Spear-Phishing for Dinner and Other Off The Grid Challenges

Expat vacations: Spear-fishing and Other Off The Grid Challenges

Sailing & Spear-fishing; Tips for Surviving

Sometimes as expats, life takes funny turns.

We often end up posted in third-world countries, helping to rebuild infrastructure or teach or any number of other endeavors meant to make the world a better place. To top it off, we seem to have a penchant taking our holidays in even more ‘interesting’ places (read: remote, and under-developed by touristic standards).

In that vein, let me share a post that  made me laugh- in a good way. I love these suggestions of ““What to do if you find yourself in a place without (… gasp… OMG… ) Internet connection”!

Clare and Jovian write the Prawns for Breakfast blog and were guest posting on No Kids, No Mortgage (a fantasy blog for sure!). Here’s a clip from their About page that’ll give you an idea of what you’re in for …

“Jovian, look at what’s happened since you first talked about this. We quit our jobs, rented out our flat in London, and bought a one-way flight to LA. We´re about to travel tens of thousands of miles overland to the furthest reaches of Patagonia, and then – who knows? Let’s make this blog the story of that journey. Food is part of the journey but there’s more to life than breakfast…and definitely more to life than prawns!”

More to life than prawns? I thought. She doesn’t know what she’s getting herself into.

Here are a couple of excerpts-  do go read the whole thing as it is really fun, and useful the next time you find yourself in a pinch!

  •  ‘Live Facebook’ with your fellow hostel guests

Can’t stand the thought of not being a few clicks away from your Facebook profile? Try some real-time social networking with the other people in your hostel instead. Apparently it’s what people used to do before the Internet was invented and it’s not as scary as you think. If you balk at the prospect of engaging in real-time ‘chat’, simply procure a small whiteboard, write what you are feeling (or perhaps summarise a hilarious incident that recently happened to you in connection with a crab) and hang it around your neck, for all to admire, and – if you keep hold of the pen – post their own comments.

  • Pretend you’re wanted by the CIA
If you’re staying in a hostel in Latin America, chances are you’ll be bunking near at least one deranged conspiracy theorist who thinks that his name is on the latest Wiki Leaks documents. While away the hours indulging his raving fantasies, or – better still – start propagating your own around the hostel. What connects you to Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Hilary Clinton and Monsanto? Only you have the answer!”

In addition to the tongue-in-cheek solutions, Clare and Jovian have also included other advice you’ll enjoy, like this:

  •  Learn a new skill
There are plenty of ways to make yourself more interesting on your travels, and let’s face it, none of them include Instagramming pictures of cocktails and palm trees. Perhaps you could learn to pick coconuts? Or learn to cook a few of the regional specialty dishes? For bonus points, take some lessons in the local language (if not your own), which is how we met Rikki and John in Guatemala – or become yoga masters, as they did in India. Remember that learning how to juggle fire  or twirl poi are NOT proper skills and will be ridiculed by your off-line (i.e. real) friends once back home.”

My fondest memories as an expat have followed a similar path. It’s the three C’s again- Curiosity, Commitment and Community. Getting involved and connecting locally.

Travelling over dusty roads, scaling the top of a small mountain, and seeing a beautiful valley perfect for picnicking just on the other side… these are the things we remember.

Some of the best memories involve local kindnesses, rustic food and friends. Like our fish soup or the mountain-top grilled kebabs, talking with locals, finding out what’s good at the market.

Over dinner with a group of friends  last night, we were talking about this very thing, as they reflected back on their own year long voyage across the Pacific in a 39′ sailboat.

How they hopped off and got stuck in Fiji for three weeks. (Awww… my reaction too!) Finally catching a ride to Samoa.

“What was it like being on a sailboat smaller than your apartment? How did you get used to having fish 3 times a day?  Did you ever run into times when you couldn’t catch dinner?” Spear-fishing… Yikes. I think I would have to keep a lot of Tuna Helper in the galley! Turns out, not having internet connections was the most challenging thing of all!

Being on these remote travel holidays tests a relationship, tests your ability to let go, to let God/nature take control of your destiny- something I admit, I am not very good at.

Case in point: years ago “Other” husband and I went camping in California to a beautiful spot called McArthur-Burney Falls State Park in California. The tag line says it all, “The park’s centerpiece is the 129-foot Burney Falls, which is not the highest or largest waterfall in the state, but possibly the most beautiful.” All true! Gorgeous place- who would not feel relaxed in a setting like that?

McArthur-Burney Falls State Park, California

129 Feet of Beauty

When the tent sprang a leak on day two of non-stop rain, I melted the paraffin I had brought along and poured it down the outside… problem solved.

Other husband was more perplexed (as in “who goes camping with a block of wax?”) than impressed by my problem solving skills. He never let me forget that one.

So, yeah, I might not be a good candidate to take on your next sailboat voyage. I’d be the one wiring coat hangars to the boat mast!

My excuse? I think I’m permanently scarred by too many Gilligan’s Island episodes as a kid. I was always thinking of ways I could rescue them after that “3 Hour Tour” left them stranded on an island somewhere near Hollywood… you know I would have been packing candle wax!

3 thoughts on “Spear-Phishing for Dinner and Other Off The Grid Challenges

    • Wow… thank you! You made my day. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the stories here. I’m sure we’ll be sharing back and forth often as I catch up on your travels. It’s nice to be connected!


  1. Pingback: Ex-Pat Living: 10 Things I Learned By Taking A Risk | Life Lessons

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