Tag Archives: advice

Scuba Diving In Salang, Malaysia (one for the bucket list!)

False clown fish, Salang, Tioman Island

Ever been scuba diving in clear water surrounded by fish and coral? I never had until a few weeks ago and let me just say IT WAS FRIGGIN’ AMAZING! Easily the best travel decision I’ve made over the last few years (and definitely better than my infamous Tour de Horror project). After a rough January I was feeling used and abused so I decided to head out to Salang, the northernmost village on Tioman Island in the South China Sea. I’d heard many great things about the diving out there and decided this was where I wanted to get scuba […]

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How To Become A Dictator In 8 Easy Steps

Mahinda Rajapaksa Meets People

One thing travel teaches you is that not all democracies are truly democratic. The first example that undoubtedly comes to your mind right now is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) aka North Korea. In all there are a total of eight countries around the world with the word “democratic” in their official name but three are in fact dictatorships.   The other two are Laos (whose official name is “Lao People’s Democratic Republic”) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Now file everything I just said away in the back of your brain under “useful useless information” because […]

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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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10 Things You Don’t Know About Sri Lanka

Magestic Sri Lanka tea plantation

One of the best things about visiting a new country is learning new things. No matter how much research you do or how many people you ask, there are always things about the country that surprise or even bewilder you. Last November I had the honor of being selected as one of the top 50 travel bloggers and invited to Sri Lanka as part of TBC Asia. During the course of my month in the country I saw some incredible sights, ate some delicious food, made some amazing new friends, and yes, learned a lot of new things. So without […]

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How To Visit Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Here in Jaffna, Sri Lanka the cows own the streets. They are not scared of anything and when you honk at them they just look at your like "WTF do you want?"

The quickest way to make people want to visit somewhere is to tell them that they cannot. So when I heard that Jaffna was off-limits to foreigners and rare even for ordinary Sri Lankan citizens from the south to visit, well I knew right then and there that I would find a way to explore this beautiful yet war-torn city. Entry into the far northern reaches of Sri Lanka is forbidden without expression permission from the Ministry of Defence. The reasons for this vary depending upon who you ask, however the most common answers I got were because of political […]

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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 […]

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How To Not Act Like An American While Traveling Abroad

Everyone loves a Canadian

So you’re American and you want to travel abroad but are a little worried. Have no fear, the world is nowhere near as dangerous as the American media portrays it. However it is also worth noting that the United States hasn’t had the best global image recently. As such it is all the more important to not offend the foreigners you encounter while traveling. My purpose today is instead teaching you how to not act like an “American idiot” while on foreign soil. (There are already enough politicians doing the exact opposite, no need to hop on the bandwagon.) After […]

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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 […]

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How Long-Term Travel Changes People Forever

Group Lunch

Last week I celebrated my five year anniversary of quitting my job to travel the world. While it’s no secret that I didn’t start blogging until about two years ago, I have nonetheless learned more in the last five years than I have in the 24 years prior to that. In fact if you’re brave (or bored) enough you can even find some of my old, drunken rambles (I loathe to call them posts) still online; they date back as far as 2008 and were intended only for friends back home, so don’t expect much. Regardless of whether you are […]

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5 Years Ago Today I Quit My Job To Travel The World

Motocycling Around Elephant Reserve

I never thought this day would come. In fact when I first quit my corporate life to start traveling the world I never knew or cared about where I would be in five years. Or even five months for that matter. All I realized was that I wanted — no, needed — to break free from my cubicle and see what all I had been missing out on. For the previous four and a half years my life had been work, sleep, and repeat. I had no social life, no girlfriend, and almost zero free time. It was work, work, […]

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About Derek Freal

Derek Freal

Derek quit his promising corporate career in 2009 to travel the world. Now he tries to convince others to explore and try new things.

Abandoning his job in 2009, Derek now tries to convince others to do the same.

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