The HoliDaze Travel Plans & 2014 RTW Goals

Just as 2013 went far from expected, so too is the start of my 2014. After six weeks in Jakarta trying to focus on work but instead spending most of my time hanging out with friends or making new ones, I’ve decided to cut short my stay in Indonesia…for now.

Why? I’m not making much progress anymore — either culturally, financially, or professionally — so there is not a real point in staying here to “work” when I’m, well, not working. At least not at the pace I should be. I was writing at a better pace before the holidays but recently I’ve been too busy hanging out with local friends and enjoying the fun side of Jakarta. (Yes, it exists.) The stuff that is in the works here, a couple more onscreen gigs, will take months to come to fruition and I cannot sit still that long.

The HoliDaze Travel Plans

  I’m Off To The Philippines

HoliDaze travel plans...and past

It’s a country in which I’ve spent lots of time in but haven’t been back to since 2010. My ex lives there and I spent two years traveling back and forth there to be with her. Although I have dated a few women since, she is still the “one I lost” and the only one of my exes whom I ever still think about, hence the singular form. That is also why I have not been back to the Philippines since we split up…too many memories.

But this will be a new chance for me to experience and write about the Philippines at least. When I was last there this blog was nothing more than a once a month drunken ramble on Blogger to friends back home, something no one would read unless they knew me. That’s one reason why I don’t celebrate the HoliDaze blog birthday because, well, to be completely honest I’m not sure I can pinpoint the date I went from drunken rambling to travel blogging — there is also still a fair amount of overlapping between the two ๐Ÿ˜‰

  What Will I Do There?

I don’t know. But in all fairness long-term readers of the HoliDaze should have expected that. If I kept up with my travel plans then I never would have starred in a film in Indonesia last year or made it onto Indonesian TV not once but twice, would never have made friends with a guy in the Yakuza and shown the VIP side of Tokyo or experienced the sordid nightlife of Bangkok, and most certainly would not be returning to the Phils again so soon.

HoliDaze travel plans...and past: Barrio Barretto, Subic Bay, Philippines
Barrio Barretto, Subic Bay, Philippines

All I do know is that I will only have 16 days in the Philippines and will be sticking around the northern part of the country. I will most likely be visiting Manila, Baguio City, Sagada, and on down to Coron. Somewhere along the way back I might even swing back by Subic Bay to see some old expat buddies. We’ll see how it all goes.

Map of the Philippines
This will be a short trip so I’m afraid I won’t have too much time to explore any further south…

  After That It’s Off To Vietnam!

I’ve got 90 days in Vietnam. According to my visa at least. Don’t know if I will stay the full 90 or not. I wasn’t playing on staying in Indonesia so long and I assumed I’d be in Thailand two months when in fact it was actually less than half that long, so yeah, who knows what will happen ๐Ÿ˜‰

Kids riding a water buffalo in Sapa, Vietnam
Local kids on a water buffalo in Sapa, Vietnam

It just depends on how Vietnam treats me. I love the food there plus I have an old friend that lives in Hanoi now and after we’ve traveled around the north I will be motorcycling down the way down the Ho Chi Minh Trail by myself.

Map of Vietnam
Vietnam. Where I visit in between the northern capital and the southern capital depends entirely on what happens along the way.

  Eventually I Will Return To Indonesia

Santai, saya akan pulang ke Indonesia segera.

I’ve started turning Indonesian. I’m speaking the language. I have Path. I most certainly drive like a local. Hell even when it’s 28ยฐC out at night I’m still curled up tight in a blanket. Plus I have a bunch of amazing friends in the country and I cannot wait to return.

New Famili 100 di Indonesia
From my appearance on New Famili 100, the Indonesian version of Family Feud.

How long I stick around next time depends on whether or not I can find any more work (preferably onscreen) related to the Indonesian tourism / travel industry. There are so many more places in this amazing country that I want to explore. But in all honesty I would rather be paid for it than pay for it and further delaying my trek to Portugal, the first leg of my RTW adventure.

  Then, Finally, My RTW Trek Will Recommence

This time I will be picking up the pace and being sure not to cheat by flying anywhere. I would like to make it to India as fast as possible and begin exploring that vast nation. There is even talk about competing in the 2014 Rickshaw Run but that may be fizzling out as all three of us are on completely different paths right now… ๐Ÿ™

Other upcoming countries

Besides the Philippines, Vietnam, India, and obviously Indonesia again, I also expect to make it to the following countries:

That will keep me on track with my RTW goals and then from there I will be headed through the seven -stans…or at least as many of them as possible. This includes: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

What new years resolutions have I made?

  Write more. I’m taking blogging seriously now and plan to continue improving both this blog and my writing.
 If only I’d been doing that from the start…

  Focus on improving my photography skills and maybe even invest in a new camera. I’ve had my current one for four years now and it’s been pretty used and abused during all that time.     FriFotos Gallery

  Publish the HoliDaze newsletter. For nearly two years now the HoliDaze has been kicking along yet in all that time I have never sent out a single email or newsletter. This changed yesterday when I sent out the first ever monthly-ish HoliDaze newsletter. Join us.   You know you want it.

What travel plans do you have for 2014

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About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel." ย  Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

4 thoughts on “The HoliDaze Travel Plans & 2014 RTW Goals”

  1. Great travel trek you have for the upcoming year. I’ve always wanted to checkout the Philippines, specifically Boracay. Coffee, random road trips and work trips I’m sure will be aplenty this year. I’m getting married this year, so the honeymoon will be the big trip. Thinking a longer trip Caribbean island hopping for that. ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy the start to 2014!

    • Congratulations Aaron! I had no idea! Glad to hear man, lucky you. Yes, definitely make it an epic honeymoon ๐Ÿ˜€

      This is my 5th or 6th time to the Philippines, I cannot remember which. Dated a local girl here all through 2009 and 2010 so I kept coming back. Short trips every time though b/c back then we were only allowed 21 days without a visa. Just recently they upped it to 28 (whoa, what a difference LOL) ๐Ÿ˜‰


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