07 October 2009

A Little Q&A (no T&A)

"I'm ready for my close up, Mr DeMille....wait, Mr De Mille? Come back! I thought you wanted to take my pic....oh nevermind. Who's got a poutine?"

A few weeks ago I posted an entry asking if people had “Any Questions?” Here are the questions I received and my answers. Cheers!

How do you afford this mammoth trip? Is S a millionaire?
-Dolly Daydream

Both S and I saved a ton of money – really dedicated ourselves to scrimping and pinchng and socking huge amounts of dosh away. S does make a great living (and was paid a handsome consulting fee while he working in India) but I'm not too shabby myself! I find it interesting that that wasn't your first conclusion – the old patriarchal instinct has kicked in! :) So far I have cashed some of my savings but I look forward to returning home with more than half still in the bank – along with a zero credit card balance (so important for a variety of reasons – I hate being taken advantage of!)

We also travel on a tight budget of no more than thirty Canadian dollars per person per day (flights not included) and this really helps to stretch the money we do have – extravagances do happen, but we try to keep them in check as much as possible!

How do you manage to travel without working? Do you work online?


Other than blogging my heart out and making a few bucks from Google adsense, I have not worked one iota since September 30 of last year. If someone wants to pay me I would glady accept an assignment! S did work as a consultant in India (for visual effects on Bollywood movies – he had a hand in “Chandni Chowk to China”) for 2.5 months – this is when we lived in Mumbai (and yes, it was during the attacks.)

The picture from your title area - did you take that? It instantly conjures images of faraway places, shimmering sand and hot mystical nights!


I did take this photo – I am glad you like it! It was taken on a sand dune just outside of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan while we were waiting for the sun to set while on a camel safari. In reality it was a bit less idyllic than it seems – they were singing and dancing and begging for money – if we didn't give them any they would launch back into their repetitive song! It will haunt my brain forever..... Here are a few more!

I was wondering why you cuss a lot in your posts?


Well, to be honest – I swear in person and in my quest to always keep my blog as true to my actual personality I just write what comes to mind, in the way that it comes to mind. Sometimes it is really important to the feel of the piece – for instance when I am really upset or angry about something – ie: Burmese politics or suicide – I feel that they are more than warranted.

I did a search of my own blog and could only find the eff word 4 times in fifty posts – pretty good, I'd say! I do use euphemisms (such as eff or f%#@) quite often as well, but those hardly count....do they? :)

Lastly, I just really like to swear.

Where have you been that has been your most worthwhile, absolute best trip, and why?


That is so, so hard to say. Part of me actually wants to say that it was the 6 week trip I took by myself to Eastern Europe when I was 22 – I went to Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Hungary. That journey really had a profound effect on me – it wasn't my first trip to Europe, but it was my first time traveling alone and with a really good plan. I learned so much about Europe, myself and well...myself! I highly recommend that everyone takes a trip on their own at least once.

As for this trip to Asia (does an entire year count as one trip?) I would say that India, though I often hated it when I was there, was the most important place we visited. It is hard, it is full on and it is stinky – and it is wonderful.

An old alter ego - thanks to Pappa Jay for the artiness.

How did your pen name Violet Dear come about?

-Marilee in Portland Oregon

I have been using pen names and psuedonyms since I began writing as a young teenager. Originally I wanted to at least partially control my identity amongst the people that I know - bosses, colleagues, unwanted aquaintances, crazies - but that went out the window when I was chosen as Blog of Note!

As I wanted to remain at least partially anonymous on this site I chose to write under the name Violet Dear. Some of my previous pen-names have been: Violent Violet, Violet Femme, and Ultra Violet – I like Violet Dear because it is feasibly a real name and is less crazy and wild than the names I chose when I was younger. To be very honest Violet, dear (their comma) was also the name of a limited edition MAC eyeshadow that I purchased when I was about nineteen – it always stuck with me. (I am also getting a tattoo of the word "Violet" when I am in Melbourne - it means a lot to me!)

I love your practical tips. I am traveling to India, Thailand, Laos and Japan - can you recommend a visa company or would you just do it yourself?
-Stephanie C

Thanks! I always try to add a little practical info because it can be sorely lacking online... For the visas, if you live in a city with an Indian consulate than it is very easy – just pop down in person and you should be able to come back in a few business days to pick yours up. I really recommend paying a bit extra and grabbing the multiple entry one year visa – plans can change and this is a great way to avoid headaches later (for instance, the Bangkok Indian consulate is supposed to be a nightmare.) Your Indian visa is activated from the day it is issued, so make sure you have enough time – you might want to get it issued close to the date you depart.

Thailand, Laos and Japan – visas are issued on arrival at most borders. For Thailand, if you arrive by air you will be issued a 30 day visa, but by land it is only 14 days – don't get caught out. Hopping across the border to Cambodia (I recommend Angkor Wat wholeheartedly) Laos or Myanmar for a visa run is common and easy – and with Air Asia's cheapest deals even flying to S'pore, Malaysia or elsewhere is also feasible. Laos is a 30 day visa – I belive you can get more (and a prettier visa) by applying in advance – but for most people this is enough. Japan – I have little clue, as I have never been! Your trip sounds great – let me know if you have any other questions along the way!

How much money would you recommend for 5 weeks in India?

- Master Kevin

It is really up to you! You can spend from 10 USD/day all the way up to hundreds. For us, on a slightly higher than average backpacker lifestyle (ie: no dirty rooms, second class trains and nice restaurants sometimes) we found that 25USD/day was more than enough. Some days we went over, and some days under – it balanced out. If you are traveling by yourself than you will probably have to add another 10 bucks to your budget.

I was wondering what do you do when you aren't travelling?[:)]


Before I started traveling on this trip I worked as a consultant for a major travel company in Canada - my bonuses really helped us save money for this trip! When I get home I will be heading back to University - and traveling as often as a can to keep you guys entertained!

That's all guys - if you have any other questions for me feel free to ask - I can always do this again sometime. Cheers!


Violet Dear


Jonathan Dickerson said...

"Lastly, I just really like to swear."

So perfect!

The Obers said...

That was fun! Thanks for sharing. :)

kanmuri said...

Thanks! I'm actually thinking about finding a job in the field you used to work in ;)
As for Visas in Japan, most people get a 90 days visa upon landing. If you need more info about Japan just check out my blog; I've been living in Japan for more than 3 years.

Anonymous said...

WOW! The questions you have picked to answer are fabulous! Well done! I really enjoyed this post. And personally? I abso-fuckin-lutely love the cussing.

Kristin said...

O.K. I guess I'm the only ninny. But your writing is fabulous and the cussing detracts--in my mind.

But really, who cares, eh? I so enjoy where you go and what you describe, especially what you like to eat.

Violet Dear said...

Kristin - You're not a ninny! It was a good question - I really did think about it.

Nikki said...

it was great to get some replies to our questions..