Our Crazy Antarctica Family

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An unexpected highlight of our trip way way way down under was the cast of crazy, fascinating, wacky, spectacular, smart, hilarious characters that became our family aboard the Akademik Sergey Vavilov. It had never really occurred to us before, but Antarctica attracts an especially awesome crowd of people.

These are people who value experiences above all else, people who treasure exotic destinations, wildlife, extraordinary landscapes and adventure. These people – both passengers and crew – are living a dream to sail to the edges of the earth. They don’t end up here by accident; they end up here because they think a bit differently from the average Joe. Throw in some zodiacs and a hula-hoop artist and you’ve Continue…

Istanbul with Friends

First Paris with my family, then Istanbul with friends. Our latest travels have been especially social – and we’ve been having a blast. Friends and Istanbul experts Özgür and Leonie went way out of their way to make sure we (and the rest of our group) got more than the typical tourist’s view of Istanbul. They showed us as well as friends Armin, Marc, Petra and Uri a few of their favorite local hangouts.

Without Leonie and Özgür, we wouldn’t have found great spots like the local produce market in Beşiktaş and the tea gardens in southern Kadıköy, where we had the pleasure of hanging out with Özgür’s cousins Oz and Bengül. They also introduced us to one of the greatest finds EVER Continue…

True Resolution

As we all ponder our New Year’s resolutions, we thought we should update our visitors on a tale of true resolution. Some of you might remember our friend Becky, a modern-day adventuress who made a bet over drinks in Cairns, Australia that she could make her way from Cairns to Cairo completely over land and water without the use of any planes. Everyone said it was impossible, but after more than two years on the road, Becky has just proven them all wrong.

Experienced travelers will immediately recognize the challenges. Becky spent much of the first year just working her way by sailboat and ferry from Australia to mainland Southeast Asia. Along the circuitous route via Yap, Truk, Pulao, and the Philippines to Borneo, she spent two months stuck in a port in New Guinea and had to travel through the extremely dangerous Continue…

Om Garden Cafe

So what does the adventurous traveler do in the area around Pai? I have absolutely no idea. I’m proud to say that we spent virtually our entire 4-day Pai experience within the relaxing thatched walls of Om Garden Cafe, run by our friends Mark and Anon. (Mark and I go back over two decades – geez, I’m getting old.)

Mark and Anon have spent the last few years in Pai. Anon, chef extraordinaire, runs the Om Garden Cafe kitchen dazzling Pai’s smartest visitors with scrumptious treats ranging from a fabulous Mediterranean plate of hummus and baba ganoush to a knock-your-socks-off pavlova. You never know what Continue…

Elma and Marnix

Dutch couple, Marnix and Elma, are the latest contemporary nomads we’ve traveled with. Back home in Nijmegen, the newlyweds decided to test their vows by bravely embarking on an extended honeymoon through Asia and Australia. Besides providing a great model for how to kick-start a new marriage, the pair’s travel plans include a very popular method of funding a long-term trip.

We first met Elma and Marnix on Kanawa where they were doing an advanced PADI course. They loved us so much that we decided to organize our Flores tour together. (Who are we to deny them? 😉 )

Marnix and Elma started their trip in Malaysia and Singapore and then moved on to Indonesia. Further plans were a little sketchy, but India, the Philippines and Australia were on the table. Of course, that’s where our expertise came in. We urged them to Continue…

David from Malaysia Asia

David, a Malaysian travel blogger who runs Malaysia Asia, recently dropped us a line. “Are you guys passing through Kuala Lumpur anytime soon? Would love to meet up.” What a coincidence, we thought. So we gave him a call and the three of us got together for satay and drinks at the colorful night market on Jalan Alor in Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle.

David with an Iban Shaman from Sarawak

Although we had never met, we knew each other’s travel blogs. David’s extensive website covers most of Southeast Asia with a specific focus on Malaysia – thus the name of his site.

From food explorations in Thailand, budget airlines in Southeast Asia and hotel recommendations in Singapore to upcoming concerts in Kuala Lumpur, caving in Southern Thailand and freebies in Malaysia’s capital, David talks about everything travelers might want. In addition to having a wide range of very different topics, he also features great photography and videos on his site.

Not only is David a really cool guy, he seems to know what he is doing. His travel expertise has even been recognized by the Malaysian government who asked him to work on the Malaysia Truly Asia commercial series which promotes tourism to Malaysia. That’s quite an accomplishment! (I’m still waiting for Germany to recognize my brilliance as videographer).

It was fantastic to actually meet the guy whose blog we have enjoyed over the years. We talked mostly about – well – the travel blogging industry, but also exchanged quirky travel tales and discussed our personal lives. After all, travel blogging shouldn’t just be about business, but about traveling. And David understands that quite well.

Becky’s Great Adventure

Arrogant old fogies, Thomas and I, often sit around complaining about how young twenty-somethings no longer know how to travel. These young’uns don’t know how to have a good adventure anymore, we grumble to ourselves.

And then suddenly, somewhere around Derawan, along comes Becky to prove us completely wrong. Adventurous souls still exist and Becky is their queen.

About nine months ago, in the 12 Bar Blue in Cairns Australia, British Becky was talking to a friend about nature’s greatest creation, the Great Barrier Reef. When the topic turned to man’s greatest creation, it was decided that that had to be the pyramids at Giza outside Cairo.

Suddenly, Becky, who had perhaps had a little too much to drink, stumbled upon the brilliant idea of traveling from Cairns to Cairo over land and water without taking a single flight. Her friends countered that such a trip was impossible Continue…

Our Family in the Tropics

Paula, Leo, Becky, Tony, Marta and Ana

Derawan is one of those cosmic vortexes which suck in amazing globetrotters from around the world. We’ve haven’t met this many adventurous travelers since Rishikesh India. Perhaps it’s just timing, perhaps it’s actually one of those magical places that mysteriously draws really cool people.

It’s just like the Hawaii episode of Charlie’s
Angels featuring Marta, Becky, and Ana

Out little Derawan family includes Anna and Marta from Spain, Becky from Britain, Leo and Paula from Brazil, Rene from Mexico, Matt from Switzerland, as well as several locals most notably John the turtleman.

Becky, Thomas, Rene, Marta, Ana and Tony

It’s great to have a crazy little community on this tiny dot of an island in the middle of nowhere. I just wish we didn’t have to leave.

Look What the Kat Dragged In

We frequently meet up with people who we have met earlier during our multi-year journey. While Tony and I are still on the same trip, all of these guys have gone home in the meantime, and come back to Asia for their next vacation.

Recently, we crossed paths with Kat in Krabi town. She’s the first traveler from the Rishikesh crowd we’ve run into again. It’s almost been three years since we spent a week together in India, talking hours on end during the monsoonal downpours. This time around, Kat brought rain again. Call me superstitious, but I see a trend here.

Kat just wrapped up her 3-month Asia adventure which included India, Nepal, Thailand and Cambodia. Unfortunately, she had to cut her trip short and is now back in Britain after she got Dengue fever, food poisoning and another mystery virus – all at the same time. Rather than pepping herself up on papaya salad and chicken satay, she’s back home probably eating kidney pie and trifle (or whatever the British eat). Get well soon and thank you for a great reunion, Kat. Next time, it’s our turn to visit.

So everyone out there, friends, family or anyone reading our blog, let us know if you are coming our way. We love company and can’t wait to meet up with you!

Hanging with Helga

Sweet Helga Presents us with Some Sweets!

Our stay at Koh Tarutao would not have been the same without Helga, a 72-year old powerhouse of a woman, and a muse to all travelers and wanna-be travelers. Backpacking through Thailand, inline skating (!), bicycling and serious trekking are only a few of the physical activities she enjoys. The amazing thing is that Helga started Continue…