It is a beautiful day in Bondi Beach Sydney Australia so I have to get out and do some grocery shopping and enjoy the beach. I’m staying at a sandstone surfer dwelling 300m from the beach. I’m still trying to find the right mix of text, pictures, and videos and get these updates out on a timely basis so please comment to provide some feedback on what works best for you.
The second travel adventure – It’s a bit longer this time
This is my second major travel filming adventure. The first was a month in a half trip in Asia December 2011 when I traveled with an SLR camera and filmed a Travelogue adventure entitled ChicVoyage in Asia. I managed to film San Francisco, The Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas before I returned to the workforce in April 2012 and during the making of ChicVoyage in Asia I began to feel an attraction for Australia. During the rest of the year I was inspired by my sister and friend Denny’s bold decision to relocate their life from Vancouver to Toronto to think about embarking on a longer term trip where I had a chance to work and live in a different country.
So off I began researching and I came across a working holiday program that Canada offered to individuals. A working holiday program allows individuals a more straightforward approach to obtaining a visa to work and live in another country. These programs help streamline the process for obtaining a visa to work and live if you are under 35 with most requiring you to be 30 and under. I settled on a working holiday to Taiwan and along the way I would make stops in some of the most livable waterfront cities in the world in countries such as Australia and New Zealand.
My first stops from Vancouver would be in the islands of Maui and Oahu in Hawaii.
What is it like being free from the corporate world and how was it spent?
After I informed my manager that I was leaving the company and the message got out I was invited to plenty of lunches and had an awesome send off party. Thanks guys. These types of social gatherings provide positive energy that I’ll bank on for any adversity I may face ahead. The first days of waking up are liberating because you don’t have to wake up to a schedule that you don’t control. I formed a regular habit of sleeping late at 1-2am and waking up at 9-9:30am. My routine consisted of making myself fresh coffee, selling items on Craigslist , and trip planning.
To prepare for a more mobile lifestyle I traded in my 27 inch iMac for a 15 inch mac book pro for mobile video editing and work.
I now was now free to do work at good wifi spots through out Vancouver Canada. Some of my favorites included Urban Fair at Yaletown Roundhouse and Athletes Village. They offer what I call a hassle free wifi service meaning no passwords or time limits that Blenz Coffee shops do. Other good spots to check out include Giovanni’s Cafe at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, JJ Beans on Burrard (only location with wifi), Edge Cafe, and WholeFoods in West Vancouver. These places offer you good food, nice atmosphere, comfortable seating, washrooms, and free water. In my books definitely a step up from some coffee shops.
However freedom didn’t come without it’s responsibilities. The idea of leaving everything behind to travel and film the world sounds like an attractive idea, but what does it actually take?
For starters I had to purge any possessions that I wouldn’t be traveling with and pack enough to film, travel and relocate my life. Not an easy task. There are things like selling your car and major possessions, getting travel insurance, planning your trip, securing cash flow, and paying your bills. Planning for a trip requires project management skills. There are many logistical things to plan for. Other things I did:
- upgrading my camera equipment and videography skills
- tried to run my own SLR workshop
- purging and selling major possessions
- started a kickstarter campaign
- had many lunches and dinners with friends
- extensive planning for my potentially 1 year working holiday
- a going away potluck party
Yes I was busy. Leaving work and the city does have its benefits. I recommend you try it. The trade-off is that it is super sad to leave family, friends, and colleagues.
The first stop Maui – the ocean front condo experience
I decided to make a pit stop on the way to Australia with my parents. The first stop was in Hawaii where I had an awesome stay in Maui at an ocean front condominium. Words cannot describe the feeling of being at the oceanfront and experience perfect weather enjoyed from the Lanai (patio). Perhaps pictures and videos can. This google map outlines what the main attractions planned were and the red line and black spots track what we managed to visit.
View Maui in a larger map
Highlights of the trip and usable itinerary:
You can use the map above along with the information written here as a usable itinerary for yourself. I didn’t get a chance to complete everything I planned to see in Maui. Perhaps you might.
Snorkeling at Black Rock Kaanapali Beach looking for turtles.
The Black Rock is known as a popular destination for snorkeling and the Kaanapali beach. We drove in search of the Black Rock and found that there was free parking next to the Sheraton hotel with access to the beach. The beach was not crowded and the water was slightly colder than luke warm water. I took my snorkeling gear in search of turtles. I asked some people in the water for some tips and one person motioned to the area near the black rocks. Will I find a turtle? Watch the video to find out. Please excuse the production value. I’m experimenting with reducing the publishing time and still keeping quality, but it is difficult without some editing help.
Tip: there is free covered parking adjacent to the Sheraton hotel with beach access.
Tip: if you are snorkeling for turtles you will find more sea life near the black rocks
Waking up at 3:30am in the morning for a driving video tour up to the 4th highest point on the planet at the Haleakala Crater to enjoy the view and the sunrise
travel guides will suggest that you wake up and ride your bike up for the sunrise and ride back down. I recommend that you drive up in a car. There is a long stretch of uphill road to get there and although this means fun times going back the road is narrow. I’m proud of my parents for making the effort to wake up, however we just missed the sunrise. Give yourself plenty of time to get up there. Google the sunrise time and use google map to plan to work backwards to figure out what time you need to leave. Is it worth it to drive up here? If you enjoy adventure and panoramic views then yes, but this is not as awe inspiring on the caliber level of a grand canyon. My official Maui travelogue video will feature video footage of the Haleakala.
Lunch at the town of Lanai where we enjoyed a local beer oceanfront
If you are staying in the Northwest of Maui chances are you will drive past the town of Lanai. I think Lanai is one of the few towns in Maui, and I’ve read it’s a tourist trap. What you will find there are narrow streets and a clusters of restaurants and tourist attractions along the ocean. Yes it is catered to tourists, but I suggest you still visit. We went there once for lunch at the Kool Kat cafe and the second time for a drink at the Koa’s Seaside Grill. I will vouch for Koa as the beer was good, prices fair, excellent service, and prime time ocean views.
More on the experience of staying at a private ocean front condo
I found this condo through VRBO and arranged to provide a video of the apartment for a good deal on the accommodation. This non hotel experience worked out very well for myself and my parents. The apartment had kitchen facilities, laundry, pool, ocean front lanai, parking, and wifi. I think that going through the VRBO route ends up being better value and a better experience for a traveling family. Also what are the chances you will score an Ocean front view at a reasonable cost in Maui? If you would information on the place I stayed at please comment below.
I recommend making a stop at Costco if you have rented out a private space with a kitchen for your food and alcohol. You get a great quality and value. The alcohol generally works out to half the price for an equivalent bottle in British Columbia, Canada. If you have a Costco card in Canada it works in the US. Cool!
Tip: If you have an unlocked phone you can get a prepaid Sim card, which is invaluable for navigating the island and doing research. Hertz offered me a GPS device for $60 for 5 days, but a prepaid sim can provide audio navigation with unlimited data and voice for $2 a day with Tmobile.
Tip: if you are looking for recommendations on restaurants and business services use a website or smartphone app called “Yelp”
You will find this part if more brief. I spent much of my time filming condo apartments there.
I flew to Honolulu where I arranged for an awesome chic condo at the Ilikai Marina with an awesome view of the marina and the Hilton Lagoon. We took an inter-island flight with Hawaiin airlines and then took a shuttle from the airport. Watch out for some of those sharks that try to get you in their shuttle as soon as they spot the lost look on your face. Shop around first using the shuttle services listed by the phone in the airport. We paid about $22 for round-trip from the airport to our condo.
- The scene at Waikiki
We stayed at the Ilikai Marina, which is a private condo building which is a 5 minute walk away to the Hilton Lagoon. The Hilton appears to be the anchor in the Waikiki beach area and you can figure out how central your accommodation is to this hotel. The Modern hotel is in an adjacent building to the Ilikai Marina and features a cool pool and bar/lounge area worth checking out. It is an international crowd, very family and tourist oriented with a large volume of Japanese people as well as young and fit people at the beach.
- A front row scene for the fireworks at the Hilton Lagoon
Our condo owner told us that the Hilton offers fireworks every Friday night, but we were lucky to catch them on a Wednesday night. You can see the fireworks by the lagoon.
- My experience attempting to surf at Waikiki after a decade.
The beach is very crowded and hot at Waikiki. A suggestion is to bring beach chairs or towels and plenty of sunscreen. Rent your board from across the street from the Hilton for about $20 to save yourself some money. When I was there in May there were not that many surfers in the ocean. The ones that were there are quite far from shore and the waves are not that strong. After expending a lot of energy to get out to the area to surf I found most of my time was spent waiting for the waves. I also forgot to take off my sunglasses, which mean I was being careful not to let the waves knock them off.
Okay I’ve finally made it to the end of this post for now. If you enjoy this updates and would like to keep receiving them I would appreciate that you support our kickstarter campaign http://kck.st/ZLc6xv. After the campaign is over (42 hours at time of writing) please email me to see how you can help. I try to produce independent content so it stays clear of any external influences.