Experience the thrill of island hopping in the Philippines
This was another special period in my life. Prague was a blast for the first 7/8 years after the fall of communism, as the country transitioned to a free market system. On average, living standards were improving, although the grandmas, surviving off their retirement pension, could be heard at all bus stops exclaiming how horribly the price of milk is increasing while inflation is eroding their once healthy retirement cash cow. But the young were optimistic and many compared the city to the revitalization of Paris after WW2.
But after that initial period of boom and change, things started to stagnate, gossip started to rise, and I felt it was slowly time to move on.
Sitting on my couch one day working with my laptop on coffee table, I said to myself, “You know, I work online so I can do this anywhere.” The wheels started churning in my head, so I decided to test my concept by flying to Canada to visit mom for Christmas, buy a van in Seattle and drive down to the southern tip of Baja Mexico. That was certainly a blast and the ten days in surfing, tropical beach paradise wet my lips for more. I came back to Prague with a vengeance and awesome tan and even held out in its freezing cold wearing only shorts and sockless sandals while protesting against the winter.
It took me three long years to save up for a camper van (a beautiful 3.5 tonne Mercedes truck in whose interior I remodeled myself), after which I set out on a five year journey around Europe, solar panels on roof, internet connection by various creative means, enjoying as much history, culture and beach as I could.
But alas, eventually I got tired of anything resembling cold winters, so I decided to make a move to Asia, but these five years and the fifteen years I spent in the country of my birth are memories I will cherish forever.
Now I organise boat tours in the beautiful Palawan region of the beautiful Philippines.
Below is the old text for this page, mostly aimed at trying to find a travel partner.
Story of my travels through Europe
Middle pic: smog test in Stuttgart Germany just after buying it.
Bottom and top: down the street from where I lived in Prague, and hopefully the last winter for both of us!
Howdy, I moved myself and my business into a truck which I converted into a caravan so that I
can travel freely around the world with no great agenda or rush. I’d love if you can join me during my travels. Below you will find some basic info how I arrived at this wonderful situation.
At the age of 3.5 the communists invaded Czech Republic and my parents decided to split pronto < . Eventually made it to Canada, my parents divorced, and my mom bounced around from one end of Ottawa to the other. So at a very early age I was already regularly uprooting and constantly forced to make new friends.
Eventually moved to Vancouver B.C. where I bounced around a few highschools, spent six summers planting trees, bounced around the country some more, and after university decided to move back to Prague. This was shortly after the fall of communism.
At that time Prague was compared to Paris after WWII. It was an interesting place, frequented by a lot of interesting people, but whose stay was short-lived. So again I was constantly making new friends, and although I stayed in Prague for fourteen years, it kind of felt like I was traveling, because of all the new faces passing through town and the rapid changes which took place there following the fall of communism.
Besides my four years at university in Canada, Prague was by far the longest I ever stayed in one place. And after some ten years (the maximum time I originally planned to stay there), my yearnings to travel and uproot myself yet again reached unbearable levels. Either it is in my genes and nature, or it has been bred into me due to the constant upheavals in my life, but I now consider myself a traveling Gipsy, a nomad at heart.
I came to Prague with the intention of making a million bucks and retiring (in ten years). Unfortunately, this did not happen, but my translation agency was successful enough that it kept me pegged there. One of the reasons why I moved back to Prague was because it was in Central Europe and I hoped to use it as a launching pad to travel throughout Europe. But every time I would go on a little vacation, I would often lose customers, who demanded constant attention and looked for alternate providers when I was not available.
With the eventual advent of the internet, I started to devise a plan whereby I could take my work anywhere I go.
I tested this out a few times, once during my vacation to Bulgaria, and once on a trip through Europe. I had a roaming plan with ATT whereby I could dialup to a local modem and hook up to the internet that way, but this depended on someone allowing me to use their phone and it was generally rather problematic.
I then got a massive translation job of 5 million words into 11 languages for Dupont, and my dreams of departure were accelerating.
After recovering from this project I decided I would take a vacation to North America. Visit my mother in Vancouver Canada for Christmas after 11 years in Prague, then buy a van and drive down to the southern tip of Baja Mexico to spend my first winter ever in warmth. It was truly a treat. But half of the coast did not have a mobile signal, and because my trip was so short (3 months), my best bet for internet connection was to rent a satellite Iridium phone. About a buck fifty a minute and a ridiculously slow connection. I’d have to pull over by the side of the road once a day, find a clearing where I could catch at least 3 satellites, and check my mail that way. Otherwise I would hunt down the occasional internet cafe, or possibly use my ATT roaming through someone’s phone line. But again it was limiting, and again I lost some important customers.
While in the US I purchased a lot of hardware which I planned for my upcoming “world tour” (these pages). So the Mexico trip was a more serious pilot test, an opportunity to treat my mother for Christmas, and a chance to buy a lot of hardware not available in Europe, or much cheaper there than in Europe.
I stepped off the plane back in Prague with a gorgeous tan and was ready to hit the road again with a vengeance. But I was stuck in Prague for three more years, during which time I would always say that I guessed I would leave within about three months, until it became a regular joke and no one believed I would ever leave. It turns out that the preparations for my world tour were much more colossal than I had ever dreamed. Busy with translation projects I basically hired a part time secretary to help me get on the road.
With some Dupont project cash still lingering, I finally found my dream caravan truck, the discovery of which was a story in itself < . Much to learn, and a lot of time spent putting together the beast.
Then came another massive translation project, this time for Monster.com, translating its 225,000 word website into each of five languages, whereby I now finally had the funds to hit the road. Three years after leaving Mexico.
It was a bumpy start, especially since I ran cold out of work and was eating bread crumbs for a year while on the road (but at least no more expensive Prague rent!). One of the key points making my trip possible was to set up a system where I could hand the management of my translation agency to others – I was going global. It required setting up a server and getting my programmers to develop many fancy scripts for me – a very difficult task indeed and which contributed to my delayed departure.
But after a year on the road, tweaking the beast further with what little funds I could scrounge together, I learned much about living such a nomadic lifestyle, and about hooking up solar panels, wiring the beast, different ways to connect to the internet while traveling, and where to take my regular morning dump – all explained and constantly updated in the caravan survival tips pages.
One major ingredient I found lacking during my Mexico trip was a female travel companion. I spent my last year in Prague actively seeking such a partner, but this proved more difficult than I expected. If you read the caravan survival tips pages above, I think you will understand why. But I shall persevere.
Otherwise, I would advertise on Lonelyplanet.com, couchsurfing.com and in other ways to find company to travel with, and occasionally I would be successful. This is one of the reasons why I developed these travel pages. Originally because my friends wanted to hear about my experiences, but quickly as a means to find co-travelers, and even to help generate web traffic for my translation agency (in a desperate plea for work).
While developing these web pages, I would combine it with my translation agency pages, because for that I wanted to develop webpages for each country, to generate webtraffic for each of the 190+ languages I offered.
And while developing these individual country pages by researching the internet, I also started country pages (below) giving tips to other travellers and summarising my experiences there.
And based on suggestions by some people I met and based on requests by some friends who were interested in buying property throughout Europe, it occurred to me to start my Europe property investment pages, pointing out nice and undeveloped areas I found while travelling.
And most recently I thought I could start some cheap travel Europe tour guide pages where I could compile a database of nice hotels etc. to help travelers make reservations throughout Europe and with their travel plans in general. Paving the road ahead for them, so to speak.
So these pages have been ballooning from their original intention, and I imagine they will keep ballooning. After all, developing such pages to generate webtraffic has become my primary means of seeking new customers.
If you’d like to join me on any leg of my world tour or ask for travel advice, feel free to contact me.
Otherwise, if you are only interested in some crazy reading, grab a cup of coffee and read about my
EURO TRIP blog!
After traveling for some time I developed two favourite sayings. The first one drawn from “The world is my oyster” and describing how I feel after I settle for a few days in some city and learn where all the shops, washrooms and showers etc. are.
The world is my town.
Been there, time to move on.
I will continue to develop these every time I pass through them. A lot of the suggestions were contributed to me by my translators and people I know who live there, so do not expect perfect grammar. Just perfectly helpful information!
Oh, and if there’s some crazy Bohemian chick out there with a sense of adventure, who does not need luxurious facilities, and who does not constantly nag and complain about every little thing that is not perfect, I may just have the job for you! In case you’re suspicious I’m some crazy madman in a truck, you can check out some travel testimonials by people who have traveled with me. I’m a safe and sympathetic madman.
A view of the boat tours I organise in the beautiful Philippines.