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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
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// SRI LANKA

 
Latest Posts From The HoliDaze Blog

Best New Travel Blogs Of September 2014

Girl Vs Globe

This month’s featured blogs focus primarily on adventure travel, cultural experiences, must-visit bucket list destinations, budget backpacking through Asia and much more. Dozens upon dozens of countries from the UK on down through the tips of Indonesia are covered in the following blogs, as well as enough food and exciting travel ideas to keep you occupied for a while…or at least until the next round of the best new travel blogs is released As far as this edition, well these are my favorite female travel bloggers. That’s right, it’s a ladies-only edition of the Best New Travel Blogs. (I don’t know what the official ratio is but most of the submissions I receive are from female bloggers…) Girl Vs Globe From the moment I first read Sabina’s blog I was hooked. Why? The writing […]

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Your Guide To The Phong Nha Caves

The colorful Phong Nha Cave

Tucked away in Quảng Bình province far removed from most tourists lies the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, home to over 300 caves including the largest one in the world, Sơn Đoòng Cave. Back in 2003 the park earned itself a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List and tourism has been slowly increasing ever since. Although the park is quite popular with Vietnamese tourists only a fraction of foreigners make it here. (Most traveling north from Huế and Hội An just skip all the way up to Hanoi, in order to have time to squeeze in a trip to Sapa and/or Halong Bay before their visa expires. During our day there less than 5% of the visitors to the caves were westerners.)   Star Attractions Of The Park Entrance Fee: 80,000VND ($4USD) Phong […]

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The Ultimate Indonesia Food Guide: Regional Dishes

Soto Ayam in Indonesia

Part of the beauty of Indonesia is that the country and islands are composed of hundreds of different cultures that have all come together to form one diverse nation. As such the food in Indonesia varies not just island to island but city to city. Even simple dishes like soto (a traditional soup) and sambal (chili paste) are so different from one city to the next that they often have completely different names. Trying each and every one of them is no simple task. In fact attempting this is exactly what I have been doing for the last year….and I’m still not done.   This is a follow-up to my Indonesian Food Cheat Sheet For First-Timers   What To Know About SotoSoto is a traditional meat, noodle and vegetable soup that is served with […]

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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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