Volume 94, Issue 87

Wednesday, March 7, 2001


USC gets ready to talk numbers

Students up the computer creek - Police looking for FIMS break-in suspects

Hitchhiking isn't that bad, says expert traveller

Nike-funded report says Nike bad, but not too bad

Social services shafted as United Way falls short of goal


His Royal Mintiness

Hitchhiking isn't that bad, says expert traveller

By Tait Simpson
Gazette Staff

Looks of disbelief greeted international traveller and author Gil White, as he spoke to Western students of his world travels in over 55 countries in the University Community Centre's McKellar Room yesterday.

"The best way to travel is to get into the countryside. You have to meet the people to understand the culture. You can't do that successfully taking trains all day and staying in hotels," said White, who has authored a book called Europe on 84 cents a day.

Students looking to travel this summer heard about a number of ways to put a roof over their heads without having to spend much. White recommended hostels which run for as little as 50 cents a day in the Middle East, but said travellers need to be inventive in the more expensive countries of Europe.

"People are generally friendly to travellers. Look clean cut and ask if you can stay on the floor or in the barn in exchange for some work. You'd be surprised by the generosity of strangers," White said.

White recounted many stories of having stayed everywhere from a university dorm room in Morocco to a spare jail cell in small towns in the US Northwest. "You have to have a sense of humour about it. I never knew where I was going to stay and found that I had my best experiences that way," he said.

As a means of travel, hitchhiking was the mode most often recommended to the students in attendance. Believed to be safer in Europe than in North America, hitchhiking offers students a chance to move around freely, while getting to meet people they would not otherwise meet.

"The media has blown the danger of hitchhiking out of proportion," White said. "The wildest ride I ever had was hitchhiking across Canada in January."

"I'm not sure if I'm that outgoing, but at least I know now how it can be done," said Eric Mayr, a fourth-year English student in attendance, who added he plans to move to Europe this summer.

Ian Jennings, a first-year engineering student who also listened to White, said he was impressed by the unconventional tips and engaging stories the speaker shared.

While giving countless tips on ways to have a successful trip, White stressed the educational value of travel. "Everyone needs to see the world and understand the importance of other cultures," he said.

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