Luxurious bus journeys

We’ve written almost always about air travel. But despite it being such a high profile way of traveling, flying isn’t the most utilized mode of transport for travel. The road remains the principal mode of moving people from one point to another, and we know – that you know.

So when it came to this article, we are reminded that there are so many journeys one can embark on with the bus to the little red dot’s backyard. For example, it is just 5 hours to Kuala Lumpur and many of the coaches run overnight too! And if are looking for tips on long distance bus travel read all about it here at Meneroka.

But the all time crown of a bus journey must go to Megan at ESL adventures (here). She embarked on a 3-month African Safari, 73 days to be exact. Although she said it was a large “jeep”, we think it is more akin to a souped up bus which can carry 28 passengers plus helluva lot of equipment. Because it was a lot of DIY too…. not quite luxury in the sense we may all have a vision of. But out in the bush of Africa, it gets as luxurious as that… well there were stops here and there in real liveable locations. We’ll leave you to read her adventures.

While we had our fair share of bus journeys too via coach tours, it was never for that period of time. The longest was 14 days and that was already quite exhausting. Getting your personal stuff on and off the bus each and every day presents quite a challenge.

Do you enjoy bus journeys? Have you any interesting stories to tell?

Off to Jordan!

A year+ ago, we wrote about how we’d dream to be in Petra (here). And later on we wrote about how we were assessing the ways to get here (here). Yeah. Finally fruition has come through!

When we get to Jordan, this is the photo we want to take:

Approach to Petra

Ok not sure if there would be camels there or a busload of tourists photobombing us, but this scene is surely what we want. And so it keeps playing in our head. “In your heeaaad, in your heeaad, zombie zombie…”. Because like zombies we were unable to focus at work or our meals. And we were but mindlessly going about our day before we headed to the airport.

And we are off!

Actually, by the time you read this we would already have zipped across the Indian Ocean to Amman via Dubai and should be on the road towards Petra. Or for those in a later timezone, we would have already reached the town and preparing for tomorrow’s walk. Ooooh, can you feel our excitement exuding towards you from half a world away?

Don’t you get that kind of feeling when you’re about to go on what you perceive as an epic adventure? Some have written about this anticipation being a significant part of the entire journey. Do you think so? That excitement that Suan have (butterflies in the stomach) has apparently infected Mel too…

So what will we be embarking on?

We start off in Amman. From there it will be 5 days in the country getting to you know where before we cross over to Israel. Yup, we will explore Israel too and spend Christmas in Jerusalem. Well, last year was in the frigid cold, so this year’s quite a change.

A slew of scheduled posts will continue to stream from our blog, but no responses will come from us. Yeah, we’ll put our mind off blogging for the next two weeks and focus on the journey. So, we’d lay off logging in and reading blogs or posting comments, just like when we were in Hua Hin. Live the moment thoroughly and harness the days we have in the lands of the prophets. Anyway we are too damn cheap to data roam… heheh… though we’ll continue to post on IG whenever free wifi comes within range. Provided you follow us there too…

You folks enjoy the holiday season and ‘see ya’ in the new year!

The seductively lying photo

Photography is one art form that truly baffles the mind in many ways. And for readers who are ardent or more professionally inclined photographers, you would know that photos can be taken in many ways to present a mirage.

So this Daily mail article attempts to explain (here) what many of us already know. That some people do go to great lengths and effort to set up that perfect picture. Why? Because it sends a message. We are sure many go gaga over some of the images shared on instagram. They seem so perfect, so incredible. Wish you had been the one who took that photo huh?

Did you think Mel or Suan took the featured photo? Well no. We passed our underwater camera to a diver who got to a suitable depth to capture that shot. Heheh… we are being honest here…

But today our post is not just about how photos are constructed. It is about perception. Because like photography, how we live our lives can sometimes be a construct that we want others to see. Even though it may not in reality be the life we actually live. You know what we mean right? We have actually written about how folks who embark on a life of travel (because YOLO) seem to portray such a rosy situation.

Some call it an illusion. Others maintain that it is but a façade. What do you think? Just like how we portray our traveling lives on social media, showing mostly if not entirely the good parts only. Like what we asked as in do we instagram just to collect followers (here), is there a veneer of higher purpose when we do sharing? What purpose does it serve to share in your view?

Family business country

Heheh… well we are not referring to the little red dot in case you think it… The third in our little series on micro and small states in Europe, we train our focus on the tiny little nation that sits between Switzerland and Austria.

Yep, Liechtenstein.

This little nation is 160km², but like the little red dot, this landlocked country is also a financial powerhouse. While it WAS under (and still in a way) the private ownership of a family who literally bought the place, it is now a constitutional monarchy. It is one of the countries in the world that does not have a military, since its size and population probably inhibits it.

But it is not part of the EU and that is the interesting situation. Because it still participates in the European economic area and is a party to the Schengen treaty effectively making its borders open. But then it uses the Swiss Franc in a monetary union. Our little red dot has an interchangeability agreement with Brunei, which effectively means both countries’ currencies are equal and can circulate in each others country. Different strokes for different folks!

It was just a restroom stop, but we crafted a little story out of it with help from many sources on the web. Add a dash of our own seasoning, this little essay here tells how a medieval noble family’s fortune ebbed and flowed with the times. Have you been to Liechtenstein?

Financing a life of travel

lotte-money1
Imagine if this stack of money was real and yours!

Ever wish you had an endless stream of income that would finance your traipsing around the world? Wouldn’t it be nice to not worry about how to pay for making the journey? Well we’ve read quite a fair bit of bloggers writing about getting around the world in the cheapest way, seeking out activities that are free to do etc. There have been quite a few who journeyed around the world on bike or foot or public transport too (here and here)!

To us that is all well and good.

But would the journey to Pisa be the same without paying for the climb up the tower that leans? Would one really climb all the way to the Great Wall instead of taking the cable car? Hmmm….. Some things in life are indeed free to enjoy, but many of the experiences would probably not.

Today though our post is not just on the boon and bane of traveling on the cheap.

It’s about financial preparedness. And it is applicable not just for paying one’s travel journeys, but also the journey we call life. When we were young (and your heart was an open book), you might say live and let live…. heheh… sorry cannot help it because it was ringing in Mel’s head (for those G&R fans out there!). Before one get carried away by the travel bug and “squander” one’s youth away, would it not be wise to look a little ahead? For we have said repeatedly; time is but the only thing one cannot claw back or keep in store for later use. You do only live once, but you are also only young and energetic once.

Having a portfolio of assets that repeatedly produce income would be wonderful don’t you think? Like the proverbial goose laying a golden egg everyday. We call our finance independence theory the “Golden egg Goose” concept. You heard about it here first. What do you think?

Encircled! But independent

If you read our story here, you will know that it is the local favourite of the Italians living around the city to get into the little country and come out with daily necessities… well as far as our guide told us. Not sure if that still works today.

All of San Marino is just 61km². Founded in the year 301 as an independent monastic community, it claims to be the world’s oldest republic. Actually it is very unique. And being in Italy; history had a lot to do with it. The tiny republic began on Mount Titano and only expanded in the mid 1400s. It came under the protection of the Papal states too and that flowed on through to 1861 when Italy was reunited – ie the new nation recognized San Marino’s independence!

Well, again it is a little challenging to explain the politics behind why this tiny state was not simply incorporated into Italy, but literature suggests that it was because the unifier of Italy had sought refuge in San Marino during his earlier days of revolutionary war to unify Italy. And there are sources citing the republic’s links with France, a powerful neighbour to the newly formed Italian nation. Whatever the case, that independence was affirmed and today aside from defence, the most serene republic of San Marino conducts all local government and foreign relations on its own.

Anyway.

The unique thing about the country is that it has two heads of state – like the two consuls of the Roman republic. Every 6 months two are appointed from opposing parties to ensure a balance of power. The council which is democratically elected every 5 years performs this act and is essentially like the Roman senate! Wow.

Does this make you want to visit San Marino too?