Travel Tramp’s 2017 Travel Update!

It’s a New Year! A little late I know, what with it being well into 2017 and that already, but I’m back to tell you what’s been happening and what’s planned with the Travel Tramp Blog! And I guess if you count Chinese New Year as the beginning of the year then I’m not even that late at all really… I hope you all have a prosperous Year of the Rooster!

2016 was a big year for me.

I visited 16 countries and 3 unrecognised self declared nations- the latter being Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Northern Cyprus, and you can read more about all of these unusual places on the blog! My big goal had been to finally travel overland across Central Asia to the almost mythical and rarely visited region of Tibet, but unfortunately I never made it. The Chinese refused to grant me a visa, and why I will never, ever know, so disheartened and downtrodden by the bureaucracy of communism, that was unfortunately, that.

Photos From Nagorno-Karabakh

The Strangely Beautiful Monument to the self declared nation of Nagorno-Karabakh

For now, anyway. They won’t keep me out forever…

But this made me realise that travel isn’t just about ticking off countries or completing a set journey- no, travel is about spontaneity. It’s about embracing the ups and downs and enjoying whatever is thrown at you, good or bad. That’s the real joy. So despite being angry at the Chinese government, and demoralised by not being able to complete my journey, I focused on something new, and I found myself in strange and exciting places that I’d never ever expected to.

North Korea

A new dictatorship?

I met up with hardened but now ageing communist guerrilla fighters living in exile in the jungles of Southern Thailand- these were Malaysia’s last communists, the remnants of a decades old struggle that was waged across the country- and most surprisingly of all, after a stint in the humidity of South East Asia, I then travelled to the hermit Kingdom of North Korea. It turns out that- for me anyway- it’s decisively easier to secure a visa for the rarely seen and isolated People’s Democratic Republic of Korea than it is to get into China… who would have thought?

Betong Peace Village Malayan Communists

The old Malayan communists now live in exile in the jungles of Southern Thailand…

You can read all about North Korea on the blog already, and my exploits with Malaysia’s last communists will be coming along soon too!

Not everything worked out how I imagined it would a year ago, but one journey led to another and right now it just isn’t stopping. 2017 has kicked off and to earn a few more dollars for more travelling this year I’ve headed on down to big old Australia. I’m in the vastness of the West, in the height of summer and I’m living the backpacker dream by slaving away on a strawberry farm in the burning heat, covered in flies and breaking my back. It’s something new, and I’ll be be bringing you more articles from the road trips I’ll be making here, including, hopefully, the intriguing details of a breakaway micro-nation that I’ll be visiting…

Australia South West Coast Albany

Just a small portion of the incredible coastline of South West Australia

I need to apologise for not updating the blog in January though. One downside- and certainly not the only one- of working in the great Australian outback is the severe lack of internet connection. I had to drive for two hours just to get this blog posted. Which is one reason why the articles, unfortunately, have slowed down.

I’ll be honest with you too though, after a year of solid travelling and writing, I needed a deserved break. I love travelling, I love writing and I love blogging, but all three are tough and can sap the joy out of one or the other. It’s hard work and takes time to bring content out all the time- especially decent and informative content- and it’s hard work to keep finding and exploring new places, untouched places and off the beaten track places. Not that I should complain, it’s a pretty sweet life of travel I’ve been leading, but rather than rushing things and bringing out mindless articles all the time I decided to give it a rest for the month, and in the future focus on bringing out better and bigger content.

This is not the life I'm living but it is the standard of rest I want after the strawberry farm! This was the Philippines in 2016, one of the perks of the travel blogging lifestyle...

This is not the life I’m living but it is the I want after the strawberry farm! This was the Philippines in 2016, one of the perks of the travel blogging lifestyle…

Now the wait is over- physically, I’m ruined from the arduous strawberry picking, but mentally I’m energised and ready for more blogging and for more travelling, so over the next few weeks, months and the long remainder of 2017, I’ll be bringing you even greater content from all over the world.

I’ll be heading on a road trip across Western Australia to start, and I have a few big articles from my travels in Asia over the last part of 2016 to bring you before that- Malaysian communists and North Korea amongst much, much more. Once I have a few more dollars in the bank I’ll be hitting up a few more unusual destinations across the globe too!

It won’t disappoint.

Gloucester NAtional PArk Tree

I climbed this really, bloody big tree- 7 metres- on my day off from picking strawberries… don;t look down…

And the biggest news of all, well I’ve saved that for last.

I’ve teamed up with my good friend and Youtuber The Life of Jord– you can watch his channel HERE if you haven’t already- to create a completely new website which will show you exactly how you too can travel the world while making a living and a lifestyle out of it!

It’s exciting and I’ll be posting more details soon once it’s live!

It’s a new year, so get out there and travel folks!

Make 2017 the best yet!

Richard Collett, February 2017