Travel Locations

locations of travel

Vlog Gallery from the Road 40 months of travel…

Second trip to Bangkok, entry March 9th, 2023, previous entry was December 10th, 2019… just before travel during coronavirus!

Next… India… a country of significant monuments, population and a lot of dirt and trash… (but the photos turned out well!). I really hold a neutral opinion of the country but it does have pluses, such as the food, price, and weather forecast.

Saudi Arabia stopover and Romania stopover, my second time and meeting an old friend! My original flight from Saudi to India got canceled so i decided to stay at the airport for 1 day, then take an earlier flight. Flight on Jan. 30th, 2023. Flight to Bucharest from Athens dated Jan. 25th, 2023.

Next up in reverse, order Athens, Greece! Flight in from Tirana, Albania! Nice to be on the road again! Flight via Wizzair on Jan. 7th 2023. It was snowing in Bucharest so had to plan for winter and summer once i get to Thailand, a few stops away! Left Athens on Jan. 25th, 2023.

Stopover/Rest Albania, Tirana, visit #3 … I spent this time to retool my clothing and my gear, and replaced or added some smaller items for my next unique adventure to Greece, India, and Thailand, and the Mideast! Entry to Albania from Milan Italy on … I had to look this up.. 11/08/2022.

Next stop in reverse order.. Italy, flew to Pisa from Tenerife on an affordable on Nov. 3rd, 2022, and bussed it to Milan on Nov. 7th, 2022, where I then caught a flight to Tirana on November 8th/9th 2022. The reasoning was to spend less time in more expensive countries my two stop Italy trip did not disappoint!

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, rewinding again (my second time in Tenerife (and 2nd time in London). I flew to Tenerife South airport from London Stansted on Sep. 9th, 2022, and from Tenerife South to Pisa on Nov. 3, 2022. Over here in Tenerife I was boondocking it for most of the 42 days that I was on the island.

Next up going in reverse the country of Poland… London was a stopover so not counting as a visit, i came from Krakow and took a flight to London, then another Ryanair flight to Tenerife. . My bus from Gdansk to Krakow was on Sep. 14th, 2022 via the Flixbus. The flight to London was on Sep. 21st giving me 7 days in Krakow… The flight to Gdansk was on Sep. 12th, 2022.

I took yet another Flixbus from Stockholm to Oslo, Norway. One of my most interesting experiencing camping in the wild woods in central Norway, I came into contact with some magnificent forests and a wild boar! I came to Oslo on Sep. 3rd 2022 from Stockholm.

Going back in time, the next country I visited was Stockholm Sweden. I came via Flixbus on August 30th, 2022. Here are some photos from Stockholm below…

Returning to south Tenerife from London/Krakow – Travel plan, itinerary, my experience with Ryanair!

Hello All, today, I’ll be blogging about my experience traveling on Ryanair to London, then transferring and traveling on Ryanair from London to south Tenerife Airport. I have to admit that yesterdays travel plan left me a bit frazzled even as an experienced budget traveler and I’ll tell you why, but otherwise it did go fairly smoothly. I also had the pleasure of meeting 3 good Samaritans along the way who helped me a little bit. I am now sitting in a coffee shop in Los Abrigos, south Tenerife near the airport, on the windsurfing side of the island.

So what was my plan? Well first of all i usually browse websites like and to see what flights are available for my reemergence in Tenerife! Let me give you some more background information. I was living in south Tenerife during February and March of this year, so I am no stranger or rookie to this place, I know my way around the south part of the island pretty well! I enjoyed it so much that i decided to come back yesterday on September 21, 2022.

I bought two flights on Ryanair (they do not do connections). The total price to make it to Tenerife was about $100. $100 is not as cheap as some other flights I’ve taken on Ryanair but i have a few tricks to save a few bucks after the flight. My trip was booked as two separate tickets. Its an island off the coast of Morocco, so its not a super convenient place to travel to although the weather is stunningly gorgeous. I wanted to conclude my Scandinavia tour in Krakow by way of Oslo and Gdansk then move somewhere warmer. The cheapest way for me to get to Tenerife was via a 7am flight from Krakow to London Stansted.

The Bus to the airport…Krakow 4 zloty / a little less than $1

I am a budget traveler, so for me its all about saving a few bucks. A few times I’ve walked to the airport (Marrakech, Sibiu), but this one is 7 miles away. In Krakow i took bus 208 from near the Galleria Mall at the center. I decided to leave about 2pm after checking out of my room at 9am and stopping by Starbucks to charge my electronics. The bus arrived about 240pm; I didn’t have the exact schedule but i think this is not a frequent bus. The fare was a whopping 4 zloty which is less than $1 or 1 euro. Notice that I decided to leave about 240pm the day before my flight in order to spend the night at the airport. The bus took about 45 minutes. It does stop at the terminal, and there were plenty of other passengers with suitcases just waiting to get off at the last stop (it was a local bus).

KRK Airport …. sleeping at the airport in Krakow

I arrived with a few snacks i bought at a local grocery store near the Old Town in Krakow. I consumed these between about 4pm and 9pm and bought one other item with the last of the zloty coins I had in my pocket (advise – dont use airport exchanges offices, the rates are horrible). A little boredom but for me since travel is my fulltime job I didn’t mind putting in some extra elbow grease. Here i met a Ukrainian girl who decided to sit next to me waiting for her flight that was at 10pm at night to Germany. She eventually left, and two other Ukrainian women decided to sleep next to me on the bench. I hooked up my PacSafe bag to my belt to avoid theft and the airport grew quiet. There is a game room upstairs as well as bathrooms and extra benches if you need it. The airport here in Krakow is quite nice, I would not mind sleeping here again sometime.

Flight from Krakow KRK to London Stansted STN at 7am

I instructed one of the Ukrainian women that I was a bit nervous i wouldn’t wake up at 3am or 4am to check in for my 7am flight and sleep past the flight so she set her alarm for me just in case – Samaritan #1. The good news here is that some people came by about 3am and disturbed me from my sleep so I just decided to wake up about 3:15am and wait in a line for check in by 4am, which was the time other airline travelers arrived, many of them waiting for LOT polish airlines. I was near the front of the line for Ryanair and completed check in about 10 minutes after 4am, then i went through airport security screening in about 15 minutes. I exited Polish/EU immigration at about 4:45am. I later waited airside for 1 or 2 hours, then boarded the flight smoothly about 630am.

Landing at London Stansted – Let the fun begin!

Our flight took 2 hours and 20 minutes. We actually arrived a little early. take off if im not mistaken was at 7:05 AM and landing at Stansted was at 8:20 AM, with the time change, technically this was 9:20AM Poland time. Tenerife also happens to be on London time since it is a little bit further west. Once in Stansted, I had to pass through UK immigration E-gates. Here there was a huge line, so it took me some time. I passed the gate with a facial recognition scan and passport scan at about 10AM London time so that took awhile waiting in line. Here at Stansted i was also able to grab lunch, a sandwich and Pepsi 0, as well as some chips for a reasonable price of about 5 British pounds (reasonable by airport standards).

London Standsted, check-in at RyanAir for Tenerife

Here at Stansted the airport can be a little chaotic, so make sure to show up with plenty of time to spare before check in. Over at Ryanair they have a screen that show you which desk to go to to check in and they dont allow us to check in sooner than a few hours before the flight. My flight to Tenerife was at 2:30PM. Around 11:20 it showed my check in desk as 69-79 so i got in a long que of passengers and waited my turn. Around 12pm i reached the check in desk for a documents check. Ryanair does not allow an E boarding pass for American citizens because we are neither EU or Uk citizens so i had to have my boarding pass printed here, even though i am not checking any bags. The time at security clearance was about 12:10pm.

Boarding, Flight to Tenerife, and Spanish Immigration 2:30PM to 6:50PM

Part a Standsted Airport: Security screen at London Stansted was smooth and relatively easy. I usually put my wallet and phone in my backpack, while i have to take my shoes off and all metal items, and my laptop out of my backpack. I passed with no problems and made my way to the shopping/waiting area of Stansted, it was super crowded, which increased my stress level a bit after such a long wait. I was tired there. On my way to the waiting area, i stopped by and went into a woman’s clothing store and asked the male salesperson whether i could go in and change my clothing into shorts for Tenerife in the changing room he said yes (meeting good Samaritan #2). Changing into shorts felt great indoors and suits the weather in Tenerife just great. The flight boarding was around 1:45 PM, so i had a good 1.5 hours to wait in the waiting area.

Part b flight to Tenerife: The flight was a long one, 4 hours 20 minutes time, so landing at 620pm. Now what is just spectacular about Ryanair is the super low price as compared to doing business with airlines in the United States whose prices are just ridiculous. Ryanair unfortunately does not have a lot of leg room on its flights. On my flight i got the middle seat in between two other dudes, one from the UK and the other guy im not sure, both of them were taller than me. I normally put my 45L backpack in between my legs or under the seat, its a bit big so that’s where the leg room issue comes into play, but this minor issue is totally worth the cost. In my experience almost every single Ryanair flight is sold out, so they must be doing some seriously good business.

Part c: Passing immigration. The good news about arriving in Tenerife was the weather was just plain gorgeous and sunny as it is typically. I mentioned i spent about 7 weeks here back February and March. Now for the reason for a little bit of stress I was experiencing… immigration. Theres a few reasons i was a bit concerned about passing Spanish immigration – at this time i did not have a set accommodation but i did have a place that was willing to rent to me (the Treehouse hostel up above the town, in El Medano), stayed here back in March. I also did not have a return ticket away from Spain, and did i mention i dont have a full-time job either? So yes you can see why I was a bit nervous about not being able to prove my worth as a tourist inside of Spain (no full-time job but i do have enough assets to prove at least that I can sustain myself for awhile). I was in luck, the immigration guy at Tenerife South did not care at all, he just looked at my passport and gave me a stamp and that was it … oh just one more thing, I need to make it off airport territory….

Trip from Tenerife South Airport to either El Medano or Los Abrigos…

The airport is only about 1 or 2 miles from either of these towns. I tried to walk away from the airport, that didn’t work out so well, because there is a highway on the way. I then tried to flag down a ride with about 20 or so cars passing me. I got so luckily here because i had about 2.8 euro in my pocket and the bus costs 2.4 euro. I took it to San Isidro, i then needed to transfer to make to El Medano, that’s only about 1 mile up a hill from El Medano, the surf town. I started walking down the hill, instead of taking the transfer since i dont mind. Here i passed a number of farming greenhouses and this utility truck driver saw me walking by one of the greenhouses, in the middle of nowhere. he stopped and in broken English he invited me to come with him. He took me to where there was a turnoff between El medano and Los Abrigos, i got out here, and i walked another 2 blocks and that led me inside of my favorite town, El Medano. The rest is history, im in beach town.

Greetings from Skopje, Macedonia!

I made it via the Hak bus to Skopje from Tirana Albania. I booked the ticket through Flix bus website because that seems to be the easiest and most trustworthy. I was also concerned about insurance and I do know that Flix bus does offer some insurance for lost luggage! A few details about my trip… The bus route was pretty hilly but not as crazy as over in Montenegro. I left at 9am and we arrived about 5pm. I went over from here to the Hostel Valentin 2 near the bus station, in fact within about 3 blocks.

A few things i first noticed about Skopje…. were all the monuments and statutes. Most of these were newly created to beautify the downtown of Skopje and also to attract tourists like myself and I must say that i am totally impressed with this for such a small country as North Macedonia. Another thing i noticed is that there are backpackers all over the place… everywhere i turn, granted it is the summer travel season but i have to say wow, a lot of fellow company here on tour.

A few things I noticed part II. I have to say that I like Skopje better than Tirana, granted Tirana also has its charms. Skopje wins with the monuments, the castle, the river and the faux ships that are floating along the river which are actually restaurants. I also really like the cheap prices. Even the touristy restaurants and the old town are around $2 for 1 meal. It reminds me a lot of Belgrade via the communistic or modernistic architecture and the green areas, and the store names for example Jumbo and DG. I really enjoyed my time in Belgrade. I was there for 2 months in the summer of 2021 if you recall. Check my walk around a local neighborhood where i was browsing for a cheap local restaurant here on youtube.

My visit to Durres, Albania, bus trip from Tirana!

I spent one morning taking a bus from Tirana to Durres Albania beach resort. Durres, Albania is a coastal/beach resort city of over 100,000 that is about 30 miles from the capital Tirana. The best thing about it is that its easily reachable for a day trip from Tirana on a local bus for only 150 lek which is about $1.33, and the same price on the way back. The trip only takes about 35 to 40 minutes via highway. You can also watch the video i filmed in Durres on my Youtube Channel for more of a visual and audio tour here and read a little more of my life in another post on Albania, here.

A few logistical concerns… on the bus to Durres.

Just be advised that at present time the bus and the weather outdoors in Albania is a little hot and sunny, so you may need to dress appropriately or rent an umbrella at the beach or even cool off in the water. I took a long walk from the Qyteti Studenti neighborhood near the University of Tirana to the north south bus station. If you are not a fan of walking you can take a local bus or a taxi cab at extra cost, but I decided to tough it out before the sun got too hot. Now on the bus, i was forced to put my expensive backpack under the bus and not in my lap or near my feet, this was not cool. I think next time I will just take a towel, as well as a smaller bag with a few personal items to avoid having to stow my bag (to avoid theft of my expensive items).

Now for the good news for my visit to Durres! There are a few cool sites to see in Durres, namely the beach resort, and if you want to take a swim its an easy ride! Its the beach, one of my favorite places. There are some nice chairs and some small restaurants. The water is easily swimmable. The coolest historical site is the amphitheater and ill detail that site below. I chose to hit the beach for awhile and to walk the entire length of the beach 3 to 4 miles but probably I would have been better off going to the amphitheater first then heading to the beach due to the heat.

durress albania
the beach resorts at Durres, Albania

Now on with the Amphitheater. If you go to the center of town near the port of Durres, you will see a sign near some of the public buildings on the location of the Roman Amphitheater which was built all the way back in the 2nd century AD and used to the 4th century. Its the largest Roman amphitheater in the Balkans, about 200 feet wide. An interesting fact is that it was not rediscovered underneath the ground until the 1960s. It is basically a ruin now that is being restored, but very cool looking, see images below….

roman amphitheater in Durres, Albania
durres albania bus trip
roman amphitheater on my trip to durres, albania
tiled fresco painting 4th century chapel inside the amphitheater

Once you visit the amphitheater, you can see that there is a fresco painting that was created in a Christian chapel in the 4th century after the Romans stopped using the amphitheater, this is very cool indeed! Enjoy.

Planning a backpacking trip to Europe for the summer of 2022! How do I do it?

Hey traveling guys and girls! For me and some of the other traveling backpackers out there, its time to start planning out our trips for summer of 2022, and let me tell you from the local news over here in Europe it looks like pandemonium and a little bit of chaos this travel season due to so many people wanting to travel now. Did you see the news about EasyJet, Ryanair and some of the other major European airlines canceling lots of flights per day? Check the link here from BBC.

So for starters if you dont know who I am, I am an American full-time traveler and you can read a bit more about my bio here. Now I just arrived back in Tirana, Albania, where I had my stuff in storage, and I plan on taking a break to rest in the same apartment that I rented back in the fall. So i was just thinking and looking at what other places and sites in Europe I would like to visit, how I might go about getting there, the expenses, and what ill take as well as my budget! In this blog post ill tell you how I go about doing it. If you are familiar with Myers Briggs personality types, I am an INTJ, and we are planners, for us or me specifically, I tend to make plans so that i can change them using new information, but at least I have one to start with, now I have several.

How do I plan?!?!?! I would like to visit somewhere I haven’t been before, this still includes most of Europe there are 44 total countries in Europe and 1000s of cities.. so for the past few days I’ve been visiting major airline sites,,, and, Kiwi is the most useful since its able to search multiple airlines to piece together routes as well as show me an entire list of fares from competing airlines, whereas Wizzair only has Wizzair’s fares. Now I’m not married to the idea of leaving Tirana on an airplane. I am also considering leaving by bus to make a few local stops at regional cities in the Balkans for example, Shkoder and Skopje, Macedonia.

Hotel & Hostel Prices in the summer of 2021 – one thing I just noticed is that hotel and hostel prices in western Europe are just going crazy! They are really moving up. In normal times of the year hostel prices tend to be well within my travel budget, over in Berlin we are talking $30 a night for a hostel, when I had previously searched I found most places to get one $20 or below perhaps $17. This is not good, but using my INTJ planning abilities, its not the end of the world, I’ll find a way to adapt. There is a reason I purchased a tent last year.

The good news… I found this hostel in Skopje, Macedonia BSV Hostel for $5 on Yes that’s right only $5. So an entire week would set me back $35 or for the entire month if I wanna rough it, its $150 those are more like Thai prices, and this is a great deal for summer. Just for reference a private room in Skopje starts at $14 USD, not too expensive either.

So the bus from Tirana upto Skopje would run me about $20 to $22, then after I tour North Macedonia, the plan would be to jump over to Bulgaria more than likely also by bus, and the cost would be around $11 to $17 at the cheapest. North Macedonia is a small country with a population of 2 million that was also part of the former Yugoslavia sort of like Montenegro, so over there it wont take long to cover a few sites, namely the OLD BAZARR, a FORTRESS, or an old MONASTARY like the one below….

Skopje, North Macedonia

So using this example what I do is I try to average my cost of nights, keep in mind I’m a long term traveler so I’ll be traveling for the entire month of 30 days. if I then jump over to a place like Stockholm in Scandinavia, the cost of a hostel might jump upto $30 a night (oops i just checked its $20 but lets assume its $30), the same for Berlin at present time. So if I stay in the $5 a night place for 15 nights and the $30 a night for 15 nights the total comes out to a monthly price of $525, a touch more than my actual monthly budget for housing in the Balkans but still not bad. Id probably add 5 nights worth of camping instead of the Swede hostel and get it down to $375 which is just about the right price for me. Notice that the price of camping per night is $0 that’s quite a budget friendly #.

Slight correction… at present for July it looks like there are multiple hostels available in Stockholm for roughly $20 a night which is within my monthly price target so there you go, not as bad as Berlin. One other tip, if i were serious about going to Stockholm id book immediately instead of waiting, because those $30 nights might just jump upto $40 then id have to sleep in my tent.

Agoda... and a few other sites like Kayak… don’t overlook this site, sometimes they do have flash sales that offer you a lower price than Concerning the site Agoda there are a few differences. Agoda follows a model where they purchase rooms and then sell them at a discount, rather than a commissions based model, this is why the prices are sometimes different (even though they are both owned by the same parent company). One of my minor complaint about the Agoda site is that its kind of hard to tell how much the total cost of the stay is for example, they dont include taxes, the cost of sheets, something of this nature, so just make sure to read the fine print.

I haven’t been to Bulgaria, so this is a logical next step after Macedonia. Its not as cheap or as small as Macedonia, so might take a little more time to cover at a sightly higher cost. The question after this, do i want to take a bus to Hungary or Romania, or a flight to Sweden or Denmark!?!? Ill have to consider, and post in a future blog, thanks for reading….my map so far… and i never made it to my packing, ill do that next

map of the Balkans with backpacking plan
map of my backpacking plan for 2022

Living in Montenegro as an American Expat

Living in Montenegro as an American expat…

Hello traveling guys and girls! I can detail for you, some of my life living in Montenegro as an American expat in this blog post. I moved to Montenegro last summer after having spent a few months in Belgrade, Serbia which I loved. I came to visit Montenegro on a tourist visa from August for almost 3 months of time, so not your typical 1 week or weekend vacationer.

Now Montenegro does have its charms especially if you like the ocean. The primary industry here near the coast is tourism. First, a few things about Montenegro, it is a very small country, mountainous and located along the Adriatic sea across from Italy and within the former Yugoslavia. The population is about 620,000 people so it’s extremely small for a country. It borders on Albania which is the country I moved to afterwards. The capital Podgorica is a smallish big city that is located on a plain away from the ocean near the center of the country. It’s not even close to the size of Belgrade so it can barely be called a city at 156,000 vs. 1.37 million.

Getting to Ulcinj, Montenegro. I took an interesting bus ride from Belgrade to Podgorica to Ulcinj. It was memorable for several reasons. Namely because of the number of hills and mountains we passed in the night. It was an overnight bus and I was seriously afraid that the bus driver would drive off one of the 100s of cliffs we passed. It was a 12 hours long ride, more about driving here in Montenegro later. From Belgrade, many Serbians go to visit Ulcinj and many parts of Montenegro for summer vacation via plane or by car. A traveler can fly into either Podgorica or Tivat which is along the northern part of the coast. Ulcinj is actually a very small beach town along the very south portion of Montenegro. Here it is affordable even for the hottest and most popular part of the summer and this is what drew me to it. Go to the north, and it’s much more expensive to rent for August. the same is true for Croatia, prices up there are pretty ridiculous unless you want to visit in the winter.

Now there are certain things that were memorable about my trip over to Ulcinj and the surrounding areas, here we have a tourist town on a hill with many beaches around. There is a small castle/fortress area, the rocky beach area, the Little Beach at the center of town, and what is called Ada Bojana Velicka Plaza, which is translated to big beach, which is a huge flat beach about 2 miles south of town and doesn’t have any mountains. On the other side of this is Ada Bojana which is a nudist island, memorable for its own reasons, and I’ll get to this later.

So, just a few notes about my moving there, I took the bus to Budva Montenegro but there is also apparently a bus to Ulcinj from Belgrade, you just can’t buy the tickets online. I mentioned the hills earlier, that was a bit scary and the second issue was my luggage, 3 big jumbo suitcases, a backpack, and a bicycle, quite a haul. I was able to get these into a taxi in Belgrade, then get them to the bus station, then aboard the bus for roughly $2 per bag, so only $6 total, flying with these items is much more costly. After I arrived in Budva, which is a cute upscale area, a little more so than Ulcinj, I then hired a local taxi driver to take me to Ulcinj, this cost me a bit more $$$. It took about 1 hour’s time and cost $50. The taxi driver helped me with my bags going into a guest house in Ulcinj.

I spent the summer time, a few weeks/months in Ulcinj and going to the beaches here, cycling, droning with my Mini 2, boating, and hanging around the beach doing just summer stuff. I didn’t do any fishing here but I am considering buying a pole, since I do have a small rubber boat inside my luggage – one of the reasons that I have so much luggage. I also spent some time hanging out in the local cheap restaurants that are not a bad price for a burger. Here is a vid I filmed along the main drag… uploaded YouTube.

ulcinj montenegro
ulcinj near big beach

After my time was up in Ulcinj I actually moved to two different locations, I spent one month at a guest house in Ulcinj, and didn’t really like the owner too much, but the price was decent for the room type. I switched to another place over in Ada Bojana Velicka Plaza that was more expensive, for about 2 weeks, and after this I moved to a place called Sutomore, Montenegro which also has its charms, this was in September to October of 2021, and I’ll tell you why it was memorable. Sutomore is a small beach town that is up the coast of Montenegro about 30 minutes in between Budva and Ulcinj. The taxi driver who drove me from Budva to Ulcinj was badmouthing Sutomore because it was the cheapest place you can rent along the coast in Montenegro.

My time in Sutomore Montenegro. When I arrived here the summer was winding down and it was interesting to see the place becoming quieter into the fall, in my mind this was memorable. Sutomore I would describe as charming in the fall. I stayed in an Airbnb up a hill about 1/3 of a mile from the beach. It was a super affordable price, one of the lowest prices I’ve paid for a monthly rental for a private room with A/C, tv, its own private bathroom, and a fridge! Here i spent my time at the beach or inside the restaurants on my laptop as I’m somewhat of a digital nomad/pro tourist and social media fiend. I also used to play with the strays along the beach one of whom was adorable. One town south, is a place called Bar, Montenegro.

sutomore montenegro

Bar, Montenegro and the fall season. In order to get to Bar, you must either hitchhike or take a local private bus for about $1. You can’t walk along the roadside because there’s not one and there is no sidewalk, there are also big trucks that come barreling down the windy roads without looking, did I mention hills and curves? So once one hitchhikes his way over to Bar, there’s a bit more of a town there, including some shipping centers, a waterfront, sports facilities, and bigger resorts that cater to cruise ship customers. there is also a port for loading and unloading. You can see this video that I took in Bar which I uploaded to Youtube here! You can see how it’s kind of deserted in the Fall, enjoy.

Moving… Later in the fall it became very dark and rainy here in Montenegro, and beach season ended. Over in Sutomore many of the business shut down for the season, and hardly anything was left. on October 20th I made the choice to relocate to Tirana, Albania. I hired a private taxi driver to drive me from Sutomore to Tirana for about 120 Euro, it was a smooth trip, and I needed to get a Rapid covid test to enter Albania, and passed the border by land.

Visiting Essaouira Morocco, Medina, Souk, and the beach!

Hey traveling guys and girls, are you looking for information on the old town in Essaouira, Morocco? Theres a souk inside the old city walls as well as a town, and rustic fishing port and village here as well as a wide sandy beach. This quiet small town definitely has its charms as a vacation spot and ill tell you why soon. If you want to know a bit more about who I am, I am a semi-professional travel writer, photographer, and full-time traveler from the USA. you can see more about my adventure on my About page. Nice to meet you!

barren desert near Essaouira morocco
Looking pretty barren out here in Morocco

Now on to Essaouira, Morocco. There are two buses which run from Marrakech to Essaouira, they are CTM and Supra Tours. The fare is $7 to $12 us. Both are professional lines that are used to dealing with tons of western tourists mostly from France. Each line runs multiple times from Marrakech to other cities, and to the coast multiple times a day. Just to add a bit more color on where and when I was here, I flew from Marrakech to London on April 27th, its now May 14th, 2022. I took a bus from Marrakech to Essaouira on April 7th, where i booked a small boutique hotel room towards the back of the souk and stayed there for awhile. if i had to choose which bus line id have to go with CTM for the onboard wifi.

Now in Essaouira there are several things that you can do there. One is shopping for artwork and rugs at the various craftsmans shops in the souk. I personally didn’t have any room in my one bag, but these are definitely worth checking out and at least taking a few photos or window shopping.

Your second choice is to do wind surfing or kite surfing at some of the local schools near the beach. Sometimes you can live in a hostel near the schools. Heres the main beach on my Youtube Channel, pretty barren isnt it? its nice and flat, the water is clean as well, along the back of the beach there are some restaurants where you can sit and watch the water. I sat at a place called Finatic near the center everyday, and guess what they do serve beer during Ramadan as long as you have your passport; more on this later. The staff is very polite and professional.

Essaouira, Morocco, riding horses. A 3rd choice that you have for your activities in Essaouira is to ride horses or camels on the beach. As you can see i love horses! make sure to talk down the owner to a lower price, i ended up paying $5 for 20 minutes just for a quick ride on an Arabian.

This concludes our tour of Essaouira its pretty small and you should only need a few days to cover it, unless you want to spend more time relaxing, as a final treat, here’s my tour of the northern end of the city, which dead ends on a deserted beach on Youtube. Thanks for watching.

Living in London vs. New York as an expat …

Hi guys if this is your first time reading this travel blog, you can read a bit more about it here, in my personal description. Ive only had the blog now for less than 10 days but have been a full-time traveler for about 30 months, more specifically I left JFK Airport at 12:10 AM, December 11, 2019 to Taiwan via EVA Air. Its now 2022 so that puts me gone quite awhile. That’s 76,204,800 seconds gone on vacation or 882 days.

So I have a lot of subjects to blog about … I just recently arrived in London from Morocco, here’s a partial intro. As mentioned I came from JFK airport and had previously resided in Manhattan and Brooklyn for many years. I’ll be describing some key similarities between New York and London. Let me tell you we get a lot of Londoners coming over there. I used to be associated with a transportation company in NYC, and it was like every other person who came to visit NYC was a Londoner. Technically its not that far for an intercontinental flight, about 7 to 9 hours depending on the winds and which direction that you are flying.

A neighborhood in North London

London is pretty straightforward as a city, its got a few central neighborhoods like Kensington and the city of London, I used Buckingham Palace as my central point of orientation, whereas in NYC you may want to use midtown Manhattan. One key difference is that London is WAY more green. It seems there are trees and parks all over the place especially as you get a bit further away from places near Buckingham Palace. For NYC the main feature is the skyline, I would say. Manhattan being an island filled with huge skyscrapers.

While they are both considered large, NYC is actually about twice the size of London. Technically the city limits house about the same 9 million or so, but if we count the metro areas, London is at 12 million, while NYC is now over 20 million (data courtesy of Wikipedia). One thing that I can recognize is that along with the high-rises, NYC is actually a bit bigger in the financial world, you just have a lot of companies that are over there, in both Midtown and Wall Street, while London does have finance and its own stock exchange, I can just tell its a bit smaller.

Both cities get a lot of tourists from god knows where, and they both house a lot of immigrants. London has a lot of residents of descents from India Pakistan, Africa, and the middle east, whereas NYC has a lot of Mexican, Chinese, Russian, and many other places. People from both cities are in a rush, haha, and there’s traffic in both, but NYC takes the cake again. Traffic there is really on the horrific side, whereas Londons is just moderate to bad.

Here’s a key difference you may be interested in. Londoners are a bit more laid back, conservative and polite, while still being in a rush. Now there’s a saying that one Londoner told me who I met in NYC. The food in London is more bland than in NYC because Londoners are more polite while New Yorkers are more direct… interesting point. The food in London is not that bad, there’s a quite a mix, but ill get to that in another post. I find Londoners to be pleasant, whereas once you get to know NYers they can be vicious, if you work with them or just a bit on the short tempered side, but it really just depends on the person.

New York is WAY more expensive. Some people think that London is more expensive, but i think the reason that they claim this is because perhaps they dont have experience living in both cities, or perhaps it is because of some level of ethnocentrism. Generally London is cheaper than most major cities in the USA. How do i know? i spent some time searching for the cost of housing both on major housing sites, and for hotel rooms and Airbnbs. In Manhattan you may find that its hard to find something below $1600 USD, there’s just no bottom end for housing. Around here in London you can probably get something a little further away from places like Kensington for around $700 to $900. I know because i found a few listings on Airbnb for monthly rentals. Secondly, a lot of the tourist attractions in London are free. I seriously had some trouble finding sites that i needed to pay for, museums, galleries monuments, and so on. Finally, for shopping for food at a grocery store I saw some items, quite a few that were for below 1 GBP. In the USA its hard to see anything for this price level, for example a can of sardines, package of cookies, carton of milk etc. If we go to restaurants, both London and NYC are expensive, but over in NYC they just like to charge tourists a lot more, and there’s nothing for free! Happy Travels!

Cost of Living London vs. New York budget

Greetings guys and gals! I just moved to London 7 days ago. I am an American from New York city. I spent a lot of time living on the Upper East Side on 91st Street, in Brooklyn in Park Slope and Bay Ridge so i really know my way around the city. over here in London, I have to say i am quite pleased that the price of life compares favorably to the cost of living in New York City and other places in the United States. Here is my analysis of the Cost of living London vs. New York….

Wilessden, London, UK

I am a budget traveler. So just to tell you a bit more about my goals, I am actually just doing a 3 week layover in London. I want to see a few sites here and there my first time, with a plan to come back later to live in the country awhile as a tourist. Additionally I am going to tell you a few secrets for saving a few bucks in London if you don’t mind roughing it a bit on basic living expenses. Of course, London has a lot of high end expensive places to spend money and it has its share of billionaires and mansions that we see on TV.

Cost of Food London vs. New York … In London you will find that grocery stores tend to be much cheaper than restaurants with the starting prices for 1 meal about 5 GBP ($6.27), in the USA its probably $7 to $10 even for fast food, and just to compare with my previous experience in southeast Asia living in the countries of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, over there you may find 1 meal for sale for $1 to $1.40, meaning a plate of food, with rice, meat and vegetables. The quality is hit or miss but I have to get the nod to Thai food as being the tastiest, most affordable and easiest to obtain in the world I’ve seen so far.

London vs New York, discount food stores

Now here is the good news on London if you are on a seriously tight budget you can use this as your baseline. I did see meals in food stores for less than 1 GBP, or about $1.28 at todays exchange rates. A few examples, a carton of prepared noodles, packet of hot dogs, or 1 can of beans for even as low as 50 pence or 1/1 of a GBP. Sometimes you will find that the local grocery stores at the end of the day will mark down sandwiches and other prepared meals to much below there original prices. Now just to compare with NYC, prices can be much steeper for individual items, such as $3.99 or even $5.99 and its hard to find items for less than $1 or 1 GBP in the States.

Grocery stores in London.. Here are a few of the major chains and they all seem to be of the discount variety… Sainsburys, Tesco Express. Another one is Morrisons, this one is cheaper. A few others are Iceland and Pound Stretcher, as well as B & M home store. The last two are of the serious discount variety with some canned items like sardines, and beans costing as little as 30 pence. Tesco and Sainsburys, of which there are many do have discounted items below 1 GBP. Over in NYC we have places like Whole Foods (aka whole paycheck) and D’agostino, which are definitely not of the budget variety.

London discount store

Rent, hotels & hostels… I personally am not doing a long term stay at present in London, but I did take a look at rooms that were available for rental on Airbnb and Facebook. Of course, the further from the city that you go, the lower the price, and most of all London is safe. One neighborhood I took a look at is Willesden in north London, its more of a working class hood, that is not too far away from Notting Hill, about 2 miles, its also pretty rustic and cool looking with some nice bars. Around here you may be able to find a room for rent for about 400 to 600 GBP and a full studio for perhaps 600 GBP to 800 GBP, which is comparable to cities in the USA, granted this is not a full apartment.

In NYC, Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx, you can probably find a room for $700 to $900 or a small studio for $1000 to $1500. I was living in Brooklyn for around this price of $1500 a month, which is present exchange rates is 1200 GBP. Hostels and hotel rooms in London are noticeably cheaper with the lowest I saw advertised as $13 a night, whereas in NYC I saw something for $50. NYC definitely has the more expensive real estate.

Cost of transportation London vs. New York .. Here its just more about an equal cost when comparing London to New York. In the NYC the classic subway ride is $2.75 no matter how far you go. The buses in NYC are the same price when you swipe the yellow metro card. You are also allowed one transfer between and subway for free and bus to bus.

Over here in London, in order to save money, I use the Oyster card which is cashless card that i bought that can be used to swipe on double decker London buses and the Tube. The tube is actually a bit more expensive than the subway in NYC because here we go by zones. So for example my airport ride on the tube was zone 6 to zone 1. Zone 1 is the central zone in London.

When im in London i always take the city buses because its only 1.3 GBP per ride one way no matter how far you go. The bus lines are straightforward and i use my GPS on my cell to see where exactly we are on the map. in order to get from central London to Willesden through Notting Hill its about 45 minutes to 1 hours time, but this is also comparable to a NYC subway ride to central Brooklyn.! enjoy London, questions welcome!

Best Neighborhoods in London …

So I just moved to some place called Elephant & Castle.. as an American full-time tourist. Its kind of exciting let me tell you. You really can’t go wrong with neighborhoods in London. They are all safe and scenic and green with some being more urban than others. So let me tell you about the hoods ive seen so far. You may have seen my videos on Youtube of city streetscapes, here you can find one i just uploaded of Notting Hill in the northwest section of London. its the same Notting Hill as in the movie with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts.

Transportation into London neighborhoods from Heathrow

About the best neighborhoods in London, let me tell you how i got here, first. I landed on a British Airways flight from Marrakesh, Morocco around 5pm 4 days ago at London Heathrow. The flight was smooth and it was a great experience with them. London has a lot of airports, let me tell you. I took the tube from Heathrow terminal 5 after passing through the E gates at immigration. This part was easy peasy, they asked no questions just scan your passport and your face.

I jumped onto the Tube which in comparison to NYC we call this the subway. I usually jump on city buses because they are cheaper but slower. The locals i met were kind enough to direct me to the Tube, however there is a bus from Terminal 5 that is cheaper but in this case i just decided to go with the flow. You pay by zones on the Tube so it can get pretty expensive versus the NYC subway. The charge was 3.5 GBP. I took the Tube to near Buckingham Palace then jumped on the 6 bus which is a bus that runs along the side of Hyde Park to north London to a place called Willesden, cost 1.65 GBP. This is a place I spent several nights in. Its a humble working class neighborhood that is about 2 miles north of Notting Hill. Its perfectly fine to stop by here… For transportation make sure to check out the details on the Oyster electronic card that you can use to pay for city buses and the Tube (they do not accept cash). I purchased one of these at the airport using my debit card.

Jumping on the tube from Heathrow

Notting Hill and Hyde Park…

On one of my first few days in London I walked down about 2 miles south of Willesden to Notting Hill. Its as fabulous as they claim. Most of the building are whitewashed and older. There are a lot of trendy thrift stores there as well as places like coffee shops. Notting Hill is fabulous and id love to live there. One of the attractions i saw was the Portobello Road Market, which is a collection of outdoor vendors selling all kinds of things. The local restaurants are also selling things like Indian curry food.

Notting Hill

Hyde Park…

Hyde Park is London’s answer to Central Park. its big open and green. it has some more open spaces and is less crowded than Central, much less. London seems to be a bit more spread out than NYC. Its green let me tell you, with a lot of grass. I walked south through Hydes Park to get to Central London and passed Kensington in the process. Just southeast of Hyde Park is Buckingham Palace which holds some royal and govt offices. Just south of this is the River Thames and if you go along the river youll find other parts of central London.

Hyde Park

Elephant & Castle – my stop

On to my stop on day #4 (today is actually day #5). I decided to take the 6 bus from Willesden to central London near Buckingham Palace, then began walking. I walked across one of the numerous bridges and because of a bike race I had to cut through a neighborhood Lambeth south of the Thames. This a nondescript suburban/urban green hood with a lot of complex streets. About 1.5 miles south of this I arrived at my new hotel at Elephant & Castle which is a fabulous hood that is very walkable, a bit on the grungy side and mostly for students, heres where im at…Ill post updates on other neighborhoods soon, stay tuned.. and check out some other related travel blogs here.

Thats me in Elephant & Castle