Inspiring those who wander, entertaining those who don't. Travel vicariously.
Derek is a cultural enthusiast and perpetual nomad whom loves adventure and doing different or unique things every day. Wait...am I supposed to be writing this in first person or third person...? Nevermind, that anwswers my question. I used to be a corporate prisoner, slaving away in a cubicle (not unlike many of you reading this) chasing that elusive "American Dream" -- until the beginning of 2009 when I said fuck it! and quit my job. And flew straight back to Southeast Asia.
Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel. ―Derek Freal
As of March 2015, I've been wandering around this earth to find my place for six full years...sometimes pausing here, sometimes pausing there, but always on the hunt for the things that are missing in life. During all that time I have only been to 23 countries -- hell, some of my traveling buddies hit that every year. Of course as far as I am concerned they are wasting too much of their life in immigration queues and on airplanes. I prefer slow travel and taking the extra time to learn about the culture, make new friends, and of course live as much like a local I can.
My 2015 travel plans include conquering all seven -stans (Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) then continuing further west on into Iran, Azerbauijan, Georgia, Armenia and eventually Turkey. This leg picks up where I left off on my 2013 RTW trek from Indonesia to Portugal) and will run into early 2016.
I get my jollies by going places where I do not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures until I learn a few basic words and phrases, as well as places where I am forced to squat awkwardly to poo (supposedly its healthier and more efficient). I am happiest when interacting with locals instead of with tourists. All the simple things in life are what I enjoy most now -- just give me access to Twitter so I can tweet about them. And while I still love a good smoky Scotch and a nice craft beer or ten, I've partied way too much these last six years to feel the need to do it anymore. Unless it's a good one ;)
I'm trying to show people there is more to traveling than just seeing these amazing places. You need to ditch the guide book, make some local friends, trust their judgement and follow their advice, and then you'll see, you too can break free of the hordes of tourists and get off the beaten path. You'll never know what kind of amazing and unpredictable adventures you are missing out on until you try.
I like going to the places most do not. Pakistan? Afghanistan? Iran? Saudi Arabia? I've heard great things from so many travelers but far too many others are completely misinformed, to put it politely. Damn mainstream media. The world is not like it is on TV. (Which just so happens to be the tag line of Graham's amazing blog Inside Other Places.) It's one thing to see something on the foreign news and recite it later as fact, but it's far different to say "okay well I've been there -- that first point was technically true but this-that-and-the-other were completely wrong, and here is why..." Slap some foreign knowledge into their brain. Just don't be one of those ignorant tourists who thinks the trip was great because everywhere you were "within walking distance to a McDonald's." If this describes you then please (yes, seriously) pretty please free up your day and read every article on the HoliDaze. And then my blog. They will show you how to go beyond the guidebook.
Derek's Random...well, we'll just call them "Accomplishments"
See an active volcano. Hawaii, and yes it is even more spectacular than in the photos.
Bicycle down a volcano -- just not the same active one mentioned above. Haleakala on Maui
Drive across America in a hippie school bus named the "Future" that was taking it one step further than the Futhur did during the 1960s. (For those who don't know about Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters legendary bus the Furthur, read: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.) Reach the opposite coast and then turn back, crossing different states on the way back. 32 states covered over nearly six months. By then we were all broke so we had to...
Work on a marijuana farm in California. Become top-ranked in Google for said article.
Injest unknown hallucinogens with locals in a foreign country. NOT freak out while tripping balls. Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama...
Drive 2,100 miles (3,800km) in just under 32 hours by himself, stopping only for petrol and a piss if necessary (never a separate stop soley for bodily functions, that's a waste of time). Repeatedly. Ad naseum. Ended up with countless stories from the road that I am unable to publish until the statute of limitations passes.
Move abroad. Japan, 2008 -- that is what originally started my nomadic lifestyle.
Try living in the middle of nowhere with no electricity and no running water. Philippines. This will really teach you a lot -- primarily how priveleged you are to be born in the western world.
Stay in a multi-million-dollar penthouse overlooking Central Park. NYC is only fun when you're on top!
Get interviewed and on the evening news because of a travel project. Tennessee, because of the Future bus
Get arrested in a foreign country. Mexico. We were eighteen and stupid. Cops took advantage of this. I learned a lot -- but apparently not enough as I have since been locked up abroad in a second country now.
Visit all those normal sights that people put on their boring "traditional" bucket lists, thus leaving my bucket list free for gnarly and unimagineable adventures.
So yes, it is safe to say that I am a bit of an adventurous traveler. I prefer the path less taken...but can occasionally be spotted at obligatory tourist sites such as the Eiffel Tower or Stonehenge.
The Ultimate Travel Blogger Bucket List
In honor of the upcoming leap year, I have compiled a list of 366 arduous, ambitious and/or obscure items and sights which I lovingly refer to as the ultimate Travel Bloggers Bucket List, or TBBL for short. This global collection of "one for every day" bucket list items is so expansive and so difficult that I would argue a multi-millionaire working on this list daily still couldn't complete it in less than five years.
This one-of-a-kind list includes things such as:
( List will be imported later today. )