Welcome to the Travels with my Belly Q and A edition!
Huān yíng (歡迎 / 欢迎)
And of course sawasdee krap!
Welcome, welcome, welcome, to the Travels with my Belly Q&A edition. Answers to 30 questions nobody asked! We got spiders on drugs, cookies, travel tips, and even the god damn future! Have a cookie! These are virtual cookies. You have to agree to them first then you can eat them. Virtual cookies are zero fat and sugar-free!
Why a Q&A session? Are you out of ideas?
Hi, I’m Martin and I’m not stuck for ideas (currently) I publish and run Travels with my Belly. This blog has been running a while now. I want to write a little about what to expect from Travels with my Belly, talk about site navigation, and what’s coming in the future.
You’re talking to yourself again…
Ummm. Maybe. Yes.
Travels with my Belly concept and ethos
In case this is your first visit (hello) this is my foodie focused travel blog -with a sense of humour. I want to share the things I love – amazing places and tasty food. I will share it all here. Let’s explore together.
This blog is a little bit of giving back. It’s a little bit of self help too. I want to inspire you to worry less, smile often, and travel more. The life you live is not the only life. Look, I’m 48. I’m not young. I’m not rich. If I can travel and I can change my life then you can do it too!
I want this blog to be inspirational, not aspirational.
This is an inspirational blog, not aspirational?
Too many Instagram accounts, and even some blogs, are selling you a vision, a dream, Look they say, look at me. You can have this too. Much of it is fake.
I’m not here to sell you a vision. I’m here to share my love of the wonderful places in this world, share good food with you, and show you how you can experience these things too. I’ll show you everything, the good and the bad because, in the end, it’s about the journey.
All my opinions are my own, nobody pays me. I only write about things I know. So many blogs simply get their content from other places on the web. If I write about a place it’s because I have been there or I know what I’m talking about. If I write about food it’s because I’ve eaten it or I know what I am talking about. Everything I do is based on my own experience and knowledge.
I’m an ordinary guy. I changed my life -still changing. I hope my journey proves useful or inspirational to others who might be on the same journey.
Everything in my blog is a product of my own hard work. All the writing is 100 percent my own. Almost all the photography is mine too and where it isn’t, I credit the original. I would rather use a less than perfect photo and it is my own than use somebody else’s.
How long to write a blog post?
It really depends on how much free time I have, how long and details the article is, how much research I might have to do and many other factors. Currently it takes me around a week.
I spend large chunks of my time researching, writing and editing blog posts. Since I’m using mostly my own photography, editing in Lightroom and Photoshop also take time. You might have noticed that quotes feature in my articles. You wouldn’t believe how long it takes to find the perfect quotes!
Basically, a lot of love goes into each blog post that I publish.
WOW? It takes a long time to post. Are you just really slow?
How dare I say that to myself! Errr. Okay. Yeah. I’m a bit slow. I’m slower than a snail with a sprained foot. I’ve also got ADHD. I’ve got a mind like a squirrel on acid. Additionally, I’m a perfectionist… This does not help. I find it hard to let go. There is always something…
What about these drug taking squirrels?
It’s a metaphor. Let’s forget about the damn squirrels. NUTS to them. Did you know that scientists gave spiders drugs to see what would happen? Here’s a video of spiders on drugs!
Look. Let’s move on and forget about the animals on drugs. Let’s move on to a question about my super amazing fantastic travel and food blog! It’s lovely, has zero sugar, and drug free too.
OK. So about this blog?
Glad you… Errr. I asked.
Travel blogs mostly tell you where you should go, what can you see, and how to get there. That’s useful. It’s something I also do. That’s fine, but how does it feel to be there? What is it like to be there or to experience a thing, a place or – since this is a food focused travel blog – eating?
I aim to take you with my words and tell you what it feels like.. I’ll tell you how you can get there and do it too. So my main focus will be travelogue style posts. Taking you with me and sharing my experiences from the road.
The focus will be on the experience and most definitely on the food.
Yes. Humour. It’s not a comedy blog but there’s humour here. I want to inform but if I can make you smile too then it’s a bonus. If we all took ourselves far less seriously then the world would be a far better place. It would be pretty difficult to launch a war dressed as a clown or talking like a pirate.
What else you got?
Each post contains carefully selected quotes that are related to the subject and often inspirational although sometimes are selected because they made me laugh and hopefully make you laugh too.
Is that it?
Yes. I’ve got original honest content; motivational and inspirational quotes, travel, food, and humour. What else do you want? The moon on a stick?
Have you got the moon on a stick?
OK. I will. The juicy stuff. There are four categories.
Expect recipes, restaurant reviews, food reviews, food guides, articles on the history of food and food culture, and more! I’m all about the food.
Example post: UK pancake day
Pretty obvious but for the sake of completeness… Expect travelogues, travel guides, travel how-tos, travel tips, reviews, history, thought pieces, and more as I think of it.
Example post: 20 Best Travel Apps
Non-travel or food related live here. Blog updates and information will also go here. I’ll occasionally write on subjects unrelated to food and travel… Why limit? I’ll write whatever subjects takes my fancy along with some motivational and inspirational posts.
Example post: The Wild Places
Updates about me and what’s going on. Expect these posts to be fairly rare. Although this blog is as much about my journey and fight as anything else -and hopefully about yours too, because I want to inspire and help others who might be on a similar journey.
Example post: Fall Forward
There is also a search bar and tag cloud where you can jump to various tagged subjects.
So what is it with you and Thai food?
If you’ve seen my Instagram account you’ll notice it’s full of Thai food! Previously I spent over a month in Thailand. I fell in love with Thai food. Hard. I’m just a bit totally obsessed with it. I will probably blog about it eventually. Since coming back from my travels almost all of my meals are Thai.
OK, why is Thai food so good?
Let me use an analogy. Imagine you are going on a blind date with Western food and Thai food.
Your blind date with Western food goes like this: She walks towards you, smiling, giving you a little wave as she moves toward you. She is very pretty and dressed conservatively in a cotton dress and blouse. Western food plants are small kiss warmly on your cheek and suggests taking in a movie. Arm in arm you stroll happily together in enjoyable conversation. You’ve had a wonderful night. She’s delicious. You kiss on the doorstep and she disappears into the night with the promise of the second date.
Your blind date with Thai food by contrast: You can hear the guttural roar of the bike engine before you see it. Thai food is dressed in black and red leather from head to toe. The badass beauty screeches to a stop and before you can say anything she snogs your face off. She takes you dancing and drinking. You make mad passionate love on the floor. You don’t remember which floor. You still are not quite sure where your pants are.
This is Thai food. It doesn’t know what subtle is. It doesn’t care. It only knows flavour. It is the most flavourful snog your face off a flavour bomb that my face has ever known. Yes, I love Thai food. It’s as if I have spent my life listening to music with the volume turned down. I discovered Thai food and now my food is cranked up to 11 and the knob fell off and my amp exploded.
No, not THAT knob. Gosh, you lot have a dirty mind.
You really DO love Thai food…
Yeah, but other Asian cuisines are also my jam. That said, I love almost any food I can put in my face hole. I’m a massive foodie. There is very little I don’t like! Although… Durian is my nemesis.
But really I do love any food. When I’m planning a trip it’s the food that I research first. It doesn’t matter if I am visiting around the corner or around the other side of the world – It’s always about the food. If I’m not eating food or cooking food then I am dreaming about what I will be cooking or eating next.
Expect food to be a massive part of this blog. I travel, but alway with my belly.
The FUTURE ????
Since I’m a time traveller, I’ll tell you all about the year 2369… What’s up, guys?! You’re not going to believe this trip to Saturn. Those rings, guys! Those rings! I’ll be listing the top 10 things to do on Saturn and you won’t believe number 7.
I’m joking. Obviously. Or am I? Da. Da. Daaa. No, really I’m joking.
Seriously though. What can I expect in the future?
I do plan to write more travelogue articles in the style of Chinese New Year in London but I’ve switched gears a little bit to focus on things you might do in London or how you might experience “travel without leaving home” or how to prepare for travel when all this is over.
I’m considering doing a frequent or semi-frequent random subject article.
Where will you be travelling to next?
Last time I was travelling around Asia for 3 months. I fell in love with Southeast Asia just a little bit – more than a little bit, but especially Thailand. So I’ve been planning to return for a while now. I was planning on going sooner rather than later but the coronavirus has obviously affected those plans.
How long do you plan on travelling in Southeast?
I’m planning to travel between 6 months to a year!
What countries do you plan on visiting?
My Southeast Asia itinerary: The Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar, in pretty much that order. Everything is subject to change but right now those are the plans! I am really damn excited. I’m considering kicking things off in Taiwan before heading on to SE Asia but I’ll decide closer to the time.
When do you plan on leaving for this Southeast Asia adventure?
Well now… That’s the question, isn’t it? When will I be able to travel?! The short answer is I have no idea. It seems the airlines are set to resume flights fairly soon but my current feeling (subject to change) is that it really isn’t going to be worth taking a trip and travelling until there is a vaccine for the coronavirus.
The social distancing rules and constant lockdowns are going to make travel impractical and tiresome. There’s also the increased chance of catching the virus. Then there is the chance you’re spreading covid19 too. My feelings may change) but right now, given what I know, I’m staying put. Staying as safe as I can be.
Obviously, this outbreak has massively impacted my own and everybody else’s travel plans. This pandemic is going to be affecting the world for a while. A vaccine is at the very least a year away and then you have to inoculate everybody and lift the restrictions. If you would like to read my thoughts on the pandemic then you might enjoy Cornavirus: Positive Thoughts and Fighting Coronavirus: What can I do?
What is the travel industry going to look like? What is a post-pandemic world going to be like? Will travel be cheaper or more expensive? Many experts are weighing in on the subject but I don’t think anybody really knows. These are unprecedented times for everybody – even the experts. These are uncharted waters.
A lot of factors will affect when and for how long I can travel for. What my personal financial situation is, the economic state of the world, the pandemic, the shape and expensive of travel post coronavirus. Right now it’s a game of wait and see. I can’t see a return to somewhat normal for at least a year.
Are you disappointed you can’t travel right now?
Yeah, of course, but there isn’t anything I can do about it. Life is a journey and the journey is everything. You can’t spend life wondering when the next big thing comes to make you happy. You have to be happy every day. Life is a gift.
There are always positives to look for. I’m grateful that I and those I care about, are healthy. I have food on the table and a roof over my head. This is more than many people in the world can say. The bright side is that I have more time to save and plan. Eventually, and there will be an eventually, when all this is finished I will be able to travel for longer and travel better.
Currently, I have so much to keep me occupied here in London, in any case. I have this blog which I very much enjoy working on and am proud of. I’m exploring other alternative ways of living and earning money. I’m exploring my own city and enjoying the many hobbies that I have. Although I do miss travel a lot, I am perfectly happy here right now.
Will you be blogging your adventures in South East Asia?
YES! I’ll be blogging from the road. Follow experiences as I travel. Come on, take my hand, let me show you this amazing part of the world. I can’t wait to share it with you. Let’s go to explore Southeast Asia together!
So how do you afford to travel?
I’m not rich. How am I funding my amazing adventures? Well, there are three considerations.
Travelling is more affordable than a lot of people think. You can travel very cheaply if you budget well and pick the right destinations. Travel should be affordable to almost anybody on an average wage. You don’t need to be rich. You can do it!! There’s a fantastic extensive article on how to travel cheaply. I also recommend checking out Bren on the Road.
SAVE. I make saving for travel a priority. I spend absolutely nothing unless it’s absolutely necessary, IE: bills and food. Ok, well, it’s more like I try to do this. I spend occasionally but as a rule I try not to do it.
There is very little you actually need. You’ll be surprised how much the little things add up over a year. Try it adding it up for yourself and see! At the moment I am in saving mode. Every last penny is placed into the travel fund. Let’s say you work 5 days a week and buy yourself a coffee every day. That £4 a work day coffee is £960 a year! That’s a flight, hotel, and spending money in some of the cheaper locations in the world.
After coming back from my previous adventures in South East Asia, I took a job. I took work doing what I used to do with the goal and intention of saving up enough for 3 to6 months worth of travel. I achieved my goal and quit. It’s scary but it needs to be done. To change we have to fully embrace change. That may seem a little scary, and it is, but life should be an adventure and security is an illusion. In the words of Jack Kerouac, “Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”
So my next long term trip is fully funded.
Right now I’m working doing bike food delivery. This is perfect because I’m getting fit, losing weight, exploring the city while having absolute freedom to work when and where I want and as much or as little as I want. II am my own boss. I can travel tomorrow if I like for months on end. It’s up to me which i perfect. I’ve no idea if this is sustainable long term. I’m still figuring things out as I go. I’ve got other ideas that I’m exploring too. I’m currently making money online on the days I’m not out on the bike.
What is your blog to-do list?
The site is a bit slower than I would like it to be so I need to work on the speed. Hopefully, there will be improvements soon!– me when I originally wrote this.
So I fixed the speed problem by moving to a new host. My old host (Blue Host) was painfully slow. Site loading speed to fully rendered page was 10 seconds at it’s “fastest” and anything down to 18 seconds. I am now on Cloudflare and my page speed is under 1 second!!
I’ll probably outgrow my theme eventually but it’s fine for now.
I want to get an email newsletter going but my subscriber base is pretty small right now so it doesn’t seem worth it. HINT! If you haven’t already then please consider subscribing. Even if you are following me on social media or RSS feed, it really helps me if you subscribe because I can tell exactly who is following me. HINT: SUBSCRIBE! When I hit a certain number I will start my newsletter. Surely that in itself is a reason to sub?!
I would like to do another collab or guest posting. If you have a blog of your own or Instagram account and would like to get involved then please feel free to email or message me on social media with an idea for such.
Are you going to be drugging any critters?
No. Quit it. Winner winner chicken dinners don’t do drugs, man.
If this Q&A has made you thirsty to know even more about me then you can read my About Me page or read my fairly recent Fall Foward post in which I talk about my battles with depression and the way I am moving forward and fighting for the light and to change my life -and hopefully, never fall into the dark again. You can also read New Adventure to learn how I’m making travelling around my city exploring my job.
This page will be updated over time to keep it relevant. If you’ve got any comments, suggestions, thoughts, crazy rants, or questions then I would love to hear from you in the comments. Is there anything you would like to see? What do you like or dislike? As always -love to hear from you.
Lastly, a big BIG thank you to everybody that has encouraged and helped. Thank you to everybody that reads this blog and takes the time to comment. I appreciate it and love connecting with you guys.
Until next time, stay safe, Happy Travels! Subscribe and share 🙂 Until next time… peace out, dudes.
Cover photo is by qimono and you can check out his/her stuff on Pixabay.