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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

June 2014
1

// INDONESIA

Gue tinggal disini sekarang
 
July 2014
2

// LAOS

Time to relax!
 
August 2014
3

// PHILIPPINES

I miss my friends there...
 
Latest Posts From The HoliDaze Blog

A Photo Journey Through Thiên Đường “Paradise” Cave, Vietnam

Thiên Đường Cave (Paradise Cave)

When Thiên Đường “Paradise” Cave was discovered in 2005 in Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park it took the title of longest cave in Vietnam away from the name star of the park, Phong Nha Cave. At 31km in length Paradise Cave is more than four times longer than it’s nearby sister and has much more impressive stalactite and stalagmite formation. (In other words if you only have time to explore one of the caves, explore this one!) My Favorite Photo   The photo above left is really neat. Do you see the man sitting up top? I could hear one of the tour guides telling a group in Vietnamese what I assumed to be a story about this man, given his body language and hand gestures. Shame there were no English translators the day [...]

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Why Most Tourists Never Return To Vietnam

Dog for sale in Vietnam

Many people love Vietnam. Many others, particularly long-term travelers, don’t care for it and feel that one trip was more than enough. After all no matter how much or how little you travel, there is always that one place you like the least. Some countries just rub you the wrong way, for whatever arcane reason. That country for myself and many others is Vietnam. Here’s why. Don’t get me wrong, the culture is great, the scenery is impressive, and the food is delicious. However our real complaint is with the locals’ attitude. As a professional traveler I am regretfully used to dealing with tourist prices and persistent touts who will not take no for an answer. But in Vietnam it’s different. Far too many locals will blatantly rip you off while laughing about it, [...]

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FriFotos: Hilarious Signs From Around The World

Hilarious Sign: Better to pay a cook than a doctor

Few things in life are more amusing in life then those signs you see while traveling. Some are confusing, others are lost in translation, and a few are just downright funny. Here is a collection of the most hilarious signs I have seen in the last six months or so. Which one is your favorite? Two of my favorites that I don’t have photos of are “cat oven” and “exotic supercar parking only,” both of which were found in Jakarta. What Is The Most HilariousSign You Have Ever Seen? View The FriFotos Archive The Amazing Fruits Of Asia

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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!

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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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