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Old 05-10-2016, 11:14 PM
even sven even sven is offline
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: DC
Posts: 19,401
The memoirs of European explorer Heinrich Barth are some of my favorite things to read, and it's fascinating how he deals with money along his journeys into remote (to him, at least) areas of Africa.

He had planned to have quite a bit of funding for his travels, and to meet up with new travel companions fresh from Europe who could replenish his funds along the way. This didn't work out well as people bailed or just didn't make their planned connection, and he didn't end up with the cash he was expecting.

The other plan was to start with a stash of trade goods, and barter with them along the way, hopefully turning enough of a profit to keep going. This also didn't work out particularly well, particularly since he'd be expected to present gifts and "gifts" to people he met along the way, both friendly and hostile.

His final tool, and the one he had to rely on most often, was to hopscotch between friendly kingdoms, using letters of recommendation or escorts from the previous kingdom to secure safe passage and basic hospitality in the next. It was precarious, as he ended up square in the middle of local political situations that he didn't have enough context for to understand, not every kingdom could or would present a clear path forward, and sometimes patience for uninvited guests wore thin. There were times he found himself destitute and surrounded by people who wanted him to leave. But it mostly worked.