Picture of the Week #3

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When we went to South America last year, we had in mind to visit the famous Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world. It is to this day the most beautiful natural site that we have had the chance to discover. After visiting the flat itself, our Jeep driver took us to this beautiful lake, where flamingos hang around...yes flamingos in the mountain! Salar de Uyuni is touristic for sure, but missing something like this is a big mistake...

Banlung, the hidden gem of Cambodia

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It was Friday the 13th when we cross the border separating Laos from Cambodia. For some people this particular day brings bad luck so we decided to think unlike the others, that it would bring good luck. We decided to hitchhike from the 4000 islands in the south of Laos to whatever city we could reach before dark in Cambodia, aiming at eventually hitting Phnom Penh since we wanted to skip the north of Cambodia to save time (wait for our upcoming article about how we crossed the border). We actually reached a city in Cambodia around 12pm, that city was Stung Treng, the first big city in the north.

cambodia map
A: Stung Treng, B: Banlung

Stung Treng is an “important” hub in the north of Cambodia, from there you can reach pretty much any city in the country or at least the big ones and even get a bus to Laos. The problem about Stung Treng is that there is nothing really to keep you there, it’s quite dirty and it’s not pretty, which are not our main concerns but it lacks activities. So after our first Cambodian meal at the market of rice noodles with a delicious yellowish meat-like sauce served with fresh vegetables and oddly enough flowers to add in if desired for a lovely 75 cents a positive change from Laos’ higher prices. We then tried to figure out where to go next. We remembered reading about this town called Ban Lung, in Ratanakiri Province, in the northeast, famous for its ancient and beautiful crater lake, many waterfalls, and few tourists. Looking at the map it seemed fairly close to Stung Treng but knowing it was one of the most remote areas of Cambodia we decided not to hitchhike but to take a bus there. And what a great decision we made! We would soon discover one of the highlights of our trip!

Video of the Week #2

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Some people ask why we travel? Sometimes words just can't answer the question completely. This video created by Clemens Kuger, Vincent Urban, and Stephan Templer helps to answer the "why" by capturing some of those moments that one just can't explain. This video shows a trip in South America in 2012 by Landrover covering Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay and Southern Brazil which immediately brought back beautiful memories of our trip in South America also in 2012. When traveling we often feel like children seeing things for the first time. We explore, question, and sometimes just watch, time becoming just a mere idea.

Unexpected Hospitality

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We were embarking on a new journey, which required one of those grueling Indonesian bus rides, a twenty five hour journey from Bengkulu, Sumatra to Jakarta, Java, on the “economy” bus which only cost $18 instead of almost double for the same journey but of course without the adventures of an “economy” bus. Considering hitchhiking is a pain in Sumatra due to the lack of cars, the condition of the roads and the distance between cities, we just thought it was not worth the trouble.

Bus in sumatra
An economy bus in Indonesia looks like this
So we opted for the fun bus ride on the type of bus that stops every ten minutes with people getting off and on, loading huge bags to transport merchandise, fruit, fish, vegetables, chickens, etc from Sumatra to Java. Unfortunately it was raining a lot so everyone closed their windows and due to the intense heat we had the lovely impression of being in a large steam room, fully clothed, full of people and interesting odors and best of all smoke. Sorry but this sounds better than being in an air conditioned bus with reclinable seats.

Picture of the Week #2

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Two children in Pulau Samosir near the town of Tuk Tuk in Indonsia who were walking barefoot down the street hand in hand and came to a little shop to buy some candy. After buying the candy they sat down to pick through and compare what they had. This was such a simple yet precious moment. 

Video of the Week #1

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We will now add a new component to our blog, Video of the Week. Once per week we will share either an inspiring travel video or a video that we captured during one of our voyages somewhere in the world. Please help by sharing these videos, and commenting on them.

This video, "Move", shows three guys traveling in 11 countries and almost 40 thousand miles in 6 weeks, and with all the footage captured, creating a beautiful one minute video. This video is one of a three part series, Move, Eat, and Learn commissioned by STA Australia. STA travel basically helps students travel and study abroad, by providing cheap flights and tours and even providing scholarships for students.

Picture of the Week #1

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Today we are adding a new element to our blog called "Picture of the Week". Every week we will post an interesting picture taken during one of our trips. From landscapes to food to people, discover the world from a different angle.

This week's picture was taken in Langkawi, a Malaysian island off the coast of Thailand while we were sitting watching a parasailer gliding off into the sunset, the call to prayer sounding in the distance and children playing in the sand beside us.

What To Pack: Getting Ready For Your Next Trip

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Ready for a new trip and having a tough time deciding what to pack? Here are some suggestions based on our experiences and the one sure thing that we do after every trip is to vow to take less and carry smaller backpacks for the following trip. Regardless of whether your trip will last only two weeks or as long as two years these tips are still the same.

Backpacking South Korea
It's easier to walk around with a small pack

What to Pack?

Pack the LEAST POSSIBLE! After you pack take out half of what you were going to bring and leave it. Here are some suggestions on what to bring or leave and some important reminders.

Skyscanner: The flight god

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Skyscanner logo

Oh, Skyscanner, how glad we are to have met you so long ago. How many dollars did we save thanks to your divine search skills? You might think we are crazy but as soon as you start using the website, it will truly become a god to you, the kind with many arms that can pull cheap flights out of nowhere. Oh and in case you were wondering, no, we are not paid by the marketing guys of Skyscanner, we just use this website every time we travel so we thought it might help other travelers as well.

So what is Skyscanner?

Skyscanner.net is a website that allows you to search for a flight from one destination to another, well nothing amazing you’d think, but it also looks on other flight websites and airline companies’ sites to find the lowest one, you can compare all the prices. Still not convinced?

Bromo: The road less taken

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For those of you that are exploring Indonesia or interested in taking a trip there a must visit site is Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. In our previous article “Getting to Bromo on the cheap” we talked about the natural beauty of the park as well as how to visit the park with a small budget and while avoiding the majority of other tourists. However what we didn’t tell you is what you have to expect on the way, as riding your motorbike there is not a piece of cake. In saving money and getting off the well trodden path a little adventure is to be expected. If you haven’t read our previous article please read it here first: http://broketravelers.blogspot.com/2013/10/getting-to-bromo-on-cheap.html

Semeru over Bromo
Mount Semeru, another attraction of the park

Getting out of Malang isn’t the most challenging part of the trip, even though the ordinary chaos of maneuvering through Indonesian traffic can be tricky. If you make it alive, well congratulations, you’re just a step away from the beauty of Bromo, though we didn’t mention the height of the step...

Getting to Bromo on the cheap

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When traveling, we all want to visit the most important and beautiful sites, the sites that are so breathtaking they literally make your jaw drop, the historical sites that we read about in our history textbooks, the world’s wonders that we see in a book, the natural sites that make you marvel at how the world can be so beautiful. These are the sites that no one wants to miss. Who wants to go to India and not have seen the Taj Mahal, or to Peru and not have visited Machu Picchu? Unfortunately, they are famous for a reason and thus flocked by the masses, filled with swarms of tourists and tour groups everywhere, each with a giant hundred pound camera and all with loud voices. In addition, they, in turn, are usually quite pricey, especially for budget travelers like ourselves. As for us, we also want to see these sites, but we try to find another less trodden and usually less expensive path.

Viewpoint of Mount Bromo
View of Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park
The Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park, simply known as Bromo, is one of those sites. Understand, Bromo is one of Indonesia’s most visited tourist attractions. The park is described in Lonely Planet as “ a lunaresque landscape of epic proportions and surreal beauty,“ as the park is huge and encompasses 5,520 hectares with the main attraction being the volcano, Mount Bromo, whose name comes from the Javanese way of pronouncing Brahma, the Hindu creator god. Mount Bromo is one of five volcanoes, of which four are active, jutting into the sky surrounded by a huge sea of sand which in turn is surrounded by an ancient crater, a wonderful chain of barren mountains and on the edge a bright green plateau, these images are almost unreal in their beauty as you stand in the middle of it all.

Where we've been and where we're going

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Hello folks, so eventually we would love to visit every country in the world (or almost every country) but for now here are our accomplishments as a duo and solo for some countries, as well as our planned route and future possible routes:

Countries Traveled
World map 
North America

1. United States 
2. Canada
3. Mexico (Jacqueline)
4. Jamaica (Jacqueline)
5. Grand Cayman (Jacqueline)
6. St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Aurelien)

Would you like a cup of coffee?

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There are those moments while traveling when you just want to yell at everyone that looks at you, “Get the hell away from me!”. We were having one of those moments. Leaving the horrors of Bali, we were trying to escape to Lombok where it seems the stench followed us.

Getting off the ferry at midnightish in Lembar after the usual taxi, ojek (motorcycle taxi), transport bombardment we found a lovely waiting room equipped with AC, a security camera, and metal benches- basically our idea of paradise! I layed my blanket down on the floor with all my mosquito friends and curled up while Aurelien played guard and my personal fly/mosquito swatter on the benches.

Lombok Ferry waiting room

Six hours of “sleep” and a few hundred mosquito bites later and we decided to make our way to Mataram, the capital. As we leave our paradise we are flocked by all those who see money signs, I mean foreigners walking around with backpacks. “Transport!? Senggigi!? Taxi!? Where are you going!? Ojek!?”. We were like the most famous celebrities of Lembar followed by an entourage of paparazzi wanting to take our photographs, actually just wanting to make our wallets thinner. Unfortunately, our wallets were already thin therefore we beelined towards the supposed public transport or bemos. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Indonesian bemos. These are minivans that run a certain route usually never known unless asked or the occasional destination painted on the windshield. They are quite comfy, meaning over twenty people sitting in a van meant to hold ten people maximum, and ten very skinny people without bags, or legs.

Saving Money and Giving Back

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It’s great to be able to travel for very cheap but it’s also important to give back at the same time especially to those communities that need it most. Often with couchsurfing (see our post) we end up teaching English, working on a farm, and culturally sharing so many things, but there are many other ways that are often better for communities more in need.


Biological farming in Taiwan


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Couchsurfing logo
Hotels, hostels, guesthouses, not only do they get to be pretty expensive but you never get the true feeling of a place, you never get to know the true local culture. Your interactions with people include only the other foreigners where you are staying, or the person that works in the restaurant, the hotel, the shop, or if you’re lucky the random person you met on the street.

There are many options to cut your accommodation cost, but hands down the best is couchsurfing!

What is couchsurfing?

Couchsurfing www.couchsurfing.org is basically a social network for travelers. Couchsurfing is like a “couch” exchange. So, when you travel someone let’s you have a place to stay, that can be either a couch, a bed, a room, a space on the floor, and when you aren’t traveling you offer a place for others that are traveling. Now you don’t have to have someone sleep at your house, some people just use the site to meet other travelers, or to meet locals for a coffee, meal, or drink while traveling.

Couchsurfing in Japan

Is it safe?

I’m sure almost everyone upon hearing about couchsurfing is thinking “what if this random stranger whose house I’m staying at is actually an axe murderer?”. Now the great thing about couchsurfing is it works on a reference system. So once you search for a potential host you can see how many references they have, and read the references. If someone has no references and no pictures and another guy has 50 positive references and pictures with his family, etc you may decide to only send a request to the guy with the references.

Hitchhiking: A "How To"

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Carry A Sign

Now it is not necessary to carry a sign and some hitchhikers may just prefer to thumb it, but by carrying a sign you can usually arrive to your destination a bit quicker. Of course in every country and region hitchhiking is different, but by carrying a sign that is large enough and written in the local language with a black marker (and a smiley face) the passing car has time to read your sign and decide if that is on the way. This also avoids many people being confused as to why someone is sticking out their thumb on the side of the road and the time wasted speaking with each passing car to ask where they are going and tell them where you are going. Also in many languages the pronunciation may not be the same as in your language and the romanization of characters may be incorrect to pronunciation. For example Gyeongju, in South Korea, is pronounced “Kyeongju” but copying how it is written in hangul (Korean), we can avoid the miscommunication as there is another city pronounced “Gyeongju” as is nowhere near “Kyeongju”.

Hitchhiking in Samcheok Korea

HITCHHIKING: Advice for the Adventurous

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Look the part:

People don’t want to pick up some oddball wanting a free ride somewhere, and thus locals usually have a very hard time hitchhiking. A traveler, especially a backpacker, is a more welcomed guest. The potential car will see you as the poor, lost foreigner. (That’s always a good image). So carry a backpack and look like a traveler.

Look presentable:

A big, burly guy with a beard, holes in his jeans, and a heavy metal t-shirt may scare someone from picking him up, especially to the tiny Japanese guy who may have flashbacks to the last American horror film he saw. It will work a lot more in your favor to be dressed presentable. Clean jeans, a nice shirt and a smiling face always works wonders. For women, if hitchhiking alone, you should avoid any unwanted impressions. Lipstick and a short skirt may not be the best hitchhiking outfit. Of course common sense is always advisable.

Cheap, I mean, free transport? Hitchhiking.

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Now hitchhiking isn’t for everyone and just like riding a motorbike, taking a bus in Bolivia, and walking under a coconut tree there are risks. There is always a chance that the sweet family that just picked you up, offered you snacks, and set their two year old next to you is actually a gang of psychopath serial killers or maybe they’re just a kind-hearted family picking up the funny and lost-looking foreigner.

Other than it being free why do we like hitchhiking so much?

First of all hitchhiking is always an adventure, and an unexpected adventure at that. You never know if the couple that just picked you up will end up taking you to a giant family lunch that they had planned to go to before they drive an hour out of their way to take you to your destination, or if the funny guy that due to a language barrier you can’t communicate with except for sign language and laughs will end up taking you to his house to show you his farm animals and invite you in for a cold glass of milky rice wine, or even if the ride will end up inviting you to stay at their awesome beach house equipped with a yacht, or maybe the next person will just pick you up and drop you off at your destination with only light conversation and a picture to show his friends later.

Hitchhiking in Boseong Korea

Welcome Readers, Browsers, Friends

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So you would like to travel the world would you? Not enough money you say? Lucky for you that's no longer a problem. Of course some people have special circumstances, like a single parent with three kids who is out of work. There are exceptions and it may take longer for some people than for others, but don’t be discouraged if you really want to travel you can!

Our purpose in creating this blog is to help scratch the idea that only those who have a lot of money can travel. It’s possible for almost anyone that can spare $15 per day, which would be $450 for one month of travel! It may seem like a large chunk of change, but you would only have to save a little over $7 per day for two months to afford a one month vacation anywhere in the world! Maybe instead of buying that $5 Moccachino, make a coffee at home and add a little chocolate syrup and milk, instead of going out to eat, start cooking at home. Do you really need to buy that new shirt? Is cable really necessary when you can use the internet to (now legally) watch anything you want for less than the monthly cable bill?

We hope to share some tips and our experiences to not only show that it is affordable to travel but to hopefully also inspire someone to go themselves and search for their own wonders in the world, to pop the bubble of the world they exist within and see what lies outside of that bubble, to learn new ways, try new foods, meet different people, see new people, or just to realize that the possibility exists!

So go ahead: learn new languages, try local food, climb a few mountains, swim with the fish, pray in a temple; live your dreams, don’t just dream them!

Plane over Mount Fuji

How much do you usually spend per day traveling?