26,787 reputation
979248
bio website en.wiktionary.org/wiki/…
location Tamarama, Australia
age
visits member for 3 years, 4 months
seen 6 hours ago

Backpacking since Christmas Day, 1989. Hitchhiking since mid 2010.

I've just returned home after hitchhiking around Asia for the last 9.5 months.


Aug
27
comment What popular western web services don't work in mainland China?
You might have considerable trouble signing in to StackExchange from an internet cafe or hotel room computer though. And you might have trouble finding Wi-Fi if you're not staying in a backpacker hostel.
Aug
26
comment What makes a backpack a women's backpack?
There is a structural element due to differences in typical male and female physiologies, but there is also a marketing element. Companies making women's backpacks that are different from their men's backpacks only in their naming and colour choices would be taking a pretty cynical approach. I'm a guy but my current backpack is a women's backpack because the girl who bought it decided it was too big for her. It's by a big name brand though so surely does have structural differences but works great for me since it was free (-:
Aug
24
comment If a baby is born on an international flight over international waters, what nationality are they?
Current news articles on children born stateless. Both include interested relevant information: Stateless babies: Born into a world without citizenship from The Houston Chronicle, and Nowhere to call home: The changing face of the world’s non-citizens from The Economist.
Aug
24
comment If a baby is born on an international flight over international waters, what nationality are they?
Related current news: ‘Secret’ proposal would nix citizen rights for babies born in Canada
Aug
20
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
Interpreting things as we like is subjectivity. Stack Exchange requires objectivity. Otherwise all answers are correct and all answers are incorrect, depending on who likes to interpret it how. Given that we're embracing vagueness then the second English of the world is definitely between Spanish and French. Arabic, Chinese, and Russian are each a local English in this regard to their respective large portions of the planet.
Aug
20
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
@Sam: If Stack Exchange has not devolved into a forum then we can note that safety is not among the factors under consideration in the OP's question, and hence has no bearing on the position of a language in the table. It has tons of bearing on subjective opinion of course.
Aug
20
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
This is a great forum question. But as Stack Exchange has been telling us for years, they do not run forums. They run Q&A sites for objective questions which ideally have "one correct answer". This is not an objective question in its current form but a popular subjective question many people have an opinion on. The closest to an objective answer is "either Spanish or French". After that it's all subjective. You have the opportunity to revise the question, if possible, to reduce the subjectivity and opinions and get more concrete answers.
Aug
19
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
I agree with you re Malay/Indonesian. It's surely almost as easy to learn as Spanish for a monolingual English speaker. I was 46 when I tackled Mandarin. Two months in China and one month in Taiwan. One thing I learned is that many pronounce both the words and the phonemes differently in different areas, especially minorities for whom Mandarin is a second language. I still got the travel basics like asking where something is and ordering food and drinks, including menus without English. But in both countries there were lots of westerners in my hostels who were conversational in Chinese.
Aug
19
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
Your comments on Mandarin are based on assumptions. Everyone I know who learned as a foreigner talks ceaselessly about how easy it is. All struggled with the tones, most did not master the tones at all yet many became fluent. Another deficiency in OP's question is no mention of spoken vs written language. In any case picking up enough characters to be useful in China and Japan is pretty easy. Learning enough to read a newspaper or book is not at all easy but also not at all impossible.
Aug
19
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
This shows part of the problem in the question. Do we just want to get the gist of what signs say and what people around us are saying? Do we want just travel basics "how much is it?", "where is the toilet?"? Do we want to be able to communicate, and if so to which degree of fluency? Just knowing Spanish plus some clues on French pronunciation and spelling get me very far with Italian and Portuguese but far less in Romanian than I expected, despite multiple lengthy visits. The same works with Slavic languages if you just learn Russian of course.
Aug
19
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
Ukraine is safe to travel in. Crimea is safe to travel in. The part of eastern Ukraine with large numbers of ethnic Russians is not safe to travel in. Russia's North Caucasus is not safe to travel in, including Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, etc. In any case the OP does not mention either current safety in mid 2014 or general safety in recent history, hence off-topic for this question.
Aug
19
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
And on the other side, if all of your other requirements are what you're really asking about, and not utility, then it's going to come down to personal opinions and assumptions rather than facts. The only clear winner no matter which way you slice it is Spanish. Everything else is going to be argued about unless you clarify the utility part of the question and minimize the subjective component.
Aug
19
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
It's really not clear what you're asking! You state it's about utility but in your details you don't talk about utility, you talk about a bunch of your preferences. The only thing you give us to clarify what you mean by utility is "most usefulness in any given country". You do not say whether you mean the most number of countries regardless of size or population. Do you want the languages that gain you communication with "the most people" or just with "some people in the most country"? The difference is bigger than you think if you just consider China and India.
Aug
15
comment How, specifically, can I travel between Taiwan and Okinawa by sea?
I didn't find a boat and ended up flying. This doesn't mean somebody else couldn't find a boat ...
Aug
12
comment Driving through every country in Europe
@mouviciel: And Abkhazia, Nagorno Karabakh, and South Ossetia.
Aug
12
comment Driving through every country in Europe
I see you don't believe Northern Island, Scotland, or Wales are countries. d-:
Aug
12
comment Driving through every country in Europe
It sounds like if you start driving from wherever you are in the direction of Kazakhstan and come back a slightly different way you have a good chance of hitting thirty countries no matter your route.
Aug
12
comment Are there still any “cheap” options for flying from Australia to Mexico without going through the US?
Yes I mention the Santiago option in my question. $2600 seems a bit less than last time I worked it out but still a lot and over my $2000 upper threshold. And I bet it's not for a one-year ticket. I can't see a way to set the return date in the link you provide. But I think it's true that this is the best that can be done by booking the whole itinerary in Australia.
Aug
11
comment Can e-cigarettes / vaping set off smoke detectors?
this question does appear to be a travel question
Aug
11
comment On the Matrix ITA site, why doesn't Virgin Australia show up in the search results?
@DaviddCeFreitas: I try new sites I hear about. I like Adioso, SkyScanner, and Momondo. I also use Matrix sometimes. Each site also has some other extra or missing features so it depends what I need.