Sepilok = 400 + ringgit, local bus = 9 ringgit + 60 entrance: Let's do the math there ...

“Tell me I am wrong here, or was this all too easy?”

Cost of getting into Sepilok, and a first encounter

The Sepilok rehabilitation center charged sixty ringgit as an entrance fee, plus ten for a camera which I was half tempted to hide. I have a hatred of “extra charges”.  But there was something more important at stake.

Get away from the crowds … fast

I walked swiftly, narrowly avoiding the mass of tourists that were emerging from huge tour buses now streaming  into Sepiloks parking lot.

A long walkway promised a great jungle view. Maybe it’s Africa that has tainted me a little with all these promises of great jungle views. So far, it was all too neat and tidy for my liking.

I immediately dropped all expectations of this being a great experience. Bar, for a glimmer of hope that one should always carry in your back pocket when traveling.

No one else seemed too rushed … and with that I was back looking at the “group” tourists marching in flag raised unison down the walkway.

Old school independent travel vs today in Sabah

I understand perfectly if someone has a 9-5 job back home, and only one week to travel. Booking tours is a valuable option if you want to maximize your time and see nearly everything.

What I don’t understand is what’s happened to “the backpacker” or people doing year long RTW travel trips? Hostels I’ve come across so far in Sabah are filled with tour offices. Group bookings. And, “Hostel name, tour to here” offers.

And everyone has a choice to take them, or not as the case may be.

Guide books in hand, backpackers in Sabah happily mention that they just “scored a cheap room with … free breakfast.” . Then, it’s straight over to a price inflated bar. Before finally settling in front of cable TV or laptop. These were the same ones with no qualms about booking these expensive tours at the same hostels tour desk.

Are they even asking around the tours agencies outside? Why are they even carrying guide books with exact that tell them they can get their for 4 ringgit? The answer seemed to starting at me each evening.

I see more people in hostels staring into the blue hue of Facebook than actually talking to the new people around them about their experiences

Maybe it’s easier to simply “like” what a friend across the planet said than start an independent thought about what they are going here in the first place.

Are these the dying days of independent travel?

Yes, I have a lot of days when the prospect of haggling, going in the wrong direction, linguistic headbanging  and sweating more than one naturally should makes me think of taking a tour. And, I’ve done just that. But, the result just isn’t the same.

Save for the rare occurrence of meeting someone interesting on a bus, full of people from your own part of the world, it’s all rather non-memorable. Again,yes, once in a while you might be blessed with a great group. And, that can be good. But, perhaps not every time. And, that is not my point in all this.

Is independent travel to rough these days?

Is independent travel to rough these days?

My point is simply why are these backpackers staying in cheap accommodation, eating out of supermarket shelves, avoiding laundry charges and then blowing all that saving away on expensive tours when there’s a local bus just outside?

Does this breed of “independent traveler”  slash” backpacker” not have an interest in challenge. Is that it?

For me, at least, it’s that sense of challenge that one conquers with independent travel that makes it such a gold mine of  adrenaline.

Yes, adrenaline rush. Isn’t that what 18-25 year old’s like? I seem to remember this … heck I still do source out as much adrenaline as I can!

It makes me feel alive. Very much alive. And as I get older, this becomes harder to find. And as such, so much more valuable to achieve.

I choose to travel not because it is easy, I choose to travel for the challenge; and the rewards that await in taking such a journey

Was independent travel a generational thing then?

I for one am thankful to still meet the odd true independent traveler these days. They are usually middle aged solo travelers with time, or couples taking career breaks.

There is of course the odd rich kid buying their way around the world of “independent travel” too. But they usually end up talking the ears off of those not so independent backpackers. They’re usually the only ones that will “listen”.

These are the same “independent” backpackers that make complaints that the floor is dirty. A fly landed on their meal. The beer is not cold enough. And, worse than anything I’ve heard in a long time … there’s nothing on TV today …

Rich kids, the “social generation” or just South East Asia?

A lot of these “travelers” are young. 18 -25. I can’t imagine they would want to spend more than they should at this age. So, I am hazarding a guess here and thinking they are “trust fund” kids aka people with rich parents. Well … were rich parents before sending their kids off on the “life changing experience” of travel.

Either that or my time away from the backpacking route meant I’ve missed out on the dawning of the “social ‘travel‘ network” whereby people prefer to Facebook their friends back home, than make new ones when traveling?

Or, is this just a phenomenon in South East Asia, renown for being a “beginners paradise for travel”?

I for one am checking out of  the “hostel”  style of travel in Sabah, and moving into guesthouses. They are the same price, don’t have the ” a tour is the only way to get there” mentality.

And, … well … a nice balcony with a book is a lot better company than a room full of “backpackers” with the bluish hue of Facebook reflecting off their pale shiny foreheads.

I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong in all this. I just know what path I prefer to travel on.

Coming Soon

First encounter with a mother and baby orangutan

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46 Great responses to Do you ‘like” my style of Independent travel to Sepilok?

  1. Amy Hunt says:

    I think what you are witnessing is not just something happening in travel. But in society as a whole. The social network you write of happens in the work place too. I’ve seen colleagues with heads down looking at their phones instead of talking to others around them during breaks.

    Good post, enjoyed the read.

  2. Steph says:

    Oh goodness. I like your posts usually Dave but I had to roll my eyes at this one. I just really resent posts like these that complain about the way certain people travel as if there’s only one correct way to see the world.

    I mean yes, I agree that it’s silly to pay a huge amount for a tour when you can do it yourself for pennies. It is kind of curious how lazy people can be when they don’t have things easily laid out for them.

    But to say that this is the end of independent travel or to make blanket statements about a whole generation of people is over the top. I may still be a twenty-something myself but I’m fairly sure that there have been lazy travelers for as long as there have been travelers- otherwise these tours wouldn’t exist. If I had to guess I would say the trend isn’t that travelers are less independent, it’s just that there are MORE people traveling now.

    I’m a constant traveler like yourself and I meet tons of people, all the time. Young people doing interesting and different things. Young people who would be more than willing to take the cheap bus. Somehow their need to check facebook doesn’t actually interfere with this. But personally I don’t care if people take the expensive tour because it’s not my money or my trip experience and I believe very firmly, that there is no right or wrong way to travel.

    • Hi Steph,

      It’s a personal journal, and we all have different view points on how we like to see the world. Expressing them, at least here, is something I do.

      I don’t think I’ve stated that it’s the end of independent travel. I’ve certainly asked the question, and indeed questioned my own reasoning of today’s definition of it.

      Yes, there may be more travelers out there today, but given the economic recessional times we live in, do you think they are all well to do financially? When majorities are facing food coupons, I’m just wondering about the economic status of today’s “backpacker” or traveler. The worlds population has grown too. So there’s an interesting ratio building up out there.

      But yes, like yourself I don’t mind if people take expensive tours over independent methods. But, I do find it a little strange that many of these same travelers eat out of supermarkets shelves, bargain like heck to get a cheap room and then spend everything on a said expensive tour while there’s an much more economical way to get to a place.

      A right or wrong way to travel? Well, Sepilok has had to consider reducing numbers of tourists into the rehabilitation center due to excessive visitors and the effect they have on the inhabitants there. The interesting point is, they need the cash from the tourists to keep running. And … the tour groups can pay a lot more.

      This is a growing trend globally. “The have to take a tour” to get into a place option essentially cuts out many people from traveling. But, at the same time makes things “easier” to organize, and charge for. Something I find quite worrying as an independent traveler. I’m not sure if many other people see this though, or would agree?

      As, like you stated, many people hold up the card of “there’s no right or wrong way to travel”. While this is a nice notion, I think there’s practical evidence on both sides to suggest there are side effects to all types of travel. And if one blocks out another, then there’s clearly something at fault.

  3. paul nunan says:

    travellling used to be about arriving learning the local language and pestering people for information about the cheapest way to get things done outside of the tourist orientated places….and we had good days and bad days and sat around at night and shared our experiences..these days people come thinking thet know it all from internet researsh and have a friend with them ,,,their laptop….but the good old travellers are still out there mixing with the locals and making travelling still the ultimate education…love your it alot..and travel for 3 months every year….looking as always for that place that still hasnt been ruined…this year el nido and mae hong song were my favourites…next year …bring it on

    • I’ve seen and heard the “know it all” traveler type. The one who google’s a place, memorizes quotes, and then spews the info out.

      I remember a guy like that in India … still … at least it was conversation.

      Glad you enjoyed El Nido, hopefully it will continue on as a somewhat hidden destination!

  4. Mark says:

    I am staring at a “sea of laptop screens” in a hostel now. iPads, iPhones make up the rest.

    • palawan martin says:

      including your own screen too, Mark ?

      computers are so useful to post messages, chatting with family and research future travel plans though, i find

      • Mark says:

        Yes, Martin I wrote this from my laptop. It’s easy these days to come back from a day trip and log in, check email etc. But what my girlfriend and I are seeing is that very few of our fellow travelers are looking from the screens to talk to the people around them. That’s all.

  5. palawan martin says:

    I find it funny when you look down on what you call “backpackers’, when really you are a stereotypical one yourself, albeit a long term one. You usually stay in “backpackers hostels”, isn’t that a bit of a giveaway ?

    I have looked at some definitions of this word

    1. urbandictionary – Person who “dislikes Mainstream and who raps about real life shit that matters” , hmmmmmm maybe

    2. wikipedia – a sense of authenticity. more than a vacation, a means of education, want to experience the “real” destination rather than the packaged version often associated with mass tourism, an anti-tourist – yes definitely

    “LongestWayHome” implies that you are travelling long term and one day you will return home. It does not imply that you are looking for a home where you can settle down.

    Most travellers who are not rich are thrifty and want to save money , you and I included ! You are very thrifty and give good money saving tips.

    • Very good points.

      However, how long have I been doing this? Well, a while. And, as such one develops and moves on from old ways as one finds new needs.

      At the same time society as a whole does the same thing, and everything must be met in such a regard.

      I’m actually quite selective of where I stay. Both on a security, cleanliness, and in regards to who else is staying there. At the moment, it’s guest houses all the way.

      But yes, I am as thrifty as they come. And it will continue on that way.

      As for the definition of “backpacker”, people have been ebbing over that for a long one. Generally I refer to them as “designer backpackers” On can have creative expression then.

      As for “longestwayhome” I’m guessing it can have many meanings to many people. For me it’s a summary title of a Long Journey to Home that encapsulates many other things – the who, how and why for example.

      • palawan martin says:

        I think i understand what you are calling “designer backpackers”. there is already a term for what you are describing, it is “flashpackers”. Maybe i am one, albeit a thrifty one, like you. Their places tend to be a little pricey, but not always.

        Flashpackers are breeding a new form of hostel, when you were in Penang, maybe you saw Ryokan, that is a quintessential flashpacker place. Designer furniture, lots of gadgets, yes, your idea of hell, i know, but ……. live and live eh ?

        They are spreading throughout Asia !

        I am glad you like f.lux pink hue glow, i love it !

  6. palawan martin says:

    Dave, How to avoid the “backpacker” blue hue laptop at night, and the associated night eye strain ?

    There is a great program called “f.lux”, it changes your screen colour depending on the time of day

    Then all your fellow backpackers will look warm, pink and cuddly again

    • Martin, My laptop has a backlit keyboard, and adjusts it’s brightness – so no eye strain.

      Not sure about the “Backpacker” groups, not sure if I want to see them in a cuddly light either ha ha.

      But, I think that program could help out a lot of people, thanks for sharing!

  7. Denise says:

    I usually love your posts but I can’t stand this one! Your way of travelling is not the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of travelling. I couldn’t care less about travelling the world for adrenalin or challenges. I do it because it makes me happy and brings me pleasure. Riding in a hot sticky bus does the opposite of that, as is joining all inclusive tours (I’m somewhere in the middle). And no, I don’t NEED to make new friends while travelling. I have plenty already with whom I have very strong and meaningful relationships which I’m keen on keeping with facebook, which is a godsent for anyone travelling abroad who wants to keep in touch with loved ones. And what’s wrong with spending money, even if you think things are ‘overpriced’ in developing countries where people generally cannot even start to compare their quality of life (for one thing they can’t travel) with that of Westernised countries. Shouldn’t they also seek all the commodities (probably the biggest one being travelling itself) as we in the west?
    Once again, this is simply another annoying post about the ‘I am a traveller not a tourist’ issue. I say as long as one is happy with his way of travelling, he is not harming animals or humans and his money is benefiting the local economy then why not????

    • Denise,

      Did I say my way of traveling was the right way?

      My point, is why would someone take stringent budgetary considerations and then through it all away and take expensive tours?

      Sure, Facebook is a great way of communicating with folks back home. Least we not forget that 10 years ago there was no Facebook. So, you see my point, it has had an influence on the Social “travel” network.

      As to not harming animals or humans, well to every ying there is a yang as you can read in my reply to Steph above. Unfortunately with many big tour groups, access to many places is becoming more restrictive.

      I think you do bring up some stellar points however. One’s I’ll have to bring to light in a later post. There’s a void missing it would seem in long-term travel away from a base camp. Kinda like a constant culture shock, as one has no roots.

    • Claudia says:

      I don`t think Dave`s was a “I am a traveller not a tourist” post, it was a “why is everybody trying to pose as travellers when they`re actually acting as tourists???” one.

  8. regina says:

    I could have written this post! I wouldn’t have meant it in a judgemental way, just a sense of wonder, that the flocks of backpackers populating the tourist trails seem to enjoy a type of travel that mostly makes me want to shudder! The bright side- niche conservation for old-school travellers………..

  9. Big Bule says:

    There is place for everyone in the travel scene. It is interesting and positive that the hostels and guest-houses are infested with superficial travellers. It only means that travelling is more global and common. Which is essentially a positive thing.

    The old school backpacker tourists who explored things and always survived on a budget of course have not died, they simply have been outnumbered by more casual tourists who enjoy the backpacking lifestyle with bigger budgets and less concern for what they spend the money and how they spend it. It’s a good critical mass for cultural mix worldwide.

    • “It only means that travelling is more global and common” That’s a vital element. It really is. I only hope these “superficial travellers” learn something when they are away, and then bring it home.

      Best case I’ve heard is an Australian actor who sent his son away for a year, with only $500. Told him to come back with in year with $1000. I am quite sure his son learn a lot in that year.

  10. May Ann A. says:

    Taking the easy way doesn’t exactly mean it’s lazy, neither does it make a person automatically rich. However, I do agree with some of the things you mentioned. As long as a person is not harming the environment they go to and respect everything they come across, there is no right or wrong way of traveling. Whatever floats your boat, eh?! ;-)

  11. bernie says:

    Hi Dave.. hows it going? yeah your dead right there! I saw that sort of thing when we were in Thailand! every time went on the computer at the guesthouse to check emails it was all facebook every time! lol yeah its good to take the local bus or train! every time! lol and even better to do that than take a over priced tu-tuk! all the best. hope you feeling alot better now? bernie

    • Hi Bernie, good to hear from you! Ha, had to laugh at your comment. I think Facebook is the homepage of 90% of travelers these days. Scary times.

      I think I only every once took a tuk tuk in Thailand, and that was with a local paying. There are a couple of bus routes in Bangkok which circle most of the town. 52 I think goes from the 1st river taxi area to Kao San all the way to the train station. Couldn’t ask for a better route really.

      Back to the doc’s tomorrow … let’s see.

  12. denise says:

    I am not surprised that someone would take expensive tours. I’m baflled by all those backpackers who say they are on a shoe string, save on everything, but then spend what they save on drinks night in night out

  13. Heather says:

    I can see where you are coming from, there have been moments when I’m traveling and notice everyone using some kind of electronic device. It gives me this sickening feeling that we’re missing out on something better. But then I catch myself doing it and find myself having an internal discussion on the value of getting to share my travels live to my friends and family wherever they may be, not to mention I think (at least hope) its fun for them to be a part of it when its all happening. Something to be aware of and keep in check but maybe it’d be smart to strike up a conversation or invite them to travel independently, maybe they aren’t as comfortable to go it alone but with you maybe they are. Thats happened to me as well.

    • Good points Heather. I think people are gaining and losing from being connected online 24.7 when traveling.

      They’re certainly gaining in sharing their experiences with others. And, in getting access to information. But I think they are losing out on learning about the real people that living in many places.

      Then again, maybe that’s the sort of travel they like. Taking a dip in the sea rather than a swim.

  14. Michael says:

    To me it seems, that it’s not so much about the behavior of those “modern travelers”, rather than their obvious ignorance towards the environment they are in while on the road.
    Those people seem to have a “life time opportunity” and instead of going out there they rather spend their time online and choose the easiest way around the place without having a glimpse behind the curtains, unraveling the secrets of a local community or place.
    So far I’m with you Dave.

    I’m down here in New Zealand and this country is full of travelers who don’t give a damn about anything. At least that’s what it seems.

    In fact, they are just having “different” goals, interests and ways of traveling even if they look like a backpacker at first (And if we are picky, everybody with a backpack is a backpacker).
    I’m 25, Dave but I’m old fashioned when it comes to traveling. I also like the hard way, but that’s just me and very often I can find enough “flashpackers” that I thought they were shallow but in fact made more adventurous or deeper things than I’ve ever done, regardless of their style of traveling. They had the right outcome at the end of the day.

    Maybe the term “independence” has changed. Whenever you are striving for more freedom, it means you want to free yourself from something.
    Maybe those people want to be independent from responsibility. Wouldn’t that make their decisions more understandable?

    • I’ve seen this “ignorance towards the environment too”. It saddens me. Not for seeing them as “backpackers” but from seeing people come from a society that’s created this.

      One of the interesting aspects that all this has raised, and in particular hearing your own thoughts is the fact that society changes, and we don’t always move with it. Nor should we.

      What we like or do won’t suit others and vice verse. It does seem that the old school of independent travel is out numbered as someone else wrote. I just wonder if it will be cast out altogether as being out of date? Or, remembered and regarded with a sense of achievement?

      At the moment, I don’t see the former.

      Interesting well thought out points Michael, thanks for making them known here.

  15. Ivy says:

    I’m glad to read that there is a rehabilitation center for orangutans in Sabah. As for me the most interesting part of traveling would be animals and how they manage in other countries.

  16. Claudia says:

    Hi Dave! I totally, I mean, TOTALLY agree with all you`ve said. I`ve seen them too, the “sedentary travellers” (at the moment I`m in Australia, which is a TV room and beer garden mushrooms paradise). Personally I think most of the people involved in the “easy-way-out-tourism”, both backpackers and staff, actually couldn`t care less about other cultures or about exchanging.
    Of course, everybody has the right to travel as they like, but if you go half way around the world to stay among your countrymen only and to do exactly the same things you`d do at home, the only thing that pops in mind is that you have to much money to spend in flight fares!

    • Claudia says:

      PS: your Sepilok trip reminds so much of my experiences, eating at local foodstalls after one-bread-slice-free-breakfasts, understanding perfectly a complete stranger giving me directions in Bahasa Indonesia, it made me smile. Wish you the best of luck and hope to meet around the world!

    • HI Claudia,

      Very glad to hear there are more people out there that see the world like I do!

      “easy-way-out-tourism” is all wrapped up in packages these days. And yes, very good point about the staff not caring either. Feed em, water em, get em to buy a tour. That’s about it. Not everywhere, but it is a trend that’s growing.

      I can never understand people who travel halfway around the world, and spend most of the time in a bar. Well, maybe lack of responsibility is one of the main reasons. But it’s nothing they couldn’t do in their own country, without the price of a flight!

      Enjoy the beer garden mushroom paradise ;)

  17. Jason says:

    Gee Dave, you’ve certainly stirred up the hornets nest here. I’ve quite enjoyed reading people’s response to this topic.

    My personal take on this is that although there are many people from the now younger generation (I can’t believe I’m saying that as I’m only 42) that love and seek that truly independent and free spirited form of travel, but I believe that this number is slowly eroding.

    20 years ago it was a big deal for someone to drop everything and hit the road for a year or more to experience the world and what it has to offer. Now it is quite common and even expected of many people.

    I feel that overall this makes for a better world, as many of these people experience things outside of the world of television (at least for a little while), but a vast majority of these people are not travellers in a true sense of the word. They just don’t see the world through the same eyes as people such as yourself.

    I suppose I could go on rambling all day about this as you would know, it’s a topic close to my heart. The world is changing my friend and fast.

  18. Ha, I hear you Jason. You really hit the nail on the head on something important. 20 years ago it was indeed a big thing to drop everything and head out there, now it’s not such a big thing to do.

    And yes I agree. All this should make for a better world. But like you say, the world is changing very fast.

    Where we are headed is anyone’s guess. Let’s just hope old school travelers don’t get caught up in where it’s headed.

  19. Yupper, if only people would follow my advice, the world would be a better place.
    To each his own. What the powers that be do, if it closes one nice ares, so be it. There are enough to keep me busy for many a year.
    Not fighting trends, not arguing with people or trying to understand why. I just try and enjoy the travels without getting caught up in it all.
    That is why I left the US. Could not understand what people were doing there.
    Out of the USA, I still do not understand why people do what they do.
    Play nice and travel safely.
    John D. Wilson

  20. Melissa says:

    Reading this article along with all of these comments was very interesting. I have been putting aside money for over a year now to begin traveling in the new year, and now that i’ve started to think about an itinerary, I turned to the internet to begin researching tours and treks to go on. Reading this along with a few other travel blogs has convinced me to not be so attached to this idea of a plan, and to search for different alternatives once I have arrived.

    I can see however how someone with little travel experience would turn to the internet to book tours and other all inclusive trips ahead of time. There is an added sense of security of having someone direct you around to different locations in an area where the language barrier may be a large challenge.

    Also, a side-note that will hopefully wipe away some of the pessimism you have of my generation. I am in my early twenties, and have been committed for the past year in saving the funding for my travels, none of this trust fund business. So there are still some of us out there. At least your post showed me a few of the ways not to act while i’m on my journey.

  21. Giovanna says:

    Hi! I’m 67 and a grandma,but still consider my only way of travelling as when I was a girl ,ALONE,only with my Fodor’s Guidebook,asking locals for info.Big,long friendships came from that. Unluckly,no Asia or Africa, but also Europe and Norh America can be the same asthonishing.The budget was 3-5$ a Day,beside flights,charters,and bus or trains tickets bought before leaving. Now,Ryanair substitued Charters,and local bus or trains are rather cheap.I take with me my portable,it weighs when you are tired and makes overpass 10 kilos of Ryanair,but even so…When my Granson(7) wants to visit, a small rucksack for him,too.A train or bus ride is a adventure,for itself.Let’s hope well for the future!Thanks,Dave,for representing us.

  22. im an independent traveler myself. although i really dont like package/bus tours its just the way it is for most people bec its easier and comfortable. what i just dont like is when these tours become the norm and we independent travelers have a hard time doing it ourselves.

    maybe its time to promote more of our kind of travel, that’s the only way dave.
    sharing your post to many indie travelers in the Philippines.

    • Well James, I think, as much as it pains me to say it. We would be on a losing battle there. I think there’s a reason why so many people take the package tour route. Even when on a year long, lot’s of time, type journey.

      Moreover, I see many national tourism boards opt for tours over independent travel. They are easier to count, and easier to monitor. A shame.

      Independent travel won’t die out, it will just get harder, and less heard about. Meanwhile people will equate tours, to the norm, so when people speak and write about travel, they will think independent travel.

  23. Marie says:

    Unfortunately it’s today’s society Dave.
    The younger generation today, are more interested in social networking than actually engaging in a conversation.
    I’m so glad, i did my backpacking 15-20 years ago when independant travellining was just that, travelling and meeting like minded people. I actually enjoyed having conversations at the end of the day or over a meal.
    Love your blog!!!