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We Don’t Speak The Language » Christopher Wink - a travel podcast and blog for the young and broke
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WDSTL dot com: making browsing easier

Posted by Christopher Wink on Dec 19, 2008 in Experiences

Sean and I almost always got the same two responses when we told people the name of our podcast and blog: We Don’t Speak the Language.

They laughed. It was catchy and they remembered it, but, they almost always added, it is long, isn’t it?

Yeah, not only do we have to brand, we have to do it in five words or less. You’re welcome, then.

It is probably among the more clumsy acronyms, but now we own WDSTL.com, so use that for your visiting pleasure.

That’s right, come visit We Don’t Speak the Language at WDSTL.com. Yay short domain names!

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One chapter of WDSTL closes

Posted by Christopher Wink on Dec 18, 2008 in Experiences

Sean and Chris in Stockholm before leaving for the airport to return home on Nov. 4, 2008.

Sean and Chris in Stockholm before leaving for the airport to return home on Nov. 4, 2008.

We may have gotten home six weeks ago and completed our last podcast last month, but I am still recovering.

Thus far, WeDontSpeaktheLanguage.com has been home to our video podcast and travel blog, chronicling five weeks backpacking Europe. That portion is done, though a new incarnation of this successful project may be seen.

For now, below, see our most popular and favorite posts and videos. Thanks for following us!

Most Popular Posts

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When the hell do you tip in Europe?: a continental conversation on gratuity history and convention abroad

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 24, 2008 in Travel Tips

I came to Europe staunchly under the impression that I didn’t have to tip.

That’s supposed to be an American conception. You know the tired old argument: Americans like letting the market dictate wages, so you have to hustle for your dollar, while the Europeans believe in a base standard for everyone. I’m not here to argue which is better.

I was just psyched on seeing something in a menu, ordering it, getting it and peacing.

Boy, did things get a lot more complicated than that.

Read more…

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Cheap travel tips: how to travel the world cheaply, our lessons and more

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 21, 2008 in Travel Tips

Sean standing in front of an East London sign. He is a pathetic victim of situational poverty, but he likes to travel. What does he do?

Sean standing in front of an interesting "Hell" advertisement in East London Oct. 4, 2008. He is a pathetic victim of situational poverty, but he likes to travel. What does he and others like him do?We set out to blog about cheap travel.

I fell madly in love with Couch Surfing, which can save you some money and give you some real cultural lessons. In Brussels, we spoke to Ian, a New Zealander who had taken to hitchhiking - which can get one of your biggest expenses, transportation.

There are about a million and five ways to travel cheaply. Sometimes it’s a mentality. Sometimes it’s knowing a local. But, more often, it’s meeting a local with the right mentality.

Here are a handful of the best ways to travel for cheap - or free - that we didn’t even get to on this trip.

Read more…

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Use Mass transit!

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 20, 2008 in Travel Tips

In the London Tube, Oct. 6, 2008

In the London Tube, Oct. 6, 2008

Oh my goodness. Get out of that cab.

Yeah, renting a car, I suppose, is cool, though gas is so much more expensive in Europe than even cliched notions you might have could suggest.

And, sure, those stories of a cabbie ripping you off in the Czech Republic - decide on a price before you even get inside, folks - are great for your friends.

But if you are only spending a few days in a city, you have to, have to give the city’s mass transit system a spin.

Now, I have a bias because I would say the same thing about U.S. cities - how can you visit Philadelphia or Boston or Pittsburgh or Los Angeles and not give a go to how the common locals get around - but it becomes even more important abroad.

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How to eat on the road for cheap, while backpacking, traveling

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 19, 2008 in Travel Tips

Stuffing my face with a delicious Belgian waffle in Brussels.

Stuffing my face with a delicious Belgian waffle in Brussels.

So you’re backpacking to train-traveling for a couple weeks, a month or lots longer.

You end up with the same problem. Trying to eat healthy while keeping costs down.

I spent almost half a grand on eating during a month of backpacking - less than my train-travel and housing costs - which I think is pretty darn good, considering I had to eat every local delicacy we could find.

Let me throw some suggestions at you.

Read more…

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Multilingual countries

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 18, 2008 in Education

I was very caught up in the idea of a single language for a single nation, at least in the developed world.

English. Spanish. German. French. Japanese. Chinese.

A monolithic people speaking a single language in a single place. Of course it gets more complicated, but I didn’t think I would come across those complexities in Western Europe - the mother of much of mainstream American culture.

These damn multilanguage countries confused me.

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Live or travel: quality versus quantity in adventure

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 17, 2008 in Travel Tips

It becomes a question of quality of stay or quantity of stops.

Do you want to join the Peace Corps or study abroad or use any of the other of wonderful ways that give you a chance at an extended stay in a single place. That’s how you come to know a foreign place intimately.

Or, do you want to see as many of the world’s great sights as you can in the time and with the money you have? That’s how come to visit the thousands of famous spots and locations we know.

Much goes into the decision, what kind of traveler you want to be, what you want to learn, and what you’re willing to sacrifice.

After this trip I have even more thoughts on the matter.

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The finances: costs of a month of backpacking Europe

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 16, 2008 in Costs

Sean and I each went to Europe with $4,200. Between the two of us we returned with more than half of our total - what’s left of mine is seen in my online bank statement seen above.

For both of us, that was very nearly everything cent we had in savings. We each returned to find jobs and homes and begin payment on student loans (Sean’s thoughts, too). Though a lot of ground needs to be made to begin our lives, fortunately we returned with some savings.

How’d we do it? After some budget crunching abroad and some more on my own, I have figured out my expenses. Get a rough sense of the costs of a backpacking trip like ours, using the totals from my $4,200.

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ATM fees

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 15, 2008 in Costs

Six weeks of $3.50 ATM charges? Complete and regular frustration. Constantly wanting to avoid taking money out if I didn’t have to. That worked out to a grand total of $24.50.

It does help to work with a buddy on your budget and reduce your trips to foreign banks.

Watch out for those credit card fees, too, kids.

Photo from FirstNYFCU.

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