Hello again, Adventurers! How goes the journey? (I feel like an announcer in a video game)
By now, you probably have read the previous instalment of the Ninja Adventurer series — and if you haven’t, you really should.
Today, I’m introducing the preparations you should be making to travel the world for your training. Though there are some common sense things to apply to your journey, I also have some tips that are going to be quite useful with deciding on where to go and how to build up an itinerary for a specific location. After all, getting the most out of any location takes some thorough planning and research.
Even the most spontaneous of travelers have to seek out the travel guide once in awhile!
Recap: So, You Want To Be a Ninja Adventurer
Before getting into the things you should do before becoming a ninja adventurer, I want to recap on the process for picking your training goal.
- Pick Your Training Goal
- Determine Your Level of Experience
- Decide How Long You’ll Stay to Train
- Consider Your Ideal Budget
Thus, your preliminary planning would look something like:
I want to attend advanced level Shaolin Temple training in China for 3 months on a budget of US$2300.
Why is preliminary planning important?
Because, while spontaneity may be great when sparring, you’re going to have to think ahead when it comes to your training and travel.
6 Things to Do & Prepare
1Change Your Mindset
This is pivotal. You want to travel to train. You want to become a Ninja Adventurer, but you’re stuck in the mindset of routine training at the gym or dojo.
Also, you’re a bit hesitant to set out in the vast world to put yourself in a situation that’s going to be both mentally and physically demanding. Who you meet, the challenges you encounter, and how you react to these encounters are all based on how you can anticipate and accept these obstacles.
You have to really, really want this in order to get the most out of it. In the end, it is not the training that is going to be the hardest part. You’re going to face cultural shock, feelings of isolation, rivalry, and much more.
In short, be prepared for an eye-opening excursion. One that will challenge the very fabric of reality that you know.
Keep an open mind. Don’t judge lifestyles that are different from yours, and be sure to listen actively. Embrace the possibilities rather than mentally shutting down.
2Get Your Passport & Visa
If you already have a passport, make sure it has at least 6 months left before the expiry date. Otherwise, you are going to be in trouble when it comes time to board the plane. If you don’t have a passport, you need to file for one at least 3 months prior to departing. Some countries take longer with making passports than others, but 3 months is generally a fair amount of time.
Should you need to apply for a visa, add another 3 months to that process. Visas often require several weeks of sending your documents to and from the consulate, contacting various people, then waiting for your passport to come back to you with a stamp or sticker inside.
You can expedite it, but expect it to cost a preposterous amount.
3Don’t Be Afraid
Coming from a woman, you can take this seriously. The world is not as horrid as the media makes it out to seem. I have met a lot of good people from all around the world. You will find exceptional kindness is the strangest of places.
I’m not saying that this means you can put down your guard, because that is asking for trouble. But as you plan out your itinerary, don’t steer away from a location just because someone reported having their wallet stolen. Seriously, that can happen anywhere, to anyone.
4Backup & Secure Everything
I can’t tell you how many close calls I’ve had with IT security and data loss on my computer while traveling.
Since my laptop is my livelihood, I can’t afford to have it stolen, damaged, or compromised in any way. That’s why I cannot stress enough the importance of learning how to backup your important documents on a cloud database (scan your passport, ID, booking information, and more) and have that all encrypted.
When I went to Kuala Lumpur, for example, I didn’t realize that there is a lot of banking and credit card fraud in Malaysia. As soon as my cash card hit the scanner, my accounts were shut down.
This left me at the airport with no way to get my money. I had to call my mother to contact the bank, who then lifted the lockdown… only to have it happen again automatically when I went to pay for my hotel.
And always use a VPN (i.e. SaferVPN, TunnelBear) or proxy when abroad.
You won’t need even half the gear you think you will when traveling. When I went on my first adventure, my suitcase was nearly 40kg. It was madness.
Now, my backpack only weighs about 20kg in total. If you’re not sure about packing, go with this one simple rule:
If you have any question about something’s usefulness, you don’t need it.
Whatever you need, you can get it in the country where you’re headed. Honest.
Guess what? You might get sick or injured while traveling. Travel insurance is fantastic for when you are worrying about hospital bills or stolen gear.
One of the recommended policies comes from World Nomads Insurance. The group offers policies ranging from a couple of days to months long, perfect for your trip abroad.
So there you have it…
Things you should do before ever becoming a Ninja Adventurer.
These tips and considerations are crucial to the success of your travels. Once you have these things squared away, your planning will become much easier. Also, you will have so much more peace of mind throughout the journey.