This Intrepid Traveler Discovered His Love Of Globetrotting In 2015 And Hasn't Looked Back Since
What is GAFFL?

GAFFL connects solo travelers with similar itineraries to explore destinations together. Whether you are backpacking in Asia, road tripping in Australia, or exploring national parks in the US, simply type the destination you are traveling to, find travelers who are going there at the same time as you, connect with them, plan trips, meet, and travel together.

GAFFL
28th Jan | 9 min read

Table of Contents

    David, who is originally from a small town in Missouri, initially fell in love with travel and the great outdoors in 2015 while hiking in Colorado's rocky mountains. His first significant international adventure was a road trip across Iceland the following year. Due to his limited budget, he spent almost a month sleeping in the back of a rental car while driving 7,000 kilometers throughout Iceland and shooting all of its picturesque locations. One of his first videos racked up a few million views and he got featured on international TV by BBC Travel.

    Since then, he has traveled alone to numerous developing countries, including almost all of those in Asia and the Middle East. Nothing could stop him despite the earthquake in Indonesia, the bombings in Bangkok, frauds, fights, illnesses, motor accidents, and other bizarre events he encountered. He enjoys traveling on a tight budget and rarely spends more than $30 a day, including lodging and food. He set a personal record for himself in 2018 by visiting 24 countries in a calendar year!

    For updates on all of his adventures, make sure to follow him on Instagram and his travel blog, The World Travel Guy. You can also connect with David on GAFFL

    David The World Travel Guy

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    How I Met My Wife

    I met my wife Intan through friends, while I was traveling in Bali in 2017, and then we got married in Bali in 2019. Before we met, she had already been to Singapore several years ago and enjoyed traveling, so of course, we both wanted to keep doing it.

    We’ve been traveling together for years now, and each trip has been wonderful! One of her favorite trips was this year’s visit to Santorini Greece.

    David The World Travel Guy

    How We Decide Our Next Destination

    We get a lot of inspiration from Instagram and other travel blogs. Our favorite continent to explore is Asia, and we especially enjoy tropical islands for the sun and warm weather. As a result, we’re usually traveling in Southeast Asia, in beautiful and affordable places like El Nido Palawan in the Philippines. We also love Oahu Hawaii and we often visit friends there.

    We are minimalists and basically live our lives out of a suitcase, so our trip preparation is usually pretty easy. One of the only challenges is when we visit a place that can be both hot and cold. For example, I’m currently planning a trip to Guatemala to do a high-altitude volcano hike that can be very cold at the summit, so I’ll have to pack a coat and cold weather clothing, but the rest of Guatemala is usually hot all year round.

    Worth Reading: 10 Best Tips For Backpacking Southeast Asia


    Exciting Stories From Some Of Our Favorite Adventures

    I’ve been blessed with some amazing travel experiences over the years.

    Two of my favorite bucket list items were the Taj Mahal in India and the Hagia Sophia in Turkey. I always wanted to see the Taj Mahal but never thought I would actually have the chance to go there.

    Another great experience I had was a whirlwind trip through a bunch of countries in the Middle East in 2018, where I solo traveled to several bucket list items like Petra in Jordan, Baalbek in Lebanon, and the pyramids of Egypt.

    In 2019, I did the 100-mile round trip trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal. I didn’t enjoy the extreme cold and altitude, but the mountains were wonderful. It was an experience I’ll never forget!

    Worth Reading: This Couple Is On A Mission To Provide Immersive Travel Experiences That Benefit Locals & The Planet


    Countries I Have Visited

    As a solo traveler, I visited almost every country in Asia and the Middle East (so dozens of countries in total), plus most of the U.S. states

    One of my first major international travels was a solo road trip across Iceland (in Europe), where I slept in the back of a rental car for 1 month and drove 7,000 kilometers around the country, filming all of the scenic places in Iceland.

    I didn’t even have a handheld camera at that point (just a drone and my phone), but it was an important trip that helped launch my career as a world traveler.

    Read more: Medha Did 10 Days On The Ring Road In A Campervan And Shares Everything You Need To Know To Have A Successful Trip!

    David The World Travel Guy

    Best Memories Of Hanging Out With Locals

    The locals in Bali are the nicest. We have a special friendship with our driver in Bali, and every time we go somewhere with him it’s like being with family.

    I always enjoy meeting new people in Indonesia, and they have so many stories to tell. One time in Bali we joined up with a snake catcher company while they rescued and relocated a King Cobra. 

    We got to see the highly venomous snake and take pictures with it! It was amazing being so close to one of the most dangerous animals in the world.

    Read more: Here's Why Marcella Visited Bali Twice During Her World Tour


    How We Budget

    When I first started traveling, I had a pretty small budget to work with. In Iceland, I slept in a rental car for the whole trip because I couldn’t afford the pricey hotels there. Even the food was very expensive.

    Nowadays, I have a bigger travel budget, but I still try to limit my costs. We aren’t picky about accommodation and we don’t always need to be super comfortable. We did a road trip in New Zealand with a camper van in 2020, and my wife Intan did all of the cooking. It was great and we were able to keep our travel costs pretty reasonable.

    In 2020 and 2021, during the corona pandemic, we traveled to some remote islands in Indonesia with no showers (water buckets only) and almost no electricity except by generator. We got to see some amazing places like Sumatra and the Banyak Islands during this time, and it was all very budget-friendly.

    Read more: 10 Best Countries In Asia To Live For Cheap - Digital Nomads, Expats, & Retirees (Cost Breakdown)

    Inspiration For Starting My Blog

    I started my travel blog in 2019 to document my own world travels and to try to help others explore foreign countries on a budget.

    I basically explain how to visit famous landmarks and do epic hikes around the world, plus things like beaches, waterfalls, volcanoes, wildlife, and other interesting experiences. It’s my mission to be the best travel blog on the internet. I really enjoy the photography I do for my blog, and many of my photos are special to me because of the memories they bring back to me from our travels. 

    I also love hearing from fellow travelers around the world and helping them enjoy some of the same places I’ve gone to in my travels. That’s rewarding for me.

    Worth Reading: The 8 Best Places To Live In Bali For Digital Nomads


    GAFFL For Solo Travelers

    GAFFL sounds like a great idea for solo travelers who are tired of traveling alone and want to share their experiences with others!

    For travel apps and websites, I also like All Trails. It’s easy to find all kinds of hiking information there, including trail routes and distances, etc.

    David The World Travel Guy

    How We Balance Travel & Work

    It can be tough sometimes for me to balance work and travel. I prefer to spend a month or two traveling, and then a month or two blogging. I’m not good at blogging while traveling, so I need to have some downtime.

    And of course, there’s the traveling aspect too! We spend most of the year traveling, so it can be challenging to find time for all of this blogging work. 

    I’m definitely sleeping less now that I have a blog to manage. I often stay up late working. However, I’ve learned to prioritize more time on writing, SEO, and photos. These seem to be some of the most important aspects of the blog.

    There are so many blogging-related tasks that I have to do on a regular basis. Some of my tasks include: 

    • Writing new blog content

    • Responding to emails

    • Working on my website design, layout, or bug fixes

    • Search engine optimization (SEO) for my website

    • Researching new places to travel

    • Brainstorming new blog topics

    • Photo dumping & editing

    • Video dumping & editing

    • Honing my camera skills

    • Making social media posts


    Scams To Look Out For While Traveling

    You always have to watch out for scams while traveling, but most of the scams I’ve come across have been petty theft-type scams where you might lose a few dollars (or a few hundred).

    One of the common scams is when the locals tell you a guide is required to go somewhere, and then try to force you to pay a crazy amount of money for the guide. Later on, you find out it’s an easy hike, and a guide isn’t actually required for it at all.

    One of the biggest challenges for a traveler in poor countries is the lack of safe transportation. I’ve had many scary rides and close calls in cars and boats around the world.

    If anything gets me while traveling, it’ll probably be something like that. We once got caught in a bad storm on the open ocean in Sumatra, and we were sure our little boat was going to sink or be shipwrecked. Traveling is not always the safest profession in the world, but I still love it!

    Read more: Instead Of Spending Their Savings To Live A Normal Life, This Couple Decided To Travel The World In Search Of Authentic Experiences In Each New Country

    Tips For Travel Enthusiasts

    Start traveling as soon as you can! I wish I had started 10 years sooner. I would have a lot more experience under my belt, and my blog would be better established.

    Southeast Asia is a great place to start traveling full-time because it’s unusually cheap and safe compared to other parts of the world.

    Read more: 10 Best Tips For Backpacking Southeast Asia


    Things I Wish I’d Known When I First Started Traveling

    I wish I had known how easy it is to travel. I used to think it was too dangerous, too expensive, or too complicated. It’s really not any of those things. There are some challenges at first, but traveling the world only gets easier as you go. The same is true of blogging. I hope you’ll give them both a go. 

    The main lesson I’ve learned in the process is that I still have so much to learn about the world.

    Every day is an eye-opening new experience, and each new country I visit reminds me how much I love traveling. The travel industry is an amazing field, and I’m so glad to be a part of it!


    Tired of traveling alone? Connect with users from over 190 countries to plan trips and travel together!
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