Dec 28

Best-of-2008 for nomad4ever - travel on!Only a few more days and this year is history again. Gosh – time was really flying the last 12 months!

I certainly lost a bit of track of what had happened over this period. In January we were still enjoying the easy-going life in Bali, then spending a few weeks in October in Singapore, before moving to Goa in India thereafter.

So continuing with the short tradition of a yearly wrap-up, 1st-time done here for 2007, here is the list for last year. These are the posts which attracted the most readers and sparked plenty of comments from you guys:

This time, there are a few months with plenty of highlight posts, while in some there aren’t any. To not making the whole exercise too boring, I simply sorted it into quarters, like done in the corporate world, or the Rat Race we all despise. ;-)

If you don’t have the time or desire to read through the whole list down below, here are the Top 3 performing articles created in 2008 on this site:

The quarterly results for 2008 come out as follows.

1st Quarter 2008:

While the January started off a bit slowly – seeing us visiting the Puncak Highlands near Jakarta and a surprisingly pleasant trip with Lion Air – it was February with plenty of well-read and commented posts.

Most people wish to retire early, but then somehow nothing happens. Decisions are postponed over and over again and before you can remember when those wrinkles appeared when checking the mirror one morning, you are suddenly in your late 50’s or 60’s, still working your *ss off and paying back those debt and loans accumulated over the last 40 years. So if that’s your goal in life (are you kidding?), here are your 9 Surefire Strategies NOT to Retire Early in Life. Just follow through with some or most of them and you are set to never see the light again.

Though the post was a bit provocative, it sparked some 20+ comments

Why not go on a RTW (Round the World) trip instead? Here is what you need to know. Make that check list, plan ahead and you are ready to go! You can have access to the internet and stay in touch with friends and family via computers in intenet cafes worldwide. But wait! There are dangers lurking in the dark, when visiting these venues. Shady subjects are trying to steal your data, identity and access details. So here are 8 Tips to Fool Keyloggers in a Public Internet Cafe with close to 30 more tips and comments by readers.

If you pass by in South East Asia, there are more and more tendencies, to move liberal countries to a more extreme stance of Islam. With the Ruling Party in Malaysia getting smacked in Elections – luckily, citizens see through those cheap politics. Hopefully another example – Indonesia, with the recent Anti-Pornography Bill passed in parliament – will have a similar awakening during elections next year.

Still, Indonesia is very popular with tourists and long-term travelers alike. To calculate your expenses better, you can check out this Cost-of-Living Chart for Bali in Rupiah, Euro and US Dollar. It received a couple of dozen links, well over 100 comments and started a new series for nomad4ever, with similar spreadsheets for Philippines and Goa in India to follow later in the year.

2nd Quarter 2008

Some gems in Bali’s surrounding are truly hidden in the jungle and hardly somebody will find out. So if you want to visit a small Hidden Waterfall and gorgeous Hot Springs with private cabins in Bali, follow this way. Another destination near Bali is the magnificent island of Lombok, which offers natural beauties of many kinds. Take a bit more time to take it all in, but if you are really crazy, you can Visit Lombok in just 4 days and see most of its sights.

A complete different topic, with plenty of controversy as well, is Karaoke. In this article we explored its roots in Asia and tried to figure out, if Karaoke is a dirty thing or simply Asia’s favorite past time. In Bali you have very nicely equipped private ‘Karaoke temples’, with computerized playlists, flat screens and original videos. In the Philippines the Videoke coin machines still rule, while in Goa it’s more a kind of ‘open mic’, sharing a microphone in a public bar or restaurant with other patrons, while choosing your song from a paper list.

The Cost of Living Chart for th Philippines was done in cooperation with Gerry from Manila and was well-received. On the environmental side we discussed Indonesia’s decision to build 4 Nuclear Power plants on the Pacific Ring of Fire instead of using Volcano or Geothermal Plants and setting trends in Green Energy Actions.

3rd Quarter 2008

This quarter started off with a big bang. A provocative article by guest writer Steve James sparked the biggest traffic spike in the history of this site, mainly coming from Stumbleupon with close to 30.000 pageviews within a few weeks alone. Read here and join the discussion about What NOT To Bring Backpacking: 10 Things To Leave At Home.

The article Hey Fatty! Get in shape with these 5 Asian Diet tips was obviously a bit provoking as well, while the Top 10 popular Foods of Asia explained was another food-related and well-received article. I really should write more about exotic foods, as most of you readers are interested to hear about it and have plenty of favorites to share as well.

Besides food, movies are popular with everyone, the related post 5 Travel Movies that will give you Goose Bumps produced plenty of reader suggestions for other travel movies. I’m planning for a second part of this one, as there are many more travel movies out there. Travelers are obviously a special kind of species, just sometimes it’s a bit hard to get your hands on that DVD to check them out. ;-)

4th Quarter 2008

The last quarter in 2008 saw us moving from Bali to Goa. 2 years on that lovely island went past in next to nothing. You can really live the good life on the Island of the Gods, with few worries. If you are planning to move or live in Bali as well for a longer period, you might want to check out this wrap up of Living the Good Life in Bali – The Best, the Good, the Ugly.

Arriving in Goa, having a chance to comparing Paramount and Tiger Airways with surprising results, here are my 11 First Impression of a first-timer in India. With 30 comments and counting, plenty of readers could relate to the little problems and excitement and added their own stories. India is a complete different world than Bali and while both share certainly the Hindu religion – even those are 2 different pair of shoes.

Shortly after moving the Cost of Living Data for Goa in Rupees, Euro and Dollar was added, to get a better impression of how much things cost here. Actually our expenses so far are similar to Bali, it might pay off to maybe move away from the touristy areas in India to benefit from the way lower Purchasing Power Parity of this subcontinent. Also, as the value of other Asian currencies like the Indonesian Rupiah, Thai Baht or Philippine Peso decreased somewhat during the last couple of weeks after the unfolding Financial Crisis; the Indian Rupee remained surprisingly strong. Unfortunately for the Traveler in India!

Food shall conclude this annual list, with the 7 Incredible Indian dishes for your instant OM! moment. Get a high when indulging on this delicious cuisine, but carefully watch your waist line! Indian food is rich in carbohydrates and calories, which will benefit the average hard-working Indian citizen for sure. For lazy Retirees and Expats it’s a complete different story and might result in a slight weight problem. ;-)

I hope you guys liked what you were reading in 2008 on, if you didn’t – please let me know what I can do to improve this site. I’m always open for suggestions, remarks, comments, criticism or simple ramblings. I surely won’t write close to 600 articles a year like other blogs, but then we cover a different topic here, more like a small niche than a broad technical topic. And we all have a life to live, right?

I will again try to push for quality rather than quantity in 2009, so you can expect at least a post per week on this site about traveling, nomadic life, retiring early, the simple life, money tips, Cost-of-Living Charts and great destinations to visit. I will throw in current politics or religious topics, which affect us travelers in Asia and elsewhere when they pop up and of course will comment on your suggestions and recommendations.

Happy New Year 2009 for all of us, wherever we may roam! ;-)

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written by Chris

9 Responses to “The Best of Nomad4ever in 2008”

  1. Mike OwenNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Hello again, I really enjoyed reading your email/post. As always, a load of common sense. BUT upset me, for my own good. As Ive told you, I know North Goa fairly well, I havent been for the last three years, but am just about to book a flight and 2 weeks on the Baga river. Ive just had a new DSLR camera for Xmas and I live with my laptop!!! And leave them both behind??? However you are right, afew years ago I dropped my mobile phone out of my pocket in a rickshaw taxi, by the time I discovered the loss and cancelled the connection over £450 had been clocked up on my bill||| Must have been an exciting sex premium call to say the least. Mike

  2. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Mike Owen, I’m happy that I could upset you in a positive way. ;-)

    Yes, it’s a paranoid feeling to travel with laptop and other valuable gadgets. Never had a SLR though so far. Maybe you want to look into a Kensington lock for your laptop, to attach it in your room to something fixed. Gives a bit more peace of mind, although not 100% safe, when brute force is used. This would damage the laptop then of course as well, so it helps for avoiding a quick sneak.

    I was robbed once in Vietnam’s Phu Quoc island in the South, while I slept in my hotel room; camera, mobile phone and cash was all gone. At least I had a PIN to use the phone, so damage was only the material loss. So my lesson was to only buy small pocket cameras, backup my laptop data often to online services and use PIN/passwords on both, mobile phone and laptop. :-B

  3. JurgenNo Gravatar GERMANY Says:

    Being robbed while you slept in your Hotel room? How did that happen, did you forget to close the door or did they break in some other ways. Let’s hear more about that.
    Which online services do you currently use to back up your data? And which program do you use to do it? As I don’t like to store my sensible data on public servers accessible to everybody within that company I’ve been looking for a program that encrypts the data before FTPing it to the server. Unfortunately all of the backup or ZIP programs I tried out want to create just one big file on the destination drive. This might be ok if you’re on a fast LAN connection but not at all if you have to add just a file or two to your existing backup set using GPRS or 3G on the move. Much better would be a single file encrypted ZIP creation on the destination. In this way it would be easy to access that single file too without having to download the whole chunk.
    Does anybody have some advice?

  4. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Ah Jurgen, that was New Year some 2 or 3 years back. Somehow we always have bad luck during New Year, haha! No, the hotel (more a beach bungalow) door was locked from the inside, but somehow the hotel was involved, because it was opened without damage and our bags taken out sometime in the early morning hours. Luckily we slept through the episode, who knows, what else could have happened. So, after the hotel learned that all our money and valuables were gone, they simply wanted to kick us out the same day to rent out the room again. It was ridiculous! We wasted another 2 days with the Police on that island, who didn’t want to check the hotel, laughed the whole thing off, who accused us of insurance fraud (even though we didn’t have any) and asked to write our own police report in Vietnamese. Anyway, quite an experience. Luckily the credit cards where in the Jeans and the passports in the hotel safe – so an easy way out.

    Regarding the other topic, I wrote an article about that awhile ago. You might want to check it out here. In short: pictures I usually upload via Fireuploader to Flickr during the night. All other documents to Google Docs or MyDropbox. Strong passwords for OS and Apps are a necessity of course. To encrypt your files locally you could try to use Truecrypt, I use that for my external hard drive and the internal hd’s data partition and it works very nice, fast, secure, multi-platform and is open source. Ahhh, I think you maybe mean something else….for online encryption….hm, sorry – no idea then! :-/

  5. Steve JamesNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    Happy New Year Chris! It’s good to hear my article brought Nomad4Ever some well deserved exposure to other people interested in travel. All the best for you and your blog over the next year. Steve

  6. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Thanks mate! Wish the same to you. All the best with your travels and other ventures! :D

  7. Richard ReitmanNo Gravatar THAILAND Says:

    i travel with my laptop and Nikon SLR, 2 phones and an external hard drive.

    I never worry as its only shit that can be replaced but makes my travel mine


  8. Channel1No Gravatar INDONESIA Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Now I know where you are, so you lost your faith with Bali I suppose :-)

    I wish you all the best with your journey my friend…

    drop me a line sometimes ok?


  9. ChrisNo Gravatar INDIA Says:

    Channel1, not forever though. Will definitely return to Bali one sunny day, other shores are interesting only for a while. A better Visa solution would surely help. I will probably contact you how to get a longer-term visa (aka KITAS) done. :-B

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