*NEW* Version Of My Siak Tourism Film + Amazing Race Video

I grew up acting then gave it all up for a career in a cubicle. Fun stuff, right? NOT! After five years of the Office Space-lifestyle I had a midlife crisis at 24. That is why I started traveling and what has led me to where I am today.

Those of you that follow my adventures already know where this has led me. After 4-1/2 years of transversing the globe I have finally found a home and — more importantly — a calling in Indonesia. Although I still travel to new countries on a monthly basis, saya tinggal di Indonesia sekarang (“I live in Indonesia now”).

I love Indonesia for many reasons. Budaya yang baik, pantai bagus, makanan maknyuus, wanita cantik, dan teman-teman saya menakjubkan! (“Great culture, good beaches, delicious food, beautiful women, and my amazing friends”)

Among the countless friends that I’ve made here, one of the most energetic and inspirational ones is Riyanni Djangkaru. A couple months ago she and I did a tourism film together on Siak, in the Riau province of Sumatra, and we had an absolute blast! In fact during filming often we would be too busy chatting and telling stories to hear Tata, the director, yell action! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  Haven’t seen the film yet? Here is the 3-minute version, the only one I was allowed to publish online after filming wrapped  

The full-length tourism video aired on TV One here in Indonesia several times during October and November. It may still be airing for all I know. I’m bule, no one tells me anything ๐Ÿ˜‰

Promoting Siak Tourism and the island of Sumatra

  I wrote a behind-the-scenes post all about how I managed to find out about the film, my screentest and subsequent wardrobe hunt after getting the job, and of course all about the filming — as well as the party we had once filming had wrapped. If you have not read it yet, check out     behind the scenes of my film in Indonesia

Boating On The Siak River


As of a few days ago a new version has been published online! This one is ten minutes long and features extended scenes and lots of new footage not seen in the 3-minute version.

Now that I am back in Jakarta after exploring Thailand with my fellow blogger and travelin’ buddy Ryan @LostBoyMemoirs, I am hoping to find more onscreen work. Only time will tell what the future holds for me but I am hoping for the best!

Ryan and I also put together a video for the Amazing Race 2014. Due to submission errors — they asked for a 3-min TV quality video under 30MB…how is that even possible?! — we were forced to submit a 10-second snippet instead of the full-length video. As such neither of us holds out much hope that we will make it through the first round of eliminations. But who knows, maybe we’ll get lucky ๐Ÿ˜‰

In it I downplay my travel experience — don’t want us to be eliminated right off the bat — while Ryan explains how travel has helped him cope with tragedies in his life and why he wants to do more of it. We make a perfect, balanced duo. Hell, I think we would make an amazing team. What do you think?

Check It Out!  

Even as I type this post I am meeting with other friends from Global TV and discussing future projects. Yes, I’m multitasking like a crazy bastard, hardly sleeping, just trying to decide what to do with my career. It’s been many years since I’ve had a job or done any real work…or any work at all. Unless you count traveling blogging as work, which I don’t. This is more for fun — and to help inspire and educate others to get up off the couch and explore this great planet. In fact the money I made from this tourism video was the first REAL paycheck I have had in nearly five years!

So What Do You Think?

Should I continue pursuing onscreen travel video work in Indonesia or just hit the road again?

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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.

24 thoughts on “*NEW* Version Of My Siak Tourism Film + Amazing Race Video”

  1. Pursue the on screen career in Indonesia! U would do well. Consider Malaysia too! Haha. Sometimes, Asians just love having bule or bule-face on TV. Well, that is the Indonesian’s term. We call it Mat Salleh. Haha

    • Ahhh yes, Mat-Salleh, that’s the term! I forgot how to say caucasian in Malay — thanks for the reminder Khai. And thanks for the encouragement. I’m going to give it my best shot ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Follow your instincts about which path to take. I know you will do well whatever you decide to do. You and Ryan HAVE to win the Amazing Race 2014! Besides being an amazing team, you would certainly be the most entertaining! Stay well, stay safe good friend!

  3. Chase your dreams derek. Be that movie star, you allready have a small foot in the door and a lilttle experience. Do what makes you happy bro. And happy thanksgiving ( on this bull shit holiday)

  4. Dude, that’s so sweet. Congratulations! Awesome video, and with an Indonesian celebrity, damn. I want to get into short video blogs. We should meet up and do something crazy. I’m heading out to India next April to race a rickshaw across the country.

  5. Wow! You and Ryan will make a great team! My friend and I had planned to join Amazing Race Asia, figuring out who would do the road block and all the challenges. It’s like winning free tickets to travel to some awesome places. Unfortunately, we parted our ways. We had conflicts on jobs until we just gave that dream up… ๐Ÿ™

  6. Hi Derek,

    Listen your guts feeling ….I’m sure you will figure out to stay in Indo a bit more or not. I have to say you did a great job with that movie. I’m really impressed and it’s clear that you had a lot of fun doing it !


    • Shiiiiiit, I don’t know about that Bob. But I certainly had fun doing it. Been saying for years I need a camera crew to just follow me around and record the adventures I get myself into. Finally I had just such an opportunity — and I got paid for it as well. Win-win ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Most definitely Jennifer! The craziest part is how I was approached at breakfast. If I would’ve have been eating there that day or had started exploring as soon as daylight broke then I would never have even had the opportunity. That gig has led me to make dozens of new and well-connected friends here, amazing friends who all share the same love of traveling Indonesia as I do. Plus I just had my second TV appearance a couple weeks ago on an Indonesian game show. Fun stuff!

      Although I am leaving Indonesia in 72 hours for a few weeks in the Philippines followed by a few months in Vietnam, something tells me I’ll be flying back here again soon to pick up where I left off ๐Ÿ˜‰


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