So it has officially been 1 year that my dogs and I have been travelling. Well I can tell you that it definitely didn’t go the way we planned but if has been perfect, we have had the most amazing times, met the most amazing people and seen the most amazing places. I am thankful for the people who have helped us with our travel and with our necessities. We are not done yet. Unfortunately travelling will still be done on an extremely low budget, but will be following the road that the wind guides us along. I stand here 12 months from the person I was, I can’t believe that that was me. Who I have become and what I have had to do has left me in a state of disbelief. From here we go forward.
So we all know the saying “travel makes you wise.”
Well why is this?
I feel it is for a few reasons. The first is that it exposes you to many different cultures and many different traditions and mindsets. This is great for the main reason, you can select what you like and work to avoid what you don’t like. You colour in your likes and dislikes.
For instance i love Germany for its care and interest in its people, they look after their people. I don’t like it as the people don’t interact with each other easily, they are scared and cold. I love italy as they are passionate and full of life, But the government and the church is killing the people and the earth that they live on. Now before i experienced either, i loved italy and hated germany. Now i have a colourful reasoning to it.
The second is your knowledge grows hugely. You meet people that know all sorts of strange things. Travel makes you interested and in return makes you interesting. I have learnt secrets of Sheppards and the ways of the mountains. I also learnt a lot about who i am and who i wish to be.
The third and final thing i will talk about is the confidence it gives you. There is no possibility to fear life when you travel. You need to work through all situations no matter how great your fear is.
I will add that to do this all alone is key to the effectiveness but any travel is good travel.
I recently wrote that without travel there is no purpose in life. I will stand by this till someone can give me a better reason.
So on our travels we have experienced a lot of difficulties. The main being the emotional stress on the dogs, but the second being the cost of moving with dogs. We have taken plains, trains, busses, boats and cars. And this is what we went through.
Firstly planes, this is the hardest part of the travelling process. It causes stress on all parties and holds the most complex systems and well the possibilities of something going wrong is higher then I am comfortable with. Although we were told everything would be smooth and problem free. That it was but my heart stopped for the 20hrs that we were not together.
It cost us $1500.00 for the tickets and well that was only half of the expense. You still have vet bills and crates to pay for.
Trains. A method I thought would be problem free. Afraid not. Although working much better then this airline business. You keep your dogs with you, huge plus. They do need to be muzzled in most trains, not so bad. You pay 50% of a normal ticket per dog. So this is all looking pretty good. The problem comes when you get on the train.
Where do I sit? It isn’t easy to find place on trains in peek time, so I suggest you book for when it is not full. Then moving to connecting trains, this becomes difficult. Manipulating your way around full trains, stations you don’t know, in a language you don’t understand, with 2 dogs. Problems. I suggest looking for trips with at least 10-15 minutes layover. We missed trains a lot.
Busses. For sort distances they are great,
Usually free for dogs, but muzzles may be needed. Also tend to be quite cramped at times so keep this in mind.
Boats. Easy, till motion sickness kicks in. We did only take ferries so didn’t encounter many problems and also free for dogs.
The easiest and simplest way to move though is to rent a car. Long distance it is the cheapest and the dogs are free(don’t tell them you going with dogs).
P.s. Non of this applies for Switzerland. If on budget, avoid at all costs.
Oh ya and don’t buy a 30 year old camper, also a bad idea.
So after one month of traveling I started seeing something wrong with my dogs. What it was, was never something I would have expected.
Depression. Previously I knew they reacted to there environments but didn’t think it would have gone this bad. The whole story of dogs just being ok with you being there is not entirely true. You being there and happy makes it easier for them to adapt but they have their own feelings.
I ended my plan very early, we left on a 12 month walk through the mountains and well month one was great and then we started to really move. Each night in a different house. Different families and people. This slowly got too much. Altair (my fragile boy) decided this is not making him happy and well being as close as I am to my dogs. I felt what he was going through.
We took a 200€ emergency train ride back to family in Germany and after 2 days they were happy again. I went to the vet to make sure they have no physical problems or health issues. I was told that my dogs were some of the best kept and healthiest they have seen coming in.
Getting home I wanted to get to the bottom of what the cause of this depression.
Well my intellect of a friend, Google. Said there are many things that cause depression in dogs. Some are; loss of a family member(We have lost our whole family, left them all behind.), change in environment(only travelling every day so this is possible), change in food(it was impossible to find my food here and took 6 months before I go it again.), not having a place or consistency. I stopped here. It was obviously depression, just to have one of these is a possible cause for depression. We have them all. My poor dogs. So we needed to cancel all the plans we made and needed to start a new one.
We apologized to all the people banking on us doing what we set out to do but for my dogs they all understood.
Now that we have a home and a car they have come right. It was hard but we are still here in the mountains and still living as far from the society system as possible.
We are living free. It brings its problems but also its gifts.
One thing I have noticed since being here in Italy. The wealthy countries know not how to live but merely how to work.
Italy is one of those countries that bring poverty into mind when thought of. This isn’t far from the truth. There is a lot of struggle here Italy. Saying this it has more then most rich countries. It has love, passion, culture, family, art, respect and the list can go on. This I did not see when I was in Switzerland, Germany and even Austria. (Where I stayed in Austria was not bad but not as warm as in Italy.)
Here we have strangers that become family, help is given to everyone, a smile is shared no matter who you are. There is intimacy between strangers that shares many qualities of love. This is not love like the rest of the world talks of love. This is a love of life. There is nothing but life here to live for and to love in. This for me is the reason I wish to stay. This is the element we need to have internationally.
Germany has everything, yetcomplains about refugees.
Italy has nothing, yet they share laughs and conversations with refugees.
Time to wake up world and start realizing that to live hating and fearing each other is no way to live but a way to be controlled.
So as the warmth comes back to the forests and the fields all the plants and animals come to life. As beautiful as this is, it brings a devil with it. Ticks.
If you are walking anywhere where there are alot of bushes and long grass please just lookout for these little buggers.
If you are in the mountains and eastern part of europe there is a greater reason to do so. TBEV is a viruse that is deadly and unstoppable, unpreventable(not to sure if this is the right spelling)
Please refer to the image for danger zones and please make sure to use plenty of tick repellent. I suggest looking at natural options as well as a tablet form. Obviously i am referring more so to the dogs safety but for you also. Look out.
Long pants and preferably a slippery material. Spray your legs with stinky stuff and keep your eyes peeled. They are found on the edges of paths and don’t usually go hier then 70cm. They sit and wait for passing animals.
They will usually go for the soft parts of your dogs so after each hike brush and check well.
Please guys and girls look out. They fortunately do not exceed the altitude of 1500m but just be careful.
Image reference and additional info
I find some things just amazing. Here in Italy we have our coffee shop/bar. Being South African my self and my dogs come and spend the morning having coffee and breakfast. The amount of people who rush in. Then in a state of peace, order a coffee(espresso) and drop one euro on the counter, take the slip and leave. Like a fuel station.
We sit and watch as people come in and out. It is beautiful to see the way they react to this routine visit.