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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
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// DUBAI

 
November 2014
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// SRI LANKA

 
Latest Posts From The HoliDaze Blog

Breathtaking Underwater Photos From Tioman Island, Malaysia

Nudibranch at lunch, Salang, Tioman Island

Over the last decade I’ve traveled to countless exotic destinations famous for their world-renowned scuba diving yet for some strange reason I have never been PADI certified. However all that is about to change next month! Needless to say I am super excited! In a couple weeks I’ll be headed out to Tioman island, located in the South China Sea between peninsula Malaysia and Borneo. Scuba diving in Tioman is supposed to be incredible and judging from the photos my instructor Grahame has sent me as a teaser, it’s no surprise why.   Who have I chosen to get certified […]

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The Rickshaw Run: An Extreme 3-Wheeled 2,700km Race Across India

The Rickshaw Run 2015

What is the only thing more insane than the roads of India? A 2,700 kilometre (1,700 mile) two week long race across the country on three wheels! Of course rather than competing against locals, this race is aimed at foreigners. That’s right, foreigners who may have an international drivers license but have absolutely no idea how to handle the chaos of the mean streets of India. To Kick Things Off We Have A Contest You could win $50 for helping us pick our team name. More on that after the Who-What-Where-When-and-Why of the Rickshaw Run: Who After deciding to compete […]

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What To See And Do In Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

The beautiful beach on Pigeon Island, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Swimming with blacktip reef sharks. Learning how to cook crab curry. Drinking toddy fresh from the palm tree. Pristine beaches and beautiful temples and friendly people. Yes, this is Trincomalee, one of my favorite cities in all of Sri Lanka. Located in the northeast corner of Sri Lanka, Trincomalee is far removed from the typical southern tourist trail. After the #TBCAsia travel blogging conference in Colombo wrapped up, I went up to Trincomalee and spent four jam-packed days exploring all there was to do in and around the city. And Here Is What I Found: Drink Toddy, The Best Alcoholic […]

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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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