Songkran Water Festival Chiang Mai 2014

           This is an article written by my friend and fellow Water Warrior Andy Bouchier , about our group of friends and our awesome time at songkran chiang mai 2014, I hope Read More »

Interview With Dawn Kealing Of “Life, Love & Adventure”

      Let’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up; do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed? Hello! Read More »

Take The Train to Chiang Mai

I just returned to Chiang Mai from a short tour of Cambodia. I had spent 2 weeks in Cambodia with my friends from Latvia, then had the good fortune to meet up Read More »

Stepping Up and Diving In with Jonny Jenkins

    Today I am Interviewing Jonny Jenkins of Http://stepupdivein.com       Let’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, do you remember your main life Goals when Read More »

Interviewing Fellow travelers.

I have been traveling for quite a few years now, and it seems that one thing is universal, that all travelers have an interesting story to tell. So I am making a Read More »

Songkran Water Festival Chiang Mai 2014

the crew of songkran 2014
           This is an article written by my friend and fellow Water Warrior Andy Bouchier , about our group of friends and our awesome time at songkran chiang mai 2014, I hope to see Andy’s own travel blog soon as he is an awesome writer.
Songkran Water Festival (Chiang Mai, Thailand) my favourite party I have been to

The Battalion Songkran 2014Anyone who knows me knows I like a good party. I can say I have been to my fair share of great parties in the world… foam parties, (you are covered in foam and it is all you can drink, this is a huge thing in resort Mexico), stage 13 (was a giant rock concert where you could go camping with roughly 30000 people, multiple bands over the course of 4 days), frat parties, party on Halong Bay in Vietnam, full moon party, every party on Koh Phangan, Holi Day in India, various university parties, pubcrawls, ski trips etc… All of those parties were memorable, unique and adult orientated. Many of the parties you need to be drunk to have a good time and I think the mark of an excellent party is if the majority of the people can have a great time without drinking. What Ready for a waterfight SongkranI love about Songkran is it is an all ages party. Thai people are very friendly and not creepy like many people in India can be for a party like Holi Day. So what is Songkran?

What is Songkran?

It is the new year for Thailand. A huge water fight that can take place for several days. People of all ages use anything and everything for the festival. The best place to experience Songkran is in Chiang Mai Thailand. So many people I have met last year said Chiang Mai is the place to go for Songkran. It is an absolutely insane and wild time. Last year I was in Thailand for Songkran but I was in an isolated area of the island of Koh Phangan doing my yoga Songkran waterfightinstructor course. There was a water fight at a small club called Guy’s Bar (not a gay bar, it is a place that plays trance/techno type music for roughly 16 hours straight one day a week every Friday in Haad Tien). It was a fun time but a very small crowd. Celebrating Songkran in Chiang Mai exceeded every expectation I had for the festival.

My reflection of Songkran in Chiang Mai

I thought it would be amusing to write my experience of Songkran similar to a fantasy role playing game. The characters were people I met via couchsurfing and my friend DIno. The weapons, ammo and vehicles were things I observed throughout the four days. Enjoy!

List of weaponsThe weopons Songkran Chiang Mai 2014

bucket- A cheap, entry level weapon extremely effective at close range. Quick reload time and poor long range

magic stick/one shot wonder/pimp stick/magic wand/sir Arthur’s sword/sword of a thousand truths- a powerful and accurate one shot wonder gun/magic stick (this grey stick can reload in a couple of seconds and can hit it’s mark 20 feet away
ice cream cone water gun- this silly looking gun is used to make people laugh and lower their guard. A low pressure water pistol with poor range, low storage capacity and general suck ability. Some say it can bring plus 10 luck with a plus 2 aura silly group boost

rubber duckie pump action gun- this ridiculous looking gun is extremely accurate and has decent range. Often the water backpack is in the shape of an elephant or an angry bird.

Ultimate watergun Chiang Mai Songkranlazer cannon water gun- extremely accurate and has excellent long range. Low pressure and has ample storage capacity. Most effective for long range head shots/ear shots

angry bird guns- come in all shapes and sizes. Thai people love angry bird guns

small water pistol/say hello to my little friend- accurate and short range weapon most effective for sending a message. Poor reload time and poor storage capacity

The garden gun/exterminator- high accuracy with a bonus arc shot. Perfect for shooting people over obstacles. Pros: insane storage capacity of 20 litres. Cons: yet to be determined

List of CharactersDino Songkran 2014

Dino (The Ringmaster/mystro/bucket assassin) assassin/ranger class. This guy adds an aura boost of everyone around him often encouraging people around him to do stupid shit. Dino’s name became a verb. You almost Dino’d that guy (almost killed that guy with a bucket to the face)

Austin (sleeping beauty/Austin Powers/Austin Texas/young Fabio) druid/scavenger class. Sleeps like a greek god. Starts out with no sandals or gun. A scavenger/hunter gatherer type character who takes whatever weapon he can get.

Loretta songkranJub (Jubbs/vegan alcoholic) Jester class. Adds plus 100 luck to the group. Occasional boughts of Chiangnesia and Chiangovers (Chiang is a beer in Thailand that is super powerful unregulated and grossish). Jub came home once with one sandal, no phone and no scooter. His name is now a verb. “Go Jub yourself”, “let’s get jubbed up”. This friendly character prefers watching rugby in his room and pretending to make apps

Loretta (crouching tiger hidden bucket) assassin/thief class. a chinese woman who wanted her home town to be the capital of China (only because it is in the centre of China). Doesn’t hesitate to slap people with buckets of water

Delphine (the French connection) elf class. a high energy French woman who seems to know everyone. Introduced people to a game of inappropriate touching that is apparently popular in France.

Karine- (The water fairy) scout class. Insane Delphine songkranamounts of high energy. Karine floats around Songkran often engaging in battle and losing the group. This one woman show often gets ganged up on by stray Thai people getting assaulted with bucket after bucket. She can get you excited about dirt.

Phil (Smiley) warrior class. Only person equipped to use the garden gun. A one man mortar unit. An exterminator who can outlast everyone with his amazing weaponry. Always spotted pumping with his left hand and spraying everyone with a big grin. Works out once a week and never eats rice or drinks beer.

Karine songkran 2014Frantz- (Christoph Jackman.. cross between Christoph Waltz and Hugh Jackman) ranger class. Weapon of choice is cynical French humor and the one shot wonder

Etsoku- (Japanese Badonkadonk) monk class.  Likes every picture on Facebook and often communicates in several languages

Michelle- (stock queen) elf/paladin class. will come out to Songkran maybe or may stay back to check Chinese stocks maybe. She heals people with buying spring rolls.

Anka- (mother Russia) assassin class. Who’s Anka? good question many of us didn’t know and were confused but we figured it out. Potentially ex KGB/double agent squirt gun assassin

Neil (Gabe/Bob) in his own class.  Likes to get in Andy Songkrandrunken kick fights with Jub… that should say enough

Stefan (James) ranger class. Rarely spotted, low profile Swedish guy too cool for most of Songkran but boss enough to threaten to unfriend everyone. Prefers socks with sandals

Andy (big man, big big) Orge/Druid hybrid. Prefers head shots and ear shots from a distance

Vehicles

Getting Dinoed Songkran Chiang Mai 2014Scooter- People crazy enough to drive one of these can expect to get buckets of water dumped on them regardless of speed. Young Fabio was doing a border visa run (crossing the border to get a new 30 day visa for Thailand) and got hit with buckets of water while he was going 90 km on the highway. On a scooter you can fit several people often small children with a water gun. Perfect vehicles for drive bys

Pick up trucks- often so many people on the back of a truck there is standing room only. This vehicle is perfect for having a drum barrel of ice water with buckets and magic sticks for maximum damage. This is the perfect mobile mortar unit. Walking by one of these you will almost always get hit with a pimp wand of cold water or a whole bucket of ice water

tuk-tuks- this seems to be the busiest day for tuk tuks as people rarely take tuk tuks but on Songkran people rent tuk tuks and use it as an extremely quick and nimble mobile mortar unit

Songtow- a much bigger tuk tuk but with more protection. You need to attack from the back as the only weak point is in the back of the songtow

AmmoSongkran 2014

street water barrels- These barrels often had water supplied from tap water

ice water- giant block of ice with water

moat water/gutter water- gross reused water, brownish in colour

moat ice water- gross reused water with ice

Communication device-Facebook messenger. I was hoping for something cool like a military sat phone. Almost everyone leaves their phones at home and we kick it old school before cell phones were around with blind communication in stone age times.

Day One

The first day it started the day before it actually started. Doesn’t make sense? No problem. Same same but different. I heard Chiang Mai is the place to be for Songkran and I didn’t know what to expect. Four brave expats/farangs (this is the name given to foreigners) decided to meet up and walk to the old city.

Resting up at the Busbar Chiang mai We parked our scooters at Bus Bar in the early afternoon (it’s a bar made out of buses, overlooks the river and has reasonably priced drinks). Slowly we started to walk to the old city to meet up with a group of couch surfing mercenaries. Several blocks of walking we are assaulted on all fronts. Giant empty garbage bins are used for fuel supply. Some people throw buckets of water on us. Some shoot us with a powerful and accurate one shot wonder gun/magic stick Some kids shoot with little guns. Buckets are being dunked on everyone and no one is off limits. On a scooter? Doesn’t matter you are fair game. Good thing I made the decision to leave my camera and cell phone at home and only bring some money and my GoPro camera. Cute little old people dump buckets of cold water on me…. assassins are everywhere.

The day ends with a giant party at Tapae Gate. Loud music and a very large crowd and lots of dancing. This is the day before Songkran and it is still much better than Holi Day or most of the parties I have been to in my life. Afterwards we decided to meet up at Bus Bar.

Day 2- 4 Highlights

We meet up at roughly 2pm for the next few daysThe After Party Chiang Mai songkran and stay out until roughly 6pm. There is a fairly large group of roughly 13 people. There is so many people at Songkran people get lost really easily. Trying to navigate through stopped vehicles you breathe in vehicle exhaust with walking through gross gutter water (that people probably peed in). A few times I take the one shot and suck up gutter water and shoot people in vehicles. Towards the end of days I would check my pockets for fucks to give and it turns out I had none left to give. Before the start of each day we could communicate on a time to meet via facebook messenger and usually you would have to sort through all the trash being talked on the messages to get through a meeting point and destination. Eventually we became more effective and efficient and would name the group name the meeting point for that day (it took us 4 days to figure this out though)

-Dino was overly enthusiastic and almost causes a scooter to crash as he whips buckets of water at people often in the face. One Thai girl stopped and swore at Dino and he toned it down after that

- Phil needed to fill up his insane gun maybe 3 times total.

-old people were so funny and cute during Songkran. One old guy in a pick up truck would let out this big hearty laugh while he would squirt tourists. I’m convinced old people are just much older kids as they don’t seem to care about things like little kids do.

-the children were so cute during Songkran. Often 2-3 year olds would be in a kiddie pool and would miss trying to hit anyone with their lack of coordination.

-very festive environment everywhere. Everyone was all smiles and having a great time

-I enjoyed shooting many a people in the ear/face with low pressure burst fire. Karma bit me hard and it really hurt (my ear had water in it for a couple days after)

-it was extremely tiring walking around for 5 hours a day getting buckets of cold water dunked on you on hot weather

-moat ice water is really gross but fun.

(also look for Spiderman at the end of this video)

-at one point we found a bridge and sniped people in various vehicles from above

-had a ladyboy shoot my groin area and had a gay guy pinch my arm (losing 50 pounds upped my stock even if it is members of a team I don’t pitch for… I still got it… sorta)

-concentrating full fire power on a single songtow was pretty awesome.

(also look out for the Spiderman in the dune buggy at the end of this video)

-riding a scooter in the heat of the battle was really fun and slightly scary

-Dino shot a cop… Dino don’t give a shit, Dino don’t care

-Jub tried to play the dunk tank game.

-Dino lost his bucket and got it back again.

-bumped into a guy that had the sillest glasses that squirted water from them. Very ineffective but halarious.

-I forgot how fun and cool using my waterproof GoPro camera can be.

Everyday was filled with over-stimulation. It was fun but also a very exhausting experience. It could be very loud, hot and cold, people everywhere, vehicle exhaust, gutter water. People over all ages acted like kids in a crazy water fight lasting 4 solid days. Back to back national festivals in different countries was an incredible experience. Other major parties/festivals I want to see is Carnival in Rio and that big tomato fight. Songkran in Chiang Mai is definitely an experience I would like to do again and would feel comfortable bringing kids to.

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Interview With Manfred of Renegade Travels

petronas-towers-manfredLet’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

I grew up in the UK and Miu grew up in Thailand. We met a few years ago after I had moved to Thailand. I don’t think either of us had any real life goals when we were younger, apart from the usual of going to university, getting a good job and that kind of stuff. It was only later in life that I started setting goals for myself. We run a travel blog called www.renegadetravels.com.

 

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?

I’d been living in London for around 20 years, had just sold my business and was at a loose end. I decided that I needed a change and so decided to move to Thailand. I aimed to work out what to do with the rest of my life after taking some time off. Once I got here I decided to stay. It’s a great place to live.

 

What were your biggest fears before you left home? , and how do you feel about them now?

I didn’t have any fears about leaving home. I thought ubud-miuthere was a possibility I might not like Thailand, but I could easily have gone home if that was the case. I’m quite adaptable, so moving to another country seems fairly straightforward for me. Things always seem to work out if you just go with the flow and don’t try to control things too much. So there’s no real need to worry about moving to another country. What’s the worst that can happen?

 

How long have you been traveling?

I left the UK almost four years ago and have spent most of that time in Bangkok, which I love. About a year ago we set off around Southeast Asia, visiting the north of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. We then came back to Bangkok for a little rest.

 

Where are you now?

We’re currently in Bangkok, although we’ll be leaving this weekend.

 

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

For the rest of this year we plan to travel around Thailand. We’ll start off in the northeast and then work our way south, visiting Cha Am, Hua Hin, Krabi, Phuket, Koh Samui and a few of the other islands. We’ll stay in each place anything from a few days to a few months, depending on how we like them. After that we plan to spend 5-6 months traveling around Europe. We’d also like to fit in a month or two in New York sometime soon.

 

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

I would say that we felt pretty safe wherever we went in Southeast Asia, but the UK feels safer to me, maybe because I grew up there.

 

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger) ?

While we felt safe in Vietnam, it did have a slightly bad vibe about it. There were far too many scams and other annoyances going on there, and for that reason we probably won’t be going back any time soon.

 

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

Our dealings with government officials, police and border guards have been pretty pleasant. I’ve been stopped by police twice in Bangkok, both times were to warn me to keep my backpack safe because motorcycle snatch thieves were operating in the area.

 

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jobs?

I update my blog while traveling, but apart from that neither of us work while traveling.

 

Tell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?

One of the high points for us was walking down into the crater of an active volcano in Indonesia. And what impressed us the most was watching the workers that carried sulfur from the bottom of the crater all the way to the base of the volcano. These men carry 50-70 kg of sulfur twice a day over a distance of around 12 kg. Their strength is truly amazing.

 

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

I still keep in touch regularly with family and my closest friends. But after being away for almost four years, some have fallen by the wayside. But we’ve both made more friends along the way.

 

Any Regrets?, Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

There I certainly things I wouldn’t do if I had my time over again, but I don’t really have any regrets. Often, life’s most valuable lessons come from the mistakes you made. If you never made any mistakes, you’d never learn those lessons. That’s life. So no regrets.

 

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

I don’t see us traveling constantly at any time. Our travel style is to travel slowly and head back to base for at least six months a year. That suits us perfectly, as it means keeping in touch with friends and family and also seeing the world. It can get tiring staying in hotels for months on end, so it’s nice to be more settled some of the time.

 

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

The only advice I have is that if you really want to travel, then make it a priority. If you don’t have enough money at the moment, then set yourself a time frame in which to work hard and save as much as possible. Too many people claim that they want to travel but have a whole list of excuses of why they can’t at the moment.

 

Do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?

Our blog now gets around 25,000 page views per month, with over 14,000 unique visitors. All we did to get to that point was to keep posting regularly. I’d also suggest sticking to what you have experienced personally instead of writing generic blog posts. Also it’s good to use you own photos, as this shows that your blog is authentic. I wouldn’t think about it too much, but just set it up and start writing.

 

Have you written any books or have a blog, that you would like to plug, write out a brief description here?

I have a book called Travel Southeast Asia For Under $30 A Day. You can get a free copy at free book. Our blog is www.renegadetravels.com.

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Interview With Dawn Kealing Of “Life, Love & Adventure”

saqqara dawn kealing

   pyramids dawn kealing   Let’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up; do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

Hello! :) I grew up in a small town near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. When I was younger my main focus was to be positive, happy and healthy. I always had dreams of doing things that seemed pretty impossible to me at the time, aka. Traveling the world. In the past couple years everything has changed yet stayed the same, I am still that positive and healthy person yet I have been able to travel the world!

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?punta cana dawn kealing

There was no persuasion needed to get me out traveling the world! The key factor that made it happen though would be my amazing husband. I started working with him at his business and together after some time we financially made traveling possible!

What were your biggest fears before you left home?, and how do you feel about them now?

I can’t recall any specific fears; there definitely was a lot of excitement coursing through my veins as we were driving to the airport! There was also the, as I know now, the normal stresses of making sure to remember all the documents and the stress of my first long flight but everything went smoothly!

How long have you been traveling?

I have been traveling off and on for the past 2 years; we did 2 trips the first year and 4 trips last year.

Where are you now?

I am currently at home in Northern British Columbia trying to bear through another one of our freezing winters!

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

dawn kealing petraMy plans for this upcoming year are to work on my blog, A LOT! There are a few goals I have set up for myself to do throughout the year to improve my blog and hopefully get more out of it!

Another plan I have put together for myself is to travel more of BC this summer. I have lived here all my life and am starting to feel like I have traveled more of the world than I have my own beautiful province!

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

Most of my travels have been all through Central America, the country that I felt the safest in would be Costa Rica! Everywhere we went through Central America everyone was always so friendly though! :) I honestly think I felt safer in Costa Rica than I do in the town I live in in Canada. We’re the crime capital of Canada says MacLean’s magazine. :/

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger)?

The country that I felt the most on edge in would have to by Egypt. No matter where you are the spotlight is always on you. People trying to bring you into their stores or sell you stuff on the streets, people pulling at your clothes and snickering at you but you have no idea what they are saying.

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

Oh dear, my most dreaded question haha. I always seem to have issues with jordan dawn kealingborder guards, I don’t know why! When I was leaving Egypt to go to Jordan the border guard started speaking really loudly (yelling) at me and pointing to my lip, which is pierced. I had no idea what he was saying and he just kept getting more and more upset, eventually he let me through but only once I was bawling my eyes out. :/ All the other times have been coming back into Canada, as funny as that seems. I always feel like I am being interrogated for doing some horrible crime yet I have done nothing!

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jobs?

Other than blogging while I am traveling I don’t do any other types of work. We work a lot a home, taking 2 weeks to a month away at a time is a great break from work for us!

Chichen itza dawnTell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?

I think my most jaw dropping experience would be going on my first Hot Air Balloon ride in Luxor, Egypt over the Valley of the Kings and Queens. It was absolutely breathtaking!!

My most memorable experience that left me in awe would be seeing fireflies in Palenque, Mexico. We were sitting on a chair on the porch of our little bungalow and they started flying all around us and through the jungle. I couldn’t help but shed some tears, it was amazing!

An incredibly touching experience was when I organized a trip in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic to a local school to donate school supplies.

Last but not least, my most terrifying experience so far in my travels would be doing to Mega Tarzan Swing in Costa Rica. After ziplining for a couple hours and my adrenaline was already up I thought, why not?! Once I got to the end of a super long suspension bridge that was hanging over a valley I tried to run back but the guys pushed me out! It was one of the most terrifying things I have done in my life!!

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

Not really, my family has always been super supportive of my decisions. dawn kealing colorfull frogSometimes my mother gets a little worried depending on the places I am traveling to but she is always supportive regardless! The best thing is my little nephew (3), before leaving for my last trip I was at my sisters and he asked if he could come with me. Maybe one day little buddy! <3 I travel with my best friend so there’s no issue there! I have close friends at home and I always meet new friends while traveling but traveling as never affected any of my relationships negatively.

Any Regrets?, Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

No regrets is the best way to live! The only thing I keep kicking myself in the butt for is not learning Spanish yet!

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

If I could travel for the rest of my life I would be the happiest person in the world! As of right now I have no reason or want to stop exploring the world so I will continue traveling for as long as I can! :)

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

saqqara dawn kealingMy biggest encouragement is to JUST DO IT!! Don’t look back, just go and explore this beautiful planet. It will be one of the best things you ever do! There is so much knowledge to learn out there that you cannot learn in a classroom, traveling is priceless!

Do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?

It takes a LOT of work, don’t give up, it’s so worth it!! Do what makes you happy, if you get to the point when you’re feeling super burnt out then take a small break to refresh your thoughts and begin writing again! Don’t expect everything to come really easily because it takes a lot of work, join into blogging communities on social media sites or around you if it’s offered. One of my most favorite things about blogging is the love and support from my fellow bloggers in the communities I am in!

Do you write for a blog that you would like to plug?

I have a blog that I strive to update daily; it is called Life, Love and Adventure! It’s a travel blog where I write about all the places I have been so far, where I want to go next and all kinds of travel tips I have learned in my years of traveling! :)

A BIG thank you to Roamin Around for featuring me on their page!!

 

 

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Take The Train to Chiang Mai

Train to Chiang Mai

Switching Trains

I just returned to Chiang Mai from a short tour of Cambodia. I had spent 2 weeks in Cambodia with my friends from Latvia, then had the good fortune to meet up with a friend for 3 days in Bangkok. Although I travel a lot, I must say it is quite draining on your system. Don’t get me wrong I love to travel and see new things, experience new cultures, meet new people, eat interesting foods, and creatures. ;) . But what I have realized the most stressful part of the whole journey seems to be the transport.

Riding in Turbo buses (Silver high top Vans) in Thailand for instance willThai Turbo Bus leave you with very little sleep, your hair standing on end, and as you will see when you get the opportunity, these drivers are all in training for some sort of international Grand Prix. Driving on the opposite side of the road, forcing on coming traffic onto the shoulder. Avoiding all stoplights by turning onto the intersecting road making a u-turn at full speed, then turning back onto the main thoroughfare. (actually a neat idea,,, stoplights can last in excess of 200 seconds in Thailand). That being said they in fact do an amazing job at drifting through heavy traffic.There are handles bolted on to the back of the seats, many of which have been ripped off, either by the sheer terror of the passenger or just simple laws of physics and the steel/plastic handles are unable to cope with the stress.

Siem Reap Tuktuk    Then there are the Tuk Tuk drivers, who refuse to charge anything less the double that of a taxi ride. why…??? maybe it’s just the joy of being able to ride on a smoky, loud, slow, rickety piece of hand made ingenuity..  Then the biggest problem of course with the tuk tuk drivers is that they refuse to take you to your requested destination. You ask them to take you to the train station, they take you to a tour agency trying to sell you a tour package. You ask to go to your $10 per night hotel, they take you to a $200 per night hotel, and go into great detail explaining that it is high season and everything else is booked up. Yes, for those of you who have not been in Asia this is exactly how it works and unfortunately it is not the exception it is the rule.

Ok, now onto public buses, yea you know the ones , they come with great names like “V.I.P. Bus” , “The Hotel Bus”. these tend to drive at about 40kmph. There is a thing here in Asia that it does not matter how unsafe you drive provided you drive slowly. In the dusty roads of Cambodia, 40kmph is quite fast considering you can not see further then a few meters. The toilets do not work, so they will either randomly stop at the side of the road in a field for all the ladies and gents to use the public facilities. “The Hotel Bus” which is a sleeper bus. 2 layers of beds, 1 set of beds on the floor and one at about 150cm off of the floor. 2 beds on each side narrower then shoulder width, and about 4 1/2 foot long. generallyTrain to Chiang Mai managed by some local organized crime syndicate. and all of your valuables remaining with you for the extent of the voyage is also a risk and needs to calculated into the cost of the journey. This trip I had my Iphone stolen by the Bus driver assistant while I was sleeping, less then a meter from him, In less then 5 minutes after using my phone, after getting myself folded into an endurable position, I tried to get a short nap, and could not sleep so I decided to plug my headset into my Iphone that was no longer in my pocket.  Grrr.

old train carriage So after all of these stressful travels, I decided to take the train from Bangkok to Chiang mai. I actually did hesitate before making the decision, because from my experience the train has always been a minimum of 2 hours late. And this time was no exception. This time I had the joy of stopping about 2 hours outside of Chiang mai and wait a couple of hours for another train to come pick us up, as there were some sort of engine problems. So this time we all arrived only 5 1/2 hours late. Although I would still recommend it, It really is not much like traveling at all . there is a dining car ( actually more of a party car) the beds are quite comfortable, and I have always had the joy of meeting interesting fellow travelers to share stories with on the journey. The ticket price was around Train in Lampang area850 baht (approx $26). I showed up at the train station with only about 15 minutes to spare to catch the 19:35 train, and there were plenty of tickets available on a Thursday evening. The evening went fast, met some awesome people, hung out in the party car for a bit, not that I was into the party, but the ambiance was quite interesting. I was able to get a fairly good rest, ( first time in a while) . And I got to enjoy the views of the beautiful country side of northern Thailand.

Next time I take a trip, It will either be by plane, train or the best will be on my motorbike. See a country by motorbike is a whole other story. All The Best on your next journey.. And by the Way….. Take The Train…Finally Home in Chiang mai

 

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Interview with Kelly Mazur of kellyellamaz.com

Sorrento

PlayaDelCarmen_5thAveShopping    Let’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

I’m Kelly Mazur, owner of www.kellyellamaz.com. I was born and raised in Canada, and I’ve had a passion for travel since I was a kid. The idea of going on vacation has always excited me, and I’ve always obsessed over the planning and research for months before any given trip! That passion grew into an obsession when I started travelling as a young adult.

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?

Honestly one of the biggest factors was the harsh Canadian winters I was living through. I live for summer weather and beaches, so I’ve always been inclined to leave Canada for warmer weather! I also love the feeling of being in a new place. Everything is exciting when it’s new and fresh – like the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower or swam in the Mediterranean Sea!

How long have you been traveling?

I’ve been travelling frequently for the past three years, and my obsession just continues to grow.I’m currently planning an 18-month adventure that will be my longest yet!

Where are you now?

Right now I’m at home in Canada, about an hour outside of Toronto. Other than a trip to Quebec City I’ll be home until I move to Europe in July!

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

I just bought a one-way ticket to Barcelona! After spending some time in SpainMarrakech_Camel, I’ll be heading to Australia for a while too!

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

Spain for sure! After being in Barcelona for less than 24 hours I split with my boyfriend for the day and went shopping by myself while he went to museums! I felt completely at home there. I guess that’s why I decided to move there!

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger) ?

I didn’t always feel safe in Morocco. Women aren’t treated equally in Morocco, and I found it to be a harsh adjustment. I was viewed as my boyfriend’s property and the men at the hotel wouldn’t even talk to me! If I asked a question, they directed the answer to my boyfriend.

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

I was accused of having a fake passport at the USA border! After about a hundred questions the border official finally let me through.

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jRome_SpanishStepsobs?

I have about 4 different sources of income off my website that help pay for travel. Advertisements, product sales, freelance writing, and travel planning services all contribute to my income. None of it’s substantial, but it allows me to stretch my travel budget!

Any major life targets, that you are working on?

My goal this year is to turn those various sources of income into a full-time job. Like most travel bloggers, I want to quit my day job and work from my laptop from anywhere my heart desires! It’s a bit of a long shot right now, but I’m enjoying my small successes along the way!

Tell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?Sorrento

The view I had of the bay of Naples from my hotel room balcony in Sorrento (Italy) is something I’ll never forget. I had a glass of champagne in one hand, and my boyfriend’s hand in the other. I felt incredibly lucky to have experienced that beautiful city.

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

Travelling has definitely affected a few friendships. I’m not home as often as I used to be so I miss out on a lot of things. When I am home, I’m saving money and working non-stop on my website in order to be able to afford my next trip. It’s a huge sacrifice, but it’s a choice I’m comfortable with.

Any Regrets?, Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

The only travel regret I have is not travelling longer! Once it’s time to fly home I always wonder why I booked such a short trip…

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

I’m sure 20 years from now I won’t be travelling as frequently, but my passion for travel will never change.

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

Commit to saving money, then buy a ticket! Money is the biggest roadblock for most of us, but if you make sacrifices in other areas of your life then you can find ways to afford travel.

Do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?Marrakech_RooftopPool

Set clear goals for yourself and your blog. What do you want to accomplish? How will you measure your success? If you just buy a domain name and write aimlessly you won’t get very far. Don’t be afraid to aim high, as long as you’re aiming at something.

Have you written any books or have a blog, that you would like to plug?

My blog can be found at www.kellyellamaz.com, and my first e-book is being released on March 4th! It’s titled “101 Tips for Luxury Travel… on a Budget” and it’s really my personal collection of travel tips. I’ve gathered these tips through a few years of travelling as a ‘broke student with high standards’! I’m really proud of this book and I think anyone who struggles to afford travel will really value this information.

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InterView With Ashley From ” A Southern Gypsey”

Ashley a southern gypsey

Ashley a southern gypseyLet’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

I’m Ashley and the mastermind (ha!) behind A Southern Gypsy.  I was born and raised near Nashville, Tennessee.  For the past 10 years, I’ve obtained my bachelor’s degree in Psychology (don’t run, I promise I don’t over-analyze everything), living in South Carolina and Washington, and traveling as much as I could.  I was always that person who had a hard time “finding myself” and my purpose – went through a lot of random jobs and degree changes with nothing ever feeling right.  My dream was always to write though just never thought it possible.

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?

Well, I haven’t left yet, but I am in October.  The main things that happened that really made me make a decision to start preparing to quit my job and travel full time included: an ACL tear that resulted in complete reconstruction, another bad breakup from a tumultuous relationship, and unhappiness in yet another job.  I need a change was needed.

What were your biggest fears before you left home? , and how do you feel about them now?

 My biggest fear is having to come back to a “normal” life.  I already know I can’t do the typical 9-5, stable routine.  I don’t know what I’d do if I had to come back and return to that.  But, that only fuels my motivation!

How long have you been traveling?

 My entire life, just not consecutively.

Where are you now?

 Nashville, Tennessee.

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

 I will be doing lots of local things in Nashville and the surrounding areas until October.  In May, I head to Memphis for the weekend.  In July (or whenever they decide), I plan on going to TBEX wherever it happens to be.  At the end of October, I fly to LA and plan on spending a few days there and then I head to Bangkok at the beginning of November.  I will be in Southeast Asia well into 2015 – hitting all the Southeast Asian countries and Samoa (one of my best friends lives here).  Will most likely hit Australia since I’ll have to go through there to go to Samoa.

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

 I can honestly say I haven’t really felt unsafe before.

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger) ?asoutherngypsey

 I did have a guy follow me for quite some time in Italy and I finally got rid of him by hopping on a bus – I mean he literally followed me up to the bus door.  However, that does not mean I felt unsafe at all in Italy – this kind of crap happens at home too.

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

Nothing to mention.  I always get nervous going through immigration for absolutely no reason.  Kind of like seeing police lights behind you and being nervous even though you know you’re not speeding.

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jobs?

 I haven’t in the past, but that’s a big plan for my future.  Still searching out options.

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

 No, I plan on traveling in some form or another for as long as possible.  I may have to teach English for a year or work in one place for several months, but I plan is to be location independent.

Do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?

I’m probably too new to be giving tips and advice, but I will tell you as a new blogger than is nothing more beneficial than networking groups.  Get involved and stay involved as much as you possibly can.

Interview with the guy from flights and frustration

Today I am here Interviewing “The Guy from flightsandfrustration.com”

flights and frustrationLet’s start off by telling us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

Hi, I grew up in Yorkshire in England. My parents originate from Ireland so I spent most summer holidays on trips back to the Emerald Isle. I still love going back there, it is a beautiful country. As for life goals well yes, they’ve changed considerably! As a child I was brought up in a Catholic family and I felt as though I had a calling for a life in the church. It didn’t quite turn out that way though; I’m now happily married and frequently travel the world on business.

What were the key factors that persuaded you to begin frequent travel?

In the year 2000 my employer at the time offered me a chance to work overseas on a big project in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I must admit to being curious about it but didn’t want to over commit. I tried to negotiate for an initial 3 month placement whilst they wanted me to commit for longer. We initially said 5 months and I ended up staying for 17. Whilst Saudi Arabia is very restrictive compared to the West there were a lot of perks to the role. Each month I had an opportunity to take some leisure travel which I utilized as much as possible.

It was only when my time on the project came to an end and I returned to the UK that I faced the possibility of not being able to travel so extensively again. However I was very fortunate in that within a couple of months I found a new employer who offered the chance for international travel most months of the year. Admittedly this would be travelling to work at the destinations (the leisure travel from Saudi was just that, leisure). However, I would always return home and kind of get the best of both worlds.

How long have you been traveling?

I suppose my regular routine of international travel began in May 2000 when I first took that flight to Saudi Arabia. I can honestly say that for maybe 9-10 months a year, every single year since then I have been flying abroad somewhere. So 14 years of almost monthly international travel.

Where are you now?

I’m on a business trip in Melbourne Australia. I’m writing this in my hotel room after a day at work.

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

My travel remit with work is pretty much global, 6 continents. Forthcoming trips will include not only domestically in the UK but Norway, India, the US. I’m likely to return to Australia again this year and no doubt will visit many European countries plus Canada and maybe Brazil and Chile. I’ve already been to China this year.

I tend to arrange my work trips 2-3 months in advance so it varies as to where I go.

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

I must admit that I feel safe in my own country. I live in a semi-rural area so there are less of the issues you find in big cities.

As for travel I feel safer in the western countries and also China. The culture there tends to be very welcoming and friendly. Whilst you will still get your share of ignorant people you never really see any “gangs” going around nor have I ever really found myself in a difficult situation.

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger) ?

I’m really uncomfortable going to Johannesburg in South Africa. If truth be told I’ve been many times and never once suffered a problem or had anything stolen from me. However I have numerous South African friends and hear from them many tales of gun point robberies, burglaries, car jackings and murders. I’m also warned where not to go, not to go out alone and not to use taxis. At times you feel trapped in your hotel if you haven’t pre-arranged an outing.

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

A few years ago I was doing a joint work trip in The Netherlands and Germany. I had a hire car so drove from one location to the next. Whilst in Germany all the staff in the office smoked (which I hate) and everyday my clothes would stink of cigarette smoke. It was fine in the sense that I changed my clothes everyday yet at the end of the week my leather jacket stunk to high heaven of cigarette smoke.

On leaving I drove all the way back to Amsterdam Schipol airport to catch a flight home. As I was going through security I could tell the officer on duty was looking at me suspiciously. Even though my hand luggage went through the scanner okay he insisted on opening it and rummaged around extensively. He then asked me if I’d been staying in Amsterdam for long and if I’d “visited any cafes”? I quickly explained to him that they had no interest to me; I’m not into drugs and wouldn’t dare go near them.

He then explained that he could smell the cigarette smoke on me and “thought he’d got lucky”. So thanks to my German colleagues I was very suspicious.

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jobs?

Not in the sense of your typical full time travel blogger. I have a normal office day job. I work for a multinational manufacturing company which is head quartered in the UK. As part of my job I go to visit our various locations and work on various projects with staff there. Being a digital nomad is a hobby for me. Travelling is my job.

Tell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?

Whilst I was working in Saudi we saw the various sides to life in this country. There is a wide contrast in wealth between the haves and have not’s. A lot of the locals don’t work or are lazy workers; in their eyes much work is mundane and beneath them. A lot of foreign workers come into the country and those from Asia tend to be paid a horrifically poor wage, kept in very restrictive conditions and perform the physical jobs such as cleaning etc. Their employers also tend to confiscate their passports so they can’t leave the country or they have to buy their way out.

Anyway, I was in the office one day with another colleague from the UK when one of these cleaners walked into our room and handed me a note. His English was poor so the note helped. It explained that his father at home in Sri Lanka was seriously ill with a heart condition and had maybe only a few days or weeks left to live. This cleaner was desperately going around asking if anyone would donate some money so he could buy a plane ticket home. I explained this to my friend and we agreed to give the guy equivalent to about £40 GBP (£20 each). When I handed the money over the cleaner looked at me, took the money very gratefully then burst into tears. Here was a grown man crying and overwhelming grateful to us both. It turns out that he’d been desperately begging people for ages and had received virtually next to nothing from the locals, since they mainly look down upon the Asian cleaners.

Word soon got around about this cleaner and our project manager sorted it so that our company paid for his plane ticket home. He was able to go home and be with his family before his father died.

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

I was already traveling frequently when I met who is now my wife. She is used to me travelling away. Admittedly it is more difficult for her than it is for me. However she understands that it is a job which I enjoy and when I am at home we do get time together. (I’m not working late in the office every night when I’m in the UK.)

My parents seem okay about it. Every time I’m about to leave my mum always says “You will be careful won’t you?” but she does tend to be a little bit of a worrier. However conversations with my parents often revolve around where I’ve just been and where am I going to next.

I must admit that with my frequent travel it is very difficult to see friends often. Many of my friends are scattered around the UK and you need a planned trip to meet up. They also have busy lives as well so coordinating a free weekend is really difficult. I can now go a year or two before meeting up with some of the closest friends to me. That is really difficult but the friendships seem strong enough to survive this.

Any Regrets? Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

Not sure they are regrets but if the Saudi project had been made available to me earlier I may have been able to travel more under my own steam. I’ve longed to go to New Zealand and the Antarctic yet haven’t made it yet. With my current circumstances it would take some planning to do this now, whereas the Saudi project would have made it a lot more time and cost affordable.

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

I’ve been traveling frequently for 14 years now and can’t see an immediate end in sight. Not only do I get to see the world but from a work perspective it stimulates me. I’d hate to have a job where I am sat at the same desk everyday doing the same mundane task year in year out. With this job I enjoy the actual work I do and get to see some amazing places courtesy of my employer. I suppose I’ll keep doing this job for as long as my health allows.

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

You really don’t know what you are missing until you try it. Places may look boring or predictable on the TV but you need to immerse yourself in the culture and see it first-hand. Feel and smell that humid air, see the vibrant colours, taste and smell the local cuisine as it is meant to be rather than being misled by a poor imitation cuisine restaurant on your high street. Observe the local cultures first hand and see what really goes on. You only get one shot at this life, don’t let it be one where you miss the opportunities.

If you are a travel blogger, do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?

Have patience and lots of it. Very few people make a success of it overnight. It can take many months or even a couple of years to start getting the reader numbers you’d like.

Whilst you build your blog don’t be afraid to politely connect with other bloggers and build blogging relationships with them. You can learn so much from them and be willing to offer your help for free.

Don’t go into blogging thinking you’ll be able to make lots of money in no time at all. That is the wrong mind set and you’ll more than likely fail.

See your blog as a long term commitment, for years not a few months. Pace yourself and work at a tempo you can maintain long term. Don’t try to do everything at once, you’ll burn out and give up if you do.

Have you written any books or have a blog, that you would like to plug, write out a brief description here?

I run 2 travel related sites. Firstly there is my personal travel blog http://flightsandfrustration.com. I also run a website which interviews travel bloggers (established as well as up and coming) from around the web at http://travelbloggerinterviews.com.

I recently released a book on the kindle format which is available worldwide from Amazon. It is a book about frequent flyer schemes and how you can benefit from them even if you never take a flight. I cover the wide range of ways you can earn frequent flyer miles with or without flying and some of the various things you can redeem the miles for.

I also look at the way these schemes work in terms of tiers and what pitfalls you should look out for. I will then advise you on how to decide which are the right scheme/s you should join for your particular circumstances.

The book is called “A brief introduction to airline frequent flyer schemes and which ones you should join”. You can buy the book from here.

About Me:-

Blog: http://flightsandfrustration.com/ I also run http://travelbloggerinterviews.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheGuyWhoFlies

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FlightsAndFrustration

The Guy has been a long term international business traveler for 14 years. He has covered 6 continents and flies internationally almost every month. He still holds over a million frequent flyer miles in his frequent flyer account. You can keep up to date with his global adventures on his travel blog Flights And Frustration – “The rants, ramblings and ruminations of a frequent traveler.”

Stepping Up and Diving In with Jonny Jenkins

Pedestrian Crossing With Jonny Jenkins

Jonny Jenkins Temply top    Today I am Interviewing Jonny Jenkins of Http://stepupdivein.com

      Let’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

I grew up in small town Canada, amazing upbringing that I can only look back upon with the fondest of memories. As a kid I was hoping to earn a full ride scholarship to the states for Hockey, get a great education and eventually take over my dad’s Chartered Accounting business.

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?

I was raised by parents that always pushed the value of travel. However, there was one key factor that eventually kicked my butt into gear and get out there… my mom up and moved to Spain and was there over Christmas… thus my sister and I went out to visit her for the holidays, and do a little traveling… the bug was caught and a cure never found.

What were your biggest fears before you left home? , and how do you feel about them now?

I can’t say I had many the first time I left. But about the fourth time I left (age 24) I was fearing that I was starting to miss opportunities in the real world… Now I’ve realized that I add much to my resume with the experiences, such as volunteer, working abroad or learning new languages, that has augmented my resume greatly and should I ever decide to return for a ‘real life’ back in Canada, I’m well aware that I’ve a great set of skills for potential employers, that much more considering the value of diversity is becoming increasingly important.

How long have you been traveling?Jonny Jenkins Tikal

Call it a decade… 6 months a year for a decade at least… but this time I’ve set out to not go back. The last time I was back ‘home’ was about 7 months ago now.

Where are you now?

Kathmandu, Nepal

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

Oh man, loaded question. The year I don’t have too planned out, but the next four months are packed. Specifically because I’m turning 30. Although I don’t put much importance on the number, I set some goals while I was home to get done before my 30th, so I’m just polishing those off now… they are:
- Speak 5 languages fluently – Currently at 3 fluent, 1 written/read, 1 in class every day, 1 other not far, and 3 more in shattered sentences… (total of 9 floating around and bumping into each other.

- Get to 30 Countries – Honestly I’ve never been one to collect stamps, but as I approach 30 years old with just under 30 countries, thought it would be a good benchmark to make and then make sure to get to one new country each year for the rest of my life… 30th country (most likely Tanzania) looks like it will be about 3 days after my birthday

- Be on the top of Kilimanjaro – Recently I’ve figured out that the date makes it a tough climb, so I’m putting this goal back a couple of weeks and hope to summit within a month of the day.

- Finish my book – Again just using the day as a point to have it done… Spending a lot of time writing these days, should be done by the day, though I will have to edit and rewrite much of it, so I’m not pushing to publish by the day.

I also have a 3 month stint for volunteering in Nepal and a 3 month stint volunteering in Ethiopia on the books…

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

Long list… Canada is Canada… it’s pretty difficult to feel safer than there. I guess otherwise the safest have been Western Europe and parts of the States.

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger) ?

Jonny Jenkins Ice CreamI’m not one to feel on edge. But, probably at times in Thailand because it was my first 3rd world country.

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

Too many to count… The majority of which happen in between the American/Canadian border. Including getting caught with firewood (apparently you can’t do that), getting caught with a wallet of a wanted narcotics trafficker in the vehicle (though we didn’t know the guy), getting lost looking for my guitar at customs and (by having my alarm clock go off) create a bomb scare… need I add more?

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jobs?

Certainly, was a Scuba Instructor for awhile, have worked as a drop in English prof, much volunteering… and now looking to create a career on the road in between my writing and environmentally sustainable developments.

Tell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?

Jaw Drop – Scuba diving with a Whale-shark.
Left in Awe – Hiking North Coast Trail in Canada (does that count as traveling?)
Incredibly Touching – The goodbye letter from an indigenous school high in the Andes of Ecuador after spending 4 months volunteering/living there.

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

Friends – I’d say I’ve held onto the major relationships and appreciated them Jonny Jenkins Tajamulcomore… but I’d be lying if I said I don’t neglect these relationships at times.

Family – This one hurts to be honest. I’m really close with my family, and especially now that there’s a younger generation around I feel like I’m missing out on their upbringing… but I’ve become the ‘traveling cousin/uncle/son’ … And I like to think they understand… they certainly tell stories about me, and the younger generation is learning certain geography based on ‘where in the world is Jonny?’

Any Regrets?, Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

One – Lived in Germany about a decade ago and never learned German. I find regrets a waste of time, so let’s just say that I plan to remedy this.

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

I see a point where I will again get into living in Canada 3-6 months a year, having another ‘home/eco project’ 3-6 months a year and exploring for whatever time is remaining.

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

Jonny Jenkins Landing in OntarioHmm… At the end of the day, what kind of stories would you like to be able to tell your children/grandchildren? Do you want to have stories that involve you as a protagonist, or rather ones that you heard second hand and are merely retelling someone else’s tales? There’s nothing wrong with learning vicariously and we all have some responsibilities… but the moment you leave your hometown you’ll realize what responsibilities are actually important for you and your happiness and which ones have been but society’s view of who you should be… and really, if you look at your surround society, are you willing to say that they have all the answers?

Do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?

Absolutely, it takes time. Get into writing, don’t worry too much about the finicky little things to begin with. Whatever keeps you motivated, focus on that. The way that SEO works, you won’t be able to get ranked too high until you’ve got some longevity to your site… so write what you enjoy.
Furthermore… actually travel. Get to places where others go as that brings search queries but also get to places that others don’t, as that brings intrigue. Start now… even if you aren’t blogging much, having the site up will help you in the long run… And do EVERYTHING you find interesting… others might as well.

With all of this, you should be aware that at first it will be an investment… think of it as around a year (give or take) before your blog starts to give back… so make sure you have enough to live off of for that long.

Have you written any books or have a blog, that you would like to plug?

Http://stepupdivein.com

By using humor, photos, stories and advice, I hope to engage everyone in such a way that, in the very least, it breaks up the monotony of a given working day; and, in the most, inspires others to get out there and see the world for themselves. I’ve always been a storyteller, and try to get very deep into cultures by staying for longer periods of time, learning the local language and finding a role in the society (typically volunteer) so that my relationships with said locals are not just economically driven… and then I come back to that storytelling bit to tell others of the hilarity and ridiculousness in my own mannerisms… I do my best to respect all others whilst being comically self-deprecating and love to hear from anyone/everyone.

The Odyssey – 30 Stories that made me 30 Years old

I won’t plug my book just yet… But the premise is this: Our generation is potentially the first in the history of mankind that has had this gap (in between 20 and 30) open up. The stories of an eccentric traveler are used to exemplify the diversity in which ‘this odyssey’ can be undertaken…Jonny Jenkins Abbot Ridge

Interviewing Fellow travelers.

travel blog interviews

I have been traveling for quite a few years now, and it seems that one thing is universal, that all travelers have an interesting story to tell. So I am making a special category Just for you fellow travelers, with a story to tell.

So Travelers, Travel bloggers , please take the time to respond to the following questions below, feel free to ad a bit of your own ideas, then email them to me and I will get them posted as soon as I can. Just a hint roaminaround.com is a PR3 and I would love to help you out with your rankings, so everybody,,, tell us something interesting….;)

Let’s start off by telling a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, do you remember your main life Goals when you were young and has that changed?

What were the key factors that persuaded you to leave the comfort of your home?

What were your biggest fears before you left home? , and how do you feel about them now?

How long have you been traveling?

Where are you now?

What are your plans for the upcoming year?

What countries do you consider you felt the safest? And did you feel safer than in your home country?

What countries do you feel the most on edge (in Danger) ?

Any memorable dealings with government officials, Police or Border Guards?

Do you do any work while you travel, such as digital nomad, consulting, or odd jobs?

Any major life targets, that you are working on?

Tell us some of the experiences that made your jaw drop, left you in Awe, or were incredibly touching?

How has your traveling affected your relationships with your friends and family?

Any Regrets?, Anything you would like a shot at a do-over?

Do you see an end to this journey, or do you expect to continue to be on the move, exploring most of your life?

Any words of encouragement for our readers to get them to leave the couch and hit the road?

If you are a travel blogger, do you have any tips for others who are trying to get a successful blog up and going?

Have you written any books or have a blog, that you would like to plug, write out a brief description here?

Please include a picture or 2 so that we can show you off.

Instructions: Please copy and paste the questions, preferably into a  word document or just an email, feel free to adlib , ad your own questions if you like. And don’t forget the pics. I will go through them as fast as I can and add them to the blog.

Please send interviews to: interviews (at) roaminaround (dot)com

Making a Living as a Digital Nomad

      Of all the dreams I have, there are two things in particular that hold a special place in my heart. They are related to each other and they complement each other. These are: the desire to travel and financial freedom.

If you are reading this travel blog, you will understand how I feel. You know how it itches when you have not traveled at least once or twice a year. You have the urge to travel in your veins.

But if you are still new to the idea of actually taking a vacation to some distant place, I bet there is little need to convince you of its merits, for travel appeals to almost everyone. Not only that it is also the number two industry on the internet, Only surpassed by Porn.

I have always wanted to travel. It’s in my bones. I love visiting exotic places and traveling to far-off destinations that most people only dream about. I believe that a lot of people have the innate desire in their hearts to get up and go, to leave everything behind and travel the world.

     If this is so, what is stopping the masses from doing so? The usual problem besetting would-be travelers is simple: they are cash-strapped. They do not have the finances needed to make their dream vacation. For many who actually have the money, they usually don’t have the time to take away and enjoy traveling. They either have to keep watch over their businesses or otherwise have to stay in their work. And while most jobs and businesses allow for some time off for vacation, there are simply too many people that are not prosperous enough to afford one. Soon, all thoughts of travel vanish in their minds, and they start living as zombies without any hope of fulfilling their dreams.

      Which brings us to my point: financial freedom. And this is where it gets exciting, because I am going to give you some tips on how to finally afford that vacation while not leaving time off in your work.

     The advent of the internet opened a veritable treasure mine of online opportunities for making money. There are so many businesses nowadays that are based mainly online, and there are thousands of work that can be done in cyberspace.

       What I am essentially pointing out to you is that you can start making a living as a digital nomad. As long as you can get a decent online connection, you can work absolutely anywhere in the world. The kinds of work available online include jobs as a virtual assistant; SEO and online writer; blogger; web designer; professional in various types of software; data entry professional; typing jobs; mobile application developer; language tutor; graphic designer; and thousands of other virtual jobs. You can learn these with online help as well, so it is not like you need to earn a college degree to be able to competently perform them.

      In addition, you can also put up online businesses which do not need any real, physical stores and can be accessed anywhere. Your products can be anything you want to sell, from bags and shoes to gadgets and vehicles. You can also sell virtual services.

     It is up to you to choose your online niche. Research it while you are still in your current office job, determine its feasibility, determine the time you will spend on it each week, and start on it if everything works out. Afterwards, you can then quit your job and start making a living as a digital nomad.

       After my Industry was hit with the crisis, I had a little bit of cash saved up and started to travel. and it took me about 5 years to learn many of the tricks of the trade that I know now. Also it helps that I am living in Chiang Mai, Thailand where there are many others in the same position that I am in, and I have been able to learn a lot from local networking with other digital nomads. If you are interested I am would like to help, send me an email at info@roaminaround.com and put in the subject line “how do I become a digital nomad”.

      Whenever I retire after a long day of Wondering the planet, I simply open my laptop and start to work at my leisure. My time belongs to me and I can do my work anywhere.

      Making a living as a digital nomad works, and I would like to share with you this opportunity so that you can do the same and finally live the life you’ve always wanted.

So good luck, God bless and I hope to bump into you wherever in the world you may be!