We feature many bloggers who’ve quit their 9 – 5 to travel the world. Besudesu Abroad is for those of us who can’t or won’t shun our careers, but who won’t compromise our dreams of traveling either. Originally from Chicago, Beth got her first true taste of travel when she studied abroad in Japan during her final year of university. She fell in love with Asia, so she found herself moving right back upon graduating to teach English full-time in Hong Kong. She’s out to prove that adventurous and practical are not at odds.
Sushi or pork roast? Sushi of course!
Coffee or Red Bull? Can’t say I like either honestly… I much prefer tea.
Wine or beer? Wine
Suitcase or backpack? Backpack
Night train or night bus? Never again for a night bus– Night trains all the way.
Sleeping bag or bedding? Whichever is warmest!
Window or aisle? Window
Diarrhea or constipation? After contracting Norovirus in Singapore earlier this year, I’d have to say constipation!
Malarone or malaria? Malarone
tw: What would you like most to communicate through your blog, and why share your perspective?
BesuDesu: “I first started a travel blog while I was studying abroad in Japan…[back at home I] quickly decided I would move back abroad with my fiancé. Once I move abroad to Hong Kong as an expat, I decided I wanted to continue blogging, but decided to take it in a new direction.
“Tired of never finding the exact information I needed on how to get to specific places or have certain experiences I read about, I wanted to write to help others travel. I try to be as specific as possible by including directions, maps or helpful links so that my travelers can easily travel to places I’ve been or see the things I’ve seen.
“My other goal is to prove you can travel and work the normal “9-5”. So many people advise others to quit your job and travel, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I hope to show people that you don’t have to choose between a career and travel.
Why is traveling so important to you and how would you (or would you) define ‘real travel?’
“I define “real travel” as exploring an area with an open mind– hopefully leaving each new place with something more than you’ve arrived with. For me, travel is about learning and experiencing– and I’m always looking for opportunities to travel to new countries and learn about cultures different from my own. The world is fascinating.
“And that’s what makes travel so important. Travel has given me so many amazing opportunities and it has made me a better person in general. I’ve learned a lot about myself as a person, and I’ve also grown to be more patient, more tolerant, and more confident.
Do you plan to travel indefinitely?
“Yes, but not in the way most travel bloggers travel. I have no desire to live the nomad lifestyle. Eventually I want to move back to the US, settle down, and have a family. I always plan to maintain the normal “9-5” job while making travel a top priority.
“Until then, I’m going to keep enjoying slow travel. Living abroad as an expat has been great because I’m working full-time, but I’m also a short plane ride away from countless countries. It’s been fun being able to have weekend getaways to Singapore or China. Living in the US, there just aren’t too many options for countries you can travel to for just a weekend—everything is too far!
Do you have a story to share about plans gone awry?
“On my first trip to Thailand, we got scammed before we even officially entered the country! Our plane forgot to hand everyone his or her embarkation cards and we just happened to pick the wrong immigration officer.
“After everyone handed the immigration officers their passports, most people were simply handed an embarkation card to fill out in return, but no, not us. Instead our agent kept repeating, “You help me, I help you”. We finally realized that was his way of telling us that we’d better give him some cash. We felt like our only option was to give in and hand him the money in our wallets, which was luckily only 50 baht, or else we’d be denied entry. Not a great first impression of “The Land of Smiles” if you ask me!
What was the strangest food you’ve ever eaten, and what was the best?
“Compared to other travelers, I haven’t eaten too many strange foods—but I guess compared to the average American I have! Ostrich, shark, chicken feet, maggots, and bird’s nest are a few of the weirder selections I guess.
“As for the best, I developed a major addiction to anything with bananas in it while in Thailand. Fried bananas, bananas with naan, banana crepes—I loved it all!
Which three items do you not leave home without?
“My camera, first-aid materials (I seem to have a lot of incidents while traveling), and something to write things down on.”
What is your favorite place in your home country or city?
“I love downtown Chicago. There are a few real great, secluded locations near the lake that are just perfect for grabbing a few drinks and relaxing with friends. No tourists, no crowds, just great company.”
Do you have favorite travel blogs that you read regularly?
My feed consists of too many travel blogs to count! But I guess the ones I find myself manually going to often include: Never Ending Footsteps, A Dangerous Business, Four Jandals, Unbrave Girl and The Everywhereist.
Mountains, beach or city? Beach
Couch-surfing or guesthouse? Guesthouse
Cockroaches or rats? I had never seen a cockroach before moving to Hong Kong and they still freak me out! I’d definitely prefer rats.
Skiing or surfing? Surfing
iPhone or Android? I’m an Apple addict, so iPhone.
Travel tool you find most useful: My camera—I’m a photographer at heart.
Postcard or emails? I love receiving postcards, but I’m pretty lazy about sending them.
How do you inform yourself about your next destination, and how do you prepare for the trip?
“I usually do more research online than necessary, which includes reading a lot of travel blogs and making my own PDF guides filled with handy information.
“I’ve found the most valuable resource for preparing a trip is through asking fellow travelers for their recommendations and advice—which is I guess why us travel bloggers are such an important commodity in today’s tourism industry.
Your latest discovery on the Internet?
“Not at all travel related, but still fun are Upworthy and You Had One Job. Another cool website I recently discovered is Goldbely, it’s a great concept but I hope they start international shipping soon!”
The best breakfast in the world is…
“I love fresh fruit! Back home I used to eat a lot of fruit salad, and once I moved to Japan my daily breakfast consisted of plain yogurt with fresh fruit and a spoonful of sugar mixed in. The fruit in the US just can’t even compare to what we have here in Asia!
“Though as much as I love fruit, I’d be lying to myself if I also didn’t include donuts here. It absolutely kills me that Hong Kong doesn’t have real donuts.
What is on your bucket list and where you will your next trip take you?
I really want to explore more of SE Asia, especially Cambodia and Angkor Wat. My current contract in Hong Kong is getting ready to expire, so I really don’t know what’s next for me yet (which is a little stressful). But I’m hoping to stick around Asia long enough to go backpacking in Cambodia/Thailand/Vietnam later this fall.
If you could recommend three places our readers must visit in their lifetimes:
Chicago, USA – call me biased, but Chicago is one of the most overlooked cities in the US, yet it’s one of the best!
Hong Kong – they don’t call it the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ for nothing! Beautiful beach, mountains and cityscapes galore, it is definitely one of my favorite places in the world.
Mount Fuji, Japan – Japan in general is a place I recommend people to visit. It’s a country unlike anywhere else in the world, yet so many people never have the chance to visit. But Mount Fuji is stunning; the feeling that Fuji evokes from travelers cannot be explained in words. It’s just something you have to experience for yourself.
Anything else you’d like to share?
“I regret traveling the world and having life changing experiences”, said no one ever. Seriously, don’t be afraid to go out into the world and travel. You won’t regret it.
“Oh, and if you ever find yourself in the same country as me, please feel free to contact me. I’d love to meet up with you or show you around!”
Blog name: Besudesu Abroad
Blogger name(s): Beth Williams