The Globe Trekker

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Ann C. Liquete, Erik R. Trinidad, (photos)

Filipino-American Erik R. Trinidad writes when he travels and humors when he quips.

After all, the former Lycos travel columnist has delighted readers of the New York Post, Chicago Tribune, and Arther Frommer's Budget Travel magazine, with his true tales of tourist "first times" and foreigner "faux pas".

Uluru, Australia. May 2003

In his blog, Erik wrote that he has traveled to the seven continents of the world "with a curiosity for exotic foods and a thirst for adventure (and writing material)".

"In his many adventures, the ethnically ambiguous-looking thirtysomething has been mugged at knifepoint in Cape Town, extorted by corrupt Russian police on the Trans-Siberian Railway, stranded in tornadic storms in the American midwest, and air-lifted off the Everest Trail by a helicopter that was thankfully paid for by his travel insurance," the self-description on the blog goes.

From October 2003 to March 2005, Erik traveled on a continuous 16-month trip around the world, blogging each day with his detailed and sometimes humorous style of storytelling. The blog, which has received over 75,000 unique hits from a global audience, originally began as a small on-line journal for a few family and friends, but evolved into an internet phenomenon within the travel communities of Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree and

In this interview, Erik shares his tips on travel, budget, and how to experience the beauty of the world as it is.

MANILA BULLETIN (MB): You started off as having a business on your own. When that didn't work out, you reinvented yourself as a travel writer. Was this a conscious decision for you?

ERIK R. TRINIDAD (ET): I am working on my own as a freelance designer in New York, and it's been very lucrative thus far -- in fact it is this freelance business that affords me to continue traveling.

I like to keep my two "identities" separated though, like leading two lives: one as a freelance designer, and one as a traveler/travel writer. It was a conscious decision to pursue travel writing on the side; I love doing it, so I figured I might as well try and work my way up the ranks doing it, whilst supporting myself as a designer on the side.

Ati-atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan. MB: What would you advice the first time traveler?

ERT: Don't be afraid to try new things. Learn to leave your comfort zone. Challenge yourself in what you do, and what you eat. Your senses are more alert when you leave your comfort zone; let them experience something you can't at home.

MB: What are the tips and techniques of making the most use of your travel money we haven't heard from in travel mags?

ERT: Well, it depends which magazines you're reading... ;-)If you are on a budget, there is always a cheaper way of doing things.

Take local transportation, eat local food. You don't always have to spend money on places that cater to tourists. Share when you can, from rooms to food. Buy groceries and cook on your own if you can. Remember that life on the road only has to be as luxurious or frugal as your regular life at home. …