During my year-long journey all across Southeast Asia, I became a big advocate and fan of traveling by motorbike. I probably rode a bike at least once in every country I visited and every single time it made for a unique and unforgettable experience. I did several multi-day tours as well as numerous one day excursions. It is about the feeling of total freedom, of really immersing yourself in the scenery around you, about the sun warming your face, a cool breeze blowing through your hair and all those kind people you meet on the road. Personally I think it is one of the best ways to really explore a place and I can recommend everyone to at least give it a try. Here is why I think so: Continue reading
Traveling alone can be a scary thing. It forces you out of your comfort zone and throws a bouquet of challenges at you. I recently received a lot of feedback from people who were thinking about traveling solo, but still seemed a bit hesitant. The thought of being all by yourself, maybe even in a total unknown environment, is sure a daunting one. From an early age on I traveled by myself – sometimes by choice and sometimes because I simply couldn’t find a travel partner. But leaving aside the reasons, traveling solo can be extremely rewarding and it’s something I would always do again. In this post I want to share a few thoughts which I have learnt along the way but also talk about the cons which one shouldn’t forget about. Spiced with a few tips, it might persuade one or the other of you to make the leap and give traveling solo a try.
Recently people have been asking me about the costs of my three months journey across the Philippines. A little poll on my Facebook Page also showed that there seems to be quite an interest in this topic. And because I never went much into detail in terms of budget and numbers, I would like to give you all a rough overview about what I spent and how I calculated beforehand. First of all it needs to be mentioned that this is very personal and might change a lot depending on how you like to travel individually and what kind of things you are after when on a holiday. Of course, if you are after luxury and maximum comfort, then you will end up spending more than someone who is more a backpacker kind of traveler. The activities you do while on holiday can also make a big difference. Diving can be expensive and so can longer guided tours for example. All of these factors make budgeting for such a trip in the Philippines a very subjective matter, but let’s start with some of my own numbers: Continue reading
Yesterday I received a huge amount of kind feedback, messages and Likes by Filipinos from at home and abroad. It is unbelievable and I never thought that this would take off as it did. The article I shared here with all of you was just my humble way of saying thank you and giving back a little. Yesterday was also my birthday and you all gave me the best present ever. Thank you all so much. Support like that really keeps me motivated and going. Maraming Salamat my Filipino Friends.
At the same time I found myself unable to reply to the comments you posted as they number more than 600 by now. That is unbelievable and I would really like to thank each and everyone of you for it. I usually reply to each comment individually because I think of it as respect for the people who take their time reading my posts – people like you. I want to apologize that I am not able to do it this time. Be assured that I value your support a lot and that I won’t ever forget. If you have any urgent inquiries, get in touch via Facebook as it seems to be better manageable for me at this time.
Thank you guys! You rock!
It’s been a quiet some time now since I have traveled the Philippines but I never got to write my final roundup. Recently thinking about it, I wasn’t even sure if I should write it at all since it has been so long ago already. But giving it a second thought, I just had to do it. In the end it was the country where I spent the longest time (three months), the country where I found new friends, fellow travelers and locals alike, the country of many adventures and the country with probably the friendliest people I have met. No, not writing this final roundup wouldn’t do this beautiful country and its people justice. A country that has it all and that is probably my favorite country after all. Continue reading
One of my two entries at the 2014 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Traveler Photo Contest got nominated as editor’s pick of the week. I didn’t even know about it until Sree, one of my blog readers who is also participating, told me about it. So it was quiet a surprise and a very pleasant one. The image is the Khmer Boxer during a fight in Phnom Penh. This time I edited it in black and white which I actually like a lot better than than the color version. You can find the contest and my epicture here.
Check out my new Facebook Page for ESCapology. Get fresh updates, more travel photographs, stories and my thoughts on traveling and backpacking. Cheers!
Traveling for almost one whole year is a long time and as you can imagine, a lot of things happened. Good and bad, exciting and frightening, exhilarating and touching, a lot of highlights and some lowlights but all of them all so memorable and I wouldn’t want to miss any of them. I often get asked what my favorite country was or the best thing I have done. That of course is very hard to answer because every experience and every encounter was special in its very own way. But there are a few things that stand out a little more than others and those I want to share with you in a short and entertaining way. Continue reading
I had struggled quite a bit before I finally decided to quit my corporate job in marketing and set out what would be my biggest adventure so far. A struggle because voluntarily leaving a well-paid job in a society which seems to put security, continuity and conformity over personal freedom is not an easy task. Being at a slightly older age already and at a stage where people around you start to steer their lives into the save havens of family, house and career didn’t make things any easier. But since I can remember, I have been suffering a severe case of wanderlust. A virus which sometimes was just lingering inside but most of the times ferociously demanding for a cure. I was tired of the regular 2-3 week vacations which just allowed for a small glimpse of a country, its culture and its people. I wanted more, I wanted to time to explore, time for adventure and time to reflect about myself and life in general. Continue reading
The temples of Angkor were supposed to be the last real highlight of my journey which by that point already lasted more than 10 months. As my funds were running low, I realized that the time to think about my return had finally come. So far, I had been able to successfully suppress these thoughts about the inevitable but they were persistent and kept creeping back without mercy. No more running away, I had to face it – within a couple of weeks I would probably touch European ground again. After having been on the road for that long, having enjoyed the sweet taste of freedom and having experienced adventures of all kinds, it almost felt unreal to finally plan my return. One thing was for sure, the upcoming days would bring a lot of a lot of “last times” …. Continue reading
My original plan was to enter Cambodia from Laos and then cross the whole country before going to Vietnam. But when you travel long-term, things and itineraries tend to change every once in a while and here it all happened very quickly. Due to a rather spontaneous decision to leave Cambodia early in order to meet up with my Belgian friends Dolf and Chris in the Philippines, I ended up returning to Cambodia five months after my initial visit. But this circumstance actually made for a very interesting experience as I had left the country during absolute high season, with the country being arid, dusty and hot and returned to what felt like a different country. At the end of wet season, I found a country of lush scenery, green fields and a pleasantly mild climate. As different as these two stays were, as different were the adventures I experienced. Continue reading