Around the World in 80 Years - Travel Journal

Avatar do usuário felipeh6 2205 7 54
Marcio_Farias escreveu:Felipe, five people on a motorcycle? I remember seeing more on a zigzagging bike.

Staying on topic, I really want to go to a single country, in this case the USA. (Can't indulge in, nor have the financial resources for, country-hopping.)

Marcio, probably that bike you've seen, you've seen it in a chinese picture or video. Man, it's probably a chinese one... :lol:
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Avatar do usuário Frank Florida 210 5
felipeh6 escreveu:Hello Frank,
May I ask you how you deal about the matters of limited time you can stay in each country? Most countries don't allow you to stay more than 90 days as a "tourist". Do you have a special kind of visa or how do you deal with your passport?

Hey Felipe, that's a good question, and it depends a lot on the country. Two extreme examples on both ends of the spectrum here in South East Asia: if you enter Thailand by bus, you only get a visa for 14 days. In Laos, on the other hand, you can simply apply for a one year visa, and you can renew that as often as you want...

Most countries do indeed allow you to stay for 90 days, after which you can often renew your visa for another 90 though - that's what I've done in many cases, and half a year is really plenty. I usually get itchy feet after about four months at most. ;)
Marcio_Farias escreveu:Staying on topic, I really want to go to a single country, in this case the USA. (Can't indulge in, nor have the financial resources for, country-hopping.)

Cool, I'm sure you'll have a great time there... the US are a very diverse place and have a LOT to offer. That said, country hopping can be a lot cheaper than you probably imagine - there are a lot of places where you can find simple hotel rooms for 2-5 dollars a night, and even long distance bus fares are just about that much... If you're willing to shoestring it, that's certainly a possibility. And then, of course, there's always the option to make money while you travel - I'll write more about all that later.

Oh, and five people in a bike is nothing... check this out lol:


Avatar do usuário sandrom 615 3 10
Hi Frank,

First of all, thanks for sharing your wonderful and brave experience with us.

I think travelling frees our minds and souls and I try to travel as much as possible.

I´ve collected 6 trips abroad and in each one I learned a lot about their language, customs, habits and culture. I´ve made some good friends as well.

Vietnam seems to be a facinating place. I know something about it through a friend of mine who is vietnamese. Enjoy your time there.


Avatar do usuário Frank Florida 210 5
Hey Sandro, thanks for your reply and your kind words! It's true... there is nothing like traveling the world for a year to find out who you really are and what you really want out of life.

Every time somebody tells me "I don't know what to do with my life" or even "I don't know what career path to go down", I tell them to take at least 6 months off to travel... ideally 12. It opens your mind and broadens your horizon in so many ways, and most people arrive back home after a year with a completely new outlook on life.

I still owe you guys the update about Saigon, I will write that shortly! :)

Avatar do usuário Frank Florida 210 5
Alright guys, as promised, here is a little bit about Saigon... the first thing I remember thinking was - oh my God, I'm in Saigon - how crazy is that? For some reason, it felt perfectly normal to just hop on a plane to Vietnam when I was in Manila, but once I actually got there it felt pretty crazy. And I remember thinking this is pretty awesome...

I met a German guy on the plane who has been traveling for a long time as well (I run into a lot of people like that... there are a gazillion ways to pull this off folks!!). He was actually working as a missionary in one of the churches in the Philippines - it was volunteer work, but they paid his room and board and took care of all the essentials he needed. He came to Saigon to meet part of their congregation there, and we had a really interesting conversation about the strange paths we went down in life.

In his case, he had been a criminal, a real gangster, back in Berlin. He had seen men die and probably done more drugs than most people could reasonably hope to survive, but somehow he made it out alive and the day two Russians got shot right in front of him, he decided to turn his life around and is now a born again Christian, spreading the Gospel in South East Asia...

The lady at my hotel told me the street we were looking for was at the fook.


"It's at the fook."

Oh, at the park... right.

There's something super bizarre about this country and their language... But the food is awesome. :lol:

I stayed in the backpacker part of town in District 1, which meant that there were always lots of prostitutes around, and apparently they speak pretty good English, with one exception - they don't know the meaning of the word "no"... :?

My hotel room was 14 bucks per night, for a huge room with air con, double bed, private bathroom and a fast internet connection... and the hosts were super friendly as well. Look them up if you ever get a chance, the two hotels I stayed at were Chez Vy Khanh and Thanh Hà... both are cheap and awesome and I absolutely guarantee their owners will make you feel right at home.

This was the first time I went to Saigon in 8 years, and it was kinda weird to see all the backpackers who are doing nothing but... well, nothing but nothing, really. There are so many foreigners in Saigon, and they're almost all backpackers, doing nothing. It's hard to imagine that I had that kind of freedom once - now, of course, I usually bring some work with me when I'm on the road.

I haven't posted here in a while as life's been a bit crazy lately (and I'll let you in on that in my next couple of posts!), but I'll keep this journal updated more regularly from now on. Feel free to reply if you have any comments or questions, or even better, start your own journal - it'll be good for ya! ;)

Cheers guys,

~ Frank Florida ~
Hello Frank!!!

I'm loving to read about your travels.

I'm planning to go Southeast Asia for the first time in the next October. I'll be at Thailand and Indonesia.
I'd would like some advices since, I won't have to many days there.

and how much will cost me a simple room with air con at these places?

Thanks in advance,

Avatar do usuário Frank Florida 210 5
Hey Nathalia,

Thanks for your interest! How much time do you have in each of the two countries? The best advice I can give you is probably to buy a Lonely Planet guide book for Indonesia and Thailand. They have become quite main stream over the years, but they are still the best on the market and if I need a guide book, that's still the one I pick every time.

Do you want to hit up the beaches and just chill out? Are you looking to do a meditation retreat in the interior? Or ride elephants in the mountains up North? Or do you want to party it up in Bangkok? Or do you want to take some courses in Thai cuisine, Thai massage or Thai language?

There are a million different things to do in Thailand, and the Lonely Planet talks about all of them... it also recommends different itineraries, depending on how much time you have and what you want to do...

Now Indonesia is a different matter, I actually spent 5 months there and speak their language fluently... There are a lot of beautiful places to go, but Jakarta is probably one of the the least pleasant cities I've ever been to. I wouldn't waste a lot of time there. The beaches get better and better the farther East you go, and Bali is interesting because of it's Hindu culture (it's not Muslim, like the rest of the country).

About prices... A hotel room with air con will run you about 15 dollars a night in Thailand, but it'll be a *nice* room. Private bathroom, TV set, fast internet connection, and new furniture. If you want something more simple, that can be found even cheaper... the low end is probably about 5 dollars a night.

I don't know the prices in Indonesia at the moment as I haven't been there in a few years, but you can find those in the Lonely Planet or on - that is an excellent resource for booking accommodation, by the way. Or, you could rent a room at a private home on or even stay somewhere for free with - there are many options, these are just a few off the top of my head.

Hope that helps, and let me know if you have any questions, I'll help where I can...
Always the best,

Frank Florida
Hello Frank,

thanks for your fast replay.

I intend to be around [only] 10 days in each country. And i want to do everything and visit every place... more I research, it gets hearder to pick up. :cry:

So may plan for Thailand is stay about 3 days in Bangock, heading North to Chiang Mai staying there for a few days( yes, hiding elephants and visit the "Giraffe" women). Then, going south to beaches.
At Indonesia, I plan to go to Jakarta, and stay there for max. 2 days, and would like to visit also Yogyakarta and Borobudur in Java. And stay about 5 days in Bali.

Just 2 more questions: do you think I should book my rooms in advance? And about my fligh beetween Thailand and Indonesia? Do you think there is any problem in a buying my ticket only when I get there?

Do you have a website or blog about your travels?

Terima Kasih
Avatar do usuário Frank Florida 210 5
Well, that sounds like a pretty cool plan... I'm sure you're going to have a great time and end up going again! 8-)
nathaliacg87 escreveu:Just 2 more questions: do you think I should book my rooms in advance?

Unless you go to the most touristy places in high season, I don't think that's necessary... I hardly ever book rooms in advance. If anything, I look up a good hotel on and give them a call to ask how many vacancies they have. But making reservations too far ahead of time doesn't suit my spontaneous life style. ;)
And about my fligh beetween Thailand and Indonesia? Do you think there is any problem in a buying my ticket only when I get there?

Again - I usually buy plane tickets just before I board the plane, or a few days ahead of time tops. You'll probably find that flights in South East Asia are quite cheap, usually less than 100 dollars for an international flight... and in some cases, a lot less.
Do you have a website or blog about your travels?

No, I never started one of those... a couple of friends of mine are fairly well-known travel bloggers though. Check out, I met Ryan and Dina in Manila... she's from Indonesia, by the way, so I'm sure they have some articles on there that could be of interest for your trip!

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Avatar do usuário sandrom 615 3 10
Hi Frank,

I enjoyed a lot reading your impression of Saigon. It reminds me lots of stories that were told me by a vietnamese friend.

But I´m still craving for knowing about how do you support your live on the road. I remember that you said that you teach English. But for who? Locals or companies? And how about translation? When you went to Brazil did you work like that too?

Thanks in advance and enjoy your time in Vietnam (what will be the next destination?).