Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Hitching a Ride on the Green Tortoise

I decided to take another end-of-the-year trip this December. I'd been shopping around online for awhile now--looking for a long tour with a group of interesting people, but also something that wouldn't break the bank. The Green Tortoise was the answer.

Way back at the end of 1999, I went on a bus tour in Australia with Contiki. I had a blast and met some really cool people. It's a great way to travel if you're flying solo. Unfortunately, I usually am. So when I was looking for something similar for this year, I remembered another bus tour company I had read about awhile back.
Our itineraries are designed for fun-loving, independent travelers who value cooperation. We invite all travelers, from the young to the young at heart, to contribute to the unique social dynamic that is created on every Green Tortoise trip. Discover for yourself why our adventure camping trips have been attracting socially conscious travelers since 1974.
The big difference between GT and Contiki, besides the cost of the trips, is that with Contiki, you sleep in hotels. With GT, the bus is not only your ride, but your mobile hostel as well. Busses sleep up to 36 people, which I'll likely get to see for myself, since they said the tour I booked always fills up. This kind of travel is not for everyone. If you haven't spent significant time in a 3rd world country, I wouldn't recommend it.

I signed up for the Baja Beach Daze. A 15 day adventure down to Mexico and (hopefully) back. It leaves the evening of Dec 19th from San Francisco, but I'll likely jump aboard early Saturday morning (20th) in L.A. I have a company Christmas party Friday night to help put on. The bus pulls back into the US on Jan 3rd.

Some nights are spent in tents on the beach. Everyone pitches in to prepare meals and clean up. Bathroom stops are frequent, but showers are not. I'm preparing now for the colorful aromas sure to arise on a bus full of 36 bodies. The best blog account I've found online so far is by Linda. Begin on Part I and work your way up from there. Trust me, it's worth the read. Her report is far better than anything I'll be able to put down on paper.

The real winners from all this? You, my readers. While Derek solicits your donations to report on a dreadful Def Leppard / White Snake concert in Tokyo, I am offering up this 15 day epic to you free of charge. However, I won't be bringing my laptop, so you'll have to wait until my triumphant return to hear all the gritty details. In the meantime, besides Linda's account, I came across this fantastic website created in tribute to a trip in 2004. Lots of photos, etc.


Scott said...

Looks like a cool trip. I stayed in the Green Tortoise Hostel in NYC in summer of 2001.

Nichols Family said...

Yes, my dad THINKS he's Donald Trump! He likes to show off. (But honestly I'd trade all of the material hype for him to come visit/call more often.)

Wow, this trip you're planning sounds so awesome. Have a blast!

And the body scanners article, crazy. Yeah sure it ain't a nude picture. Yep, I do think invasion on privacy. Might as well strip down and get naked instead to save time and not miss your flight.

maria said...

I have to be honest...it's sounds like a drug trafficing buisness camoflauging itself with a green bus full of tourists...most of which may be stoners themselves...

so...room for one more? ;)

Supercords said...


Find a sitter to look after those 3 crazy kids of yours, and you can come be a drug mule with me anytime.