Urban Explorer

skyline-city-silhouette-17078-hd-wallpapers Ever since I announced “The Adventure”, I wanted to find out what other full time travelers (FTT) were doing.

I started reading their blog postings and have come to the following conclusions:

1) Most are in their early to mid twenties.

2) They seem to utilize heavy duty backpacks and take clothes and gear more appropriate for a jungle or mountain than an evening out in a major city.

3) They either stay in cheap hostels, couchsurf or sleep on the beach.

4) They have deemed Thailand to be their mecca and everyone goes on and one about hiking the jungles of that southeast Asian country.

5) They all claim to make their living as a travel writer which to them means writing on their blog.

6) They try to spend less than $50/day on everything.

None of the above really describes me. Let me tell you about some of my plans for FTT.

First and foremost you must know this about me:

NoBugsI HATE BUGS!!!!!

I mean I really hate bugs. And lizards, and frogs, and snakes, just to name a few.  I would fill half my bag with bug spray if I could get away with it.

Reading about one woman’s adventure fighting off poisonous spiders while staying in a rented beach hut in Ecuador made me cross Ecuador off my list.

Trek in a jungle? Hike through the rainforest? Get real.

I’m an urbanite. I like concrete. I like cities.

Don’t get me wrong. I love visiting national parks and seeing gorgeous scenery. But at the end of the day, let there be a nice lodge or inn where a good meal and a nice glass of wine awaits.

Most of my travels will be to cities and towns. I might take in the local scenery but you won’t get colorful stories from me about sleeping under the stars because all the hostels are full.

I will travel with a convertible bag. When convenient, I will use the backpack straps. When I want a more “adult” image, I’ll tuck them away.

My clothes will be comfortable yet appropriate for most cities–no need for logo t-shirts, zippered off shorts or hiking boots.

I will stay in hotels, inns and motels with private facilities. If I wind up sharing with someone it’s for other reasons than saving money. (This is a family oriented blog so we’ll leave it at that.  🙂  )

It’s true I may miss out on some things. But at the end of the day, it’s my trip and I should go where I want to go and not where others think I should go.

By the way, since every other FTT is going there, I’m bypassing Thailand.

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12 Responses to Urban Explorer

  1. Colleen says:

    Nice post! I think another requirement of many of those FTT bloggers is that one must include affiliate links to each item of gear being used on the trip.

    • Frank@OBOW says:

      Colleen, almost all travel bloggers do that. It’s a way to pick up a few extra bucks to help offset expenses. And some readers are interested in getting the items mentioned. I do it–the listing, not the buying–but not all the time.

  2. CMP says:


    Rather than staying in “hotels, inns and motels” have you considered apartment rentals, for example through VRBO or airbnb? This has become my standard mode of urban vacation travel, particularly for longer stays. It has many advantages and meshes beautifully with one-bag travel. Advantages include:

    -Apartments are often cheaper, particularly for what you get, than a hotel;
    -Apartment living allows eating meals in, which is a very significant money saver and enables shopping in markets and shops, giving a much better view of local life than the relatively cloistered hotel existence’
    -Apartments are often located in residential neighborhoods, rather than tourist centers, again giving a better view of local life;
    -Apartments usually have washing machines and dryers–a key advantage for the one-bag traveler–no more sink washing or need to dress exclusively in “quick-dry” safari-style clothing;
    -Apartments typically have more space and room to relax, which can be a huge advantage over staying cooped up in a small hotel room for an extended time.

    • Frank@OBOW says:

      Self-serviced apartments are high on my list of places to stay when I’m staying for more than a few nights.

      I mentioned “hotels, inns and motels” just to differentiate from hostels and couchsurfing.

      As an example, a friend of mine has just the type of apartment for rent in Nice. I plan to rent that for a week about halfway through my travels in Europpe to give myself a little R & R from the constant traveling. The same will probably go for London, Paris and Rome–three places I intend on staying for more than a week.

      Quick-dry safari style clothing? Where do you shop? My clothes are often referred to as “business casual”–Dockers, button down shirts, golf shirts, etc. No safari looks for me. (Unless I plan to go on a safari.)

      I’ll be looking for specific apartments that others may have actually stayed in because having decent internet access is vital. I’d hate to get into a situation for a week or longer and find out the internet is horrible. With a hotel, you can always change rooms.

      If anyone has stayed in a decent apartment in cities around the world with good internet (wifi), decent neighborhood, clean and bug free, let me know.

  3. Lomo says:

    Is this what is meant by “flash packing” vs “backpacking”?

    • Frank@OBOW says:

      Not really. A flashpacker is basically a backpacker with more disposable income.

      I’m not a backpacker. My bag happens to have backpack straps that can be taken out of their compartment and used…or not.

      I could just as easily travel with a bag that only has a shoulder strap and no backpack straps.

      I normally carry my bag with the shoulder strap and only use the backpack straps for long distances.

  4. Lomo says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Frank. I never could tell what the term really meant. Your style follows my friend’s motto, “We did not travel here to suffer.” Thailand is off my list as well–so humid!

    Frank, I look forward to your reports on your great adventure.

    The real question of the day-Aeronaut? Osprey? Airboss? or a Western Flyer, and school us all in long term one bag travel?

    • Frank@OBOW says:

      Unlike many U.S. based full time travelers who never return during their travels, I’ll be coming back quite often.

      As of now, the Tom Bihn Aeronaut and the Eagle Creek Adventure Weekender will be my main two bags. How and when I’m going to use each is still being determined.

      But with six months to go until departure, everything is “written in pencil.” It can all easily be changed.

  5. Neil says:


    For my business casual I use golf pants. The material is stretchy, light, easy to clean, quick drying, and depending on the manufacturer, e.g. Golfsmith, perfectly acceptable. Shirts are tougher, GoLite has casual Friday style shirts, but no Mon-Thur styles that would work.

    I get a lot of my “Friday” clothes here: