All posts by Jon

Back In Thailand

I don’t know what drove me to travel? It doesn’t really run in my family as I was the only one that had a passport at the time. Was it in my heritage or did I break the mold? Some things I will never know, but here I stood on a dock at the most southern tip of Thailand with a loaded bicycle about to head north to god knows where. 

Many miles in this very position.

  Thailand was not a stranger to me as I travel through it a few years before. This time around was of course very different and I was excited to see more of less touristic places along the way. I’ve noticed that I got more unique experiences on the journey by going through the “no name” towns. The one thing I didn’t except was the fact that I was constantly lost in translation there. Thailand was the only country in Southeast Asia that wasn’t conquered by another country and they are very proud of that. So much so that they didn’t really teach the English language to the locals as much as the surrounding countries. Getting around wasn’t any harder though being that the Thai people are very nice and caring, it just got lonely a lot. 

The Island of Koh Tao.
Looking up at the stars every night in Koh Tao while enjoying a good cigar.
Nothing beats a good sunset.

  During the journey north, I managed to stop on an island called Koh Tao to meet some friends I previously ran into in Australia. It was a good two week break in Paradise to hit the reset button before jumping back on the bike and setting my sights on Bangkok to meet up with another friend that I met in Malaysia. Along the way to Bangkok I came across a  young family on bicycles as well. They blew my mind as they were going on three years on the road with a 4 year old daughter. She was probably the smartest kid I have ever met. I could have a full conversation with her in English and then watch her say something in Japanese to her mom seamlessly. After 2 days of riding With that couple We ended up going our separate ways, but they left a life-changing impact to me and my thoughts of my future as I watch them raise their kid on the road still living out their dreams.

The amazing cycling family

  I headed north to Bangkok where I met up with my my dear friend and spent about a week with her before I jump back on the bike and headed through the middle of Thailand. It took a handful of days through a lot of remote villages and long straightaways, but I managed to hit Chiang Mai. As a celebration of me making it to the most northern city in Thailand I treated myself to a wonderful Airbnb. I decided to spend a couple weeks there before heading east towards the country of Laos in plans of just crossing through to Vietnam Where I would fly out to Europe to finish my cycling trip… unfortunately the world had other plans! 

The roadside animals are a little different in Thailand!
Breakfast in the condo with my friend overlooking Chaing Mia.

  Thailand to me still stands out as one of my favorite countries not only for the beautiful beaches and great food but the wonderful people as well. My first venture through this country was fairly short and I only ended up doing the touristy cities as I was just backpacking. Once riding through almost the entirety of the country, I found different meaning to the Thai culture and have a little bit more understanding of what is really important in life. When planning on going through Thailand I told some of my friends that it would probably be the last time that I would venture into Thailand being that there’s so many other countries I haven’t been to yet… oh how I was so wrong for thinking that!  

Peddling To Christmas

(FYI: The pictures and the story I wrote does not match with each other. The pictures are only there to enjoy)

This was the only Christmas tree I had during the holidays. There was no tree at the ending destination.

 The holidays are my favorite time of year. Families get together and people just seem to care more about each other. It was a great excuse for me to do nice things to people with no sense of weirdness. This year was different with me in a different world and culture. Landing in Malaysia in the first part of December, I knew this was going to be a challenge for me. The worst part was that I was just dealing with some mental issues in Brisbane before jumping on the jet to Asia. But it was a fresh start in Asia where I could hit the reset button and embrace the adventure I was on that was shadowed by my own mind. 

The street markets were down almost every ally in KL
My bicycle could be so much worse!!
This will be the 2nd tallest building in the world once it’s completed.

  Within the first week of being in Malaysia at the hostel, I made great friends. After hanging together with these guys, we made a pack that we would celebrate the holidays together on an island at the very north of the country named Langkawi and I would ride the bike there. They had doubts that I would make it in time, but it was worth a shot. 

The street art in KL was some of the best I’ve ever seen.
Words we really need at this point in history!! Although I took this in December of 2019!

  The first day on the road was one of the wettest I’ve experienced at that point. I was drenched by the end of the first day and had to make my room into giant dryer. Which didn’t really make a difference as I just threw the damp clothes on the next morning and went back into the wet weather. The afternoon came and brought with it the sun. That was actually the last time I got caught in the rain while riding for the next few days and only had to deal with the heat. 

Best entrance to a big cave!
STUPID MONKEYS! I hate monkeys, if you didn’t know.
Very crowded on this day which was common here.
I loved how colorful everything it was there.
Fun fact: I went to this cave twice. I wanted to see it at sunrise when there was no people around.

  The last day on the road started early as I had 55 miles ahead of me before jumping on a train and a ferry to my final destination in Penang. I felt really good that morning and the weather was good all the way to the last 2 miles. A dark cloud eclipse the sun out of nowhere as I stopped to look at the map. I noticed it the train station was close enough to possibly beat the rain that was coming my direction, but I was so wrong. While stopped, I put on my rain jacket just in case and I’m happy I did because big drops slowly fell out of the sky. All of the sudden, what looked to be fog, rushed towards me that turned out the be a wall of water which flooded the road almost immediately. I was now in a river that once was the street and every peddle I took was now splashing in the water. I stopped for a moment cause I couldn’t see out of my glasses anymore and thought maybe I could wait for it to die down. The rain only increased in volume as I sat there so I just rode. The train wasn’t going to wait for me and I was so close. 

Just an Iconic sight to see
One of my favorite things about being in a muslim country!

   I finally made it to the train station, completely soaked to the bone. A worker there looked after the bike as I quickly changed into clothes that somehow kept dry during the rain. Actually everything in my bike stayed dry and everything that was wet was quickly dry before the train even arrived. 

Christmas sunset….
… with friends!!

   After that, it was a smooth ride to the hostel where I finally met up with my friends which was very surprised that I made it. We stayed in Penang for a couple days before jumping on another boat to Langkawi island, where we celebrated Christmas and New Years together before going our separate ways. The holidays were very different and not as enjoyable as being with family back home. For what it was, I’m happy I was surrounded by great people that actually cared about me and we all made the best out of all of it. 

Night markets are worth the mess!
Fun Fact: This was the first time I tried durian, which is the worlds most disgusting fruit and I enjoyed it and for some odd reason, can’t smell it.

Rubber to the road: My review on the Michelin Power Gravels

At the start of the trip.
90% of the nights in Australia were in this tent.

 Tires. The most important part about touring around the world on a bicycle is the tires, obviously. The only thing was that I had no idea about what I should look for in in touring tires other then what I read on the internet and word of mouth. I had one source in tires that I could trust, that was the “Mustached Prince of Michelin” Himself, Randy Richardson. His presents on Instagram is the stuff of legends and I the pleasure to be his friend on there. So I reached out and asked for his input on what tires to use on this extreme journey. Being that he was more on the motorcycle side of Michelin, he got in contact with the right people and they recommended me getting the new Power Gravels and test out the longevity and strength of these higher end gravel tires. I basically was going to torture test tires that weren’t meant to hold 300lbs for an ungodly amount of miles, but I was up for the challenge.

Early morning start.

  Getting the tires, I noticed right away that they were a very aggressive tread pattern and a medium compound which is not ideal for the lifespan. I also decided to go tubeless on this trip knowing that these tires were setup for it so I wouldn’t have to mess with those pesky tubes on every flat I got. Once mounted on the wheels, I quickly realized I couldn’t make time for a test run. That meant me going out without even knowing if these tires can hold and maintain the weight of everything on the bike or not. Luckily my first leg of my journey was in the great country of Australia and if I came across any issues with the tires, I wouldn’t be far from a bike shop.

On the boat to Tassie.
One of the few railroad trails in Australia. The Power Gravels ate these trails up easily.

  I got rubber to road 7 days after landing in Australia and floated over to Tasmania. My plan was to ride along the east coast of Tassie. It was slow going at the start and pretty tough with the hills, but had no issues with the tires throughout Tasmania. Actually I didn’t have anything wrong with the tires for about 300 miles when I got my first puncture which was fixed within 5 minutes with a plug. After that flat is when I started to notice the tire ware on the rear tire. It was a slow ware, but it was starting to be more prominent. I brought a spare tire that fit in one of my bags on the bike just in case the worst happens. After about 630 hard miles on rough asphalt and dirt roads, the back tire finally needed changing. Hoping for another 600 miles on the fresh tire, I set off to my ending destination in Australia. Unfortunately a short time after I got caught up in the bush fires that was covering most of the east coast of Australia, forcing me to the coast and some of the roughest road on the trip. I got to the only campsite that was open at this time which is where I noticed an inch long cut in the side rear tire and was somehow still holding air, but I wasn’t going to trust it. The rest of the trip in Australia was done with a cheap off-brand tire on the back. 

The back tire after 630 miles

  As a result of the end of my Australia portion of the journey, I made the choice to buy tires that were meant for touring so I wouldn’t worry about tires for the remainder of the trip. That does not at all mean that these were “bad” tires or that I wouldn’t recommend these tires to buy. I would say to not buy these tire if you are planning a world cycling journey. There’s other great tire brands in that market that are proven for that. As for what these tires are meant for in the gravel/cyclecross class, I would say that they could hold up to a lot of abuse. You got to keep in mind that it was torture compared to the weekend rider that would be looking for these tires. One month of my trip would be the same as year of a casual rider. I would personally use the Power Gravels for riding back home when I’m not living on the bicycle. 

This was what the roads looked like while fleeing the bushfires to the coast. As a result, my new back tire got destroyed by the sharp rocks.
The slash that ended the tire early. It was replaced by a temporary tire.

  I’m not a professional of anything, let alone a pro cyclist which means I am not really qualified to give a review about bicycle tires. That being said, I did live on this bike with these tires for about 5 months and got some quality time on the road. The Michelin Power Gravels are great tires with premium grip although they rolled smoothly. The Power Gravels are well made in the fact that they hold up an oversized bicycle with no blowouts. My favorite part of these tires were the really good protection for flats because no one likes to deal with a flat tire with a trip like this.   

The apocalypse looking ride in the Australian bushfires.

  I was happy to get the chance to try out these fairly new series of tires for Michelin and hope I could do some more of these in the future. I would like to personally thank Randy Richardson for the help and introducing me to these tires.  

At the end of the Australia portion of the trip. The total of 875 miles!
NOTE: The rear tire is not a Michelin at this point.

20 Years in The Making…


  I dreamed of going to Australia since I was 11 years old. I managed 31 other countries before finally setting off to my dream destination. I would’ve never thought that I would be cycling through the country that I imagined in my head for 20 years, but I did. After Tasmania, I got the worst flu of my life putting me out for at least two weeks in Melbourne. Once I was healed I was on the road heading east with the final destination being in Brisbane, which is not what anyone would say is a short distance. 

The long road ahead.
Sometimes the road gave me challenges. This was from a bad wind storm the night before.
A Land Rover Defender truck guarded by a bull.

  Going through the small towns of Australia was a bit of a joy while meeting interesting and cool people couch surfing and staying in pub accommodations. That was a bit short-lived after stopping off in a small town called Lakes Entrance to rest for a couple weeks and get my bearings in my mind straight. I had the opportunity of staying in a somewhat abandon hostile for as long as I need it for no charge by a fellow cyclist that also owned property, but after and unfortunate accident well cooking, giving myself second and third-degree burns on my hand I was forced to stay there for a little longer than planned. That was not at all a bad thing thinking back at the situation. I managed to meet and hang out with some of the best people in the world and hear their stories of how they got to the small town by the water. They all pitched in to help me out while I was healing my hand. There is three owners of the pub in the town which were all very different, but all had a very laid-back attitude about everything. One of them was named Kev and insisted on taking me on late night 4×4 trips in the bush looking for deer and other animals around the area and even let me drive majority of the time. The locals that enjoyed a beverage from time to time there were also very kind and caring. I managed to make a lot of lifelong friends while my hand went back to normal.

Fun fact: I crossed every border in Australia by vehicle… unintentionally.
Camped on a beautiful empty beach and never even saw a single person the whole time.

  After about a month I finally set off once again, now heading north towards Sidney. It took me a bit and a quick bus ride through some very sketchy parts of the highway. I finally made it to the southern part of Sidney called Cronulla. That’s why I stayed in the messiest, yet friendliest hostile I have ever stepped foot in. One of the employees there even took me out to dinner and a Shisha bar with her girlfriend. The day came where I jumped on the tram i’m headed off to downtown Sidney where I lived out my dream of seeing the opera house in person. I managed to stay in Sydney for as long as I could afford before heading north to Newcastle and unfortunately peddling myself into the brushfires. 

Lunch break view.
Waited 20 years for this!!
The view from the hostel rooftop balcony in Sydney.
I couldn’t stop losing myself in this view every night I was there.

  I stopped in a town called Port Macquarie where I went into a bike shop to fix a broken spoke. The mechanic wouldn’t let me leave and insisted that I would stay with him and his family because he had a fear if I continued on, I would get caught right in the middle of the red zone. I stayed with them for the night and in the morning it seemed that everything settled enough so I could head on my way. I didn’t get far before the fires were becoming an issue again. A kid that was working at the campsite I stayed at managed to get me a ride to the train station and I took that as far north as I could go. I ended up in a famous town called Byron Bay. 

Trying to get through the smoke without breathing it in, which was a failed attempt being that I got a sore throat and a bloody nose.
This is not a filter! It basically turned into the apocalypse!
Beautiful sunset in a tragic time.

  Unfortunately Byron Bay was not somewhere I enjoyed and I left soon after arriving towards my final destination in Brisbane. I stayed in Brisbane for two weeks and even manage to take a bus to a town called Noosa which was a fairly nice beach town north of where I was staying. In that time I managed to get the bike in a box and ready for my next destination to Southeast Asia. 

The morning sun was barely visible in the smoke.
One of the many caravan parks I stumbled into on this trip.

  Australia was everything I could’ve imagined and more, but I did manage to go through some highs and lows which is typical on a trip like this. There’s a lot to learn about the people I met on this portion of the journey. Australians are naturally laid back and nothing really seems to bother them including the ones that lost their homes in the brushfires. Once at a campsite I talked with a family that got news that they just lost their home that morning from the fires but it didn’t seem to faze them at all, telling me that it’s all material stuff and everything except our lives can be replaced. 

My view for about 60% of the trip.

  It took me a little over five months to finish this portion of my trip and I was really looking forward to going somewhere different being that Australia is so much like home but with a different accent. 

Still can’t believe I checked this off my bucket list! By the way, this was #1!!
I could of stayed there forever, but the world awaits…

The Uphill Battle

A trip shouldn’t start in the worst way possible, but sometimes you get dealt a bad hand. I spent 25 hours worried that the bike that I turned in at the oversized baggage in the airport would be lost or damaged on the flight over. I had hope when I got the box with the bike in it with no damage on it, but while assembling it at the Melbourne airport, my fears came true. With a calm head and a great bike shop helping me, it was fixed and ready for it’s first leg of this year long journey around the world.

Tasmania was an 8 hour boat ride in the dead of night welcoming me to a cold morning to ride into. The first day took me nowhere because of a few hangups with the setup of the bike. I managed to meet a fellow traveller in a camper that was named Kiran. She was a nomad much like me. She give up her job most of her belongings and set out to go and explore. With that in common we got along surprisingly well, which was an on going trend around the island.

There were three factors that I came across on this trip. One which was the hills. The thing about Tasmania is there’s nothing that is flat and with over 100 pounds on the bicycle and stock gears that aren’t meant for that weight, it became apparent real quick that I was going to have to suffer until I fix the problem. Those hills took a toll on my mental ability as well as my physical ability. After some close calls with big rigs through the hairpin turns and also having some four-year-old hissy fits, throwing the bike down and walking away from it as if I could do it on my own. Another factor was weather. I knew going in that it was the dead of winter in the southern hemisphere, but I wasn’t expecting it to be The worst winter in the last 10 years, as the locals would continuously tell me. I came across High winds, buckets of rain and even the occasional snowfall while trying to tent every night.

The last factor was the people. The ones that lived in Tasmania was probably the nicest people that I’ve ever met. Everybody from the people that would simply pull off after passing me on the road to ask me if I needed anything and if I was alright, to people like a beautiful 19-year-old girl that worked at a small coffee shop in a very small town. She gave up her half day off to take a road trip all the way to my next destination so I wouldn’t have to deal with the hills. When I asked why she would’ve done that she just simply said, “I hope one day somebody would do this for me when I’m traveling.” The generosity was endless on this island and even though I was having a miserable experience at times it definitely evened up the experience.

She dropped me off in another small town named Derby. At one time this was a drive through town with not much in it, now it is a mountain bike haven with miles of prime enduro trails and it even hosts the Enduro World Series. A perfect place to fix my gearing problem on my bike and chill out for a bit, but Evolution Biking had different plans for me. They did a special order on the new parts for the bike getting it there overnight and would have it installed within the next couple days. Knowing that I was going to be in town for a bit they just gave me an enduro bike to explore the hills around Derby for basically nothing, telling me that I have to see the trails while I’m all the way over here. So I spent hours out there getting dirty and having a blast making it one of the best days in Tassie. In return for the bike, I spent the next day washing all of their rental bikes and helping around the shop.

After the gears got installed on the bike and did some trial runs I packed the bike back up and headed off. my goal was to make it to a hotel in the town of Weldborough. This ride was dangerous because of the windy narrow roads that meanly uphill, but with the gear change, it was doable. I made it to the hotel and started looking for a guy named “Jon” which owned the place. I came across this place a couple nights before when a group of lovely people I met on the trails in Derby invited me to dinner. Jon heard what I was doing in Australia and wanted me to stay in their camping area in the back when I passed by. I found myself stay in the hotel for free instead for a couple nights and helping out around there and made friends with the staff. I knew that the last of the big hills were just up ahead and I didn’t want to tackle it with bad weather, so when the clouds parted one morning I jumped all over it. It was a struggle to the top and once there, the clouds caught up bringing the wind and rain. I sat at the top for a few minutes before heading down for a wonderful 10 miles all the way to the coast.

The east coast of Tasmania was simple beautiful with the Bay of Fire, the Chain of Lagoons and a town called Bicheno. Bicheno was a great place to see the ocean animals and taste the fresh seafood. Unfortunately I got a cold while there causing me to sit at a motel resting for a couple days. Once I started feeling better, I was on the bike again for the last couple legs of the trip in Tassie. Wind was a big factor on this day more then I wanted. The side winds were upwards of 60mph which was manageable until a semi truck flew by so close that it ripped me off the bike as if someone picked me up by the waist and threw me up. I landed in the middle of road and bike somehow stayed on the side of the road with no damage or so I thought. I tore up my knee and was bruised up a bit, but I got going again and dealt with the pain. A couple days later, I made it to Trabunna where I was going to just catch a bus to Hobart from there. That ended up going a completely different way as I found new friend with a van and drove that for rest of the trip which is a story all on its own.

The trip to Tasmania took a month almost exactly and the experiences I had were timeless because those hills that I complained so much about created breathtaking views around the whole island. The weather that I also complained about made crisp beautiful sunrises and breathtaking sunsets. As for the people, I couldn’t ask for more out of any of them.

My morocco experience

After Egypt, I headed east on a few hour flight to Morocco. I was excited about this portion of the trip because on my planning for my European trip I added Morocco on the list of places to see, but unfortunately never got the chance to go. Now two years later I was finally on the plane heading that direction. I had no idea what was in store for me once I was there.

As I stepped off the plane, I quickly realized that it was dumping rain which is rare in this part of the world. I stayed at the airport for a little bit waiting for it to die down. Once it cleared up, I found a bus that would take me nearest to my hostel and off I went. The bus took me in the middle of Marrakesh and As I was walking to my hostel, a man came over and grabbed my arm. Thinking that he was trying to take my bag, I quickly through him on the ground and put my knee into his chest. I was quickly picked up by a 7 foot tall black man and he frantically told me that the man was just trying to get me to go to his restaurant. As this played out, a crowd of people surrounded me and that friendly tall man got me out of the crowd and asked me where I was trying to go. I pointed him in the direction and he walked with me a bit until I got to the hostel. That experience made me stay at the hostel a lot more than usual. I asked the workers there what I should do While in Morocco and they suggested a two day tour through the Sahara and they also told me if I waited two days I could make it to the night with no moon where I could see as many stars as possible in the desert, so I told them to signed me up. I spent the next two days making friends at the hostel and taking little trips not far from the area with the new friends that I met there.

The day came for the tour which left in the morning so I had my bag packed and I sat at the front door waiting for them to let me know where I should go. Unfortunately the worker told me that they took me off the list even though I was one of the first people to sign up, they over booked the tour and took the last three people off the list, which was an alphabetical order. I was beyond angry and had no idea what to do at that point. Couple of my new friends heard of what happened and talked me into getting a taxi out of town and go to a beach town named Essaouira.

It took a couple hours to get there, but once I was there I immediately felt a lot better. We booked a hostel on the way. Only two of us were staying out of the four. The other two travelers were going back because they had to fly out a day or two later. The guy that was staying here with me realized that he left his passport at the other hostel and left with the other two, leaving me there alone. That night I started to talk with the other people around the hostel and some of us made plans to do a mountain bike trip through the area south of there. The next day came around and we all got the bikes and started off down the road and that’s when my bike decided to break. With me at the back, none of them realized that I was broke down and kept riding. I managed to fix it enough, but at that point they were long gone. I turned around and rode back to hopefully get another bike and catch up later which never happened because once I got the other bike I could never figure out where they went.

I turned the bike in and walked back to the hostel I told the people working there what happened and they laughed and told me that they would give me a deal for surfing lessons the next day because of the inconvenience. I have never surfed before and thought that it would be fun, so once again I signed up and sure enough, The next day rolled around I got my surfboard and my wet suit on and sat at the beach for about an hour until a young kid ran up asking if I was Jon. Apparently the guy that was going to teach me decided to sleep in and canceled all of his appointments for that day.

There’s a point where I get so angry that I’m not even comfortable about being around other people and I was definitely at that point. I got back to the hostel and told the people that left me out in the desert while mountain biking what happened. By chance, they were going to another beach down the way on a bus and asked me to join. I gave it some thought but I figured it was my last day, I should do at least something. It took us an hour and a half but we got this little beach hat and we got to enjoy the sand for a bit. I asked the guy working at the restaurant when the bus was going to return to take us back to the main town and he told me 5:30. Well, I had a bus taking me back to Marrakesh at 5:25 and That’s when my survival instincts kicked in and I started asking around the parking lot if anybody was going that direction. There is no way I was missing that bus because I had a flight to Germany that very next day. I managed to find A group of guys that we’re heading in that direction that were welcome enough to let me tag along. Now back at the hostel, packed my bag and rushed to bus which I got within minutes of it leaving.

Back in Marrakech , I found a hostel and set up a taxi for the next morning to take me to the airport. I started talking with a couple girls that were there about their trip and how they were from Germany. I was telling them that I was going to celebrate my birthday in Germany which was coming up, that’s when I realize what date it was and I didn’t have a flight the next morning, I was a day early. I quickly canceled the taxi that I reserved and spent my last day in Marrakesh as positive as possible.

Sometimes while traveling things aren’t going to go as planned in this unfortunate event everything I planned didn’t go the way I thought it was. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches and remind yourself that no matter where you are when the plans become sour, at least you’re not working a 9-to-5 at a town that you can never leave and reaching for goals that you’ll never achieve. Morocco is a beautiful place and I don’t think that it had anything to do with my unfortunate round of events. I will definitely be going back to Morocco someday to give her another chance.

Troubles in Egypt

I made a crucial mistake while going to Egypt, I somehow mixed up the two cards I brought with me on this trip. One card was my primary card and the other was shut off and only turned on for emergencies. Getting to the airport, I knew I had to buy the visa so I opened my wallet and realized my mistake. Now I had to find a way to get my checked bag without going through customs. Should be easy, right? Well, I had to friend a security guard the spoke English and explained the situation. He was more than welcome to take my ticket to my checked bag, told me to wait on a bench and walked off. After a minute or two I started to feel uneasy. I put my trust in a random man in the hopes that he’ll return with my bag with everything in it.

  10 minutes went by and sure enough he returned with my bag on the a cart. He asked me if I needed help getting the visa, which confuses me a bit because I’ve dealt with visa in a few other countries and never had a problem. So I declined his offer, got some money out of an ATM and searched around for the visa window, but there was none to be found. I asked a guy at a bank in the airport and he replied that it was there. Now l’m really confused and also realizing that it was getting later and I had no way of getting ahold of the Couchsurfing host that was picking me up from the airport with the fact I couldn’t connect to the WiFi there. With both of these problems in my mind, that friendly security guard came up and started to speaking in Arabic to the man at the bank and told me that they only except American money for the visa. He went back and forth with that man at the bank and finally talked him into letting me pay with their currency instead. I asked the security guard why he was helping me and he replied that he thought I was a good person and he wanted to help. 

  After going through customs with a little bit of an issue, I was out front of the airport and got some taxi drivers offering me rides to my destination, but I told them that I had a ride that I was looking for. One of the friendly taxi drivers offered his phone so I could get ahold of my host. Luckily he was still waiting for me. 

   I stayed with him for a couple days, unfortunately he lived to far away from the city so I ended moving to a hostel for the remainder of my trip in Egypt. I also accidentally brushed my teeth with the water there and got suck for the majority of the time, but I did get enough good days to ride a camel through the Pyramids of Giza before heading to my next destination.

That one time in istanbul

Going to Turkey for a weekend was not the best idea. Honestly, I should of stayed longer! I would’ve never expected my experience, especially when it started out in the weirdest way. 

  Once off the airplane, I wasn’t sure if I had a ride to the hostel or not. There was a mixup with emailing the Hostel about a free shuttle, but as I was walking out the door of the airport, I saw a little lady holding a sign with my name on it. I thought that was a big relief until she had me wait by the road and walked off. she gave me the sign to hold up so the van would come get me. I was super confused because it was taking entirely too long, so I put the sign away and started to feel uneasy. 

   That’s usually the time that I listen to my gut and I figure out another ride, but that wasn’t the case because I couldn’t even fine the area for the taxis. I just sat there and waited until a sketchy leather coat wearing guy came up to me and asked me if I was Jon in very broke English, I said yes and he said to have me follow him to the van. Now I’m losing my mind, but stayed very calm. Once we got to the van, I noticed there was another Turkish family waiting by the van as well.  I just assumed they were getting a ride to their hostel too. It took a bit to drive to the Hostel and the sketchy driver, now with multiple phones up to his face, kept on talking to random people while driving. 

   At one point there was a moment of silence and I mentioned to him that I noticed that there was a lot of police activity on the roads near the Hostel. Apparently that’s all I needed to say and the guy smiled at me and proceeded to tell me everything about the city, all in Arabic. I just nodded and smiled back. Once at the Hostel I turned around and noticed that the family that was going to another hostile was now very angry, but the driver was very happy to help me get my bag and even gave me a hug before I walked in to the front door.

 The rest my time there went very well. The workers in the Hostel were beyond helpful and became good friends. There was a pack of Auzzie‘s that were staying in the hostel as well that let me join them in taking tours around the city and even went out to the clubs at night as well.

  It was only 3 days in Turkey, but I believe that I’ll be there for round two in the near future.

into the unknown

While in Vietnam, I got the chance to spend time with a couple Israeli girls traveling like i was. When we were parting ways, they invited me to their country and that’s all it took! The next trip was scribbled on an airline napkin on the flight home. Less than a year later, I was on a plane heading to the Middle East knowing this was not like the other trips.  I actually took the time to plan most of this journey from the start. Some of the areas I was going weren’t the safest in the world, but I wasn’t new with travel this time around. Prepping for the  “worse case senecio” and always staying alert was the key for a safe trip.  

   Once I landed in Israel, I was welcomed by one of the girls I met in Vietnam. She picked me up late at night, let me sleep for a few hours and that where the adventure began….