You’ve no doubt noticed it already. Perhaps you’ve felt that nagging feeling in the back of your head. Maybe you just haven’t been able to sleep as well the last couple weeks. Or shake the belief that something is suddenly missing from your life, despite the fact your daily routine has not altered.
That’s My Fault. And I’m Sorry.
I have had so many upcoming adventures up in the works that I have neglected my readers, and I apologize for that. So here is all the upcoming news and wild adventures the HoliDaze will be covering the next few months.
(After this update about what I’ve been up to.) So, for the last month I’ve been doing a housesit in a small village in Malaysia. It’s been just me and the cat here, surrounded by nature and the occasional lost group of chickens that cluck as they strut by. With no wheels to get myself to the nearest town, all I have done is slave over my laptop for 18hrs/day ever since leaving Tioman Island last month.
While I have been getting obscene amounts of work done thanks to distractions and daily travel suddenly becoming (temporarily) nonexistent in my daily life, that probably isn’t obvious from my lack of writing.
So…what all is new?
- Rickshaw Run planning and preparation: paint job, costumes, route, hotels, sponsors and gear, oh my!
- My upcoming Pakistan and Afghanistan adventures which will kick off our Silk Road Escapades.
- New HoliDaze layout and guides: offbeat and unique travel ideas
- Complete newsletter overhaul and HoliDaze re-branding
- The sad death (for now) of Derek Drives That!
- The continuation of Derek Eats That!
I’ve been pretty vocal on Twitter about how freakin’ stoked I am that in less than four weeks I will be tearing it up on a three-wheeled rickshaw racing my way across the worst terrain and traffic that India can throw at me. This my friends is the Rickshaw Run, a 3,000km two-week long test of endurance that is lovingly referred to as “the most insane thing you can do on three wheels.”
It’s common knowledge that I love visiting destinations that most foreigner travelers skip — war zones, places with ebola outbreaks, even locations that don’t have cell service (oh God no, please say it isn’t so!)
Pakistan and Afghanistan, among others, have been high on my list for the last few years. And now I am proud to finally say that this year I will be making my way through what I jokingly referred to on Twitter as “stan land” — all seven -stans. Not just the often misunderstood nations of Pakistan and Afghanistan but also Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and the represiv–I mean reclusive Turkmenistan.
After that comes Iran! (Hopefully)
Joining me once again on this self-appointed Silk Road endeavor will by my partner in crime and chief director of the badass idea division, Ryan Brown, one of few men I know whose words paint a better picture that does his photography. One of his biggest daily challenges will be keeping me from saying anything on Twitter that gets me locked up abroad again.
(Oh you think that was a joke?)
For new readers, the HoliDaze has two parts: my blog here, which documents the rants, rambles and adventures I have living life as a permanent nomad, and the community section of the HoliDaze, which has over 100 authors and at is the center of this most recent round of overhauls:
1. First Up Was A New Design Not just a new look and feel but a completely new page structure to make navigation easier. Simplified sidebars too — no more 420 widgets and multiple calls to actions. (Expect the same to be happening here within a few hours.)
New Features Include:
- Dynamic zooming map with country names, links and article counts. Tested on phones, tablets, laptops even touchscreen laptops and it works flawlessly on all of them! Show Me The Map!
- Simplified sections for easy grouping: off the beaten path guides/ideas, adventure travel, luxury travel, long-term travel, first time backpacking, UNESCO sites, etc. View The HoliDaze Guides
- Visually-stimulating design the loads much faster than the old, image-intensive layout — and will continue to get faster as I finish overhauling the photo system.
- And a beautiful empty sidebar with hover feature that is just begging for a savvy advertiser to call home 😉
2. Shortened URL Structures This was the hardest part to do, since it reset the social media counters on every single post to zero. But it was necessary and better in the long run.
The dates and/or countries have been removed from all URLs but the continent pages still exist like this: theholidaze.com/north-america
3. Much More To Come The new look may be up but plenty more is still in the works and should be finished before the Rickshaw Run.
To commit more thoroughly to my passion for getting off the tourist trail and propensity for writing about locations off the beaten path, the HoliDaze is now focusing primarily on offbeat adventures. These will span all countries, all budgets and all styles of travel, however their habit of being overlooked by most foreign travelers with unite them all.
All four HoliDaze newsletters are being condensed into two: 1) a biweekly/monthly newsletter that is handwritten by me every time and 2) a weekly RSS-driven newsletter covering this blog only. For those who are subscribed one or more of my other lists, you should have received this news (and more) already — or will soon depending on which day your newsletter goes out.
Derek Drives That!
Derek Drives That! was the name of a weekly video series I planned to launch at the start of 2015. However towards the end of 2014, as I started trying to take the footage of me driving these random vehicles and turning them into short, five-minute long episodes, I came upon a problem.
The videos are not shocking. They are not funny. They are barely even entertaining…just me driving around and talking to myself and/or the person who owns whatever exciting new vehicle I am driving that day. It’s like Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee only without the comedy, without the coffee, and with a “car” that at best is a facsimile of a “reasonably unsafe vehicular device of a peculiar and/or obscure nature.”
The show would be better released as an extended compilation video or behind the scenes look at a life of driving crazy contraptions in foreign countries with little to no regard for safety and/or legality. And so it will be.
Derek Eats That!
Earlier this year I released the first delicious episode of Derek Eats That! on bull penis soup and promised future installments on a weekly basis. But then catastrophe struck and I lost several hundred gigabytes worth of raw footage and half-edited videos, including the next several episodes of DET covering various foods around Sri Lanka — even me making my own roti and my first experience chewing betel nut.
I was destroyed. This is my work. I’m not supposed to make an amateur fuck-ups like that. For weeks I didn’t even feel the urge to even open Premiere. But gradually I have come back around.
So I will resume releasing new episodes of Derek Eats That! later this month, although most likely the will pause for two weeks during the Rickshaw Run…unless I find the time to incorporate them in to the real time video uploads…
Expect things to go quiet to busy as shit here at the HoliDaze starting new. Upcoming posts over the next few weeks while chronicle:
- The casual communism of Vietnam
- What it is like to get PADI certified
- How to become a dictator in eight easy steps
- Further Rickshaw Run and Silk Road Escapade updates
- The street art of Malaysia
- How to motorcycle Vietnam
- and much more!