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More About Derek Freal Traveling The World Since 2009
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I am an advocate of slow travel, taking time to learn the culture of each country I visit.
There is no reason to rush. In five years of traveling I have only been to 23 countries.

On my 24th birthday I had a midlife crisis. Sure, I had a fancy job working with people twice my age, a massive salary and great benefits. But I was working 80+ hours a week -- had been for nearly five years -- when it suddenly hit me: I don't want to live like this. I had no social life, no girlfriend, no free time. It was all work-work-work.

Then I looked around at all my coworkers, many of whom had been working for the company for thirty years or more. Sure, they may have taken the family to a resort in Mexico for a week or visited our sister office in Penang for a few days on a business trip, but they had never really traveled. I did not want to be like them. I wanted to see the world. Within days I had turned in my notice and a few weeks later said my goodbyes and left the office for the last time. That was in March of 2009. A few days later I boarded a one-way flight to Japan to begin my new life. And I have never looked back.

For the first years it was all fun and games, throwing money around like it grew on trees. I was having a blast and completely stopped thinking about the future. Then towards the end of 2011 my best friend Jared asked me: "What are you going to do when you run out of money? You do realize you cannot live like this forever, don't you?"

I was speechless; had no idea how to respond. After all the fun I had been having living for the moment I knew that I could never go back to a stereotypical 9-5 job and be part of the rat race. For me the American Dream was laughable. I wanted to do nothing more than continue to explore this amazing planet we call Earth.

So I decided to do the one thing I could do while still living a carefree nomadic lifestyle: travel writing.

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Where Am I Now? Bouncing Around Asia, My Favorite Part Of The World
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Location Detail

Aug - Sep 2014
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// MEXICO

 
October 2014
2

// DUBAI

 
November 2014
3

// SRI LANKA

 
Latest Posts From The HoliDaze Blog

First Impressions: Sri Lanka (And Advice For Other First-Timers)

Galle Fort in Sri Lanka

First time visitors to Sri Lanka tend to assume that the country and the culture are very similar to India given their close proximity (only 28km apart) however nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve only been in the country a couple of days and already I have been overwhelmingly blown away by the kindness of the locals, the richness of their culture, the mouthwatering local cuisine and of course the breathtaking scenery. I arrived at 5am aboard Sri Lankan Airlines, the nation’s only international air carrier. Flying in to Colombo in the dark was a gorgeous experience in and of itself. As we descended overhead our speed combined with the abundance of trees kept blocking the lights below. The end result was very much like watching thousands of white Christmas lights blinking […]

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How To Get Free Shuttle Rides Between Abu Dhabi And Dubai

Etihad Shuttle

Abu Dhabi and Dubai are only about an hour apart from each other but in my experience traveling the United Arab Emirates I have found that Abu Dhabi is always the cheaper airport to fly through. I saved $350 just on this flight alone by landing in AD instead of Dubai. Of course my final destination is Dubai, so what now? Enter: The Etihad Express Shuttle. This bad boy runs between the two cities multiple times a day. It is quick, comfortable and even includes free bottled water and snack. But here’s the travel hacking beauty of it: there are no tickets for this shuttle. As such it is possible to catch a free ride if you know what to do. (Taking a taxi will cost you 300 AED — over $80 USD.) Needed […]

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Carlsbad, California’s Hidden Gems #citylove

Carlsbad, California

The gorgeous beachside town of Carlsbad sees tourists year-round, thanks to its warm weather and abundance of sights to keep visitors entertained, most notably Legoland California. However, embarrassingly enough, many of these visitors miss some of the best things to do in Carlsbad. New Village Arts Theatre This intimate and artistic theater is a favorite among Carlsbad locals. The plays vary throughout the year but the cast is always top-notch and never disappoints. Although there are only 99 seats, the theater positioned them perfectly so all guests can be confident they will have a great view of the stage. You will find wine, beer, and coffee sold at the theater. There is usually a food truck out to satisfy any larger appetites the attendees of New Village might have. For a full schedule or […]

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In The Spotlight Presenting The Current Highlights Here At The HoliDaze

Life In Indonesia

After over five full years of post-cubicle globe-wandering I've finally found a new place to call home -- Indonesia! Although I still visit another new country every month or two, I always return back there. A big part of it is due to the diversity of the country and it's 17,508 islands. Plus I'm having lots of fun...just take a look at my recent adventures!

What Am I Doing There?

Featured Blogs

Highlighting the best up-and-coming travel blogs and bloggers that you haven't heard of...yet! These blogs are all less than a year old and show great promise for the future. Interested candidates must have big plans or a unique take on their blog. If you think that this describes you -- or someone else -- then please submit a recommendation.

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Featured Photos

Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

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One of the most popular tourists sights in all of Bangkok is the Grand Palace, which dates back to 1782. Although it used to be the official residence of the Kings, nowadays it is only used occasionally for official events.

While most of my week in Bangkok was spent exploring non-touristy places, this is one of the few sights that I had to see.

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Panjat Pinang, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

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Panjat Pinang is a very unique way of celebrating Indonesia's Independence Day (August 17th). Every year in towns and villages around the country tall nut-trees are chopped down and their trunks placed vertically, in the center of each settlement. A wheel full of prizes is placed on top, after which the trunk is covered with oil or other lubricants and young men are invited to try and reach the prizes.

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