Meet the Nomads – Bino Chua of I Wander

If you’re looking for a blog that writes about exotic places that we can only dream about like Iran, North Korea, Bhutan, East Timor, Georgia and more the you should check out I Wander.

I Wander is created by Bino Chua who’s originally from the Philippines but now living and working in Singapore. He shows us that it’s possible to maintain a balance between managing a career and at the same time fulfilling your dream to travel. This is one of the best blogs to follow if you’re wondering how to manage your vacation leaves and go to far flung places.

Get to know more about Bino, learn his best tricks about traveling and follow his adventure at I Wander.

But before you leave this page, check out my short interview with Bino Chua.

Meet the Nomads - Bino Chua of I Wander

How did you discover your passion for travelling?

“I’ve always had this fascination for maps since I was a kid. I could just stare at random places on the map and wonder what I would find there. Then this travel show called Lonely Planet (now known as Globe Trekker) came out in the Discovery Channel in the early 2000’s and from then on, I was hooked!”

What’s the most horrible experience that you’ve had on the road?

“Traveling for 4 hours on a rickety open-air minibus from Dili to Baucau in East Timor, with the inside as cramped as sardines and with a pig squealing the whole way on the roof. It wasn’t exactly a great experience.”

What’s the best travel experience that you’ve ever had?

“One of the best – and surprising – experience I’ve had was my entire trip to Iran. To be honest, I was beginning to doubt my sanity before going on that trip as everyone, from my family and friends, heavily discouraged me from going. However, my encounters there were nothing short of amazing. In no other country have I witnessed the strongest disconnection between reality and what is portrayed by the media than in Iran. The people were extremely friendly, even going out of their way to help. I’ve had people insisting on giving me money for bus fares (I never asked for any!), giving me food and inviting me to all sorts of places without asking for anything back.”

Meet the Nomads - Bino Chua of I Wander

What’s the biggest realization that you’ve got out of travelling?

“Despite how closely people guard their own culture and traditions, and how cultural diversity is often touted these days as being politically correct, that people are more similar than one may think.”

What keeps you going? What keeps you motivated?

“I have this unquenchable thirst for discovering new places and cultures and at the end of the day, this is what keeps me going. Actually, my trips are rarely the relaxing sort and often physically draining, but because of the mental stimulation I get in dealing with unfamiliar places and meeting people from all walks of life, I find it personally fulfilling.”

This is a silly and hypothetical one. If you would be given a chance to travel with a popular person or a celebrity, who would it be and why?

“It would be Ian Wright, the funny host of the Globe Trekker TV series during the earlier seasons. He always seemed to be genuinely enjoying his trips and had a knack for making a connection with the locals, regardless of where he was assigned for the show. It was from watching his shows that I got the idea of traveling to off-beat places like Iran, Uzbekistan and Georgia.”

Meet the Nomads - Bino Chua of I Wander

Where’s your favorite place in this planet and why?

“That’s a hard one. While people may be expected to give some less-trodden locale, my favorite place is none other than California. The place has got a personal meaning since I lived there for half a year when I was still studying and had a real blast there. I think that California in general is pretty laid back but at the same time allows one to enjoy the great outdoors as well as the big city life all at the same time.”

What’s your best tip for newbie traveler?

“Do your research on the place as much as possible rather than just copy someone else’s itinerary. It helps create a more fulfilling trip that way. Also, don’t be afraid to explore new places, even those that none of your friends have been to. You may be pleasantly surprised by what you see and the people you meet.

What’s the funniest and silliest thing you’ve ever done while travelling?

“I had this silly “experiment” some years back where I tried hitchhiking in a couple of Asian countries to see whether there’s any notable difference in people’s receptiveness. One of those places was Singapore, where hitchhiking is totally unheard of! Through the windshield I could make out people laughing at me, but after a short while I did have people stopping to pick me up!”

How do you fund your travels?

“Well, I have a full-time job so unfortunately my source of funding is pretty conventional. That being said, I don’t spend a lot on nice clothes or fancy dinners which gives me more leeway in travel-related expenditures.”

How do you keep yourself safe on your travels?

“I research about the place beforehand to get a better view of the safety situation. Once there, awareness of my surroundings is essential. Also, I try to blend in with the locals wherever possible.”

What do you think about yourself?

“There is so much to life of which traveling is one aspect. Within this sphere, I would like to think of myself as a self-proclaimed part-time wanderer whose aim is to show that it is possible to balance one’s travels with the other aspects of life.”

Meet the Nomads - Bino Chua of I Wander

“I Wander documents my journeys as a part-time wanderer. While I can’t say that I live a nomadic lifestyle, I’ve discovered many ways to make the most out of my limited time for trips. In the site, I share my top tips and ideas as I navigate around Stalinist states, charming European capitals and Southeast Asian hotspots!” – Bino Chua

Editor’s Note: All pics are provided by Bino.

Comments

  1. im a fan of this guy. astig ang mga trips!

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