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Monday, March 24, 2014

I Need YOUR Trip Reports!

Xiongmao here.

Since I sold all my stuff to go traveling I find I have plenty of time on my hands these days. I don't have a car, TV, games console or even that many books to read.

So I've been building a lot of stuff on my computer lately...

My latest project is to build a trip report tool that can help guys like yourself find out where the best places are to go traveling.

Find the trip report tool here: Trip Report Tool

As an inducement to file new trip reports, anyone filing a report gets a free 12 month Gold membership plan of the associated dating site. It's mostly full of Filipinas and ladyboys, but at least it won't cost you a cent to chat to anyone.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

How Getting Rid of My Cable TV Box Gave Me More Freedom

By Andy

One of the proudest days of my life came two years ago when I called the cable company to cancel my cable television subscription. The tone of the customer service representative's voice indicated shock and disappointment. I refused to let him manipulate me into keeping my package at a "cheaper price" or "three-month special." I could no longer bear paying an astronomical amount of money for subpar programming, and I wasn't going to pay more for supposedly better shows on premium channels. I promptly told the cable company where to stick it and after hanging up the phone, returned my cable box to the nearest service center location.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

“I wish I was a Colombian”

That was what I told myself when I had met Simon. He is a college student from Bogota, and he has a beautiful girlfriend. He also rides in a beat up motorbike, with a faded leather jacket. I had met him while scoring some bakes from the city center with Jin, the Korean-American. 

Sensing opportunity to sell more to the gringoes he invited us later that afternoon and we embarked into a sharing of our world (Jin would later ride all over Colombia with him -- Koreans are seen as a special curiosity).

During our time together, I had an insider view of his life. He opened up to me in a way that is unheard of in America. To readily share lives with a complete stranger, a foreigner at that, is a trait shared among the inhabitants found outside first world nations. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

“I was a God in The Philippines” – No You Weren’t Here’s Why.

The Philippines is a very stratified society. To be honest, I don’t doubt at all that you probably got laid like a champion during your week visit. But there really is something more going on that will escape your eye as westerner and that someone who has an insider knowledge of the culture can tell you.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

10 Things You Can Do Between Trips Abroad

By Andy

So, you swallowed the red pill and taken that trip abroad, and what an eye-opening experience it was! You met some interesting people and maybe made some friends along the way. The women you encountered were hot enough to not only put the women in your hometown to shame, but hot enough to melt the Wicked Witch of the West. Chances are, one or several of them tickled your fancy and are special enough to pay a return visit. And by golly, you’ve just arrived back home and already you can’t wait to go back.

Such a culturally enriching trip has put you on the most natural of highs and your confidence is up in the stratosphere. Yep, you've got a little extra spring in your step. Now it's time to build on that confidence. You don't just want to be passing time between trips by staring at the ceiling and diddling your noodles all day. Where's the fun in that, anyway?

Here's what you can do between your trips abroad:

1. Exercise regularly and watch what you eat.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT get complacent. Don’t think you can slack off by celebrating your great trip, eating junk food and watching the ball game every day.  Like it or not, you gotta put in some work at the gym, on your local running trail, nearest track, etc. Yeah, you’re hot stuff and the chicks overseas dig you for you, but don’t let that get to your head. If you want to return to the same country you met your dream girl in, you have to make sure that when you return, you are the same version she fell in love with. You don’t want to be a pathetic shell of your former self. If you have been taking care of yourself before you even started traveling to far away lands, you'll have enough respect for yourself to maintain or even improve your physical fitness. I'm not saying you need to lose your mind working on a body to go fight for Sparta, but devote at least an hour of your day to some physical activity. If you like getting together with the fellas to watch the game on TV, assemble a team in your local rec league for whatever sport you guys like. That way you'll get to play the sport you like to watch, and you can make a day out of being around your friends instead of staring at a corner in your room.
Even if you can't get a team put together or simply don't have time to play sports, go to the gym and watch TV. Virtually all gyms are equipped with multiple television sets featuring multiple channels. Your team or the big game is bound to be on one of them, so why not kill two birds with one stone and get a workout in while you watch? If your cravings for junk food are simply too much to resist, set aside one day during the week or the month to indulge in your favorite comfort food, but don't overdo it. Don't visit Ronald McDonald and don't keep your pantry stocked with Twinkies. Instead shop for healthy food and go out for a beer or an ice cream on the weekend. Here's an idea: go to the park and get a pick-up game going with your buddies on the weekend. Afterwards you can have a BBQ, order a pizza, whatever. If you make the most out of your health options, develop a routine, are consistent and give yourself a reward every now and then, you'll enjoy yourself a lot more and you'll feel a lot better. Remember, if you don't have your health, you don't have anything.

2.  Save your money.

This is very simple. Save money. Part of planning that next trip is saving money for it. Don’t make any major or stupid purchases. What the f*ck are you doing looking at houses? I said no foolish purchases, dumbass. Buying a house is more expensive than renting. Plus, you don’t want to be tied down to one place if you find a job abroad. There are also additional costs with a mortgage. Do you really want to spend decades paying off a mortgage and spending money you would otherwise abroad on home improvement projects?

Steer clear of the car dealership. You don't need to have the latest and greatest ride to be cool. If you absolutely need a car, make sure it is one that is reliable, gets great gas mileage and is from a reputable company that builds cars to last, not to be taken in to the shop regularly. So, if you get a car with great fuel economy, you can stretch your money even further by minimizing trips. If you live in a decent part of town that has everything you need nearby, you can either walk or bike to the bank, gym, park, stores and if you're lucky, work. You also shouldn't be getting a big screen TV. Better yet, don't get cable or satellite service. Most of the stuff that is on TV nowadays is complete and utter crap. It's amazing how much people spend on being couch potatoes.

Don't eat out all the time. You can get away with this a little, but don’t do it on a regular basis. That sh*t is not good for you, anyway! Learn how to cook or improve your culinary skills. This route will be cheaper and healthier, and if you bring these skills abroad with you, you'll impress the ladies when you invite them to dinner at the apartment you're renting. Also, bring your lunch to work. If you work for a company that has restaurants on the premises, those cafeteria charges that are taken out of your paycheck really do add up fast.

Your savings here and there will gradually add up and you might not even know it until you purchase airfare and accommodations, your only major travel expenses, and have some money left over. This is assuming, of course, you have a job and a rather decent one at that. You don't have to be a CEO or in a managerial position to travel abroad, just save some money and create a budget for your trip.

3.  Plan ahead at work.

When planning your trip, choose your dates of travel and get that time off in advance. Put in that PTO request as early as possible, and make sure your requested days off are approved BEFORE you make any airfare or accommodation purchases. But most importantly, make sure you have enough PTO saved up for that week or two or three you're taking off work. Don’t spend PTO if you don’t have to. Don’t take three-day weekends. Don’t take a week of PTO to go to the lake or the beach. That can be done on the weekends, anyway. You’re getting nothing new or culturally enriching out of spending your vacation time at the same ol’ place you’ve been going to since you were a kid. Make sure you get ahead on your work and leave your desk clean as a whistle so that there is no clutter upon your return. If there is, chances are your co-workers are stupid and lazy beyond belief, are jealous of you going abroad with the time off you earned, and want you to fail. In that case, it’s time to move on. But that is another story. If you are self-employed, of course, you have much greater flexibility in your schedule, and don't have to deal with such nonsense. But the point remains, when you have a strong work ethic, and work fast and efficiently during all times of the year, getting ahead leading up to that vacation time is not so challenging and neither is getting caught up on your first day back.

4.  Keep in touch.

If you met someone worth visiting again, keep in regular contact. If you really mean that much to each other, you’ll keep in touch every week as part of combating the logistics. Technology has provided us so many ways to communicate these days that there really aren’t any excuses to not keep in touch unless you’re super busy or some other mighty good explanation. This will show that you are not only interested, but are serious about coming back, and maybe even cultivating a relationship. Also, don't be afraid to keep in touch with other prospects as unforeseen changes can happen, as far as relationship status is concerned, between trips. Best to have back-up plans in place so that you have other dates lined up on your speed dial should your first choice fall through. Never underestimate the importance of making friends.
5.  Get some decent attire.
If you're going to drop some serious cash on something between trips abroad, it's gotta be nice clothes. You don't have to dress like you're going to the Oscars, as that is uncomfortable, anyway, but you do have to invest in your attire for those dates abroad. This is especially true for Europe. The people there, especially the women, dress much nicer than people in the U.S. Leave your Lebron and Messi jerseys at home, and save the ball caps for those sunny excursions outside the city, because you don't want to be showing up in a foreign country or on your first date there looking like a bum, otherwise you won't be taken seriously. It is possible to combine comfort and fashion, especially in this case. You can get away with just comfort for that transatlantic flight, but for everything else on your trip, if it doesn't involve dirty work or something athletic, you'll have to dress like you are the real deal. Forget about flaunting jewelry, as that says, "rob me," but get a respectable and reliable analog watch under $100. Get some good walking shoes that are also stylish, as you'll be doing a lot more walking than you would normally do back home. Yes, such shoes actually do exist; you just have to look around a bit. If you want to take that special someone to a play or a very nice dinner, a couple dress slacks will do, but good jeans are a must. Some henleys, dress shirts and polos are a sure thing. It might be worth it to pay a little extra for a belt that won't look worn out after a couple weeks or dark-colored socks that won't get holes in them after the first day. One day of shopping really does pay off later. Respect yourself from head to toe.
6.  Do some reading.
You not only need to give your brain some exercise and get new pieces of information, but you need to read up on where you want to go next. If you want to return to a country that took your breath away or whose women blew more than just your mind, why not try to fit in a side trip to a country or city you’ve never visited before? Learn more about the country you’re visiting, and read about places you didn't get to see in the city or country you are returning to. That way you'll have some days planned upon your arrival, and even incorporate some sightseeing into some dates. Better to have an itinerary than to wing it.
7.  Avoid the local social scene.
This one is pretty simple. Avoid the dating scene in your hometown. You've already been called up to the majors, anyway. There's no need to go back to the farm. In other words, don’t go out on dates unless you’re one of those guys who wants a quick f*ck n’ chuck. If you’re into that kind of superficiality, go for it, but you’ll have to lower your standards. Besides, that first trip abroad will make you swear off local women forever! You simply won’t look at them the same way ever again.  Continue to avoid the local women. They will only bring out the worst in you, anyway. You wouldn't want to get some subpar chick pregnant or get yourself hurt or arrested in a bar brawl; those would really kill your dreams of seeing the world. Once you go foreign, you never go back.
8.  Keep your home in order.
One of the things that makes planning your next trip easier is having your dwelling organized. There's no pride or joy in being a slob. You don't want to be scrambling to find your travel essentials amid a jungle of disorganization the day before your flight departs. You also don't want to come home from a long and tiring trip, much less work, to a dump. Vacuum, do laundry and wash your dishes on a regular basis. Put a hold on your mail while you are away. Set those timers and lock up everything. Turn off or unplug any unnecessary appliances. Don’t run up your utility bill by leaving the A/C or heat on. You’re not going to be home anyway. If you are pressed for time and need some major cleaning done, shop around for a reputable but reasonable cleaning service. If you have a true and trusted friend not far away, get them to do some house sitting or at least come by your place before or after work to check on things while you are away. Remember, clutter equals distraction, so make your home livable.
9.  Get your friends to join you on your trip.
You don't have to travel solo all the time, group travel has its advantages. Not only will you get somebody else to take off their blinders, you'll save some money on accommodation and have someone familiar to talk to on that long flight. Regardless of your social skills, you'll have a wingman with you in social settings and someone to get lost with if you take a wrong turn. When it comes to being a tourist standing out in the crowd and getting lost, one is a lonely number and a prime target. Those weight training sessions and self-defense courses are undoubtedly great, but you don't want to be that lonely dude walking the street at night in some unknown land, with soccer hooligans waiting around the corner. The more people you have traveling with you, the better. You just have to make sure that you are selective in who you select to accompany you on your travels. You're not organizing a stag party, and group travel does not constitute babysitting. Drunkards stay home. Think about it. If you can get at least one friend to travel with you and they tell a friend upon return, and you convince another of your friends to go with you on your next trip, you can utilize your own little referral system and have your own entourage when you travel. Surround yourself with positive and like-minded people.
10.  Make a list and check it twice.
Start making a checklist weeks in advance of what you need to do before your trip, and what to pack. Attention to detail is key. Check the forecast of your destination ahead of time, so you know what kind of clothes to pack. Get some foreign currency before you leave and make sure your passport is valid for your planned dates of travel. If you’re planning on visiting a country that requires a visa, have that taken care of well in advance, and for your planned dates of visit. If your health insurance doesn't work overseas, look into getting that from a legit travel service that will cover you during your trip. Plan your arrival to the airport well in advance so you're not making a mad dash for the gate. The steps you take in advance will ensure peace of mind later.
I’m not saying you have to avoid fun during your time between trips. By all means, enjoy yourself between trips, but don't overdo it. If you want or have to travel or need to get that quick travel fix, go for a drive in the countryside or ride a bike to the next town. Go to the beach or the mountains for a weekend or two. During that period between trips abroad, always be looking for ways to improve yourself so that when you arrive at your destination and then come back home, you are changed for the better.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Here's my Travel/Work Gear. Hope it helps.

Some of the guys in my 3rdworldhero forum asked about my gear so here I am geeking out with my gear.

Enjoy! date footage included. request for videos at site. thanks!