The most frequent question I get from everyone is how do I manage to travel often? It’s difficult to answer that I had to go back to my travels from the past year since I launched my travel blog. I visited 13 countries last year since August when my own travel blog has been launched. I never kept a journal but all the memories from each of the countries and cities I visited are still fresh.
The birthplace of my blog which I launched a year ago, The Rustic Nomad is at some “rustic” side of Germany close to Berlin, where two of my closest friends from Singapore were about to tie knots in an old castle in Storkow. An ice cold beer welcomed me to Germany, it’s my first time in Deustchland and early in the morning I’m having a beer, just perfect. Happy to see my friends who travelled all over the world to be on our friends’ wedding. I’m lucky that I found the same set of people who understands my passion, they themselves love to travel too. It’s an addiction we don’t intend to cure.
In fact, after the wedding, most of us travelled to Croatia together for a group honeymoon. We’re all huge fans of Game of Thrones and we were thrilled to visit King’s Landing, with all of us having our own versions of Walk of Shame in Old Town, Dubrovnik.
The same time I was in Europe I traveled solo and explored the Baltic States of Latvia and Estonia. Riga, Latvia’s capital intrigues me after seeing @unoemilio Instagram picture in front of House of the Blackheads. A more practical reason is, it’s the cheapest flight out of Berlin that I can find, so why not?
As much as I want to see much of the country, I decided to explore another Baltic state and the Medieval city of Tallinn, Estonia and it left a very good impression. It’s the most well preserved Medieval city of all Eastern Europe, according to Rick Steves and I couldn’t agree more. Fairy tales suddenly came to life where spoons and forks are considered as weapons.
I decided to cross the Baltic Sea and checkout what’s the fuss about Helsinki, the capital of Finland. I didn’t know what to expect, aside from being the manufacturer of Nokia, all I know about Finland is the Northern Lights. Helsinki, though was not among the Baltic States cannot hide the influence of the soviet era. It was summer but cold, I won’t forget the delicious seafood and the warm salmon soup.
Last year’s trip on a cold summer in Europe wrapped up back in Berlin, where drugs are being sold like candies but I never felt less safer. It now competes with Amsterdam as my favorite European city. But wait, I don’t do drugs. 🙂 The city is vibrant and multi-cultured, the remnants of the war is still there, now colored with the best graffitis I’ve ever seen.
Speaking of cold weather, where else can it be colder than Canada? It was Autumn and winter was just about to start in Montreal. A french-speaking city, it felt like I was in Paris but people were nicer and can speak english well. Autumn is my favorite of all four seasons, I love the colors of the leaves and the dramatic falling of the leaves as the cold wind blows. I followed the foot steps of Anthony Bourdain in the city, from an episode of his TV show, The Layover.
I love the cold weather, but I grew up in a tropical weather in the Philippines, and a yearly beach escapade in my home country has become some sort of a lifestyle. After another beautiful wedding in January, this time in Tagaytay, we flew to Boracay for an ultimate beach bumming escape. Boracay is always a home to me where my favorite restaurants and street foods are my comfort food.
If there’s any country that could compete with the the natural beauty of the Philippines, nothing else comes as close as Indonesia. My 2nd most visited country since I mostly do a weekend trip to Batam for wakeboarding. Though my last visit was to test my endurance, summiting the 2nd highest volcano in the country, Mount Rinjani in Lombok. It really tested my limits but yes I made it!
Couldn’t get enough of adventure, I did a weekend trip in Tokyo, Japan. I made it to the last stretch of snowboarding season in a resort just 2 hours away from the capital. Food trip is a must when in Japan, me and my cousin drown ourselves in warm Sake before our seafood feast in Shinjuku.
I was disappointed with Chinese food in mainland China. Though I’ve never been anywhere other than Guangzhou and Yangshou in Guilin County. We explored the Karst formations around Yangshou where my drone captured its heaven on earth beauty. While my micro four thirds lens captured the smile of one of the world famous Cormorant fishermen of Guilin, whom we paid to pose for pictures. The fisherman’s job has been obsolete for years and modeling has been a better source of income paying them a hefty sum of money.
The same expensive amount I paid to get my Russian Visa. My visit to one of the most intriguing countries in the world, Russia, has been pleasant. I was surprised how many American Stores were around the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg who’s being dubbed by media as anti-American. The Orthodox churches in St. Petersburg can give Rome a run for their money. I won’t forget when a Russian Navy who speaks no english gave me bars of chocolates when I was resting at garden near the palace square. Perhaps, I really looked hungry!
I was never as hungry as when I’m in Taipei, Taiwan. The country is famous for its night markets which is mostly selling street food. For me, the best Chinese food is here that can never be found in Hong Kong, China or even Singapore.
I’ve been living and working in Singapore for more than seven years where most of my colleagues were from India. I’ve been to many places but never their country so I grabbed the chance during a long weekend. I traveled to Jaipur, the pink city which is everything I imagined about India. Beautiful and unique architecture, chaotic but colorful, delicious food and very welcoming people. I mentioned the same in an interview with a local magazine, the highlight of the trip is the long motorbike ride to Tamhini Ghat which is 2 hours away from the center of Pune. Together with three of my local friends, we braved the occasional showers and slippery roads on the way. This place is a hidden gem of India, this is off my radar and my first reaction was, “Wow, it’s like Jurassic Park!”. So many waterfalls cut through the mountains, no pictures can give justice to it.
That’s one year of traveling to 13 countries across 3 continents without quitting my full-time job. I skipped the details of the boring part, that is going back to work.
Here’s what I do so I can travel often while keeping my full time job:
1. I save money for my travel fund. Traveling is a luxury no matter how budget-friendly is your trip, it’s not easily affordable so you need a good income stream without compromising your obligations.
2. Planning is the key. I only have 21 days vacation leave in a year but I take advantage of long weekends. I mostly apply for leaves in between or near the long weekends for longer trips. Also, if there are opportunities for complimentary offs, I take it, that’s additional vacation days!
3. Watch out for seat sales, I’m a bargain hunter for cheap fares! I got my ticket to Russia for half the price of the normal tickets. I booked 7 months in advance.
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I think one of the best ways is to keep a small slush fund for travel, and only use the money when you find awesome deals. I’m in the same situation where I only have a certain amount of vacation time. I too take advantage of long weekends and work extra to accommodate extra time. There’s no one answer, but planning and saving are key!
Wow, summiting the 2nd highest volcano in Lombok looks magnificent! Taking advantage of long holiday weekends is a good tip. And travel doesn’t mean a trip far away either.
I loved reading your travel story. Heading to 13 countries in a year is quite a thing! I agree that clubbing your days off with long weekends could really buy you more time, and that travelling a lot does go heavy on the pocket. I have started cutting down on other futile expenses (especially shopping and all that unnecessary jazz) to save up for my travels. However, I just head to 1 country/2 cities per month. 🙂
Wow, you really did travel the world and have been to far away places too. The Baltics, Russia, China, Indonesia! It’s impressive that you climbed Mount Rinjani! So beautiful. The shot of the Pink Palace in Jaipur is very Instagrammable!
You share some great tips here on seeing the world. I agree about saving for a travel fund, it’s never a bad idea! I also take advantage of long weekends, it’s good to do something different. Well done on seeing so much this far!
fascinating to read how you have managed to be such a fervent globe trotter while working. I have read many other bloggers who manage their travels in their won unique ways. great job on excellent management of it all, 13 countries in 1 years is a major accomplishment. with my full time job, i could only manage 5 a year.
Thank you Bee! 5 countries ain’t that bad. 😀
OMG! That’s awesome! To begin with I though you traveled across various countries in Europe, but then you hopped 4 different continents in 1 year? Whoa! That’s awesome!!! You also managed to do a motorbike ride in India? That’s way too awesome!
One definitely needs to get creative when it comes to limited vacation time. Combining days off with long weekends surely helps. Planning ahead of time and saving is key. Getting to travel to 13 countries in a year is awesome – good for you!! It sounds like you had an amazing time.
13 countries in a year are quite a lot. That too with a full-time job. Sometimes people don’t achieve that in a lifetime too. You got some killer pics. I especially loved your Pink City pic.
Wow – what you have managed to experience in such a short time while still working is just amazing! You are certainly living life to the full and seeing so much of the world. Love reading your blog and also the beautiful photos you include.
I am glad you enjoyed your stay in my country India. The Western Ghats easily accessible from Pune are heavenly in monsoon. I have never been to Singapore but I am sure it is full of Indians. I agree with you. One can travel well even without quitting the job.
Great tips! I absolutely love traveling and have been trying to find ways to maximise my travel whilst working. I totally agree with you about booking holidays around public holidays, this way you can maximise the time you get to actually travel. It’s still amazing you managed to travel to all these places with only 21 days of leave. Great work!
Your travel journey is so inspirational. I am so jealous that you got to see so many amazing countries and cities. I have a few bucket list items from the ones you mentioned here, but Dubrovnik is on top of that. Keep doing what you do because your passion shows through!
Really a big achievement for you by travelling 13 countries in a year. You have experienced European, Baltic, Asian and Far East culture in such a less period of time. For me 5 countries a year is the most but 13 is like a jackpot for travel lovers. You are an inspiration for us.
Thanks Yukti for the kind words. Happy to inspire people! 😀
Looks like you’ve had a great year of travels! Thirteen countries in one year is impressive–I doubt we’ll even get that many in, and we travel full time! Hope every year brings you as much fun traveling as this one!
you have the best life! I am fresh out of uni, so all I have is debt. Well not really, I went to uni in South Africa, so quite cheap, but none the less, I have no money to just travel. Need to get a job first!
Traveling is getting more and more popular and it’s great. The thing is I think that people do not actually realise that it takes not so much to start traveling and do the things you want. Usually the first step is the hardest because it can be stepping out of your comfort zone. And it’s great that there are more and more ways to combine working with traveling.
Your travel blog is inspiring for a fellow Filipino like me 🙂🙂🙂 Been working in Singapore too for a few years now and I’ve adapted the same mantra: work, save, travel, REPEAT! ♥️♥️♥️
Wow that was a cool post and thanks for the guidelines and thinking for travelling the world! A very cool editorial, I really am ready for travelling the world, I know confidently the practice would take along myself to newer horizons to the years ahead!!!