The HoliDaze Travel Plans For 2015

As someone who makes a living off not planning anything, it feels a bit strange writing a post about my upcoming plans. Nevertheless here I am. There are so many exciting happening with The HoliDaze in 2015 that I would be remiss if I didn’t share them with you, my loyal reader. After all it’s because of you that I keep doing what I’m doing.

  The biggest news is obviously the launch of my two new weekly video series, Derek Drives That! and Derek Eats That! These will play a large role in all the captivating videos that I will be releasing in the years to come. Yes, 2015 marks the year that The HoliDaze transitions into a predominantly video-oriented travel platform. So if you haven’t joined me on YouTube yet, please do so ๐Ÿ™‚

  Derek Drives That!

I love trying out strange new forms of transportation while exploring foreign countries but the one thing I love more than riding is actually driving. Yes, I am a driver a heart. I used to want to be a professional race car driver and have in the past even made a living as a transporter — however those sordid stories will remain locked tightly in the vault until the American statue of limitations passes.

Derek Drives That! is part of the new HoliDaze travel video series The next time I’m in your country, you’d damn well better trust me with your keys.

Now I convince random locals in foreign countries to give me the keys to whatever crazy contraptions they are driving and let me give them a spin around town. Last year I decided to turn this into an ongoing series and ever since have been documenting my driving experiences.

The first video will be released this Tuesday, January 6th, and subsequent episodes will premiere every Tuesday, in honor of Travel Tuesday. If you have any interest in being a sponsor or have any suggestions for vehicles I should drive, then please do not hesitate to contact me.


  Derek Eats That!

One of the many sayings I am know for is: “Don’t be afraid of what I eat, be afraid of what I won’t eat.” I have in the past received some criticism for writing about eating dogs, dicks and brain, among other things, however I’m not consuming anything that other locals are not on a daily basis. I am merely sharing my culinary experiences with complete candor.

Eating Raw King Cobra Organs This was either the heart, gallbladder, or liver, depending on who I asked. Really gives you confidence as you are about to ingest something that was alive and beating only seconds before, no?

Now my full foodie exploits and adventures will be documented in a weekly video series. Starting January 9th new episodes will be released every Friday, in honor of Foodie Friday.

  I once again have to give thanks to Erin of Travel With Bender for the creative name — far better than the original working title, HoliDaze Eats.

What Else Ya Got?

The Rickshaw Run

Beer At TBEX Enjoying a pitcher of beer (or two) with my buddy Ryan of Lost Boy Memoirs

I will be competing in the Rickshaw Run in India this April. What is the Rickshaw Run, you might ask. It is a balls-to-the-wall race across India in a freakin’ rickshaw. Pretty gnarly, I know. That’s why I have chosen the gnarliest mother fucker I know as my partner: Ryan of Lost Boy Memoirs. Our rickshaw is going to have more GoPros strapped to it than wheels so expect some exciting videos to be released after the race is over. To find out more check out The Adventurists web site.

Tacklin’ The Seven -Stans

Back in 2013 as part of my RTW adventure I had originally planned to visit all seven -stans — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and last but not least, Afghanistan (yes, they do issue tourist visas to American citizens). Unfortunately I got sidetracked and never made it that far. This year I will make up for that and finally travel the Silk Road.

My Long-Awaited Return To Indonesia

The first day I was legally allowed to return to Indonesia was just before Christmas. While I had originally planned to return that very day, life got in my way. I will once again be attempting to set foot on Indonesian soil this year, although I am keeping it a secret exactly when.

Derek Freal and Riyanni Djangkaru cook dinner with locals in Sumatra Derek Freal and Riyanni Djangkaru cook dinner with locals in the Riau province of Sumatra, Indonesia

Why?   As a result of my deportation, I am no longer allowed a VOA (visa on arrival). That means I must apply for a visa ahead of time. Not only does this go against my “never plan anything” travel mentality, it also could potentially make returning more difficult as my visa application could be denied. Forever. Yes, despite all my hard work promoting Indonesian tourism, they weren’t too happy with my tweet and originally said that I would be blacklisted from ever returning to the country. Of course given the public outcry from around the world and ensuing media storm, that was eventually dropped in lieu of a six-month ban.

My Top Indonesian Adventures?
My Siak Tourism Film   Nusa Penida, Bali’s Hidden Paradise   Indonesia By Motorcycle   Panjat Pinang   Deported Because Of A Tweet

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

  The Best New Travel Blog Awards

Given the success of BNTBA last year I will be continuing the series into 2015. However instead of being a monthly award it will now be bi-monthly. (That means every two months, not two a month.) The reason for this is simply the fact that I don’t have the time to keep reading dozens of new blogs every month.

Best NEW Travel Blog Awards

More Posts…Lots More

Over the course of the last six years I have only written 199 posts. That means this is my 200th post. That’s not many — in fact some travel blogs publish more than that every year. Expect new articles to be published at an highly increased pace as I finish the dozens of partial drafts I have and finally work through the backlog of stuff I want to write about.

Better HoliDaze Integration

Some of you probably don’t realize that The HoliDaze actually has two parts:, which you are reading now, and, a travel community. What’s the difference between the two? The blog is only me, no guest posts, and it’s where I rant, ramble and drop the f-bomb as much as I want. is a much more professional, politically correct travel site. In addition to me there are over 100 other authors there and over 400 articles covering 62 different countries around the world.

Back when I purchased this domain in 2012 the bulk of visitors were to the main site and not my blog. Now that has since switched and I fear many readers of one don’t realize that the other even exists. I plan on finding a way to better merge the two, a task that is made difficult given the fact both run on separate platforms and have separate databases.

Well, there you have it. Those are some of my rough plans for 2015. What do you have planned? Share your thoughts below!

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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.

25 thoughts on “The HoliDaze Travel Plans For 2015”

  1. Derek, congrats on your 200th post!

    I think I commented here once – or on your other blog – but either way you and your blogs are full of flavor. Well done dude.

    You’re more brave to do the rickshaw bit versus eating that crazy stuff. Having been inside a few 3 wheel Lankans in Sri Lanka as well as tuk tuks in India I can say that some of these cats carry the whacky driving skills/reckless abandon of many Asians yet a few carry the aggression of idiotic NYC – NJ drivers here in the Tri-state.

    That’s a dangerous combo. A REALLY dangerous combo. Kudos to you bro for working these different vehicles.

    Absolutely loving your blog and your brand.

    As for me and my FI-ance we have a 4 month house sit in Jimbaran, Bali starting in February and after that we are wide open though I suspect we’ll do Central America.

    Happy Travels and looking forward to seeing your videos!


    • I think you’ve commented once before too, despite WordPress telling me this is your first comment. (Maybe you used a different email addy last time, who knows.) Anyway you are quite right about the drivers in this side of the world. Back in 2008 in the Philippines the young, naive me asked my driver “why do you drive so crazy?” His response was: “Here everyone drives crazy…so you just have to drive crazier!” Now six years later, with seven trips to the Philippines and a grand total of 25 countries under my belt, I can safely say that driving in the Phils is tame compared to some other countries, like India and Indonesia. But I thrive on the madness of the road hahaha. Driving in the States is too boring for me. I find myself doing other things, like texting and scrolling through an iPod to find the perfect song, because the roads are so damn monotonous. That is — at least IMO — more dangerous than all the foreign roads I drive.

      A housesit in Bali? For four months, really? You know how many people would kill for that? Enjoy! Let me know if you need any language translations. I don’t speak Balinese but have gotten quite good with my Bahasa, the official language. And if you get the chance before or after the sit, definitely check out Nusa Penida just a 40-minute boat ride east of Sanur. Amazing, untouched paradise. Like Bali was many many decades ago lol.

      Anyway I’ll give you a shout if my trip back to Indonesia should fall within the time frame you’ll be there. Be great to cross paths in real life and chat over a meal or a beer. Let’s keep in touch, yeah?

    • Thanks Andy, glad you enjoyed it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yes, in Afghanistan maybe. Will start in Kabul (perfectly safe there) and see if I can find some new friends to travel into the country with. However Pakistan I would argue is much safer. Plus ask anyone who has ever visited Pakistan and they will tell you that Pakistani people are the friendliest you will EVER meet. Hell I was just talking with a group of three guys from Pakistan on the streets not even thirty minutes ago. Cool cats. Plus they got really excited when I told them I would be visiting their country this fall. After the -stans comes Iran (super excited) and Iraq (not as excited, more curious). Have made friends with a couple awesome Iranians here in Malaysia and they have offered to be my visa sponsors and help me if I have any issues. Of course this will probably be early 2016 by the time I get that far.

    • Lol yes…maybe a “rough idea” is a better way of putting it than official plan. The only thing locked in solid date-wise is the Rickshaw Run, obviously. The -stans are loose but I’m very much looking forward to them. Of course I was also beaten to it. Wanted to go in 2013 but the Goats On a The Road beat me to it and had a blast. Oh and one of my fellow blogging buddies, Stephen Lioy of Monk Bought Lunch, lives in Kyrgyzstan and has taken it upon himself to document the Silk Road. Looking forward to finally meeting him in real life. And yes, I will definitely keep you posted. Curious to see what you get into during 2015 as well ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I know, there are a shit-ton of people up in Chiang Mai now…tempted to pop up there briefly. My current project in Malaysia has been delayed until February because of the flooding so now I don’t know what to do with my January. All I do know is if I don’t go back to Indonesia or up to CM this month, well, I probably won’t make it back this year because of how busy my schedule gets starting in March.

      As far as the Rickshaw Run, yes, Ryan and I are going to tear it up! Cannot wait for that, so f’n excited! And to hit the Silk Road too, oh wow, dream come true. It’s going to be an epic year no matter which way things go.

      What about you two, what are your 2015 plans?

  2. When I heard your ‘silk road’ plan, my first reaction.. WOW, Damn Cool. Please, make it happens, Derek!! And I want to hear your live report from there, I’m very interested in these Central Asia countries, read few books and novels about it, and anything related to Farsi language too. Iran is my 2014 resolution, but I couldn’t make it this year. I’ll keep my fingers crossed to make it happen this year. Maybe after Iran, I’ll try to cross border to Turkmenistan, but I don’t want to expect much, … my BIG problem would be a Visa matters ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Good luck on your travel plans 2015!!!

    • I’m interested in those countries too Ra but for the exact opposite reason — because I know almost nothing about them, other than the propaganda and disinformation on the news. I did see a brand new Al Jazeera special on Afghanistan last week (Women of the Taliban) that was quite interesting and know that Kabul is safe, but not sure what to expect outside of the city. Either way this should be a very interesting trip. Hope you make it to Malaysia before I leave!

  3. I can’t wait to watch your eat that-drive that series. That sounds so fun! Glad you’re to hear you’re going back to Indonesia soon so you can cause more (good) ruckus ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Yes, I’m quite stoked about the video series. Editing them has been hard work and it will be a chore to see if I can keep up the fast pace I’ve set for myself (two new videos a week) especially as I get into things like the Rickshaw Run or over to countries like Afghanistan where finding decent internet will be my biggest concern.

      P.S. I love the phrase “(good) ruckus” lol — you are awesome! Thanks so much for the support ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Yes, I’m sure the Rickshaw Run will be like nothing else either Ryan or I have ever attempted. Of course regardless of which way it goes and no matter what wild experiences we encounter on the road, it will be the stuff legends are made of. I don’t think I could have picked a better teammate ๐Ÿ™‚ Ryan and I have traveled together in three countries now (Canada, Thailand and Indonesia) and always manage to have a great time. Now I just have to talk him into joining me for the Silk Road afterward ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Dolce & Gabbana baby, oh yeah ๐Ÿ˜‰ However I feel like we may have crossed paths once already, albeit briefly, at one of the TBEXs…ever attended any? If we haven’t though then we definitely should. As you can tell I’ll be bouncing my way around central and western Asia during the middle of this year, I’m in Southeast Asia now, and hopefully by the end of the year I’ll be in Eastern Europe. So if you should find yourself in any of those areas during 2015 then make sure to give me a shout via Twitter (@the_HoliDaze) or whatever method you prefer. I’m always tweaking my itinerary to meet readers and fellow bloggers.

  4. Sounds like a great year ahead Derek and I wish you every success with the visa.

    I love the idea of trying new things to drive, sounds like a lot of fun.

    Best of luck with all these videos. I know a lot of people say they are the way to go and it should make interesting content. Personally I find them difficult to watch if I’m browsing at lunchtimes. I’m in an open plan office so it always puts me off watching videos. = I need to make some more home time for videos ๐Ÿ™‚

    Great to see the new blogs still being promoted, I love these articles.

    Happy New Year and all the best for 2015!

    • Thanks man, appreciate it. Hope the driving series is a smashing success — just not literally lol. Met the owner of a performance motor sports shop here in Malaysia so my next goal is to pitch him and see if I can take one of those souped-up and tricked out mean machines out on the roads here. I used to own a souped-up street racing car (Nissan Sentra Spec-V Type R) with all the bells and whistles, loved tearing up the streets with it. Of course I’m sure all my neighbors hated the exhaust ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Yeah, I personally never watch travel videos….or even YouTube for that matter. So I have no idea what constitutes a “good travel video” in the eyes of YouTube viewers — they may really like what I create or could hate it. We’ll see how it goes.

      As for the new blogs, whoa man that’s a surprisingly time-consuming beast there. (Hence the reason I started releasing them bi-monthly instead of monthly towards the end of 2014.) People seem to like them though and several people have had great success as a result of the increased traffic. Plus I like helping out the new people who are doing something cool or creative that separate them from the pack.

      Anyway, cheers to 2015 buddy! Take care and safe travels ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Oh dear, Derek Eats That could be really, really good or it could be really uncomfortable to watch. Or both, probably both.

    I am glad they’re letting you back into Indonesia, I’m sad they won’t let you have a VOA though. Maybe they’ll get past that… we can hope.

    Good luck with 2015! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Oh yes indeed, I aim to make DET! both really interesting and really uncomfortable to watch lol — depending on the episode. There will be plenty on street foods and cultural dishes, but there will also be that occasional one on taboo and/or disgusting dishes. Very curious to see what people’s reactions will be.

      Yeah, part of me even wonders how good Indonesian immigration actually is. Part of me just wants to fly on in and see what happens. The worst they could do is deny me a visa and make me book a flight back to some other neighboring country. What have I got to lose?

      • If you just fly in – that could make for a good storey (and then blog) at the very least!

        Also, Bolivian penis soup was good to watch being eaten on hamish and andy (maybe you can find that on youtube? Youtube is currently not working for me) he had this bulls penis and had to eat it and was just… not having a good time.


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