Back to the Future for The Longest Way Home

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ January 5th, 2011. Updated on January 14th, 2012. Published in: Travel blog » Website updates.
Looking up at a palm tree

Looking to other destinations ...

The Longest Way Home Leaves The Philippines

Call me clichéd, call me sentimental, call me stupid … but I wanted the last post from The Philippines to be somewhere around when my timer would tick over. Six years of travel complete on a search around the world like no one else. Aside from the billion or two other people trying to do the same thing as me.

Minus maybe putting it all down in print like this. I’ve been deluged with email since my last journal entry. So, thought it best to write something about where I am going; beyond just another country.

I started traveling over 14 years ago; but I am now entering my 7th year of travel without going “home” to recharge my batteries, like only home can do. Why, because I have none. Still …

A big Filipino table of food

One last huge fiesta table of great Food from the Philippines

How close was The Philippines to home?

Like anything else in the raw reality of “real” life, this is not easy to answer. And, I probably won’t have one for a while. The Philippines will take hindsight to properly make a conclusion on.

A friend who once lived here told me:

“You can only handle living in The Philippines for a few months at a time. Not unless you like San Miguel to forget the other months.”

I don’t quite agree. But, I see his point. And, I need an almighty break.

Ending up in The Philippines, and staying …

For those that don’t know. The Philippines was meant to be a 3 month stopover to upload photos, check the place out, and rest after my overland journey. Over two years later and I have only just left.

To be frank, The Philippines surprised me in being so accommodating in my search around the world. I in no way expected to stay here so long, unless of course it was a place to live.

The three main things I fought to earn and learn here:

  1. Social Integration or living overseas within a society is perhaps the single biggest obstacle for a journey of this kind. This is simply not something you can do in 1 month, or even 1 year.
  2. The second biggest obstacle of bureaucracy and politics today is a lot harder to overcome than 6 years ago. Or at least, the raw reality of actually legally living in a country is more than many can imagine.
  3. There are some very honest people in the world still. Local people in The Philippines, away from the tourist zones and rich, are such wonders. It’s confirmed to me the future of many things. It’s a lesson I already learned, but still find fascinating in this pivotal time in history.

What can you do in two years?

“If you’ve passed by two years of your life and not learned something other than to ponder, then you’ve not lived. I encourage you to stop pondering, and live your dreams.”

This website

From a free host this site earned its first $10 to buy a domain, and then onwards to paid hosting, and onwards …. Yes, from nothing, to several thousand people a week reading and searching throughout it. I am proud of this. This is not just a “travel blog”, this is the raw reality of a real life travel journal; and all the experiences learned are placed here to help everyone …

Other websites

I’ve become heavily involved in building websites for businesses / individuals; and in teaching about business development from the ground up.

This was not something I thought about 2 years ago. But it is something I seem to have fallen into today.

Photography & Writing

From five-star chef menu’s, feature photo galleries, to ebooks, brochures and coffee table books. There’s a growing in-demand portfolio emerging.

Tourism Development

My blunt and honest approach to writing about places I visit is paying off. I noticed it when some .gov email addresses started to appear on my email subscriber list.

“It’s one thing to write about a wonderful place and ignore the shadows. It’s another to tell the raw reality of a destination.”

The end result is working with those involved in tourism development to identify what’s going wrong. As opposed to the age old business plan of how to make “something” better.

Identifying the problems, and creating solutions is a lot more efficient and productive. It also shows immediate benefits and results.

Private sector

Then came the private tourism businesses And, being honest, most of the private sector have been time wasters. Looking to offer free trips to their resorts / services. SEO companies looking for sponsored ads in my content etc.

I am not interested. Instead I urge you to work with me to help your business in person. I will not promote here for the sake of a trip. This is my travelogue about my journey, and no more.

“If you want me on board, then come up with an idea so that we can do both. I’m happy to work with you like no other.”

The Longest Way Home manuscript

The publication industry requires more than just a manuscript, it requires a lot of time, and finances. The return on investment is not directly seen through publication sales either.

The Book

Much to the chagrin of a few literary agents, I’ve put it all on hold. I simply have too much on my plate right now. For those that don’t know about the “print” publishing business you should realize there is very little money to be made in the actual paper publication of a book these days. Not unless it makes the New York Times bestseller list. And, either-way, it takes a huge time / financial commitment.

The benefits are found in the sub sectors of marketing a book. Book tours, appearances, seminars, signing etc. It’s a big subject on its own. Right now I am forced to leave this on a back burner. My journey is my first and foremost priority. The literary agents I am working with are aware of this.

Meanwhile, if there are other bright sparks with ideas to get both things done, I am all ears. Let’s see what happens …

The TV proposal …

Gosh, who’d want to make a TV series about a guy traveling the world in search of home? The answer is somebody. Now this really has been a learning curve. There is a movie about how this “industry works“, I can’t remember its title (John Cusack). But, it comes pretty close to reality. Early days like the above.

Proud moments …

Along with several people who comment and read my travel blog, we created awareness about the endangered Tarsier in Bohol. To the point of getting statements from World Wildlife Fund for Nature. Special mention to Ivy for her help. You may be interested to know that the WWF launched a big awareness and fund-raising campaign in The Philippines recently for projects like these. Well done to all involved.

People around the world have seen my Seeing the Unseen Travel Stories series, and together we’ve explored areas and people of The Philippines that no one else has covered.

If these were not accomplishments, I don’t know what are!

The Longest Way Home Readers …

Did I ever think I would say community here? No. But the people who comment here regularly have really been amazing with their great feedback, thoughts, views and honesty.

When I am on a hot sticky bus, or sitting without electricity at night, or eating lunch on a roadside street stall and then see a comment come in from my phone … well … it really matters. So thank you.

Some big changes: Less online, more on the journey

Over the past few months I have been pulled further from my journey and more into a virtual online world. Both have positives. But, for me, I need to go back to what brought me to the dance. My journey.

Take it that from here on; I’ll be less on external social network sites like Twitter and Facebook. Instead I will be on the road and writing it up right here.

No more freebie emails

This is a real journey, and not a commercial travel site like Lonely Planet. As such I’m also putting the very many email questions I get about how to travel, how to book a tour, and all the other things that many get paid for back into the site.

I’ll be writing up great How to travel guides on where I go and placing them all in my travel resources page. So no one will miss out. Any commercial type questions that are sent in about how to do things I’ll be transferring to this style of format for a while.

Regular readers that email me and those that comment here will be getting full priority as always!

Raising the travelogue bar

There is, to be frank, a lot of crap out there when it comes to travel sites at the moment. The travelogue seems to have gotten lost in the fray of make money now blogs, “me, me, me,” blogs, and buy everything from us blogs that fill the internet these days.

Over the next year I have every intention to restore faith in the honest to goodness travelogue; for the sake of a great read about a real travel journey.

“I promise that you’ll see things on this website that few other people ever get to see, or experience, no matter the destination.”

Come here safe in the knowledge that no one will try to sell you anything or bore you with recycled content. Nor tell you what you should or should not be doing with your life. That’s up to you to make decisions on. I already have for myself, as you can read here.

What happens to me at the end of this journey is anyone’s guess, that’s the point in following along. Maybe you can learn from what I’ve learned, and from my mistakes.

Come here, find great original content, learn practical and helpful travel tips. Moreover come here to read and enjoy the real life adventure of someone shooting for the stars making a dream come true.

The next destination …

If you are new here, welcome. Please read about The Longest Way Home to get a better idea about what this journey is about.

Then subscribe below to get even more!

“My first travelogue from a new country should be up mid January.”

Get an email subscription to The Longest Way Home

Honest, practical and helpful how to travel guides, articles about exploring todays new world cultures, how to live overseas, great photography and one of the most popular Travelogues in the world are all delivered free via email (I highly recommend it!).

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Coming Soon

A separate helpful article about living overseas – learn how smiling too much can be fatal


My first post from a new country …

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44 Great responses to Back to the Future for The Longest Way Home

  1. Stuart says:

    That’s a busy 2 years. You have got me hooked, its all very outstanding

  2. sealdi says:

    Your stories of life in the Philippines have helped me looked at my country in a different perspective as well. And yeah, what else could best sum up what I’ve “pondered” from your blog so far (and i-requote your own quote):

    “If you’ve passed by two years of your life and not learned something other than to ponder, then you’ve not lived. I encourage you to stop pondering, and live your dreams.”


  3. Beautiful.
    Dance the dance my friend, the journey is all we got.
    Much love & support your way as you reach your goals.

  4. Cristine says:

    “If you’ve passed by two years of your life and not learned something other than to ponder, then you’ve not lived. I encourage you to stop pondering, and live your dreams.” — What a lovely quote!

    Those are wonderful accomplishments! Congratulations and I am sure you’ll have more as you go along.

    Where are you going next? :)
    Like many others, I eagerly await the revelation of your next destination.

  5. i love this – you’re so honest – and, i am glad that you’re moving on to a new place. sometimes, we need change in order to grow. not the small changes in daily life in a different country, but a new locale. i can’t wait to see where you head next!

  6. Ted Nelson says:

    Good luck on the next stage of the journey.

  7. LeslieTravel says:

    Another great post! I enjoy reading about your adventures and hope you get a book, movie and TV deal. More power to you! Where are you heading to next? Don’t keep us in suspense any longer, please :)

  8. Jurgen says:

    I look forward to see where the journey is leading you to and what you will write.
    Bon voyage.

  9. Miss Turista says:

    “Come here, find great original content, learn practical and helpful travel tips. Moreover come here to read and enjoy the real life adventure of someone shooting for the stars making a dream come true.”

    That’s why I love reading your blog! Can’t wait to see where you’ll be heading next!

  10. Ivy says:

    It’s you that the Tarsier has to thank in the first place, Dave. ;) A lot of species are threatenend with extinction. Therefore, we can’t just sit down, doing nothing. It’s simply our duty to help endangered species all over the world.
    Looking forward to your new stories … :)

  11. Gretchen says:

    You never write, you never call and you never visit! There’s lasagna and dolma in the freezer just waiting for you. LOL!!!!!! ;)

    Travel safe, my friend. May the winds of change fill your sails and keep you on course. (Yes, I have my eye on you, as always.)

    • I had to run a search on Dolma … Lasagna it is then. Crispy cheese please.

      Thanks for keeping an eye on me, I think that’s a good idea these days :)

      • Gretchen says:

        Dolma = stuffed grape leaves (beef, rice, tomatoes). They are good. Especially with the madzoon (yogurt w/ crushed garlic). Married to an Armenian/Norwegian – now there’s a mix of genes and cuisines for ya.

        Hey, I am Captain Isa of the TPS Happy Traveler pirate ship. That’s what Captains do – keep an eye on their brethren. ;)

  12. Nicole says:

    I think you nailed it with the 3 things you fought to earn and learn, but those go not just for the Phillipines. I lived in the Caribbean and found those same 3 to be huge. Social integration was a major challenge even though we were essentially living with locals, politics and bureaucracy is why we had to leave, but wow, there are some fantastic people living with very little in the world. Looking forward to hearing more from you! :)

    • Indeed, learning comes from every country. When looking for a place to live, moving from country to country is often like a “reboot” due to all of these 3 things. Everyplace is different. Glad to have you along :)

  13. Earl says:

    This is already a travelogue like no other and your honest approach to everything you write about separates your posts from the heap of ‘recycled posts’ found elsewhere.

    Not only am I looking forward to reading about your future adventures but hopefully learning and connecting with you some more in the coming months!

  14. Sounds as if you are breaking through the upper crust of this profession, Dave. Good going with getting back to the source of what travelogue writing should be — a continuous record of your journey.This takes balls in an occupation where stale, made for everyone and noone in particular, articles sell.

    I think the tv series idea could really work out with your journey: it has a start, a projected end, and all the real life drama in between.

    I like your resolve to sticking to the roots of your journey, but feel that elements of you goals may be easier to accomplish after your book is published. Man, I say sit in seclusion for a month, work hard with the editors, compromise, and get that thing out. The media world wants to connect you with something, and “Dave, the author of the book Dude Looking for Home” will give you an added provenience to take into all of your other projects.

    It is my impression that you have taken large steps towards publishing that book, I say you get it done before some other wanker takes the carpet out from under you.

    Wish you the best in this new year, and hope to meet up somewhere on this long road.

    • As always you bring up strong points Wade.

      TV Series: When realistic expectations are met

      The Book: Easier said than done. I think many people take a month off to edit. The issue is not the “edit” the issue is pre/post publication resources. One needs to dedicate a lot on this if it’s to move in this day and age. An English written book quite simply needs to market an audience. This is done a lot in person throughout the USA / UK / Australasia. Time and resources vs current projects. Let’s see what can be done.

      Travelogue: indeed there is so much recycling going on out there it’s a turn off. Practical how to’s, and a good travel story are hard to find anywhere these days. Even in a book store. At least here people know where to come for both. And if it’s too hard to read online, they can always subscribe here at get it delivered to read in their own time :)

  15. Lois says:

    It’s sad to know you’ve left Dave. We’re waiting with bated breath to know where you’ll end up next!

  16. Akila says:

    Congratulations on your next steps! It sounds like you have a bright, uncertain, and possibility-filled future ahead of you!

  17. Priyank says:

    Hi Dave,
    All the best for next year and I especially liked your commitment about travelogues. I love your writing (I read most articles on Tibet) and that’s a genre I like to read too, so I’ll look forward to it!

  18. Kristina says:

    worth the trip. worth the stay.

  19. Marco says:

    I’m sure you’ll be back in the Philippines.

  20. MarissaFH says:

    Good luck on the next stage of your journey.
    Waiting to see if it’s somewhere I’ve been as well, so that I can revisit through your eyes.
    It was good reading about your journeys in the Philippines, and passing on your posts to others, so that they can also benefit from your honest write-ups.
    Stay safe.

  21. LU says:

    Nice to find again your website………..

    Thank you again for including my special friends in your write-ups for the past years…
    Goodluck in your long journey…

  22. Jason says:

    Dave, I enjoy the honesty in your writing and wish you all the best for your continuing journey. From someone who’s spent several years on the road during my younger years, six years is along time, and no doubt you’ve had plenty of ups and downs. Your sum up, of the world of ‘travelogue’s’, I believe is extremely accurate, but it’s substance that will stand the test of time. Flicking through some of your older posts from years gone by, I think you have plenty of that. Hope you find what you’re looking for mate.

    • Hi Jason, many thanks for stopping by, and the kind words.

      There seems to be a bit of a vacuum out there at the moment. Or perhaps it’s more an influx of dust covering over a lot of good content. Your own included. I enjoyed reading about your Legendary Traveler. It’s always good to find content like this out there! Well done for highlighting it.

  23. Nisha says:

    Your site has helped me in making my trip to Philippines and from that day I have subscribed to you thru reader. I have been reading your posts diligently and they inspire me a lot.

    Can I gently ask why this discrimination between e-mail subscribers and other subscribers for your free e-books? :)
    Even I would like to have one.

    Can I request you to send me as well? :)

    • I’m glad to hear my site has helped you with a trip to The Philippines, and that you’ve found some inspiration here :)

      No problems in asking about the free ebook too.

      To cut a long story short. The reason it goes out to email subscribers only is that it’s a lot easier to manage. I send it out manually once a week due to travel and time constraints. I did try very hard using RSS as a means. You might recall mid last year a “subscriber only” category & a few posts that briefly appeared. This was meant to be one of the delivery options. But, with social media the private RSS post quickly made the rounds and was … well no longer for RSS subscribers only.

      Email simply works. There’s no problem is someone just subscribes for the ebook, get’s it, and then un-subscribes again. As you know, there are only about 2 updates every week so it’s not so spammy :) Also, email subscribers also get a behind the scenes look at many things that don’t appear on the site. Again, I tried via RSS but the medium simply wasn’t efficient enough to deliver the content well enough.

      No problems about asking though, and you should have something in your inbox later on in the week when the batch goes out :)

      Top Places to Travel and Photograph

  24. ciki says:

    Oh you clever boy.. ! Cumi & Ciki Blog are big fans of The Longest Way Home! You are so near now, better come and autograph our baby’s head. MWUAHAHAHA :P

    Fight the good fight. Keep up the good blog!