Changing money

Reading this post some months back we were inspired to write about our experiences trying to obtain local currencies in the countries we traveled to. Now bear in mind that our little red dot has a high density of money changers. They stock currencies from around the world and can even procure some for you if you give them some lead time.

The downside though to obtaining currency notes from these changers, is on some occasions we were given old versions of notes that were no longer valid… not that the changer did that intentionally, but they too were caught unaware…

Or the other consideration that if you get damaged (not even torn) notes, most folks will not accept it for payment or exchange. This is true whether one gets the note from the home country, at airports (where they apparently rip you off) or at bureaus in the country you head to. Which makes e-payment so attractive. Some day, we will all seamlessly have access to payment platforms in the countries we visit without the need for currency notes…

Perhaps exchanges and paper notes will become mostly obsolete?

Tell us. When you travel to a foreign country, how would you like to be able to make payments? Do you prefer good ole fashion paper currency or e-payments?

Around the world in 245 days!

Heheh… not in 80 days but 3 times as long. Can you even start to imagine the amount of laundry you’d have to do to keep from smelling like the durian fruit? Happy New Year!

Can you stomach being aboard a cruise ship for almost a year? Well, if you have say £67,000 to spare (and that is per person), then this one’s surely one to put on your list… 113 ports in 59 countries. Now if you were looking for some way to increase your ‘how many countries I’ve travelled to’ count, surely this will bump up the score.

If this article (here) pricks your interest, well start saving or borrowing and make your booking. You still have some time…

It has been more than 13 years since we last set foot on a cruise ship – and the small yachts that we’ve been do not count. Eight months is a very long time. Might not be a cruise a single traveller will consider we think, but who knows? Well the comment at the start of the post about laundry wasn’t really a joke. Because the logistics of rotating clothing will be but one of the challenges. Unless one intends to buy and keep changing the OOTD, every day!

But hey!

We’re talking about a grand adventure where more than 50 countries will be touched. Sure is cost a small fortune, but it’s YOLO ain’t it?

PS: alternatively one can seek a job aboard the cruise… perhaps one cannot get off at all ports, but at least a stab at half of them?

We are voyagers, not travelers!

Yes. We picked up this term well over a year back in IG. Not that it is new. After all, the gutsy folks of the late 15th century were known as such when they set forth for the unknown, seeking for a shipping route from Europe to the fabled ‘riches’ of the far east.

Like many words, its meaning has evolved over time.

And today we are attaching one more meaning to this word. A noun more than a verb, we’ve replaced the title of “Tribal Chief” to “Voyager” in the certification roll of honour. Remember our business plan here?

You know all about nomads. They move about a lot and perhaps follow the seasons too like those folks waaay back. And you have to be persistent. Not just doing it for a year and expect to be accredited as Voyager. Because a Voyager is more than a nomad and takes committment. This is a person who charts out the unknown (to the rest of us at least). While the nomad has no permanent home, the Voyager calls the four seas his abode (四海为家)… heck we all call planet earth our home! Hmmm…

Well over the last 12 months we had been shuffling around spending time in various places for work (project mainly). And it we did it for more than a year. Add the >8 years we were outside of our country we think we qualify ourselves as Voyagers. Heheh…

So ends our meaningless rant for today. Voyaging matters to us. Does it matter to you? Still interested in getting that accreditation?

Is Ikea its most famous brand?

The title of this post should give you enough hint about which country we are referring to. At one time barely 250 years ago, this country was one of the strongest militarily in the Nordic region. So much that it dominated to the extent that the Baltic sea could have been named after it.

Yeah, we’re talking about Sweden. Land of Abba, meat balls and Ikea… ok so we jest, in case Swedes object.

Our reminisce of the time we spent in that country is concentrated almost entirely in Stockholm. For that was the main stopping point in our coach trip around Scandinavia so many years ago. You know the trouble with groups is that one does not have control over the itinerary and timings. So we’ll probably make a return some day.

What made the most impression on us on that journey? We think its got to be the warship Vasa. Get to the museum where the extricated ship is now on display. As impressive as it was, it was ‘top heavy’. Too many guns almost like an inverted pyramid. A good lesson for all to learn, particular corporates with high paid management… heheh.

It was such a brief whirlwind journey through it that we did so long ago (here). We know there are lots more to see and do in Sweden. What do you recommend?

The Long Journey Q4-18

And now, the end is near, and so we face the final curtain issue
My friend, we’ll say it clear, we’ll state our case, of which we’re certain
We’ve lived a life that’s full, we’ve traveled each and every many many highways
But more, much more than this we’re did doin’ it our way…
Here is the link to our final rendition of the Long Journey as a newsletter: link here.

Oh time has truly flown as this tenth year and 40th edition is finally available for publish and reading. Time to bid adieu to this publication. We thank you for your reading and support all this years.

Come back more often to read all about our other stories!

Of travel scams and losses

What are the most common scams one can encounter when traveling abroad? We are sure you would have heard of more. But there is an interesting infographic in this article that sums it up. Remember we wrote about fake travel websites (here) last year?

Today’s not really about scams.

Some months back, we read about Joy’s experience getting around with luggages in a busy Athenian metro station. It was surely not a happy experience to lose all your money and documents and finding it hard to obtain help in a country which does not speak your language. We are sure some of us had experienced the same frustrations and sense of loss (not just of the money and documents) when this occurs.

And does anyone recall the recent news about Himalayan helicopter rescue insurance fraud?

Isn’t it such a sad state of affairs when there begins to be growing prevalence of petty crime in any travel destination? Perhaps our little red dot is small, and great pains had been put into ensuring that there remains low crime (though not no crime). And not just against tourists but also in general around the country. Because one of the most enjoyable thing about traveling to any place is NOT having a feeling of vulnerability.

But it does not mean that its all hunky dory here. Because there are many scams going around too… yes here! So much that our little red dot actually have an active scam alert site to warn of the schemes out there (https://www.scamalert.sg/). Essentially they advise

  • 别慌 (don’t panic and become vulnerable)
  • 别信 (don’t believe blindly)
  • 别给 (don’t give information freely)

If only there were ways we can emulate Japan, where discipline, honesty and politeness seems to be innate in the people. When can we become like that? Do we aspire to be so?

What is your view?