Category Archives: Travel


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Let me start by saying that Year 2013 was the “Year of cool Grandpa” because I know 40 years down the road my grandkids would be gathering around my rocking chair, begging for another story from this year. “Oh.. when I was volunteering in Nueva La Merced, Guatemala…”

When writing this post, I went through all my posts. It was amazing that the blog has a total of 85 post already and I love all of them! *some self love going on here*  It was an Awesome year, despite getting robbed of everything precious I owned, not showering for an entire week, and having hot llama blood smeared on my face, I love every single moment of it. If I were to die of some weird disease that consist of me staring at the computer screen for too long, just know that I am happy and you should be for me too. (P.S. Don’t tell this to my mum)

Hellagood-3Mexico, my favorite country in this trip. I ended up going back again to Mexico and stayed a total of 10 weeks. When I looked back, it might be because of the road-side taco stands and Corona. Definitely also go to Puebla which is 2 hours away!

I want to thank everyone who graciously accepted me into your home with welcoming hugs. It takes huge courage to invite a stranger to your house and for that you all deserve the Nobel Brave Award. You guys are great and I have learnt so much from every single one of you. Most cool stuff in the house: Lyn, the hoarder. 
Most creative house: Lam Le.

2Favorite wedding: Sarahbeth and Tyler


Favorite Recipe: Twice Baked Potato

Hellagood-7Favorite Craft Project: Valentine Surprise Poster


I learnt to be kind to people and you will be delightedly surprise: Random acts of kindness

Hellagood-4bFinally, guess what was the favorite post from you guys – me being a bum! (153 likes!)

DCIM102GOPROSingapore, here I come!



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It all starts with a hangover and the next thing you know, it’s Bangkok. It’s messy, tricky, delicious, hot, Ping-pong and wet. It is third time coming back to Bangkok and the city has once again “wow” me. It all started from getting lost in the streets of Bangkok and I met Tonk, a humble cafe owner who drew me a map to a different Bangkok.

1) Casa Lapin

The man behind this small establishment stuck away in the high-life street of Thonglor is Tonk. Yes, he is the one who drew me THE map. Casa Lapin now, has grew to 3 cafes, one bigger than another but Tonk still humbly manages the first by himself. I am terribly humbled to have met him. Do drop by to taste his coffee and say hi to him on my behalf 😉

2) Ink and Lion

Manage by a couple who studied in San Francisco. It has always been the dream to one day, run a cafe. The dream became Ink and Lion Cafe. This spacious cafe has a mixed of Japanese and Danish design bring a smoothing atmosphere for one to spend an entire day day dreaming or catching up with close ones. I personally recommend to try their coconut cake and Cheese cake who is baked by their friend from Size S Bakery – Heavenly.


3) If I were an Carpenter

The coolest wood artisan shop in town – I mean, a skateboard craft out from reclaimed wood. Sadly, it is not for sale, owner, Nott says that “it is not done yet, needs a few more prototypes”. In the near future, you might be lucky to land your hands on a hand crafted limited edition wooden skateboard.

If I were an Carpenter, focuses on crafting wooden furnitures that respects the integrity of the wood. It uses thai reclaimed wood that are sourced locally making one of a kind furnitures.


4) Saprang Craft Jewelry

Located next to the If I were a Carpenter, Saprang is a craft jewelry store that specialize in Bronze. The moment I stepped into the store, I was dazzled by the level of hand craft that is put into each piece. The overall design has a European feel, big designs but also an attention to detail. Come over to support local artist and craftsmen.

Hellagood-5On the side note, in the same vicinity, Mink’s offers unique gift ideas and Furniture. If you are hungry, the Tom-Yum fried rice at Blue Door cafe is super delicious!


5) One Ounce for Onion

A home of artists, a roast, a cafe and a store, this is One Ounce for Onion. Thank to Tonk’s map, I arrived at this house tucked away from the eyes of a tourist. Co-owned by 4 interesting individuals, each of them have a story to tell. Only 4 months into their opening, this cafe is visited by local residents, friends and a bunch of fascinating people.


6) Machine Age Workshop

This place sells antique furnitures and goods imported directly from the United State of America. If you are looking for a piece of America to be in your home, this is the place to go.


7) Roots

For the love of coffee, Roots was created – a coffee-bean roaster where people can understand and appreciate more about the coffee. On weekday, they conduct barista training courses and coffee appreciations class. Hence, only opened to public on the weekend. The small joint is filled with coffee lovers where barista is constantly engaging with it’s consumers to give them a deeper understanding of their coffee. A definite stop for all coffee lovers.

If you are fall in love with the furniture in Roots, guess who is the one behind it – Nott from If I were a Carpenter.

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8) Shades of Retro

If you like Danish design and Retro, this is where 2 worlds converge. I want to own everything in that shop!

Note to come only after 6pm. If not, you can only admire the beauty from outside the shop.


9) Gorham Love Stone Collection

This is by far one of the largest crystal and gemstone collection I have seen. A collector of stones will be dazzled by all the stones you can feel. There is also a crystal room where you could mediate or talk to them. Be sure to ask for the crystal bible from the shop assistant and learn about their energetic properties.


10) Bang Pho Wood Street

I love this place. Not known to many, Bang Pho is the place where most of the local small business owners and interior design make or buy their furniture. If you want to dabble your hands into some wood work, tools can material can all be brought at this street.

It’s a little tricky to get but I hope this link will help!


11) Second-hand Train Market

The market gains it’s name being at the train tracks and quickly grew in popularity and size. It has now moved to a bigger and more permanent location next to Seacom Square. Other than the usual Bangkok market common good, the Market have a huge array of vintage goods and furniture ranging from old Asian mugs to industrial lightings. A must-do

The indoor stores opens daily except monday and there is a outdoor night market on Friday to Sunday. I suggest to go one of these days but, be there early in the afternoon to start at the shops and move to the night market after.


12) Danish Furniture

Being one of the pioneer in the 2nd-hand Danish furniture business in Thailand, this shop is load up with uber cool furnitures. I was educated that all of the danish furniture in their shop are mostly imported and they also have a bigger factory that fabricates new ones.

Soi Ekkamai 21, Khwaeng Khlong Tan Nuea, Khet Watthana, Bangkok


These are some spots that I’ve yet to check out but it sure looks hella cool.

– Opposite Mess Hall (bar + restaurant with fusion cuisine)

Papaya Studio (3 story vintage furniture warehouse)

Hellagood-19 I will be back, Bangkok.


14 months of being a bum (a.k.a backpacker)

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14 months I am on the road, all alone by myself. I laughed, cried and learned. I grew, understood, accepted and thanked. And now it’s time to move on, towards an old place. The end of this experience is the beginning of another: HOME. *Mixed feelings

For the past 14 months I had slept in more than 100 beds…couches, mattresses, floors,buses, boats, planes. Eaten at more than 500 tables. Have travelled by means of plane, bus, jeep, car, bicycle, horse, tuk-tuk, minivan, boat, ferry, train, metro, own two feet, big bus, small bus, fancy bus, 100-years-old bus, motorcycle, lifts.

Out of the 14 months, I am guest for 10.

I spent three months as an intern for a wedding planner at San Francisco, volunteer in Guatemala for 1 month and then spent another month exploring the ancient towns in China.

I stopped being a tourist fairly early, and instead became a traveler (the main distinction, as I see it, is that the first know where they are going but not where they are, while the latter do not know where they are going but know exactly where they are). This is who I am now and will be always. For now though, a big chapter is about to end, and another one about to begin. There is uncertainty all around, but one thing I know for sure: I am so grateful for the experience and support I have been offered for the past 14 months, and for all the incredible people I have in my lives, regardless of distance and place. Thank you!!


So… am I afraid of going home?

The word is “scared shitless”!

My initial travel plans was 6 months of South America, because experiencing the latin culture was something I had to “get out of my system” before “settling down”. I left home on the 18th Oct 2012. Now, fourteen months later, I am aware that traveling, exploring and learning are some things that will never “get out of my system”. That it is not a hobby, not a dream, not something on my bucket list. It is instead who I am. It is a part of me, just as I am part of the same world I am dying to explore. Getting to know it helps me know myself more, and getting to understand myself more helps me understand the world more. A mutual relationship that I found really works (for me).

Do I know what’s waiting for me once I get home? Not a clue. Well, that’s not entirely true, some things I can already see in my mind: waves of extended family members, smiling ear to ear “you’re finally home, we’ve been waiting for you since…” (the truth is probably since the day after I left). Lots of friends, old and not so old, some I will easily reconnect with, some I will never quite be on the same “wave length” with again. People with lots of opinions about my experience, about what I should be doing next, about my life. MY life, that is.

Probably that’s what will happen. Definitely. Maybe.

Scared shitless I said… so what am I afraid of?

  • That I won’t be able to reconnect with my old friends. That we’ve all grown a lot in the past years, and we’ve grown at different speeds and in different directions.
  • That I won’t be able to easily find new friends who share my view of the world and life, people who live their lives with same principles and outlook as I.
  • That my family members (grandmothers and aunts being the champions at this) will continue not to understand why I can’t just be a “normal child” and live my life the way I “should” live it: settling down in my own house, getting a “stable” job (little do they know that “stable job” is pretty much an oxymoron these days), finding a wife, that they’d approve of, then having a couple of kids because “I want to see my grandchildren before I go”.
  • That people will judge me, look down on me or up to me, not understand where I’m coming from, where I’ve been and where I’m headed
  • That the ladies at my favorite cafes will not even remember me, let alone recognize me.
  • That it will not be easy to find the support I need for what I wish to accomplish next
  • That people will think I’m a freak and will throw rotten eggs at my window.
  • That, as my mom says, “all the good girls are slowly taken”.
  • That I will function on Latin American time. “Oh, the show starts at 7? Ok, shall be there by 9”
  • That I’ll start bargaining with taxi drivers
  • That I will look for lunch by the road side… and upon not finding it, shout at the top of my lungs in desperation “Where are all the tacos stands????”


 So… is that going to keep me from going home?

Not a chance! I’ve never known it more strongly in my bones. This is it, and the time is now:).

What am I most excited about?

  • A room/kitchen/bathroom/place to call my own
  • Gardening in my own backyard!!
  • My alcohol collection
  • Having a closet!! A c…l…o…s…e…t…
  • Mum’s foooooood
  • High-speed internet.. OooooO
  • My grandma’s dumping with red bean paste
  • Red packets on Chinese New Year.. Money money money..
  • Swimming on a hot day..
  • A shower that is sure to supply me with hot water until the end
  • Getting shouedt at by Grandma that my room is dirty
  • Singapore fooooddddd.. Laska, Chili crabs, dim sum..
  • Endless laughing nights with those close at heart

Conclusions after these 10 months?

Only one – life really is how you make it.

So be it! Viva la vida!

Gracias a todos, love you always!!


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My wanderlust life for the last year have gave me many experience, in which includes unsuccessful hitchhiking trips where I got shot at. In China, I tried my first long distance hitchhiking adventure and ended up taking a total of 7 rides and spend 7.5h for a 4 hours bus journey. It is probably not the smartest hitchhiking trip but you learn from mistakes right?

Truth to the told, hitchhiking is not for everybody but if you are looking for a lifestyle of travel that are not restrained by money or bus routes. This is it. The beauty of hitchhiking is the ability of trusting the unknown and knowing that it going to be alright. That being said, don’t risk your life (like me) to save a few bucks.

1) Planning for your hike

I categorized hitchhiking trips into 2 groups based on their purposes.
– Adventure hikes (travel from one city/town into another)
– Day hikes (travel out and back into town within a day)

A comfortable hiking distance is about 6-7 hours of bus ride within a day. I don’t use distance here because the same 30km of road in Laos might take you twice or thrice the amount of time in America. Some recon would be helpful on the internet or by asking the locals. You could do a lot more than the 7 hours a day but you also might run the risk of getting stuck in no-man’s land. I suggest getting drop off in a decent town and try hitchhiking again from there. If you ran out of luck, at least you could find accommodation in that town.

The best time to hitchhike can be anytime from sunrise to sunset as there is less bad people around. Bad people travels at night right? During the day, it is easier for driver to spot you and stop in time to pick you up, also you look less like a “robber”. To note; in Spain there is Siesta “Nap” time in the afternoon which can greatly reduce traffic on the road.

2) Boys vs Girls

Yes boys; girls does has a higher betting average when it comes to hitchhiking. I am sorry. But to be honest, you only need one ride to get to your destination and also girls runs the risk of being harassed. If you a couple hitchhiking, you might want to let the girl do the stopping. On a funny note, if you are “white” guy with a “Chinese” girl, you might have a better than the girl. No offense*

3) Finding your ride

I learned this the hard way after my hitchhiking in China. I took any ride came along not knowing their destinations because I did not have a map. Next thing I know, I got drop me off in the next 10mins. Nevertheless, very grateful for their kindness and enjoy beautiful scenery in the stops. I have later learned that you are missing out good opportunities when you are on the ride instead of waiting for a better one.

Learning to spot a foreign car plate is one of the valuable skills as they have a better chance for a long distance ride. From my personal experience, 4WD, pick-ups, transportation lorries and mini bus are my favorite vehicles.

4) Preparing your equipment

A detailed map with the local language is the most important to bring on your trips. The driver will be able to pin-point his destination on your map even if you doesn’t understand what he is saying. Raincoat, drinking water, dry food and fruits are also your best friend.

If you are planning on a faster and adventurous hike, bring your camping equipments. It gives you the flexibility on the drop-off locations. You could camp close to the road for a early start the next day.

5) Places to hitchhike

The rule of thumb for a good location is where the vehicle is traveling on low speed or a place where they are able to spot you and stop in time. These could be a the exit of a gas station or highway, humps on street, traffic lights or a straight highway.

6) Dressing for your ride

Think from the driver’s point of view, they are also afraid of picking someone that will rob them just as much as you. I suggest to dress like a proper traveller, nothing to fancy nor shady. For props, I received suggestion of decorated signs, a bunch of wild flower that you could pick up from the side of the road or any musical instrument. The basic idea is to be interesting and catch their attention.

7) Safety precaution

I have spoke to some hitchhikers and gather some advices and little tricks to test and politely decline their offer.
– Always ask for his destination first and you could easily turn them down by saying that you are heading to another location.
– I ask them for permission to take photo of their car plate number and send it to your friends. (Sometimes, I don’t really do it but it is just to observe their reactions)
– You could also ask for a photo of their driver’s license
– For female hitchhikers, a pepper spray serves to be an effective weaponry to get away from rough situations.
– I carry a GPS devices so to know where I am at moment in time.

At the end of the day, trust your gut feeling. If it do not feel safe, you can always turn down the ride politely.

8) Worst case scenario

I have met more than 10 hitchhikers and 3 independent female hitchhikers. Some of the better stories are drivers taking them as their lost daughter and end up hugging and crying towards them. Another stories was a Korean girl hitchhiking through Europe and driver asking if they could kiss her. She smiled and shake her head. All in all, nothing extremely bad happened to anyone of these people. For your worst case scenario, the pepper spray would be your best bet to get out of bad situations.

Go for that adventure and stay safe 😀




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1) Lived a new life for 1 year – I can whoever I want to be.
2) Took a 72 hours bus ride from North Peru to Cusco. No, I did not showered. I also managed not to kill myself either.
3) Pee in a water bottle while on a bus. No, I am not proud of it.
4) Got shot while trying to hitchhike on a dirt road in Guatemala.
5) Explore the scared ground of Machu Picchu with a llama.
6) Travelled 6 days without a shower in Peru. I had no choice.
7) Slept in a living room together with 8 other people for 3 days – Quito, Ecuador
8) Volunteered in the rural village in Guatemala.
9) Owned my first car. As old as me.
10) Drove down the California Highway 1 while playing Californication, Red Hot Chili Pepper.
11)  Found an rifle at a house party – USA
12) Car tires exploded in the middle of the freeway.
13) Worked with my favorite wedding stylist, Joy Thigpen.
14) Learned Mexican spanish. Si senor, hablo espanol.
15) Got stung by scorpion while riding on the back of the pick-up. Result: I couldn’t move my arm for a day.
16) Talked to cows in Sacred Valley of Peru.
17) Invited by potatoes farmer for a meal of freshly picked potatoes.
18) Camera (DSLR) got stolen from my bag on a bus while I was standing up. No, I still don’t know how it happened.
19) Got robbed 2 more times – Peru and Mexico
20) Slept in a salt hotel. Meaning a hotel made of salt. For real.
21) Ate a dish of pasta and potatoes, with rice on a side – Peru
22) Picked cocoa fruit, potato, avocado, apples, pumpkin,peach, lemon, orange and macadamia nut straight from respective trees.
23) Ate too much tacos – Mexico
24) Petted my first baby llama and baby sloth. The sloth winked at me. I swear it did.
25) Mountain biked down the most dangerous road on earth. The yearly average is 209 accidents and 96 people killed. Death Road in Bolivia.
26) Witness a live sacrificial ceremony, killing of a living llama and had blood rubbed on my face.
27) Had Inka Cola and Chicha (Peruvian corn “beer”)
28) Entered the highest silver mine in South America.
29) Marveled at the graciousness of pink flamingos in Chile and Bolivia.
30) Had a bath in a hot pool in the largest geyser field in South America. 8am, -7 degrees.
31) Enjoyed the best beach in the world with 2 Australians and a husky
32) Paid USD$1 for an hour bus ride in Ecuador
33) Attended our first ever woman wresting fight in Bolivia. And yes, the hair pulling, bottle smashing king.
34) Beatbox on the bus in Ecuador and made US$4 in 5 minutes
35) Had a picnic on an island full of cacti, in the middle of a salt desert.
36) Attended a total of 9 weddings in USA and Mexico. And no, I didn’t got drunk in any of them, I was working.
37) Celebrated my birthday at an Asian restaurant with my new found Mexican friends and a big pineapple fried rice. I miss my Asian food.
38) Managed an impressive 64 mosquito bites from a night in Mexico. They even bit through a thick blanket and pants.
39) Hike the scared ruin with the accompany of a rainbow, can of tuna and a 50 years old Singaporean lady.
40) Tried Cuy (roasted guinea pig) after getting robbed in Peru
41) Went to a Mexican circus with Churros on one hand and a corona on the other.
42) Ate fried grasshopper with lime and chili powder – Mexico.
43) Dug a hole to bury a dog – USA
44) Petted a dog, cat, cow, pig, donkey, horse, llama… and a sloth 🙂
45) Saw the largest (width) tree in the world. Tule Tree, Mexico.
46) Made illegal student pass using photoshop
47) Fell in love with Mexican Carnitas Tacos, Pulque and Cocktail de Camaron
48) Ate the same tacos for 10 consecutive breakfasts.
49) Wore the most non matching outfits and colors and did not care about it for one second
50) Made a beatbox rap song about me!
51) Caught 8 Dungeness crabs in the port of San Francisco in one night.
52) Made Chinese Cerviche and ate it with Mexican Toastadas. 
53) Slice Tried slicing fish with a steak knife. I end up tearing them.
54) Cooked Singapore Chicken more times in one year than in our entire life up to that point
55) Danced my socks away with some hundreds people at the New Orleans street party.
56) Beatbox in a bar and became famous in the streets of New Orleans. 
57) Planted a Rosemary and gave it as present
58) Ate my first Peanut-Butter burger. Seriously, it’s delicious.
59) Brought coffee for a random stranger in Starbucks
60) Had my hair cut by random people for an entire year
61) Spent 5 days in the world’s highest capital – LaPaz, 3650m
62) Went to the highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titikaka
63) Experience the China’s pollution first hand
64) Poo in a toilet with no doors
65) Saw numerous shooting stars – Dali, China
66) Went to Frida Kahlo’s House in Mexico City
67) Lived in my favorite city in the world – Mexico City
68) Salsa my Mexican night away with the company of tequila and Corona.
69) Visited graveyeads in Mexico, China, Colombia, Guatmala and US.
70) Saw the impossible; 1L of cocktail for 65 pesos, A tacos for 7 pesos in Mexico
71) Got myself a driving ticket in USA. Yes, I was shitting in my pants.
72) Entered 2013 on the rooftop of San Francisco, over-looking to the city with fireworks with DJ, free-flow bar and a bunch of unknown friends.
73) Spent halloween in a home garage turned brewery with 14 different types of beers on tap.
74) Stayed in a hostel with out a toilet. No, it’s not cheap at all. 
75) Witness a homeless guy masterbating to a FHM magazine in the streets of San Francisco.
Hellagood-16 Hellagood-22 Hellagood-10
76) Fell in love, multiple times
78) Tried Macadamia pancakes under the shade of it’s tree – Guatemala
79) Observe the great Yak grazing on the highlands of Shangri-La
80) Repaired my shoes for 3 times over 11 months.
81) Savored wine in respective winery while posing as a gay couple who owned a private resort in an Malaysian island – California
82) Meditated in a Tibetan monastery along with the aroma of butter candles.
83) Refused to pay for a donkey ride and almost kill myself from a 4 day hike across the mountain into a hidden ethnic village – Shangri-La.
84) Made friend with the horse in the Tibetan grassland. Well, at least until it kept selling my crouch.
85) Visited the famous Jose Cuervo Tequila Factory in Tequila, Mexico
86) Found my favorite hot-dog stand in Mexico. It’s the perfect mix of cream, tomatoes, Jalapeños and warm bread.
87) Haven’t combed my hair for… let’s say, a very long time
88) Met incredible teachers every step of the way.
89) Live out of a same 60L bag pack for a entire year and packed it almost 200 times.
90) Slept in almost 100 different beds… couches, floors, tents, buses, planes, ferries.
91) Pack my life in the same bag pack for one year
92) Had the greatest conversations… with myself
93)  Showered in almost 100 showers (many cold ones, mostly at winter time), and I had a bathtub once. Once!
94) Managed to wear the same 6 T-shirts for 1 year
95) And realized you don’t really need more than 6 T-shirts, 1 jacket, 2 pants, 4 socks and one pair of old shoes to wander the world and be happier than ever
96) Visited 8 Countries and over 50 cities
97) Out of the 1 year on the road, I spent  10 months as guests
98) Had the time of my life…
99) Smiled, laughed, cried, ate, prayed, loved, learned, danced, jumped, marveled, glowed, wrote,  enjoyed, understood, accepted, thanked. Lived.
100) Made life long friends