Random Episode 5: The Bloody, Filthy Travel Edition


This is a short Random episode — 10:30 — and easily the most disgusting to date. I also think it’s the funniest. Imagine Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations if he didn’t need to edit for cable.

This episode has some educational bits, but it’s focus is on enjoying the not-always-so-smooth experience of travel.

Not for the faint of heart.

From Glenn:

The following video segment is a continuation of the randomly shot randomian-thought random show project with Tim Ferriss and Kevin Rose. This time, we’re not in a library nor are we out on a boat dock fishing for fish – we’re on a street corner in Jinggu. At night. And it’s not really cold outside. It’s slightly humid with a dusty breeze coming out of the southwest.

Audio Note: Most of this was recorded with a Shure-VP88 stereo condenser mic (good with headphones). Apologies for when I don’t have it pointed in correct direction (sounds like they’re behind us).

To borrow from Gary Vee, here is the Question of the Day (QOD): What is the most disgusting or confusing travel experience you’ve ever had?


Want to get Random episodes delivered to your iPhone or iPad? Now you can! Just subscribe to the podcast in iTunes (or get the audio-only version here).

Posted on: August 27, 2009.

Watch The Tim Ferriss Experiment, the new #1-rated TV show with "the world's best human guinea pig" (Newsweek), Tim Ferriss. It's Mythbusters meets Jackass. Shot and edited by the Emmy-award winning team behind Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. Here's the trailer.

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174 comments on “Random Episode 5: The Bloody, Filthy Travel Edition

  1. Love the episode. It’s funny how down and dirty travel and beard growing competitions tend to go hand in hand. Loved it – reminded me of many a conversation i’ve had in hostels over the years. Typically accompanied by a few beers, lol.

    That food looks awesome. I’m definitely jealous. Looks like an eye opening experience for Kevin!

    I’m definitely gonna have to do some yoga before I head to China and face off with those Squat toilets. The splash and splatter is the part that I hate running into when i’ve encountered them in eastern Europe in the past. My favorite was a squat toilet on a train…rattling along. Devastating.


  2. Good fun as always. It’s nice to see it stuff that’s not censored or softened. You might consider a technical post on the cost of the trip and more detail on the approach.


  3. OMG!!!

    Thanks for reminding me why I work hard. I prefer to travel to places with nicer toilets.

    I remember getting sick at a train station in India. Even though we had a first class ticket, the bathroom was disgusting. Never again. So like Continental’s slogan I ” work hard and travel well”.


  4. Sick. Can’t wait to make China. Chicken heads or better than rat heads I guess. lol

    Whether my book or blog….once again Mr. Ferriss, I have learned something both weird and informative.

    The parts with Kevin in those mesh pajamas are hilarious.


  5. Love the episodes! Keep’em coming.

    As for the question, I’m hard pressed to chose just one “most disgusting or confusing” piece of travel. I’ve travelled extensively in Sub-Saharan Africa, holding lectures for telephone operators and people in the telecom businesses.

    I’d probably have to say that Guinnea-Bissau gave me the most interesting “disgusting” experience. It was just after a heavy rainfall and I went out onto the balcony of the hotel to enjoy some fresh air after being locked in with the mosquitos and other bugs (some of which killed my MacBook, but that’s a whole other story). So there I was, standing on the balcony and taking some deep breaths, when I see a man in his underwear walk out into the street. Now, note that this is a country where you only find asphalt on the runway in the airport, so basically this guy was walking out onto a hard-packed mud street after a heavy torrential rain.

    It then strikes me that he’s carrying a bucket. Next thing that happens is that he bends over, picks up water from the side of the street and pours it over himself and starts scrubbing himself down; rubbing his armpits and enjoying a nice shower. He does this three or four times before walking off again.


  6. well, my disgusting experience was when I was in China too. I was just transitioning from regular toilets to the squatties (It seems the more south you get in China, the less regular toilets you see). Anyways, it happened to be a little wet from former occupants, and as I was squatting I slipped, and bam! Wet butt. I felt pretty dirty the rest of the day.

    Interesting note, in certain parts of Asia, Thailand for sure, they shake with their left hand? I’m not sure which hand it is, but the reason they do is because they don’t have toilet paper in these places, so they use water…and their hand. That’s it.



  7. This episode was so funny I nearly dropped a deuce watching it! Thanks for posting, I have been looking forward to the China episodes. I can’t wait to travel there myself.

    My brother and I are actually planning a 4 month round the world trip set to start at the end of October. I just graduated with an Industrial Design degree and my plan is to travel around and interview different professionals in design, sustainability and manufacturing while also attending expos (and other adventures) then post the videos on my blog.

    We are planning to start in Europe and then head east to China and try to make it to Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand and hopefully a few stops in South America before coming home to Phoenix.

    From your traveling experience, do you think that it is a good idea to try to cover as much territory as possible on our first trip or to focus more on one region? Also, I have been looking into purchasing round the world tickets (RTW tickets). Do you think this is most cost effective way to travel? Any other tips would be greatly appreciated.


    Adam Craft


    • Hi Adam and All,

      A few things:

      1) Congrats on the RTW decision. I’d suggest not fixing arrival/departure dates in advance (one issue w/ most RTW tix), so you can spend as much or as little time as you like in each place. That could mean you hit a new place each week, or it could mean you stay in one region the whole time. I expected to spend 4 weeks in Argentina, and I spent 9 months there :)

      2) Kevin, Glenn, and I stayed in hotels, as it was a pre-arranged trip. Just for cost, though, we ended up getting, essentially, a penthouse suite with three huge bedrooms and three bathrooms, with wi-fi and living room with big screen TV, in Beijing for around $200-250 per night total, so about $80 per night. Not too bad.



  8. another nice show – and don’t mind the language, it’s just really, really funny! :-)
    hope that the next random show is going to be about one of your tea tastings?

    qod: disgustingly dirty hotel toilet (though supposedly a hotel of “higher quality” … thank god we have hotel rating websites by now… ;-) )


  9. Hi Tim

    Question: where are you guys staying in this trip/during this video? Hostels?

    Because accommodation is (in my case) the most expensive item on any trip outside of Europe (got a VW camper for Europe travel). How do you handle that in say, China, where you guys are now?



  10. Tim,

    Funny Kevin had a hard time with the “hole-in-the-ground” toilets over there…the same goes for Italy, Torino especially. I studied for a semester with my wife now, then girlfriend, the Spring of 2004, and a bar we frequented close to downtown called Murphy’s had squat urinals as well…not so bad for males doing a number 1, but definitely a worst case scenario for females either way.

    Tell Kevin if he curses loud enough he may scare the mosquitoes away!! :)


  11. Awesome episode. A bit grittier than the travel channel, but as interesting and informative as Andrew Zimmerman himself.

    I will certainly cherish my toilet a bit more after watching this episode.


  12. Freaking hilarious! Sweet short video and am glad you guys make the best of every situation. Kevin needs to rough it more often.

    I’m a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain and Bizarre World. Wow, thanks for making every effort to make us laugh.

    Enjoy the moments.


  13. Tim,

    Both you and Kevin are incredible people and considering all of the awesome content that you give away it pains me to pick on such a small, insignificant detail.

    That said…that popped collar is killin’ me man! :-)

    Thanks for the episode and for your books & blog.


  14. Wow this looks pretty cool. i didnt listen to the audio though but looks pretty cool idea for an online episode. I WILL LISTEN eventually.


  15. Reminds me of my travels in Turkey. As for bathrooms, I have to say that for women at a certain tipping point (har har), squatting becomes more effective and comfortable than trying to hover ;)

    On a more intellectual note, I enjoyed the hand counting info. Pilots use one hand for nordo operations. Contrived by Americans of course, I didn’t realize how different other countries could develop the same . . . differently. That also begs the question: why do other countries use one hand counting?