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4. SIT Research (full)

A SIT traveler is completely responsible for research.

A. Research is like a telescope, the more powerful, the bigger the universe becomes. Curiosity is my telescope; the more my research deep-dives the more I discover.

Research is the source material, the foundation, of SIT travel. Each site, experience and logistics detail I can discover are like tiny rose buds poking thru Spring’s fresh snow. I call all these gold nuggets    “Travel Buds.”  

These ‘Travel Buds’ may be travel ideas lying asleep in your mind OR in guide books OR online waiting for you to turn them into your successful SIT adventure. 

      My Research Investment:  I spend at least a month of 6 hr days at a minimum researching for every month I actually travel.

I am looking for every Travel Bud; every place & activity that arouses my curiosity because I know I'm never going back. Too many other countries.

The more you know about a country’s history & culture as well as its travel infrastructure (transportation, foods, lodging), ….  the richer your travel experiences & lifetime memories.

                                    ’Travel Buds’. Throughout our lives we are bombarded with  Travel Buds. 
                                                     Your mind is filled with your own Travel Buds, if you look for them.

B. My ‘4 Part” ‘Travel Bud’ Research method:[pkl: research method ?
SIT solo travelers like me attack their travel research like an old Dawson Creek gold miner pans for gold in his sluice box … letting fast-flowing creek water wash away the unwanted dirt …
leaving ONLY the precious gold nuggets — my Travel Buds.

    a. Travel Sites & Experiences:    
    I want to know what sites & experiences a country has and then organize them logically into my Personal Itinerary so I can visit them all efficiently while still anticipating flexible ‘free’ time for the unexpected. 

        1) Your mind: 
              a) If you have not already started a Travel List of countries, cities, sites and experiences that you have discovered during your life, then you might do so NOW.                                        
              b) Start Travel List now of all Travel Buds you can remember or that you discover from now on.          

        2) Guidebooks:
             a) buy Rick Steves guidebooks for European countries & Lonely Planet and sometimes DK Guidebooks for all their great illustrations.
             b) quickly skim for countries, their geographical areas & cities that have sites & experiences that may interest you. 
             c) whatever does NOT interest you enough, literally remove that entire section with a sharp razor knife & set aside so it doesn’t distract you. 
                   Anecdote: I don't drink, so I sliced out France’s wine area
             d) finally, closely scour each remaining section for what REALLY interests you splashing a big ‘X’ across any minor chunks that don’t, so you can ignore them in the future (e.g: for me, high end lodgings, restaurants.

        3) Online Internet:     
You can ‘deep-dive’ online almost any travel site or experience you discover, tho you will have to slog past seemingly endless travel agencies “Sponsored” advertisements.

    Anecdote: Ken Hammond’s China History: Dictatorial communist China was always more frightening to me than even India’s filth, BUT it seemed an inevitable SIT destination to be conquered,    so I began my research.  Quickly, I was dumbstruck by the size & complexity of China’s culture &    5000 year history.                  

        Query: Did you know there’s not 1, but 19 Chinese Great Walls?  [ytllk: CHI]

    Researching my China trip, I somehow discovered Professor Ken Hammond’s   “From Yao to Mao: 5000 years of Chinese History“ video series  (Youtube:

    I watched & outlined all 36 tapes, then condensed those outlines for my iPad    Yes I am obsessive, but ……. China is so vast?  I have since read several Chinese historical books out of continuing curiosity.

                         Online Travel Bud sources: Google Maps,.Google:

        4) Culture’s Classic Historical Novels: 
Finally, I often read 1 or 2 of a nation’s classical novels taking me deeper into the ‘spirit’ of its history & culture.

    Anecdote: Japan: Shimazaki Toson’s Before the Dawn  including the Nakasendo Road.


    Anecdote:  Australia:  Hell West and Crooked (A&R Classics) by Tom Cole 

The more you know about a country’s history & culture as well, the richer your travel experiences & lifetime memories.



     b) Travel Logistics:  transportation & hostels 
Travel logistics – transportation, lodging, etc. – construct the skelton framework of your trip like a beautiful, elegant home will have solid foundation, wood framing, and the plumbing and electrical running throughout the house.

In much the same way travel logistics provide the skeletal framework your travel itinerary relies on for the basics of life: shelter, clothing, and food.    On top of that skeleton is the beautiful exterior siding, interiors plus carpeting and beautiful cabinetry.

Knowing how you will get from site to site city to city, where you wil. safely & comfortably sleep and restore for each new day is the great benefit of a well prepared Personal Itinerary.

Lack of the structural knowledge can waste time spinning you off in the wrong direction. Literally, generating unnecessary anxiety, drowning your enthusiasm.      

Logistics are vital.

The Internet can dramatically simplifies your travel Logistics research:
     1) simply & fully discloses your transportation options including:
|.       a) mix of trans modes: plane, train, bus, taxi or wall between 2 locatiions for almost ‘everywhere.’ 
         b) time & distance between locations
         c) schedules & prices
         d) car & lodging booking
         e) even deeper detail for trains & buses 
         f) accompanying map

30 >40 years ago travel agencies guarded this info like some arcane priesthood. No more — all available, instantly for free.

    2) Hostels: & several other sites/apps list hostels everywhere including location maps, amenities, prhptos, rates & booking.     

30>40 years ago we relied on terribly outdated guidebooks.(except Rick Steves guidebooks) Rick Steves Guidebooks

The more complete your logisitical foundation the more hassel-free, time efficient will be your site visits & activities.

 Sometime during my research stage (above), I begin roughing out my
actual Travel Itinerary — described in the next section. 


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