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Life on the Road

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Photos from Lyn and David’s visit

Photos from Koh Ker

” In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time. “

– Leonardo da Vinci

A birthday visit to Koh Ker

So I made it to 40. About 8 years ago I realised that I would. Up to that point I think my mind was still consumed by some hedonistic sense of the weekend. A hangover form my salad days when I’d dance all night, watch the sunrise in a glittering haze and dream that anything was possible.

Then one day I realised it wasn’t. Not anymore. Read more

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Ton le sap - Siem Reap

Following my last post Navi and I were set on the idea for living in Kuala Lumpur for 6 months.  We’d looked at dozens of properties, negotiated fees and even started to price up some furniture. We were sure we could stay in Malaysia for as long as we wanted providing we exited and re-entered every 90 days as per the visa regulations. Things were going great. Read more

Photos from Perhentian Besar

Photos from The Pind

Video Post: The Pind 2016

Our trip to the village in rural Punjab was awesome. We spent just over 3 weeks with family in Bhullarai.  We visited Amritsar and the Golden Temple. Shopped in the bazaars for bargain clothes. Ate some incredible food.  Walked the fields at sunset and tasted a very different way of life.

Everyone made us feel so welcome.  By the time we left Bhullarai, it felt like home. Read more

” I do not believe in taking the right decision, I take a decision and make it right. “

– Mohammed Ali

Life on the road

In 2014 before I quit my job to travel the world, I wrote this article.

Back then I had a mind full of questions. I still don’t have all the answers but I’m making progress. And I’m happy.

This is a response to that earlier article, sort of.

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Photos from Thailand and Cambodia

 

” Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self “

– Cyril Connolly

Photos from Myanmar

 

The road to Myanmar

Over Christmas I got hold of the latest South East Asia on a shoestring guidebook. The last time I owned one of these chunky editions was in 2006. Back then Myanmar was called Burma – I think. She was under military rule and the country was closed to visitors. Whilst included on the map inside the cover of the 2006 guidebook, Myanmar was tantalisingly shaded out. I remember staring at her and wondering what she must be like behind those imaginary walls. Read more

Backpacking cost for a couple in Sri Lanka

As promised here is my full breakdown of the backpacking cost for a couple in Sri Lanka. Unfortunately I neglected to keep a record of expenditure during the first few weeks. We were volunteering for most of this time so all meals and accommodation were free. Had I included this period in the budget calculation, no doubt the average daily spend would have been significantly lower. Read more

Travel memories from 2015

Christmas can be a lonely time on the road. Lately I’ve found my mind fondly wandering back to memories of life back home. After 4 months away, travel ceases to be non-stop excitement and starts to become your norm. I’m even beginning to feel nostalgic about stuff I hated back in London like coming into an empty office when everyone else is on leave or Christmas shopping. Read more

Video Post: Sri Lanka

This video is a collection from our 6 weeks in Sri Lanka. Most of the coastal scenes are in the South around Mirissa. The beautiful Dutch fort town of Galle also features near the beginning. The jungle scenes are from the Willupatu wildlife reserve in the North West. The mountain scenes at the end are from Sri Lanka’s heartland – Ella and the amazing Lion Rock in Sigiriya. Read more

Fending off feral dogs in Asia

So yesterday we hiked to the top of Ella Rock. It’s a beautiful steep escarpment jutting out over the tiny hill town of Ella in Southern Sri Lanka. Most visitors here opt to climb the less arduous and somewhat smaller Little Adams Peak. Navi and I choose Ella Rock instead, mainly due to the presence of dozens of feral dogs on the trail leading to Little Adams Peak. Read more

Backpacking in Sri Lanka

Everyone you ask about Sri Lanka says the same thing.

It’s like India but, a bit cleaner, a bit nicer and a bit more expensive.

Having visited Sri Lanka now I can see why they say it. That pretty much sums it up perfectly. Read more

Photos from Sri Lanka

 

Online booking for budget travellers

So I’m sitting here on the balcony of our AC room at Poppies guest house, Mirissa beach, typing. Navi is asleep on the comfy bed. The sun is shining and the hammock is swinging. Its 1pm on a Sunday. Here’s a picture of my view.

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Photos from our time volunteering

 

Volunteering in Sri Lanka

Navi and I spent 2 weeks volunteering in Sri Lanka at a small village near Puttalam earlier this month. We organised the placement from the UK through the popular volunteering website workaway.info. The site puts volunteers in touch with willing hosts over email. Volunteers can browse opportunities by country and check availability with the handy host calendar. Volunteering placements vary throughout the world but generally, volunteers are asked to work for a maximum of 5 hours per day, 5 days per week. In exchange, the host will provide food and roof over your head. Usually, for as long as you wish to stay. The site costs $29 to join for two years. All volunteer opportunities are free. Read more

Fuji x100T travel camera review

In 2014 I sold my big Nikon camera and all its lenses to help clear my mortgage. I did so without reservation as I knew I was close to my travel goals and had already decided that I wasn’t going to travel with a big camera this time around.

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Video Post: Kerala Backwaters

The Kerala Backwaters are a labyrinth of freshwater canals, rivers, lakes, lagoons and islands stretching almost the entire length of the state. 38 rivers feed nearly 1000 km of interconnected waterways. This unique ecosystem is home to large numbers of birds and aquatic creatures including rare otters and turtles. Read more

Backpacking cost for a couple in India

India is cheap. Perhaps the cheapest travel destination on earth. The backpacking cost for a couple in India is lower than anywhere else Navi and I have travelled before.

In the 40 days since arriving in India we’ve spent £1000 between us. Prices vary by around 30% state to state, but our daily budget for traveling through southern India has rarely exceeded £25. Read more

Video Post: Ancient Hampi

Ancient Hampi is like another world. The majority of the monuments are around 500 years old but beautifully preserved. Happily the sites are largely devoid of tourists. Part of the reason is the remote location and rocky topography. Read more

Video Post: Indian railways experience

Our first Indian railways experience has been simply awesome. They always save a few seats for foreigners on popular tourist routes so you don’t have to book weeks in advance like the guide books say. The AC carriages come with beds, blankets and curtains for privacy. The on board food is tasty and you can reach through the window and grab hot drinks at any station courtesy of the armies of chai wallahs. Read more

Photos from Goa and Karnataka

We visited Northern Goa (Beaches) first and then traveled east to Hampi (boulders & temples).

 

” Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do “

– Mother of H. Jackson Brown, Jr

Backpacking light

On our previous backpacking trip Navi and I both lugged around 65 litre backpacks with a 25 litre day pack attached. You know the ones. The really huge suckers in the outdoor shops. It wasn’t that we really thought about it. That’s just what you did back in 2006, or so we believed. Read more

Learning to live on less

Yesterday I had lunch with an old colleague. Whilst munching on a Panini I asked if she had any plans for the weekend and she proudly announced “We are getting another dog!” I was gobsmacked. Let me explain. Read more

28 years of trying to take amazing photos

I was 10 years old when I bought my first camera. It was a Zenith EM SLR with a 200mm telephoto lens. It handled like a brick and weighed as much as half a dozen bricks but I adored it. I bought it because I wanted to take pictures of nature. I dragged my parents everywhere. They followed a respectable distance behind mostly while I crept up on birds and rabbits or ran off into the distance chasing a sunset. It was a film camera of course. Read more

A world of Infinite possibilities

It’s beginning to get very real. All the little plans Navi and I started to put into place years ago are nearing their conclusion. Moments we have talked about for so long are marked in the calendar just a few flips away. I have a new passport with 40 empty pages.  In two weeks time it will have an India visa inside. Read more

33 things you need to know before buying a rental property

In 2011 I took a massive loan from the bank with the idea of buying a second property to rent out during my travels. It seemed like a great idea at the time but after three years of sleepless nights and frustrating exchanges with tenants and managing agents I’m selling up.  Here’s why, from start to finish. Read more

Money vs freedom – a vagabonding spirit

What do you value most? Things or experience? Money or the freedom to do as you please?

It would be easy for me to sit here and tell you that I’m an experience junkie. Money and material things mean nothing to me. That’s why I started this blog (Yawn).

That’s not true of course. Read more

How to be a landlord

If you’re toying with the notion of becoming a landlord to try to earn some passive income from rental property I’d recommend you have a good long think about it before committing your heard earned money. Being a landlord can be stressful but there can be great rewards for your efforts. Read more

Save money for travel with a budget spreadsheet template

If you’re not in control of your finances maybe it’s time to make a start. Organizing your budget and creating some simple spreadsheets can really kick-start your motivational energy and help you save money for travel faster and easier. Read more

Best travel camera – a backpacker’s guide

In January 2014 I saw an ad for the Nokia Lumia 1020. I don’t usually take much notice of gadgets especially phones but this ad caught my eye for one reason.

The camera on the device boasted a whopping 41 million pixels. Obviously, its still a phone. It still has a tiny image sensor and a tiny crappy lens, but looking at some sample shots, it was clear that smartphone technology is moving pretty fast. Read more

Expat interview – Cost of living in Greece

Recently on a short break to Kolymbari in Crete, Navi and I had the pleasure to eat at a great traditional restaurant on the coast. We met a girl there called Julie. Julie was working front of house, using her English skills to good effect persuading hungry tourists like us to try some traditional local food. We ate there several times during our trip and were blown away, not only by the food but also Julie’s great personality. Julie had bags of stories and anecdotes about Crete and life in the States. Her experiences provided a fascinating peek into the world of an expat living and working in Greece.  It also got me thinking – What is the cost of living in Greece? Could Navi and I live here in Greece for a while?

On our final day Julie kindly agreed to answer all our questions. Here’s her story. Read more

Am I paying too much tax?

I wont lie, tax is complicated. There are accountants here in my building that specialize in tax and they still have to refer to books sometimes to answer questions.

With such complexity surrounding the issue its no wonder the vast majority of us bury our heads in the sand when it comes to tax. It’s far easier just to ignore it and let the government sort it out.

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Think globally act locally, the Goodwill Footprint

Think globally act locally is primarily an environmental concept, but the environment isn’t the only concern. People and cultures can benefit from help too. If you want to be a good backpacker as well as a good person one way to go about it is to start thinking about your actions and how they affect others. By acting locally your efforts can contribute to the global good. Read more

19 frugal living tips to help you save for travel

Like most of you out there I spend at least 5 days per week at work. Being at work is a good thing. I’m happy to have a great job in a great city. Work is what brings the money in after all. But work can also drain the money away if you’re not careful. Read more

What does ISA stand for and why are they good value?

If you’re out of debt and have some cash to invest you may want to start saving in an ISA. There are a few different types of ISA you may choose to invest in but the framework is essentially the same. The simplest form is a cash ISA. Read more

State Pensions and retirement living standards

In today’s world of wanting everything now it’s very hard to get people to part with their income through the promise of a pension. For most, the word retirement conjures up images of handsome silver haired fifty something’s sailing around the Mediterranean in polo shirts. The reality, I’m sorry to say, is going to be starkly different for most of us.  People’s expectations of retirement living standards are on the increase but pension contributions are at an all time low. Read more

Debit card vs credit card withrawing cash abroad

What’s the best way of withdrawing cash abroad? Believe it or not, the answer will probably depend on your home country rather than the country you are traveling to. For those of you in America or Australia, the market is awash with cards that let you withdraw cash while abroad for free. If you live in the states a Charles Schwab share account card will even refund foreign ATM fees. Read more

Traveling the world

Welcome to the first BackToTravel blog post – Traveling the world.

I’m going to use a question answer format for this post. It’s a great way to cram loads of info into a small space. The post is based largely around questions I’ve been asked by friends and relatives with a few extra bits I think you ought to know if you’re new to BackToTravel. Read more