Tag Archives: Bus

Q&A with Frugal Traveler: Exploring the World on a Budget

6 Mar

As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we keep in touch with travelers who have had firsthand experiences traveling around the world. Last time, we featured Gary Arndt from Everything Everywhere. Today, we are happy to feature Seth Kugel, the New York Times’ Frugal Traveler.

This traveler’s path is quite atypical. After teaching in public schools, Seth worked in immigrant and child protection services. Then he started as a columnist for the City section of the Times before taking up the torch as the Frugal Traveler for the New York Times in 2010. You can read more about his career path here.

In 2010 you started your adventure as the NYT Frugal Traveler with a 13 week trip from Sao Paulo to NYC. How often did you travel by bus during this trip? How were your experiences traveling by bus?

I really like traveling by bus, because it’s cheap and so different everywhere you go.

In some Latin American countries buses are still old and in many cases they are old United States school buses that have been repainted. That’s not the case everywhere, so it’s interesting to see the contrast between different bus services.

One of my first trips was a 36-hour bus ride. That was an interesting journey. I sat next to a coca leaf dealer, which is all legal business in Bolivia, but as an American it seemed kind of funny to be with a guy who was transporting coca leaves on the bus. He was able to explain to me how the legal trade of coca leaves works and that was totally fascinating. We stopped in little towns, saw this llama entertaining passengers.

There are always tons of crazy things that happen on bus rides.

In Central America it’s more the school bus thing, it’s actually very uncomfortable because you have no cushioning at all in the seats. Luckily, countries in Central America are smaller than Bolivia, so you don’t have that far to go. You travel in the mode of transportation that everyone travels with there. In most countries, especially in the developing world, not everybody can fly. In fact, most people have never been on a plane before. Everybody takes the bus so you get to interact with better mix of society.

It was also very interesting to see what the system is like, sometimes how inefficient it is, and it can surprise you sometimes with how comfortable and efficient it gets.

16Frugal-span-blogSpanSource: New York Time Frugal Traveler

Any advice for first time travelers? Those who long to travel but fear to take the jump?

I’d just say to do it a little bit at a time. If you wanna do it all at once, take a big jump, a year around the world, going to crazy places, that’s fine, but you can certainly also just start small. Take a small trip, be a little more daring than you usually would be.

There is a rule that I always like to follow in many situations: if you’re ever wondering if you should do something or if you shouldn’t, like if you should take this street of if you shouldn’t, if you should talk to this person or you shouldn’t. Within the balance of reasonable physical safety, you should always do it. That’s a good rule to follow. You’re on vacation and you’re not sure if you should do something, then you should probably do it if it doesn’t involve a physical risk for yourself.

Photo: Patricia Stavis

At Busbud, our mission is to make bus travel easier. Especially allowing travelers to search, compare and book bus tickets anywhere in the world. What do you think about this mission? Do you think this type of service would help travelers during their trips?

Well, it sounds like a very difficult task because there is no worldwide regulation of buses like there is in trains, right? My experience is that in a lot of places in the world you still can’t book a bus online, and even if they have a website, it’s usually impossible to use it if you’re not from the country. I think that if you guys can do it, that would be fantastic! It sounds to me like a very hard job, you have a ton of language issues, it would be great if it works.

Of course, it’s a hard job, but it’s what we love to do. Our 20 brains and pairs of hands stay busy to keep making bus travel easier anywhere in the world and to get more and more coverage. We are now serving bus schedules for over 9600 cities in 81 countries in the world.

Thanks a lot Seth!
You can follow his adventures as Frugal Traveler on Twitter.
Read his column on The New York Times

Busbud’s Top Travel Apps

14 Feb

asturias

Every traveler has specific needs when on the road, you can be sure there’s almost always one or more apps to meet every one of these needs, and make travel easier.
We decided to gather the ones we like the most here in a blog post, so here’s our little mobile toolbox to help you have an even more enjoyable journey!

Where to Sleep?
Whether you’re planning your trip in advance or need to find a place to sleep on the go, AirBNB and Hostelworld give you the possibility to find a place by city or according to your current location, to sleep at a local’s place or a hostel. Hotel Tonight is specialised in last minute bookings, it’s a good way to enjoy the comfort of a hotel at a very competitive price.

Where to eat?
Use Urbanspoon for an almost exhaustive list of restaurants in a specific city, or if you’re reeeaally super hungry right now, try Foodspotting, a visual guide that shows you good food around you. Finally, if you just wanna book for dinner, use OpenTable, a real-time restaurant-reservation service.

How to fly there?
In terms of booking, Kayak, Expedia, and Hipmunk give you loads of options and help you compare prices. Flightfox pushes the booking a bit further by matching you with an expert that does all the research job for you and offers personalised service.

Ground transportation
When in need for a taxi, use Uber, which connects passengers with taxi drivers. To move from city to city use Busbud (of course!) to search, compare and book bus tickets. If you are more into driving, Getaround, a peer-to-peer car sharing and local car rental is a good option.

Explore
Before getting there, Fotopedia gives you access to thousands of travel pics, perfect if you’re looking for the most stunning places. After having a look at users recommendations on TripAdvisor, use Triposo to access a worldwide mobile travel guide. Then Gogobot will suit you if you’re looking for recommendations from friends or people who travel like you.

Planning your trip
Tripomatic helps you find out what to see and what to do in your destination and create itineraries.  For travel planning, and to make sure you keep your plans in one place, use Tripit and WorldMate.

Language
Understanding and getting understood can get tricky when you travel to foreign places. To read and translate signs, menus and other written information, use Wordlens. Then, no need to describe the must have Google translate. To get how to pronounce, use Translator with Speech.

Communication
When travelling, keeping in touch with friends and family is made easy and way less expensive by Whatsapp, Viber and Skype, with which you can text and call around the world with a wi-fi connection.
If you want to keep a little traditional touch, use Postagram to send postcards from your instagram pics.

Get around
To get from A to B use Google maps and Scout, a navigator that gets you around traffic. If you don’t want to worry about the expensive data issue, City Maps to go will give you detailed offline maps, travel content and insider tips.

Our favorite travel and lifestyle bloggers in Amsterdam (in English)

6 Dec

When planning for a trip, traditional information resources like guides and magazines are always a good start. But the best way to find great insights and well kept secrets about your destination is to checkout what locals, expats and travelers who actually know the city differently have to say about it

Stuff Dutch People Like
Stuff Dutch People like

 

The blog, created by Colleen Geske, a Canadian expat living in Amsterdam, is an awesome resource of all you need to know about the dutch cultural specificity. The blog deals with stereotypes with a sassy and humorous tone, making it a really funny way to get more familiar with people and habits before you reach to the city. It was really hard to choose which posts we like most, so here are two examples: Sinterklaas, and for the linguistics: Speaking in expressions. But seriously, you should read them all, they’re hilarious!
Read more here


Your Little Black Book
Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 2.52.54 PM

Anne is a lifestyle blogger living in Amsterdam. First of all, her blog is very pleasant, full of beautiful pics, and gives you a good global view of what to do in Amsterdam, whether you are a foodie explorer or the shopping addict type. The Amsterdam City Guide section gives great weekend guides, tips on seasonal events and things to do in the city, like the best up-coming new year’s eve parties, or hotspots to discover.

Read more here


Amsterdamian
Screen Shot 2013-12-06 at 2.54.48 PM

This blog, created by an Amsterdam lover, takes you to the streets and hidden gems of the city through a beautiful visual journey. If you take some time to wander around this blog, you’ll discover an other point of view on the city, people, seasons and art in Amsterdam, with lots of images. For example, here’s a reason why Amsterdam is a great place to visit in autumn and this one gives you a good sneak peek at the Amsterdam Light Festival
Read more here


Life In Amsterdam
523098_394988270512370_172279822_n

Life in Amsterdam was obviously made for all the foodies out there. What we love the most about this blog is the super simple way reviews are presented. One glance and you have all the key information, like: what is the place perfect for?, is it worth a bike ride?, the best features, etc. After exploring the blog, the places we picked up to try next time we’re in Amsterdam: Caffe Milo for sounding that fancy, and Bistro ‘t Stuivertje for sounding so friendly.
Read more here


Some of our favorite worldwide travel bloggers also had their Amsterdam adventure..

bloggers_Matt_Kate
Here’s the Amsterdam experience seen by Matthew from Nomadic Matt, and here Kate from Adventurous Kate tells you more about how she totally fell in love with dutch architecture

Our New Busbud Intro Video

30 May

We’re very happy to debut Busbud’s new intro video.

Our Busbud team‘s very own multi-talented marketing director Alain shot the video right here in Montreal, and it also features our communications superstar Caroline as Lucie (the girl from the bus)! Our thanks goes out to everyone who agreed to participate in the video!

It is a homemade labor of love and it reflects what Busbud is all about: freedom to roam, discovery of new places and the serendipity of travel!

More than anything, we hope it gives you the urge to take the bus!

Buses are amazing both for the wallet and the environment. They’re also great for last-minute travel getaways and for exploring the landscape of new places.

Who knows, on your way to a new city, you might even meet that special someone!

Happy viewing!

Busbud Launches iPhone App

31 Jan

Busbud iPhone app

Today, we are very pleased to announce the launch of our new iPhone app aimed at giving travellers easy access to intercity bus travel information on the go.

Available for free for iPhone and iPad users, Busbud is your ideal bus travel companion, gathering together intercity bus schedules for 4000+ cities in 60+ countries.

At Busbud, we are uniquely focused on the problem of intercity bus travel, especially making the process of finding a bus schedule and buying a ticket as easy as possible.

With the launch of our mobile app, travellers can now:

  • Instantly access bus schedules on the go.
  • Sort by the best price, shortest duration and departure time.
  • View schedules in 10 languages and see prices in 15 currencies.
  • Auto-detect their current city and easily view top destination suggestions for that city.

Search

Search

Results

Results

In the example above, if a traveller searches for buses from Montreal to Toronto around noon, the Busbud app will display the next departure (13:00) closest to the current time for each company. This gives travellers a helpful at-a-glance comparison of multiple options, allowing them to find the right bus for their trip faster.

Get it from the iTunes app store here.

Q&A with Lainie from Raising Miro on Travel and the Road of Life

19 Jan
Miro and Lainie from Raising Miro

Miro and Lainie from Raising Miro

As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we keep in touch with travelers who’ve had firsthand experiences around the world. Last time, we featured Nicole and Cameron Wears from Traveling Canucks. Today, we’re happy to feature Miro & Lainie from Raising Miro.

Lainie and Miro are a mother and son team who have traveled to 12 countries and experienced many personal changes, living an inspired possession-free-lifestyle, volunteering and learning naturally. They are blessed to be accidental unschoolers and have become advocates for “life learning” at any age.

1) Where are you now? What are 3 reasons why you picked this place?

We are currently in Cusco, Peru. We have been in Peru for over a year already, and the last four of those months we’ve spent here, high in the Andes, deep in the Sacred Valley. There are several reasons that have initially drawn us here, and several more that have kept us here. Briefly, both Miro and I are taken aback with the powerful energy of this country. It’s a cultural, historical, mystical and harmonious place. The people, although culturally diverse, are kind and welcoming. But mostly the landscape, ruins, history and countless mysteries inviting us to participate deeper keep us here. Peru has provided a fertile ground for all kinds of investigation and natural learning for both Miro and myself.

Miro and Lainie in Tambapata

Tambapata, Peru

2) What has been your favourite place so far, and why?

Miro and I both have different answers as we both have different interests. For example, Miro’s very keen on some of the adventure aspects of our trip. Ica, Peru was one of his favourite spots because of the vast sand dunes (and the ever-so-fast dune-buggies that bounce up and down with speed ), the deep amazon jungle for the wild adventures, sounds and the first hand experiences of animal and plant life not found anywhere else on the planet, and finally the capital, for so many reasons that remind him of the comfort of home and it’s wonderful sushi eateries topping the list.

For me, I am enthralled with ancient cultures, archeology and mysticism. I love the southern coast of Peru, including Nasca and Paracas for stretching my imagination and allowing ‘other worldly’ ideas to become a part of my vocabulary (yes, I’m talking “Ancient Aliens”). I loved the jungle too, having spent days and nights acutely aware of my surroundings, being invited to be deeply planted in each passing moment of presence. But at the moment, my heart belongs in the Sacred Valley, near the ancient structures left behind by the Inca and the mysterious pre-Inca cultures, temping my imagination with each new star-gate, elongated skull, megalithic structure and petroglyth I personally experience.

Raising-Miro-Chan-Chan

Miro at Chan Chan

3) How do you decide on your next destination?

Two factors determine our ‘next destination’. First, depending on where we are geographically, we normally decide to go where is next (I know, very Zen.) Second, our destination depends on our budget. If we are inspired to go farther than where the next bus will take us, if we can afford to go, we will.

But how we decide is equally important to two other factors. First, Miro and I are partners in our journey. It’s based on a conversation between the both of us. If Miro feels strongly about one way or another, we talk about it. And vice-versa for me. Sometimes it’s about giving and taking, for example our 8 month stay in Lima was because Miro was very comfortable and wanted to be there. After a period of time, I was inspired to be closer to the archeological sites and that was my preference to move to Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Yes, we are partners.

Next, we both are keenly in touch with our inspiration and our intuition. There had never been a case where Miro and I disagreed about a destination or moving on since our inspiration and intuition are finely tuned within ourselves and with each other. Being guided by inspiration is a blessing and we both listen.

On the way to the Ballestas Islands

On the way to the Ballestas Islands

4) I really enjoyed reading your perspective about unschooling and learning math, and I agree with you that ultimately, it’s up to the parents and their children to decide. But what about learning social iterations? I’m sure that by travelling together so much, you and Miro must meet a lot of people. What are some valuable social lessons that you’ve acquired and can’t be learned in a classroom environment

I’ve been told by many, the answer to this question should be the basis for a book. Maybe it will someday, since I’m certain I could fill many, many pages. But for now, would like to present a question to you, and your readers. When is there a point in our lives that we are NOT learning? It a matter of framing the experiences we are having as such.

You are right in assuming we meet people of all walks of life, all ages, all interests, all social and economical status. As humans we are social creatures and function within social structures. The difference between a child educated in the world, the world being his classroom, is that he / she interacts with a cross section that more represents life, because in fact, it is life! Children in traditional school systems are put in a classroom to socialize only with those of their same biological age. To me, that’s arbitrary and not conducive of learning social lessons. As for curriculum, math, other ‘educational’ topics, I invite you and your readers to visit our web site, as we talk a lot about learning, as in ‘natural learning’ which is also known as ‘unschooling‘.

In fact, you can read about my unschooling too.. (remember my question above about ‘when are we not learning?’ This also applies to me. )

5) What is a great anecdote you have about a bus ride you’ve taken in your travels?

Both Miro and I don’t mind bus rides, even like the long ones from time to time. We have been on two 40 hour bus rides at different times on our journey. And once in Guatemala, we were caught in a shuttle bus for 30 hours in a bad storm where the roads were literally washed out. In this case, Miro and I got to observe the best and the worst of ‘creating your own reality”. We were both patient, wide-eyed and accepting of what was happening. On the other hand, we were in the company of a couple of travellers who choose to experience the situation in a very negative manner. Both Miro and I were observers, and choose to learn in every experience, reflect and grow than making the choice to suffer, judge, or condemn what is happening. (Again, very Zen, right?) I wrote about that experience in detail here.

Miro with an Alpaca

Miro with an Alpaca

6) At Busbud, our mission is to make bus travel information easy to find so that travelers can make better travel decisions. Have you ever had difficulty going around to places due to language barrier? How do you manage communicate when you don’t speak a local language?

At this point, we’ve been traveling for the last 3 1/2 years in Latin America. My Spanish is embarrassing, but Miro’s is fluent. We’ve both learned what we’ve learned through listening. But there have been times and will continue to be times where we cannot communicate accurately with others. But I can say, the most important aspect of communication is tapping into your own humanity, recognizing that in others, and of course SMILE all the time!

Lainie and Miro at Machu Picchu

Lainie and Miro at Machu Picchu

7) Finally, do you have some advice for those who are seeking to be nomads like you?

I would say, fear is the most common reason people do not embark on a lifestyle like ours. If you are interested in a travel lifestyle and are frozen with fear, here’s my most valuable piece of advice:

First take your own journey inward. Learn to listen to what fears are coming, up, learn to decipher the difference in your fear voice or your inspiration.

This focus will keep you grounded when your rational mind is cycling through the giant to do list, feeling stressed and fearful, and experiencing self doubt. Yes, it’s all part of the experience, (and it’s magnified once you are on the road) unless you have tools to keep the surface noise in check.

Just what is that spark of inspiration that led you to this place? Let’s look at the ‘spark’ itself. Like any living thing, it needs attention to stay activated, to remain alive. Simply, give it attention. Give it attention often. Feel the feelings associated with your inspiration and just sit with it. With a little practice, you’ll be able to access that feeling at a second’s notice, and it’s there with you when you need it. And that connection will keep you safe and your journey fear-free. Then, you can get back to enjoying and appreciating all the ups and downs of travel, even those occasional 30 hour shuttle bus adventures!

Thanks Lainie! You can get in touch with her on Facebook. And follow Lainie and Miro’s adventures on Raising Miro.

Photos by Lainie Liberti at Raising Miro

Miro in Lima

Miro in Lima

Q&A with Cameron from Traveling Canucks: Marriage, Travel, and Finding Life Balance on the Road

23 May

Nicole and Cameron from Traveling Canucks

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 Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott from Uncornered Market. Today, we’re happy to share an interview with another traveling couple, Nicole and Cameron Wears from Traveling Canucks. Residing in Vancouver, Canada, this married couple has visited 50 countries in the past seven years.

Nicole and Cameron share a common passion for travel. In 2008, they traded their jobs for a backpack and a long checklist. After a year on the road, they chose to make their home in Vancouver, British Columbia, and continue to keep travel as part of their lives. They are living proof that it is possible to build a career and family AND travel the globe.

1) What’s your next travel destination?

Our next trip will actually be the first international trip that we take with our baby boy. We are flying to sunny Palm Springs, California! We can’t wait to catch some needed sun and relaxation; it’s been rainy and cold in Vancouver BC. Surprisingly, we have never been to Southern California, so we are really looking forward to the trip.

In the coming months, we plan to visit Honduras, Hawaii, Germany, Switzerland and France. So hopefully Baby B won’t have any issues with airplanes.

Easter Island

2) In a previous interview with CanadianLiving, you’ve given tips on how to keep a relationship healthy while on the road. What about the benefits of traveling as a couple?

We love traveling together because we always have someone to share the adventures and memories with. It’s nice to have someone to dine with every night or play cards while on a long train ride. We’ve been traveling together for 10 years, so we really don’t know any other way.

Traveling as a couple has helped us get to know and understand each other on a completely different level. We travel well together and complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses, making for a much better travel experience. In our opinion, exploring new places and experiencing new things is essential for a healthy relationship!

3) I’m a fan of your Photo of the Week series. What’s your favourite picture taken in Canada? How about one of your favorite in the rest of the world?

Wow – that’s a tough question! It’s so hard to pick just one. We really like the photo from Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta. It’s a picture perfect turquoise lake that is dwarfed by giant snow-capped Rocky Mountains – it’s brilliant!

Canoe at Moraine Lake

It’s way too hard to pick one favourite photo from around the world, but we put together a collection of our favourite travel photos.

4) At Busbud, our mission is to make bus travel information easy to find so that travelers can make better travel decisions. Have you encountered moments in your travel where you found yourself wanting a service like this? And do you have a bus travel story you’d like to share with our readers?

Absolutely! It recently happened on our trip to Belize a few months ago. We booked our return flight to leave from Cancun and we had to figure out how to get from Belize to Cancun by bus. It was actually quite frustrating because most bus lines didn’t have a website that was up-to-date (many didn’t have one at all!).

One of the hardest parts about finding transportation in foreign countries is that it’s difficult to find a website in English that provides honest and accurate information. We can definitely see ourselves using a service like Busbud.

A bus travel story to share would be the one we took from Luxor to Dahab in Egypt. We were told by many tour operators that the bus trip would be approximately 14 hours. We were prepared for a 14 hour journey, what we were not prepared for was the 22 hour journey that it actually ended up being!

5) I’m actually traveling to Vancouver this spring to judge a swing dance competition. Any restaurants/venues that I shouldn’t miss in Van city while I’m there?

There are so many things to see and do in Vancouver; it really depends on what you’re interested in. It’s very possible there will still be great spring skiing on the local mountains in April, but that’s weather dependant. Walking around the Seawall at Stanley Park is a fan favourite, as is wandering the cobblestone streets of Gastown near Waterfront. Some fun places to enjoy drinks are Granville Street, Robson Street and Granville Island, which has local artist shops, fresh seafood and restaurants with amazing views.

We wrote an article about “Things the Locals like to do in Vancouver”.

Caramel candy apple at the Vancouver Summer Night Market

6) Finally, I really enjoyed your message about balancing career & family with traveling and chasing your dreams. I saw that you are even traveling with your baby this summer! What advice would you give people who are struggling to find balance in their lives? How do you make it all work?

We believe that everyone should travel, at least once a year (ideally more). It opens your eyes to new cultures, food, music, traditions and experiences. It’s a great way to connect with your partner, family and friends in ways you simply cannot do at home. This doesn’t mean you have to backpack across Southeast Asia or take a career break. But make an effort to experience the world, even if it’s just a quick weekend getaway.

So many people have said to us, “I guess now that you have a baby you’re travel days are behind you”. This statement couldn’t be further from the truth. We now want to introduce him to the world and have a new purpose for our travels.

Finding balance in your life is essential. It really isn’t hard to achieve once you make it a priority. Start by setting small goals, like saving an extra $100 per month or planning a local camping trip. Life balance is different for everyone, but if travel is important to you then you must make time for it and understand that sacrifices will need to be made to reach your goals.

Nicole and Cameron from Traveling Canucks

Thanks Cameron! You can get in touch with him on Facebook and Twitter. And of course, visit the blog Traveling Canucks to follow their adventures.

Photos by Cameron Wears at Traveling Canucks

Q&A with Jodi Ettenberg from Legal Nomads: On Traveling, Photography and Making Lifelong Friends

1 Mar
Jodi Ettenberg at Tichka Pass, the highest road in Morocco

Jodi Ettenberg at Tichka Pass, the highest road in Morocco

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 our first traveling couple, Dan and Audrey from Uncornered Market. Today, we’re thrilled to share an interview with Jodi Ettenberg from Legal Nomads, who was featured just last week in the New York Times. She’s a former lawyer from Montreal currently eating her way around the world, one country at a time. Jodi has been on the road since 2008.

1. Where are you now, and where are you headed?
I’m answering this on a flight from Istanbul to Amman, actually. Hurray for Gmail Offline. I spent the fall in Turkey, Morocco and England and am headed to Thailand again after my weeks in Amman. I can’t stay away from sticky rice too long.

Jodi Ettenberg at the Citadel in Amman

Jodi Ettenberg at the Citadel in Amman

2. You’re great at reporting and sharing stories that matter, both on your blog and on social networks. What gives you the drive to document all these stories and share them with your fans and followers?

There’s a bit of a delineation between the stories I share on the blog and the links and information I posted to Twitter. I used to have a newsletter I sent out daily as a lawyer that cobbled together the science, tech and political news of the day, with copious geekery thrown in. When I quit to travel, I stopped sending it out, but Twitter has become a repository for real-time distribution of links to learn from. On the other hand, the blog houses all the transportation misadventures, longer form narrative about spices, food and connecting with people as a traveler, and photoessays from the road. Throughout, I’ve tried to keep a sense of humour about the more ridiculous of stories; it’s always helpful to not take yourself so seriously.

In the coming months, I hope to bridge those two versions of my online self with a Legal Nomads newsletter. The newsletter will cobble together the best of the links from Twitter and Google+ and also round up the stories I’ve written, each with editorial. I’m looking forward to getting it off the ground because it’ll mean circling the two aspects of what I love to do online, both involving sharing.

3. I heard you had an Olympus EP-3 camera, and use it with a Panasonic 20mm 1.7 lens. I’ve got the same lens myself, coupled with a Panasonic GF1. How have you enjoyed the micro four thirds format so far, and what’s your favorite photo taken with this camera?

I really do love the new camera. People would write and ask what lens I was using from the Myanmar or Thailand photos, which is fun because (as you know) I was just using a point and shoot. The answer would be met with incredulity, as though you have to have a terrific camera to get a good capture. However, I have noticed a difference with the new E-P3 – photos are more crisp, the colour seeps through so much more beautifully and with the 20mm lens I’m able to get close and personal with what I’m eating.

Despite the camera’s lens being used primarily for macro shots, my favourite photo thus far has been from Istanbul, inside Ayasofia. The moody, gloomy lighting and complicated caligraphy combined with shooting through a pinhole has made this my pick. So many to choose from though; I’m like a kid in a candy store when I pour over the photos from the new lens.

Sulemaniye Mosque, Istanbul, shot through a pinhole

Sulemaniye Mosque, Istanbul, shot through a pinhole

Quiet waters  off Inle Lake, Myanmar (Burma)

Quiet waters off Inle Lake, Myanmar (Burma)

4. You wrote an entertaining post entitled “It’s Not a Proper Bus Ride Without A Chicken or Two” about public transportation in Laos. I guess it’s safe to say that traveling by bus gets you up close and personal to locals. Can you share a memorable bus story with us?

It’s true! I think that story was a wonderful one, highlighting the differences between our culture and those from elsewhere. The kids on the bus were all vomiting because of the ride, the entire group of us were laughing each time (as were the kids between retches) and what could have been a total disaster was actually a very funny and heartwarming trip.

One of my favourite bus moments was also one of the more absurd, when I was in the middle of a 30-hour gauntlet from Flores back to Lombok, careening atop a minivan with a goat in my lap. The ticket collector climbed up to the roof to ask me for a ticket, and I couldn’t help but laugh – with one hand holding the roof rail and the other holding the baby goat in my lap, there was no way he was going to get a ticket from me until we stopped.

5. How do you usually plan for a bus ride if you don’t find bus schedules online?

I ask at the hostel or place I’m staying, look at some of the forum responses online but what inevitably happens is that I arrive in a place and get to the bus station the day or two ahead of my planned departure, to get the bus ticket sorted and find out the schedules for the region overall.

Unusual road hazards while traveling

Unusual road hazards while traveling

Goat crossing

Goat crossing in Morocco

6. At Busbud, our mission is to make bus travel information easy to find so that travelers can make better travel decisions. Do you think this is a worthwhile goal, and one that would benefit the travel community?

I do! While there are many forums and great resources online, a bus-specific site is a great node for connecting people to necessary information, and I think buses are certainly a very common way to travel. The downside is the changeability of schedules and the fact that some buses just leave whenever they’re full, as opposed to when they are supposed to leave. But those are small hiccups in what could be a great, comprehensive database of useful information for the travel community.

7. You’re a fellow McGill alumni, like three of us at Busbud! What advice would you give students who are about to graduate and are choosing between travel and starting their career right away?

I highly encourage travel, of course, but I do think it’s great to leave the longer-term trips for later on, after a few years of work. For starters, it gives you some savings to have on hand before you go, but also some useful skills and dealing with management hierarchies before you’re on the road. It’s a controversial response because so many people do encourage going to travel at any point, but personally I was glad to have set up a worst case scenario to revert back to – if I stopped travelling, I could go and do legal work again. The contacts you make as you start out from school are great ones to have as you travel, and people who can help you get reacquainted upon a return.

A doorway in the old media of Essaouira

A doorway in the old media of Essaouira

8. Finally, you’re a great example of a person who has fully embraced travel and all that it has to offer. You’ve detailed many of the benefits on your blog, including how travel helps keep your life in perspective. Can you summarize what you think are the best benefits of travel?

I think travel is an education in and of itself. Combined with whatever you bring to the table as a citizen of the world, travel makes you more attuned to your surroundings, more adaptable when things go awry and more interesting as a human being. As you’ve said, it also helps you keep your life in perspective, helping you recalibrate to what life sends your way. It’s also a great way to make lifelong friends, all around the world.

Inle Lake: Nyangshwe & Pa-O Villages

Jodi and her friend Honza at a market in Myanmar

Hogmanay in Scotland

Hogmanay in Scotland

Thanks Jodi! You can get in touch with her on FacebookTwitter and Google+. And of course, visit her blog Legal Nomads to follow her adventures.

Photos by Jodi Ettenberg at Legal Nomads

Bus Around The World: London, UK

20 Feb

Bus Crossing The London Bridge

Photo taken by JD Andrews in London, UK- Check out more of JD’s amazing travel photos on EarthXplorer!

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

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 49 other followers