How to stay warm while travelling in cold places

At the moment here in Poland we’re having a cold wave with temperatures below -20¬įC. I wrote the following post to share what my mom had been always telling me, but what people from warm climates might have never heard. These few simple tips can make even temperatures as low as this really enjoyable, so why not sharing them with those who might want to travel in the wintertime! While Wendy, always afraid of cold, actually quickly started to enjoy the snow. During our travels in Russia we met (female!) hitchhikers who had travelled across Siberia in the winter.

So get your warm clothes and go enjoy the frost!

An Aussie enjoying the snow! Would you imagine?

An Aussie enjoying the snow! Would you imagine?

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Trans-Siberian Railway your own way – how to guide

A week on the train.¬†8 time zones. 9288 kilometres – a quarter of the Globe. Endless forests and swamps, wooden villages, train stations alike magnificent palaces surrounded by decaying¬†heritage of the once mighty Soviet Union. Friendly, hospitable, spontaneous and from a foreigner’s point of view – positively crazy people. The richness of Russia, the contrasts between the¬†wealthy¬†and the poor, modern and old, clean and muddy, silver watches and gold teeth. The heart of Eastern Europe with Moscow and other¬†big, modern cities¬†slowly fading away¬†to the endless grasslands, mountains, wilderness. Golden, mosque-like domes of Orthodox churches step-by-step giving¬†way to¬†actual mosques, Buddhist stupas, followed by vast¬†forests visited by nomads. Eventually arriving in Vladivostok at the Pacific, from where it’s just a ferry ride to Japan. Or a 250 kilometre car ride to the North Korean border.

This romantic image must catch¬†anyone’s heart in one way or another. Who has never dreamt of travelling by the Trans-Siberian Railway? But how to do it?

Ready to depart!

Novosibirsk. A Trans-Siberian train ready to depart!

Sure you could¬†go to a travel agent and let them organise the trip. But you’ll soon find¬†that not only will you spend up to 3 thousand dollars on¬†getting it¬†organised but you’ll also spend the whole journey partying with fellow Europeans, Americans or Australians instead of actually getting to experience the reality of the train¬†the way it is.

Wanna do it differently? Let us tell you how to pay USD 160 for getting a Russian visa, buying the ticket and enjoying the magnificent journey the way locals do!

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5 WAYS TO BE A CONSCIOUS TRAVELLER

Cheap airfares are making overseas travel a possibility for more people than ever before. This is really exciting, as travel is the best education we can give ourselves to become informed global citizens. But on the other hand, no one ever really teaches us¬†how¬†we should travel….

We brushed up against many different forms of tourism on¬†our overland journey half-way round the world, and it seems to us there is plenty of room for more conversations around¬†conscious travel. In fact, if it was up to us it would be a compulsory school subject ;). Travelling “right” is really a double-sided coin that comes down to:

  1. Ensuring proper respect to the people of the places we visit
  2. Ensuring travellers get the most out of their trips abroad.

This article is Drop The Tension‘s first in our series of¬†useful information to help backpacker-local interactions be positive experiences for both sides.¬†Take this as a guide for anyone heading overseas. But it might be especially useful for a young person heading off backpacking for the first time (Know someone? Share this their way!), especially if you’re travelling solo (we think you’re awesome :))

We’re not into rules and remind you that this is just a guide of things to keep in mind. Common sense is the first thing you should pack for the trip and it’ll help you determine what is appropriate for your given situation. Any questions or comments, please contact us below – we’d love to start a discussion around this topic!

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Consider the impact of your steps when travelling

So, WHAT IS CONSCIOUS TRAVEL?

Conscious travel is about being aware of the impact your being there has on a place. A conscious traveller should strive to keep their travel¬†low-impact. In this, I mean that we don’t want the places we visit to change dramatically through our visit. It’s that old rule ‘leave things as you found them… or a little bit better.’

Your impact includes everything from:

  • The cultural impact: in some destinations, you’ll find yourself getting a lot of attention as a foreigner. The world round, people are listening to western music and watching Hollywood films. Seeing you can sometimes be the movies ‘coming to life’. People will be watching how you behave and might even copy what you do. While in the ‘spotlight’, don’t behave in a way you wouldn’t want to be copied…¬†Don’t make yourself (or your country) famous for something you wouldn’t want it to be famous for!
  • Your environmental impact: many places in the world lack environmental education. If locals are paying attention to your behaviour, disposing of rubbish (which, by the way, was introduced to the rest of the world by ‘The West’, without even a hint as to what to do with it!) correctly or refilling plastic water bottles where possible can start showing people other ways of doing things that care for the surroundings.
  • The impact of where and how you spend your money.

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Western Mongolia – Practical Guide

Having decided to go through the west of Mongolia instead of Ulaanbaatar, we didn’t really know what to expect – there was not much information online. Hence, we thought it could be very useful for future travellers coming this way to have some practical information available online. But don’t worry, if you’re not going that way, this post won’t bore you with dry facts – you’ll learn about the fascinating¬†reality of¬†Mongolia!

Amazing landscapes, lack of roads, traditional life and smiling, hospitable people are some of the main reasons to leave your heart in Mongolia. Here: the 'road' out of Khovd, the main town of Western Mongolia.

Amazing landscapes, lack of roads, traditional life and smiling, hospitable people are some of the main reasons to leave your heart in Mongolia. Here: the ‘road’ out of Khovd, the main town of Western Mongolia.

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