The Ultimate guide to
The Ultimate guide to
I`ve been thinking a good deal lately about the slogan on my website - "Let`s go on the journey together". This slogan was thought up quite simply because one of the main ideas behind this website is to provide an online platform to enable me to share my travel adventures with whoever may be interested.
I`ve also been thinking of ways to make that 'sharing' interactive or 'both ways'. The reason for this being that I want to attempt to eventually build a devoted and loyal audience. Not only do I have a story to tell and travel resources to share but I also need to build an audience to enable me to monitise the site in various ways to enable my travels to continue. So a little 'out of the box' thinking was needed.
What I have in mind is a sort of personal video postcard. I guess this all goes back to my days as a DJ and radio presenter when people would ask for requests and/or dedications.
This video postcard idea, would, I suspect, only appeal to those who are in tune with what I`m doing. Namely those people who are concerned about the world we live in, helping those in need who are not as well off as most of us in the west and those who are charity conscious for want of a better description. It`s a bit like those gift cards you can get to sponsor an endangered species, a rare tiger in Tibet, a rare polar bear in the antarctic or whatever. Only this time, you`ll actually be sponsoring me. Maybe not a rare species (depending on your viewpoint) but at least someone you know who is preparing to go to the far flung corners of the planet and engage in volunteer work for the good of those less fortunate or to help those doing good work to make our planet a better place to live. And this is exactly the kind of person the website is aimed at anyway.
So, what will you get, who is it for and how much will it cost? Well, the cost is the easy bit. Bearing in mind that £2.50 in the UK converts to anything between £5 and £10 in many of the counties I`ll be visiting and the only thing it will cost me is a little additional time (as I`ll be making video`s anyway), I reckon £2.50 is adequate.
Who is it for? Anyone who you think would appreciate something like this as a little gift or thank you. (Bear in mind the types of people who may appreciate this, as stated above). It could be a birthday, an anniversary, a Christmas gift, a get well soon message, anything really.
What will you get? Well, here`s where you need to use your imagination. Imagine me shooting some video footage in, say, Cambodia with the children at an orphanage. In the middle of a town or city in Thailand while I`m shooting some street food scenes. (You may even want to go down the cheesy route and use the video postcard fee as a dare to see me eating a fried insect from one of the Thai street stalls). In a small rural village in the hills of Laos helping an eco project. Assisting at an animal sanctuary in the Malaysian jungle. Or even trekking in Nepal at the foot of the Himalayas. One day, if I`ve had a video postcard request from you, I`ll spend a few minutes producing a dedicated piece of footage. And with the backdrop of wherever I am at the time, I`ll say something like...
"Today I`m at the Elephant sanctuary in the Malaysian Jungle near to the town of Lanchang. I`m making a video about how the sanctuary not only helps the local economy but also protects these huge friendly animals, which you`ll be able to see soon on the Lovely Planet tv website. However, I`ve had an email from one of our Lovely Planet tv supporters called ?????? from ?????? who tells me that her daughter ???????? is celebrating her 15th birthday on ????????. So, can I just say, Happy Birthday to you ???????, I hope it`s a great day and this little bit of film all the way from the Elephant sanctuary near Lanchang is especially for you from your mum who says she loves you loads. And your mums great too cos she`s helping to support me and Lovely Planet tv. ...Thanks for your support mum". ...etc, etc.
Get the picture? The message could be anything of course, to anyone, family, loved one, friend and for any reason whatsoever. All you need do is fill out the video postcard form which I`ll place on a page on the website and pay the £2.50 via the paypal link on the page. I`ll need a week or so advance notice as I`ll have to film and edit the video postcard and upload it for online distribution. Once I`ve uploaded it, I`ll send you the link in an email and also embed the video postcard on youtube, facebook and this website so there`ll be plenty of places online to view it.
Before I spend time designing a dedicated video postcard page, can I ask you ...what do you think of this idea? Please be honest...
Please contact me me or comment below as follows: 1 - meaning: a great idea and you may decide to buy one of these for someone in the future. 2 - good idea but don`t think you would buy one but maybe someone else would. 3. Not sure whether this is a good idea or not. Or 4 - stupid idea so I`d just forget it if I were you.
Thank you. Your help is much appreciated.
Following my flight to SE Asia on 16 February and my 36 hour stay in Bangkok, here is where I am going for a few weeks... Workaway project in Malaysia . I `ll be taking the overnight train (two nights actually) down to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and then I`ll be met by someone from the project to transport me the one and a half hour journey, by road, to Lanchang. Or I`ll take a bus to e met in Lanchang.
Other than my filming I`ll also be working to earn my keep but, as you`ll see if you look at the feedbacks lower down the project page it is not exactly unpleasurable work. I think this is a good project to start with as it will sort of detox me from the materialistic western way of life before I continue onto further projects. And also it`ll provide me with a knowledge of the Krishna`s who run the project.
I`ll be sharing this knowledge with you in my films for you to make up your own mind. Following this, my next project will be in Cambodia at an orphanage. More details soon.
Please follow my journey on this website and on facebook at Lovely Planet tv. I`ll also be uploading my videos to Youtube and tripfilms.
I`ve recently been researching more online resources for the older traveler for this website and stumbled across an old friend. Saga, the over fifties lifestyle company.
I must admit, I have a little soft spot for Saga. For a start, they operated a commercial radio station for the over 50`s at one time. And because of my background in radio, although quite a few years ago now, I have a little story to tell. Nothing to do with their own radio operation a few years ago. This was somewhat earlier.
In the 1980`s, when I was a twenty something working as a professional radio presenter, I was delighted to be invited to take part on a Saga Holidays press trip.
The radio station I worked for was Radio Tees (Tfm) in the North East and at the time of being invited onto the press trip, I was the late show presenter. The stations output included a much listened to weekly holiday programme called Trains and Boats and Planes which was presented by the subsequently very popular BBC Radio Two presenter, Alex Lester.
I couldn`t believe my luck at the time. Here was I, a fairly new freelance presenter on the station, being invited on an all expenses press trip to the beautiful resort of Dubrovnik in the former Yugoslavia. I felt like Alan Wicker. (This was before Micheal Palin remember).
I remember being on air, presenting the late show, the evening before I was due to take the train to London Heathrow to meet the other guys from newspapers, magazines and radio stations from all over the UK, who`d also been invited on the trip. And also to meet up with the guys from Saga before taking the flight to Dubrovnik.
The trouble was, on that evening, as my show went on, I began to feel ill. Very ill. And the next morning, the day of the trip, I felt awful. Aching all over, feeling nauseous, hot sweats, the lot. But there was no way I was going to miss this opportunity. I made the best of it. But by the time I`d reached the hotel in Dubrovnik, one of the resorts best, later that evening, the nausea had turned into the runs. Put it this way, I remember having to wash the sheets of my bed in the middle of the night in the sink in my room. That`s how bad it was.
However, I persevered and as one day turned into the next I began to feel a little better. I conducted my interviews with resort reps, the Saga personal and the hotel manager and in the end turned out what I believed to be a pretty good feature report for the programme.
Of course, it`s now gone into the ether. I doubt there`ll be any archives anywhere unless a radio anorak has a copy hidden somewhere. I certainly never saved a recorded copy and this was before the internet had taken hold and all the digital technology we have now. I do remember one thing though. The opening line of my script which I delivered in a sort of mimic of the late Alan Whicker "...They call it the Pearl of the Adriatic.". They did. And it was.
My next assignment was for a hotel chain ....in Swindon!
Anyway, this is what it says on the Saga Volunteer Travel page on their website...
What sets us apart?
We are unique in that our volunteers are all aged 50 or over. This means they have a wide variety of experiences and qualifications and that their help is of genuine lasting benefit. We spend time matching each project’s needs with the skills of our volunteers, and aim to place volunteers so that each is able to pick up where others have left off.
Our overriding principle is that the local projects must have the final say in whether a volunteer is suitable, and what the placement will consist of. We are driven by the needs of the projects and communities as well as the demands and skills of our volunteers.
Why not pay then a visit here.
As you`ll know if you`ve been following my (pre)travel blog or following me on facebook, you`ll know that one of the ultimate aims I have is to monetise my website and/or to monetise my travels through online work. It`s ok doing volunteer work abroad to get free accommodation and free meals but eventually I may get too old to do anything too physical. Or I may eventually decide to settle down for a while in one of the countries I visit without taking on any volunteer work.
Fortunately I have a little money to enable me to travel but I don`t want to use all of this up because eventually it will run out. So, I`ve been doing much research and reading of late trying to work out how other travellers and video bloggers are coping with this and have found that there are many ways to monetise but most of them take a considerable amount of time. And that`s because it can take a long, long, time to build up an audience of followers. (See 'Make Money Online' where you`ll find a list of some of the ways to make an online income). It appears the common denominator to be successful in all this is persistence. And to have a niche.
My niche is the older traveller who travels on a budget by volunteering. And there are also two sides to consider on this journey towards being a successful travel blogger. On the one side there is Content Creation. And on the other side there is Online Marketing. In reality, most successful travel bloggers do a little of both but they will favour and therefore concentrate on one of the two areas in particular depending on there interests. Are they the more creative sort? Or are they more into marketing? As I`m more interested in content creation, the creative sort, than I am in online marketing, I`ll be more likely to concentrate on this.
And it`s not a bad thing. Here`s why...
If the content I produce is interesting enough it will automatically build my reputation and visitors to my website will slowly increase naturally. I`ll be uploading my video work onto my you tube channel, facebook and travel community platforms such as tripfilms. These platforms are already established. It is easier to get views and followers on these established platforms than it is to start from scratch with your own website. Ebay is a classic example of this should you be an online retailer.
Another topic I`ve been closely researching is 'stock footage'. A few seconds of great video footage placed on sites such as shutterstock and pond5 can be sold again and again to companies and individuals looking for content for their own projects. As I`m going to be busy shooting, editing and uploading video anyway (in between my volunteer duties) I think, rather than getting bogged down with online marketing, it may be a good idea to send a few of my best clips this way to attempt to create a little income. I`ve read that one such 6 second video clip of a popular tourist destination has earned it`s creator over $5,000 in a little over a year.
As for online marketing... Website optimisation and online marketing could eventually be handled by recruiting one of the many established experts you can now find on websites such as Fivver.
And before you ask what has this post got to do with my niche. Well, it has everything to do with it. It`s about how you can make money from almost anywhere therefore travelling on a budget. Whether or not I`ll have the time to write many blog posts like this once I get out on the road is another thing though. Other than my volunteering tasks, the video work will come first.
Here`s a great idea for you if you find yourself in a position to drop everything and travel the world and you happen to be a movie buff. You could plan your world trip around The Worlds Greatest Movie Locations! Here`s a website I`ve recently discovered that you could use to research your travel itinerary http://www.movie-locations.com/
You could even attempt to keep the costs down by joining a couch surfing website such as couchsurfing.com and look for a fellow couch surfer in or near one of the movie locations. Which ever couchsurfing site you use, do make sure you do your research though and satisfy yourself that feedbacks are genuine. There has been a little controversy over the years. But remember, age is no barrier. There are couchsurfers out there of all ages.
Me, I`m off to discover non profit and charity projects where one can volunteer in return for accommodation and meals. Maybe after I`ve completed this mission I could take a deeper look into this idea too.
Having worked on a few movie sets in the North East as an extra and an interest in films and filming, it certainly appeals to me.
Less than 4 weeks to go now before my adventure begins on 16 February and starting to get my final bits and pieces together. Like a small padlock for my backpack, a spare memory card for my camcorder and a small first aid kit. My friend Gill has brought me some small denomination Thai Baht back from her holiday which`ll come in handy when I arrive in Bangkok as it`s usually the bigger money notes you get when ordering from an agent. Nothing worse than being told by the tuk tuk driver that he has no change :-(
Just so you know... Although I`ve been quite careful to select the projects I`m going to be involved with do have wifi, I won`t always be on the beaten track, so there`ll be occasions, no doubt, when I cannot connect to the internet because the wifi is too weak. This may be particularly true for uploading my video content. It could take hours if there`s not much bandwidth available. In these circumstances I`ll revert to blogging (which I also intend to do anyway) and upload the videos when I can. I mention this because, although I intend to make at least one video each month, as generally I`ll be moving onto a different project in a different area (or country) each month, it may take a while to get them uploaded onto the Lovely Planet tv website. If you`re following and looking out for my video`s, do not despair, they`ll show up eventually :-)
Actually, the same is true of the blogs too. I intend to write at least one on a weekly basis but if I can`t publish because of a weak or no wifi signal, I`ll get them on just as soon as I can.
So, better get packing. First stop is Malaysia. Via a change of plane in Dubai and a night in the City of Angels, Bangkok, Thailand, the Land of Smiles! :-) :-) :-)
It has been very difficult choosing my first volunteer projects in South East Asia. I had emails from about a dozen project hosts when I initially joined workaway.info from all over the world. Naturally, feedbacks from other volunteers had to be considered, as well as the type of project, my own travel plans and visa requirements. In the end I have opted to go first to Malaysia (via Thailand) to help a project which is run by the Krishna`s who I`m sure you`re aware are a religious organisation. Being non religious myself did not put me off because the aim of my own project is to discover, learn from and to share what I`ve learned from other cultures. And many of these cultures have differing religious beliefs. I do not intend to become a member of the Krishna sect. But I will respect their beliefs and try to understand why they have chosen this path.
My second project will most likely be in Cambodia with my friend Kim who runs an orphanage. I had hoped to move directly from Malaysia onto Cambodia after a few weeks but my finances won`t stretch that far at the moment. This is why I will be returning to the UK for a few weeks in April. I have some paperwork to do to release a small amount of funds which will help my mission. I suppose I could have put off my travel plans until after this but I`d already agreed to be available in South East Asia in January 2015. I`ll already be a month late. And anyway, this first trip will be a sort of brief introduction to my new way of life. To break me in gradually, as it were.
When I return to SE Asia in May, I do not expect to come back to the UK for at least six months. And even then, it will only be for just a couple of weeks. In the long term the idea is just to keep on travelling, meeting new friends and discovering, learning from and living amongst other cultures for the rest of my life. Or at least until I`m too old to travel any longer.
It may be that I eventually find a place to settle down. Possibly as an ex pat (a farang) in Thailand if they`ll have me. Who knows. At the moment tho my instincts are just to keep on moving. `Wherever I Lay My Hat'... sort of thing. Thank you Marvin. This song has always held a special place in my heart.
I`m already starting to see tiny seeds of growth from my website and video content so I`m sure that once I start to upload videos and blogs from my destinations it will only be a matter of time before the monetisation of my website bears a little fruit. I am aware however, that all this takes time and a lot of dedication but, on the plus side, it`ll be worth it because running a small online business from countries where the cost of living is comparatively low and yet the money is coming in from richer countries means that if I only make an income of £100 a month, it`s like half a months wages in many of the countries I`ll be visiting. And if I can continue with my volunteer work in return for accommodation and meals, well, you get the picture.
So, I`d be delighted to have your company from time to time along my journey. I `ll share the good, the bad, the in between. You`ll discover far away cultures, traditions and beliefs. You`ll learn about the charity and non profit projects and the people I work with. And, if you fancy this kind of life, travelling the world on a shoe string, I`ll show you how I did it and how you can do it too!
The adventure begins on Monday 16 February 2015. Please follow my journey at www.lovelyplanettv.com
When I first began to research living abroad for any legnth of time through volunteering, the first obstacle I came across was the cost. There are thousands of websites offering volunteering opportunities overseas but at a cost. Nothing wrong with that. Unless you`re skint.
Researching further, I discovered the phenonenon known as 'couchsurfing'. What a fabulous way to discover a new part of the world just by getting in touch with a fellow couchsurfer, anywhere in the world and asking if you can kip on their couch. If you`re lucky and you hook up with a mutually attractive like minded guy or girl, you may have an even better time than you bargained for. Nothing wrong with that either. Little to do with volunteering in the traditional sense but you are expected to help with the chores around the home.
And then I discovered www.workaway.info one of a few websites that hook you up with individuals, projects or charities offering you accommodation and meals in return for a few hours of voluntary work.
For me, the workaway route is the perfect solution. Admittedly, you have more research to do, checking feedbacks and the like and it is possible that with some of the projects, all you're doing is providing them with cheap labour. Well, thats a risk I`m prepared to take. At the end of the day, I want to experience all the world has to offer and it`s up to me to do the research and satisfy myself that it`s all genuine. Put it this way, those volunteering opportunities that cost you money for the privellige are ok if you want everything in a package and little risk that you`ll be left to fend for yourself. The reletively safe option. (Although you still have to do a bit of research) Personally, I`d rather spend less and go with the flow. For me, the experience is far more important than the risk. And the knowlege that I have gone to the other side of the planet to try and help those who are less fortunate than I have ever been.
Please follow my journey. Why not sign up to my updates at www.lovelyplanettv.weebly.com
I watched a whole load of video`s on You Tube last night about guys who`ve just taken off to travel the world. They didn`t just get up and go. A lot of thought and planning went into it.
Endless tips and philosophies of life were shared. What was interesting was that some even do it with just a few pounds in their pockets and discover that money is nothing but a piece of paper or metal (or even a piece of plastic these days). There is a whole different concept emerging, particularly amongst world travellers about personal happiness and fulfilment and it doesn`t involve money. It revolves around nature and the way thing naturally happen. As they always have and always will do. We are the only species on our planet who pay to live thereby feeding a vicious circle in which many of us are trapped.
Believe it or not there are many ways to live happily with no money whatsoever which, particularly in the material Western world, we find hard to grasp. And the way most of us have been brought up to live in a so called 'civilised' society makes it even harder for many of us to follow. It doesn`t mean living in poverty either.
Although my own aim is to travel on a budget and earn my keep helping non profit and voluntary projects and perhaps monetise my website for a little extra spending money, therefore not initially adhering to this non money concept, it is comforting to know that I have other options if I choose to follow them.
With a few exceptions, many of the video`s have been produced and posted by younger guys than me. But this is where I hope to carve my niche, particularly for my website. Older travellers like me are fewer but just because one is in their 50`s or 60`s, it doesn`t mean it`s too late to start the adventure if one is relatively healthy and finds oneself in the right circumstances. So, this is fundamentally how I intend to build visitors to my website.
Because volunteering is my chosen method of day to day living on a budget whilst travelling, I`ll also be making films about the various projects and the other volunteers I meet along the way as well as local perspective travel films. I also hope to bump into a few of the guys I`ve been talking about in this post to enable me to share with website visitors this non money concept because, not only is it interesting but I also have a feeling that, at the end of the day, if we fail explore and implement change we will eventually destroy our planet.
Please bookmark and follow my journey at www.lovelyplanettv.weebly.com. Please like and share my facebook page at Lovely Planet tv The adventure begins on Monday 16 February 2015.
All = videos & blogs.
Blogs = my written blogs.
Cambodia = Cambodia videos
Malaysia = Malaysia Videos.
Thailand = Thailand videos.
Krishna = Krishna videos