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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
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Old 26 Mar 2008
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To those that say leave your guitar at home....


Admittedly, this was my second guitar in a series of five for this trip.

People say never take an instrument on the road, but I think those people don't really play instruments to begin with, so don't understand the benefits. I went a total of three weeks with out a Guitar before my fingers started to itch. The guitar you see above was the best $20 Pesos I have spent, at least for the couple of weeks it remained in-tact. Bits of this guitar still litter highway number 2 in Baja.

Travelling often requires a serious amount of downtime, and an instrument is a great way of forgetting some of the stress of the road. A guitar is perfect for a party, or just sitting around the campfire playing to yourself. I wrote some great tunes when I was floating around the Americas for a few months. Travelling with an instrument, and some ability to play it, breaks the ice, allows you to meet some of the most fascinating locals, gets you invited to all the best shindigs, lets you experience a side of a culture you wouldn't have knowen existed.

If the bulk worries you, there are a number of small, light, instruments that can be packed. A mouth organ instantly springs to mind, a triangle, a shaker, two bits of wood that make a nice sound when banged together, a dead badger... use your imagination.

So, yes, it can be done. It goes completely against the mantra of packing light, but for me the benefits outweighed the bulk. Just thought i'd share


P.s. Hi Patrick! I've been meaning to email, will do soon.

Last edited by Toaster; 27 Mar 2008 at 03:49.
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Old 26 Mar 2008
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Badly tuned Beemers make a nice rhythmic knocking noise I believe.
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Old 26 Mar 2008
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Mr Vespa...

Just in order to show how important a guitar can be....

This is Giorgio Bettinelli, a guy who is strangely unknown, considering the extent of his travels, and the 4 books he has published (only in Italian) so far...
He did a RTW a few years ago, starting from Tierra del fuego, finishing up in Tasmania four years later which means that he crossed asia (twice) and Africa (up one side and up the other) ....On a little Vespa!

Oh yes...and obviously he had his guitar with him all the time

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Old 26 Mar 2008
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I took a tin whistle with my while crossing the Libyan Desert by camel, and it was great fun. A LOT of idle time sitting on top of one of those beasts for a month... ;-) Great icebreaker, great way to mix with people if you don't speak much of the local language.

www.LorraineChittock.com All Over the Map - Radio & Travel Books www.facebook.com/lorraine.chittock
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Old 26 Mar 2008
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When in Bolivia....

...buy a Charanga! Mine cost about $40 for a nice handmade 10 stringed wooden charanga. It was just the right length not to break it's neck when the bike went over, plus as it was in a different tuning to a standard guitar, learning the new chords certainly whiled away the hours waiting for the bloody boat from Colombia to Panama!


My little Vid: India/Pakistan

Suzuki DR650 SE: Ride it like ya stole it. Oh, somebody just did...

Last edited by MikeS; 14 Feb 2011 at 21:28.
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Old 29 Mar 2008
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guitar is a must

Hi everyone,

I have hauled my Taylor 714 around the world, because without it I start playing on my arm after a few days. Music breaks the ice, gets you welcomingly close to locals and sometimes it gets you a free meal. My guitar once survived a topple over on a busy intersection in Croatia. I am going to Ghana from Berlin by the end of the year...of course with my guitar...

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Old 5 Apr 2008
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Arlo would agree with you!

I don't want a pickle, Just wanna ride my motor-sical
and I don't want a tickle
I'd rather ride my motor-sical
and I don't wanna die e ee e e!
Just want to ride my motor- sighhhh............kullll.
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Old 5 Apr 2008
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A guy at one of the Elefant Treffens had a proper rack for his 'axe'...

Elefant Treffen June 2005
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Old 6 Apr 2008
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so timely

Brilliant post,
me and the wife set off on our RTW in the middle of May and I had already decided to take a guitar with me,
everybody has tried to talk me out of this,hey if it gets broke it gets gets broke, I aint taking my Guild, a 3\4 size guitar is £30 at a shop in Stockport, thanks for confirming my decision
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Old 6 Apr 2008
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I gotta say it sounds way-more-mellow (had to stop myself typing ....Man, there) to be talking about taking a guitar on a bike rather than discussing GPS, Laptops, etc
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Old 16 Jul 2008
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SOLD....and best ever 'road song' vote

Thats me then, the girl and the 'gat' are comin' with me...
nothin' like bangin' out a few dylan tunes on the road...man


Is there a thread for best 'ride song' of all time, or should we just start one now?? Of the top of my head, I'll start with: Hendrix - Ezy Rider. Great listening accross the Himalaya...
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Old 16 Jul 2008
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SOLD....and best ever 'road song' vote

Thats me then, the girl and the 'gat' are comin' with me...
nothin' like bangin' out a few dylan tunes on the road...man


Is there a thread for best 'ride song' of all time, or should we just start one now?? Of the top of my head, I'll start with: Hendrix - Ezy Rider. Great listening accross the Himalaya...
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Old 9 Feb 2011
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Good idea but the first person to mention Steppenwolf gets shot with balls of their own sh*** . For me it's Rory Gallagher - Cradle Rock. God bless those mutton chops.
YouTube - rory gallagher "cradle rock"
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Old 13 Feb 2011
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Great thread!! We are off on a trip on Monday and are taking our ukuleles! We are going by car so a bit more room lol but we wouldn't leave home without them. Should be quite good to have a bit of fun with the locals and also pass some time around the campfire.
You can get some pretty small ukes these days, might be a good option for the bike, and they are so fun and easy to play!
Ness | two turkeys and a rope | www.greenturkey.co.nz
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Old 13 Feb 2011
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It seems taking an instrument can even inspire people to sing about their bikes! YouTube - Team Going The Distance Meet Austin Vince & Lois Pryce
Sent from my ageing laptop with a dodgy screen
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