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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Summary of my trip

(quick way of catching up)

Hey, how are you doing?
I’m doing great: have been traveling since mid October

ok, sounds good: where have you been?
Iran, south of India, stopover in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and I’m now in Laos.

What have you been doing all this time?
Good question. I’ve been mostly in smaller towns in each country with the exception of Tehran. I travel quite slowly so I haven’t seen much. To give you an idea: I was in India for nearly two months and haven’t seen the Taj Mahal. It has been mostly about the ‘travel experience’ and less about seeing sights. I admit guilty to having ‘done’ Angkor Wat and Luang Prabang.

Some of these places are on the backpacker’s trail. Have you been sitting on beaches and going to crazy parties for days on end?
Not really. I relaxed a bit on the beach in Goa and just came from Vang Vieng where I did the ‘tubing’ down the river, but that’s it. Really.

What did you like best?
Ahaa, the eternal question and impossible to answer. I especially liked Iranians and the people from Kon Tum (Vietnam), I recommend a lengthy visit to an Ashram to almost anybody, Bokor Hill station isn’t worth the entire trip to Cambodia (but almost), learning how to kitesurf was great, driving a motorbike through Vietnam and Laos almost better.
 
How have you been traveling: boat? plane? Bike?
It really depends on the country. Up until Cambodia I’ve traveled almost exclusively by bus (except for two flights and two train rides). In Vietnam I bought a motorbike and haven’t set foot in a bus since.

Oh my god, are you having a midlife crisis?
Don’t worry, it wasn’t a Harley Davidson, a simple 8 year old scooter does it for me. 

Isn’t it dangerous driving around there?
Yup, that’s why I watch out (I promise mom!). Seriously, it’s quite ok. Traffic in Vietnam is much more hectic than Laos. My average speed is probably around 25 km / hour.

Have you done any sports?
Quite a bit: some windsurfing, catamaran sailing, loads of hiking and even learnt kitesurfing.

That sounds great, I wish I could do it, but I don’t have so much money and I might nit be able to find a good job afterwards.
The good news is you can. Traveling isn’t cheap and I haven’t been traveling low cost (not luxurious either), but 1.500 euro is more than enough for a month (including flights). My theory on jobs is pretty simple. Unless I was underqualified and overpaid in my previous job, I should be able to find something similar. Maybe I’ll take a small hit in salary or function (I’m convinced I won’t), but if I do it was definitely worth it.

What’s the plan?
There’s no fixed plan. But it’s going to look something like this: I’ll stay a bit in Laos before I go to Nepal to join my parents. In May and June I’ll visit 2 good friends in China and Australia (don’t worry guys: I won’t stay the whole month). And in July I hope to do some wintersport in either New Zealand or South America. In August / september I’ll be in the USA to visit some old friends from Dell. I’ve got no idea for the period afterwards.

So, you will come back in September?
I’ve got a craving for Africa and some lesser known countries. I don’t know whether I’ll be able to contain it…

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Lucky day

Today was one of those amazing days. Absolutely gorgeous views of the scenery on my way here.

(sadly the picture doesn’t do it justice)

Image

I arrive in a fantastic unesco world heritage city (Luang Prabang) visa extension for Laos is a breeze and for dinner I meet two great couples, both equally well traveled and equally interesting jobs (goldsmiths and infrastructure development in 3rd world countries).

Most days I forget to be grateful for the great experiences on this trip, today my luck is to obvious to ignore.

You’re doing what?

Traveling around the world is great
I got to see more countries for a longer period than most people see in a lifetime. I’ve met more great people than I can remember, seen some of the most amazing sights of this this planet

 

But something was missing from my experience. My brain.
And to keep my brain busy, I’ve started a fun project: Building a website Why? Because I can (or at least that’s what I hope).

 

Is this your new job? Nah, it isn’t. I don’t expect to make any significant money from it. Just fun, see if I can do it, and so far so good.

 

How far are you ? Not that far, considering the amazing amount of time I’ve put in it. I’ve done the following until now:

  • Defined my niche (something with iPads)
  • Defined the solution I wanted to offer (iPad buying for people who don’t want to be bothered with megapixels and gigabytes)
  • Selected my main keywords (buying iPad, iPad price etc.)
  • Registered several domain names
  • Selected hosting provider and a package
  • Installed a content management system (WordPress) which allows me to maintain my site easily
  • Configured plugins for my CMS: SEO yoast, W3 cache, Google analytics
  • Chosen a design for my website and installed it
  • Set up a website structure (which is likely to change unfortunately)
  • Investigated a Content Delivery Network (CDN), but haven’t installed it yet
  • Started creating some content for the most important keyword combinations

And, are you liking it? For the time being: yes. Several things were much tougher than expected. I’ve spent hours messing around with W3 cache, but still haven’t configured it correctly. The design of the site is very ugly and you need even programming knowledge in order to setup something as simple as breadcrums (trust me, I’ve spent hours getting this fixed and I still haven’t been succesful). And last, but not least: creating great well hyperlinked content is very tough.

 

Why don’t you hire somebody to do all this stuff? It would take some of the fun away, but I might do it anyway if I
get frustrated and still believe in the idea.

 

So, what’s next? I’ll continue creating bits of content and wait for them to show up in Google. Then I’ll make a decision.