Uncharted Backpacker

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The Kalasha Valleys, Chitral – Pakistan

Gilgit and Chitral, Pakistan

When your mind finally clears, you feel it. It’s a feeling deep inside. It’s a feeling of excitement, nervousness, and a strong desire to delve deeper into the unknown. Here Jacob and I were, experiencing this very feeling, riding atop an old, rusty bus, crossing the remote Shandur pass In North East Pakistan. Our destination is Chitral, a series of mysterious valleys located deep in the Hindu Kush. As the warm apricot scented wind blew across our faces, and we marveled at the impossibly beautiful mountains, the feeling only intensified. This is exactly where I want to be.” It’s not often I say this to myself but, being in such an incredible moment, it seems plausible. This is Chitral, in North Pakistan.  Read More
The Kalasha Valleys, Chitral – PakistanThe Kalasha Valleys, Chitral – PakistanThe Kalasha Valleys, Chitral – PakistanThe Kalasha Valleys, Chitral – PakistanThe Kalasha Valleys, Chitral – Pakistan

Uncharted Backpacker

Traveling to over 80 countries and still on the road. Uncharted Backpacker is travel at its most extreme! Try riding public transport through Afghanistan, Living amongst tribes in Papua New Guinea and teaching English in war torn Libya.

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12 Tips How to Travel the World When You’re Not Rich

So, you’re not a superstar blogger who gets paid to travel, and you didn’t win the lottery or be given your grandma’s million-dollar inheritance. You work full time and have a deep passion for seeing the world. How do you manage to do this with a limited budget?
This is a question I get asked all the time. When I tell people I have traveled as much as I have, they automatically assume there is some secret bank account full of money that I don’t mention. The truth of the matter is that I work hard and limit myself from spending too much on material items. However, there are definitely some tips on how you can travel as much as I do with a limited amount of money. I have worked as a Lifeguard for ten years now to afford my travel!

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12 Tips How to Travel the World When You’re Not Rich12 Tips How to Travel the World When You’re Not Rich12 Tips How to Travel the World When You’re Not Rich12 Tips How to Travel the World When You’re Not Rich12 Tips How to Travel the World When You’re Not Rich

Where Tigers Fly and Dragons Thunder – Paro, Bhutan

Paro, Bhutan

As you climb higher, past the ancient weeping cypress trees, across the bubbling stream that powers the giant prayer wheels, ascending into the clouds, you realize why this place is so sacred. Getting to Bhutan is a journey unto itself, but to take the trek up to Taktsang Gompa transports you to another world. Maybe all the talk about finding “enlightenment” or “oneself” has some credibility after all. This place would seem to indicate just so. Taktsang Gompa is an incredibly special location. As I climb through the clouds to a mystical Buddhist temple, I can’t help but thinking: This is Bhutan, at its most glorious.

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Where Tigers Fly and Dragons Thunder – Paro, BhutanWhere Tigers Fly and Dragons Thunder – Paro, BhutanWhere Tigers Fly and Dragons Thunder – Paro, BhutanWhere Tigers Fly and Dragons Thunder – Paro, BhutanWhere Tigers Fly and Dragons Thunder – Paro, Bhutan

Detour through Iraq: Kurdistan, Iraq

Iraqi, Kurdistan

For almost my entire life Iraq has meant war. From the so-called threat of weapons of mass destruction to the media constantly reporting about Bush senior’s gulf war grudge against Saddam. What the media and all those with preconceived notions of the country tend to leave out is the history, Iraq’s incredibly diverse people, some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Middle East. As I looked down a snow capped mountain valley from a medieval castle, it’s hard to believe everything I have heard and seen about this stunning nation. This is Iraq!

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Detour through Iraq: Kurdistan, IraqDetour through Iraq: Kurdistan, IraqDetour through Iraq: Kurdistan, IraqDetour through Iraq: Kurdistan, IraqDetour through Iraq: Kurdistan, Iraq

Guide To Crossing The Gobi – Mongolia

Gobi Desert, Mongolia

The silence of the desert engulfs me as I sit alone, atop the highest sand dune I could find. Shades of gold, purple and black paint a picture across the dunes as far as the eye can see. As the sunset unfolds, the picture begins to change, but the silence remains.  In the distance, herds of Bactrian camels graze on the vibrant, desert grass. Beyond, more massive towers of sand and black mountains dominate the darkening, blue sky. This place, so remote and so silent, etches itself in my mind forever. Suddenly, I am consumed by thoughts of the arduous journey that lays ahead. It will test all my skills and experience as a traveler. I am about to cross the Gobi Desert in southern Mongolia.

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Guide To Crossing The Gobi – MongoliaGuide To Crossing The Gobi – MongoliaGuide To Crossing The Gobi – MongoliaGuide To Crossing The Gobi – MongoliaGuide To Crossing The Gobi – Mongolia

The Slums of Jakarta – Indonesia

Jakarta Indonesia

A family of five, surviving on a dollar a day, cram into a house no bigger than the average North American bathroom. Outside, a river of sewage and garbage flows. Behind the house, the railway bears deafening trains that shake the houses every hour as they rattle by. This is reality of the Jakarta slums, and here I am as a tourist. All the troubles I believe I have go right down the drain. And yet, despite living in such poverty, the people of the slum graciously invite me in to their homes, expecting nothing in return. Read More

The Slums of Jakarta – IndonesiaThe Slums of Jakarta – IndonesiaThe Slums of Jakarta – IndonesiaThe Slums of Jakarta – IndonesiaThe Slums of Jakarta – Indonesia

In the Valley of the Yeti – Merak, Bhutan

Merak, Bhutan  འབྲུག་ཡུལ་      

The early morning breeze carries fog down the slopes of the mountains. Dew sparkles in beams of brilliant sunlight. Nomads usher their yaks onward, grunting as they carry their master’s earthly possessions past me. Here I am, in the Valley of the Yeti, situated in Bhutan’s Far East. So remote, beautiful, and serene. This is what a traveller dreams of finding.

What defines a traveler? Is it the destinations they travel to? Is it how far they are willing to go to find the adventure they have been longing for? Or is it their ability to discover places so incredible that, in that moment, they realise that they are exactly where they are supposed to be. Maybe it’s all of the above. For me, this very moment makes me reflect all the experiences, all the trials and tribulations I have endured. Finding a place so far removed from the rest of the world can change much in a person, for the better. That is what traveling is all about.

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In the Valley of the Yeti – Merak, BhutanIn the Valley of the Yeti – Merak, BhutanIn the Valley of the Yeti – Merak, BhutanIn the Valley of the Yeti – Merak, BhutanIn the Valley of the Yeti – Merak, Bhutan

Sea Gypsies, Whale Sharks and Chocolate Hills – The Visayas, Philippines

I lie awake in the middle of the night. The rain pounds hard against the plastic shutters. The wind roars outside at frightening speeds. The sound of roosters calling is chilling. They know that this is no normal storm. The Yolanda Typhoon continued throughout the night. Luckily, I was with my Canadian/Filipino friend, Grace, at her uncle’s house in Manila. We had no idea how much this Typhoon would affect our trip, not to mention Grace’s family, in the Visayas.  

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Sea Gypsies, Whale Sharks and Chocolate Hills – The Visayas, PhilippinesSea Gypsies, Whale Sharks and Chocolate Hills – The Visayas, PhilippinesSea Gypsies, Whale Sharks and Chocolate Hills – The Visayas, PhilippinesSea Gypsies, Whale Sharks and Chocolate Hills – The Visayas, PhilippinesSea Gypsies, Whale Sharks and Chocolate Hills – The Visayas, Philippines

Exploring the Temples of Angkor – Cambodia

Temples of Angkor, Siem Reap – Cambodia

Cambodia, a country of deeply rooted culture, emerald rice fields, ancient temples, and a horrific past. Mentioning the name “Cambodia” to the younger generation inspires thoughts of of backpacking and South East Asian adventure. Ask someone whose memory stretches back a little farther, however, and you will be shocked to learn of the unspeakable acts of genocide that occurred here very recently.
Cambodia has emerged from the ashes of disparity and bloomed into one of South East Asia’s most interesting and addictive destinations. It shows great promise in continuing this path. It’s got new paved roads, five star hotels and everything else a traveler could want. The real questions is: will Cambodia be able to retain its authentic feeling with all of this new tourist infrastructure?
I have traveled here countless times. Every time I step through the gates of Angkor Wat, I can tell you that even with all the swarms of tourists, hotels, hawkers, this place is special. Angkor Wat is the symbol of Cambodia’s past. Angkor Wat is a prime example of Cambodia’s will to hang on to its culture, while giving its people a sense of belonging and pride. In short, Angkor Wat is absolutely stunning. Read More
Exploring the Temples of Angkor - CambodiaExploring the Temples of Angkor - CambodiaExploring the Temples of Angkor - CambodiaExploring the Temples of Angkor - CambodiaExploring the Temples of Angkor - Cambodia