Archive | January, 2012

Q&A with Nomadic Samuel: Teaching Abroad, Epic Bus Journeys and… Ostrich Rides?

31 Jan

As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we contact travelers who’ve had firsthand experiences around the world. Last time, we featured with Matthew Kepnes from NomadicMatt. Today, we’re happy to share an interview with Samuel Jeffery from Nomadic Samuel, a travel blog featuring photos, videos & quirky travel stories along with photography tips, interviews, ESL tips, reviews and general travel advice.

Samuel Jeffery from Nomadic Samuel at Angkor Wat

Samuel Jeffery from Nomadic Samuel is not your typical travel nomad. Originally from Canada, he’s spent the majority of his 20’s overseas working diverse jobs in Asia. He’s visited 26 countries during his 6 years abroad, and his longest bus journey was 68 continuous hours from Quito, Ecuador to Puno, Peru! We’re happy to feature him today.

1) Where are you now, and where are you headed next?

I’m currently based in Asia as a digital nomad. I’ve most recently visited some friends in Korea and Taiwan and now I’m figuring out where to base myself. With so many attractive options it’s very hard to narrow it down exactly!

2) You’re a self-described jack of all trades with a long list of skills and careers. Which one of these skills have you found most useful while traveling, and which job have you found most fulfilling while living a long-term lifestyle on the road?

This is a great question! In my opinion, my skills and qualifications as a teacher have come in most handy while being based overseas. Prior to becoming a digital nomad I literally funded all of my backpacking expeditions through my savings teaching overseas. Now that I’m a digital nomad, I feel as though my skills as a travel writer, photographer and v-logger are what’s going to allow me to continue earning a living on the road. I think having the background as a teacher is very comforting because I know if for some reason I was struggling financially or not making ends meet with my travel related projects, I could always go back to teaching temporarily.

Taking a picture at La Paz

3) At Busbud, we’re focused on making bus travel easier. What tips would you give for new travelers, and which countries have you found most bus-friendly?

I’ve had some fantastic journeys by bus. Two countries that immediately come to mind when I think of excellent trips and services are Argentina and Chile. Not only were the buses modern and comfortable but I was also provided with delicious meals and other on board snacks and entertainment. For new travelers, I would suggest bringing enough items to keep you entertained. Charging your iPod, Kindle or other portable media player will allow you to pass the hours on long trips. Additionally, having some books or guidebooks to read are a great way to kill time. Finally, bringing some items such as a neck rest, sleeping mask and/or ear plugs will certainly help you feel more comfortable and relaxed.

4) You’ve ridden by camel, horse, donkey, elephant and ostrich. Can you elaborate on the ostrich experience and how it compares to bus travel?

LOL! I can say immediately that I’d much rather be on a bus than an ostrich. If the ostrich was capable of speaking it would have said something like this: “You want to go on a ride? HA! I’ll give you one you won’t forget anytime soon.” It literally tore around the pen and I felt I was riding a bucking bronco. I would compare an ostrich ride to some of my the most treacherous bus journeys I’ve ever been on in Bolivia. In both cases, I was somewhat fearing for my life!

Climbing Macchu Picchu

5) Do you have an interesting bus story to share with our readers?

Although I have many tales of misfortune that I could get into I’ll pick something positive. When I was travelling in South America I met some of my closest friends that I still keep in touch with on various bus journeys. Many of my trips were 24 hours or longer providing the perfect opportunity to get to know whoever I was sitting next to. When traveling by bus I would suggest keeping an open mind. A great new friend might be sitting next to you.

6) You’re Canadian (like us!). What’s your favorite hockey team?

I’m a huge fan of Team Canada during the Olympics and World Juniors, but I must admit I’m a die-hard Chicago Blackhawks fan. Even worse is that I’m originally from a small town located on Vancouver island, so the recent rivalry between the Blackhawks and Canucks has been especially intense for me. I was in Sucre, Bolivia when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010. I was prancing around the courtyard on this occasion and a mostly European crowd didn’t have the slightest idea what was going on.

Giant cactus in Norte Argentino

7) Finally, what’s the most rewarding thing that keeps you passionate about travel after 6 years and 26 countries?

The stimulation I feel from being in an exotic land and experiencing something new keeps me going. Furthermore, certain places I loved visiting feel more like home when I come back again. I feel like I’m living my life to its fullest potential when I’m on the road. I know this is what I’m meant to do. I still get goosebumps the same way I did on my first journey. I absolutely love what I do :)

Thanks Samuel!

Samuel Jeffery is the wizard behind the curtain pulling the strings of Nomadic Samuel Travel Site. He also runs other travel related sites like Smiling Faces Travel Photos. You can get in touch with him on Facebook, Twitter , Stumble Upon, Youtube & Google +.

Photos by Samuel Jeffery

Bus Around The World: Guatemala City, Guatemala

24 Jan

A Stow-Away Passenger On The Chicken Bus In Guatemala

Photo by: Geoff Gallice

If you have cool bus photos you’d like to submit, please contact us!

We’re listening to your feedback

23 Jan

We’ve been busy at work in the past few weeks on several new features for Busbud.com which should make the site even easier to use for travelers around the world. Stay tuned for updates soon! We’ve also added many new routes in response to your contributions, comments and email requests.

If you have suggestions or ideas for us, let us know, we’re listening! What features are you using the most? What features would you like to see on the site?

For product suggestions and ideas, you can use the Feedback tool (a blue button at the bottom right of every page on the site). It lets other users view and vote on your suggestions. For anything else, you can email us at feedback@busbud.com. Our team reads every email, so feel free to leave us a note.

Bus Around The World: Tenerife, Spain

17 Jan

On the winding roads of Tenerife, Spain.

Can you spot this bus in Spain?!

Photo by Omar Moreno. If you have a cool bus photo you’d like to submit, please contact us!

Q&A With Nomadic Matt: Leaving The Rat Race To Explore The World

12 Jan
Matthew Kepnes of Nomadic Matt

Matthew Kepnes of Nomadic Matt

As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we contact travelers who’ve had firsthand experiences around the world. Last time, we featured Michael Hodson from GoSeeWrite. Today, we’re happy to share an interview with Matthew Kepnes from NomadicMatt, a MBA graduate who quit his cubicle job to travel the world in 2006.

In 2005, Matthew Kepnes met five backpackers during a trip to Thailand that made him realize that he didn’t need to be rich to travel. So when he came back, he quit his job, finished his MBA and then embarked on a year long adventure around the world. And he hasn’t stopped since, writing over 200 destination guides. We’re happy he took time to answer our questions.

1) Where are you now, and where are you headed next in your travels?

I’m currently in Thailand. I’ll be here for a few more weeks and then I’ll be going to Laos and Cambodia. I’m not really sure after that. I may stay in Asia or I may head home to America.

2) You’ve written an extensive section on travel tips, from how to save money to when to when to eat at expensive restaurants (at lunchtime). What tips can you give solo travelers who are planning to travel by bus? And which countries do you consider most bus-friendly?

I don’t think any one country in the world is better to travel by bus than another simply because all countries have buses. However, countries in South America make the experience more enjoyable by providing comfy chairs that become beds, they provide blankets, have nice meals. They really are something special, especially the ones in Argentina.

3) You’ve listed Amsterdam, Paris, Stockholm, Vancouver and five more cities as your favorite in the world. What do these destinations have in common?

They don’t really have anything in common otherwise than they are places I feel the most comfortable. Sometimes you just click with a city and you feel connected to it. I feel that way with those cities. I love their looks, the people, the food, and just the love the way of life there. It’s hard to explain because it’s just a feeling.

4) This past April, you announced that you’ll be embarking on one last round the world trip until spring 2012. What’s left for you to explore? What’s left on your travel bucket list?

The idea was partly just a good challenge, partly just something that people don’t normally do, and partly to get good fodder for a book, which I am writing next year. I fell in love with ground travel as a result. Personally, I think it is not only much, much better for the environment than flying, but you get a much greater sense of a place and of how just plain huge our planet is when you travel by ground transport. I am a strong advocate of staying on the ground as much as you can afford time-wise.

5) Finally, what advice would you give people who are considering traveling for the first time and who are afraid of costs, culture shock and safety?

When it comes to costs, just budget wisely and go. You’ll never have the perfect amount of money. Just take what you can get and go. You can always work overseas but no matter what it is better to go a few days than no days at all. There will always be culture shock and there’s really nothing to do about that. You will always be taken aback by what is different. It doesn’t matter if that is in Dubai, France, or a different part of your country. Regarding safety, I always tell people to use the same common sense they would if they were back home. Do that and you’ll be fine.

Thanks Matt! Here are a some of our favorite articles from Matt: Why It’s Never The Perfect Time To Travel, Five Destinations Under $30 A Day,  and New Beginning.

You can follow Matt’s travels on his blog, NomadicMatt, as well as on Twitter and Facebook. If you have suggestions for bus travelers you’d like us to interview, please contact us.

Photo by Matthew Kepnes.

Be Awesome, Contribute a Schedule

9 Jan

The Mont Tremblant ski resort, 2 hours from Montreal, Canada. You can get there by bus.

Did you find a useful schedule for a bus route? Whether you’re in a bus station or in front of your computer doing research for an upcoming trip, you can help out fellow travelers looking for that same info by submitting schedule information to Busbud. You can submit either the specific bus schedule itself or simply the name of a bus company operating on that route.

There are a few different ways to contribute. The simplest way is to find to the Add button, which is present on every route page on Busbud under the Contribute header.

Add button on Route pages

Let’s say you want to add a schedule for the Montreal to Mont-Tremblant route. With the start of the ski season under way in Canada, that information would surely be quite practical!

Clicking on the Add button will open a dialog box where you can very rapidly submit the information. The first step is to fill in the name of the bus company, as below. After that, you have the choice of either entering a URL or typing out the schedule yourself. Pick whichever is easiest for you. For the URL option, simply copy-paste a link to the relevant schedule information. For the manual input option, you can type the schedule in the text box following the instructions available by clicking “View instructions”. It’s as easy as that.

Contribute a schedule

On your smartphone? That’s OK too, it’s easy to contribute while you’re on-the-go! Simply take a snapshot of a schedule you’ve found while traveling and email us the photo directly at contribute@busbud.com

Photo of the bus schedule taken with your smartphone

You can leave us your contact information if you’d like to be notified when we publish your schedule.

Leave us your coordinates if you want to credited/contacted

We review all schedules, links and photos submitted in order to make sure the information is as accurate as possible for travelers.

Once we approve and publish the information, we’ll add your name in the Contribute section (first initial and last name only, along with your city of origin and country flag) on that route page to credit and thank you for your contribution to Busbud on behalf of the travel community.

Your name will appear in the Contribute section!

Don’t worry, you don’t need to have your name appear on the site. You can contribute schedules anonymously! It’s completely optional to leave us your coordinates. That said, if you do, we’ll be sure to give you credit and also notify you when your contribution has been published on the site.

Busbud is a community built for travelers by travelers. We try our best to keep the schedule information accurate and up-to-date for you. Maintaining schedules for the most routes possible is a major undertaking, and that’s why we need your help! We’d ideally like you to always find the route you are looking for, no matter how off-the-beaten-path it is!

Want to try it out? You can submit a schedule by clicking on Add on our any route page currently available or email us the schedule information at contribute@busbud.com. If the route page for which you want to submit a schedule is not currently available, let us know.

If you have any suggestions on how we can improve the contribution process, you can also drop us a line at info@busbud.com.

Photo by: Andrea Black

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