YOU are the Universe, and the Universe is YOU

This site is a mix of "where is?" and "how to..."  travel links for the solo traveller. It's really my public travel notebook. There is no system in what I cover. Anything useful I put here.
If I see it, if it's useful and if I've experienced it, you'll find it here.
The aim of this site is to find the 'do-it-yourself' budget options in travel.  Travel experiences are on my blog
 "Treat your dreams-including yourself--as you would treat your beloved."
  --- Florinda Donner-Grau

If you have plenty of money, or 'work' is paying, then this site is probably not for you.
So that's why I talk about the cheaper options, because with plenty of money where would be the fun of  it all ?  You just walk out the airport, grab the first limousine :-) 
So save your money to help others, buy electronic toys or just keep on travelling longer ...
you could do random acts of kindness as in this .Post.   ..... a video that kind of shows the principle of pay forward, or what I love in the story of .Magnificent obsession

What is it about us Western tourists that we try to avoid each other overseas ? We constantly want to find new unspoilt places free of tourists like ourselves.  We love the dream of being the only ones, the intrepid explorers, going where no gringo has gone before ,'Doctor Livingston I presume ?'. And yet we create tourist ghettos where we meet and whinge and complain about all those tourists (like ourselves) spoiling everything.

We love the pancakes and mango lassi and cheap beer, but when out of the ghetto we pretend those other tourists don't exist.

We are a strange contradiction indeed. 

Life is a journey, an adventure and a quest. Travel is the same, on a smaller scale. It puts priorities into focus and reduces things to essentials such as: find food ! find place to sleep ! find transport ! What you can take with you is limited by how much you can physically carry....


Swordmanship’s first achievement

Is he unity of man and sword.

Once this unity is attained,

Even a blade of grass can be a weapon.

The second achievement is when

The sword exists in one’s heart

When absent from one’s hand,

One can strike an enemy at a 100 paces, even with bare hands.

Swordmanship’s ultimate achievement

Is the absence of the sword in both hand and heart.

The swordsman is at peace with the rest of the world

He vows not to kill,

and to bring peace to mankind

The king of Qin, in “Hero” by Zhang Yimou

In travel as in a quest, the key is our intent and attitude.

I my experience there are two kinds of countries:
those where people and human feelings come first, and those where the system, the rules comes first.

Each has it's plusses and minusses. Neither is better or worse, though I have my personal preferrences.
Heaven would be the best of both - hell would be the worst of both.
No prizes for guessing which one Singapore fits into.

No place is entirely one or the other, there is mix of both, though it might be 60:40 mix or a 10:90 mix.

In the  'feeling first' countries deadlines and times are flexible and rubbery, any rules are subject to negotiation. The people are friendly and easy to relate to and helpful to strangers. If there is a problem there is always a way to solve it humanely.
If you break a local rule, people understand and smile or at least cope.

You feel connected, cared for, there is a creative solution to every problem.

chaos and going round in circles achieving little tangible output.

YOU are the Universe, & the Universe is YOU

In the 'system first' countries the rules count above all else. The people believe that the rules protect them from horrible lawless chaos that would destroy all.

Stuff gets done, things work, busses and planes leave on time.
You can find out about how things should be and if you do it the 'right way' all is generally fine.
If you break a local rule, people will send bad vibes at you or tell you off.

The system can easily dehumanize people, and take away their sense of empowerment and even  responsibility in some areas.
- "I'm just doing my job"
The power of the system to mould and affect the way people feel and behave is beautifully showns in the Stanford prison experiment, documented in detail
for a caricature of the worst of the 'system first' mentality all  those Word War II movies making fun of my home-country, featuring manic rules obsessed and stupid Nazis is a pretty good illustration.

  The most developed pages are at the top in the left column and start with '1, 2, 3 ...' (such as the Taiwan page) , the least developed minimal pages start with ' 6,7, ...9'.
What do I write about ? Depends where the 'Winds of Fate' carry me. 

Links are usually shown fully expanded not embedded. This is so that you can print the page and have all the link info printed as well.
If you find information that you think I would be interested in, you are welcome to email me:

My "what was it like ?"  travel experiences are here Haiko's travel tips

happy travelling.

Haiko or Heiko ?
In English Haiko sounds the same way as Heiko does in German.
My name is German, a male name.
In Japanese Heiko/Haiko is a female name.
In German Heike is the female version.

A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving
- Lao Tzu

Places to stay - Accommodation - applies to anyplace on Earth (almost).
Book accommodation anywhere in the world  from budget hostels and guest houses to five star.  Instead of repeating the accommodation section for each destination here is all the info on one page.

A man who truly loves the adventure of travel, he talks about finding kindness in the desert

This guy has some provokative ideas on his blog
Don't believe what you see on TV, the world is a nice safe place. (where would TV, & news be if they said just nice things ?)
An interview with a guy who travelled for 4 years with his bicycle

International development jobs,  volunteering, contract work, poverty alleviation and education... This is the most comprehensive site  I've seen, it also has a good discussion and education section about all and any aspect of International development - Great stuff by the Kiwis :-)    (used to be called Dev-zone)

About travelling

He who would travel happily must travel light.  Antoine de Saint Exupéry                  Travel light  - how ?

Need to plan everything first ? or just go ?  Work it out as you go along --- >

Working: less can be more, and more can be less

Life is not about waiting the storm to pass, it is about learning how to dance in the rain!

Photo's of places visited:
Picase photos:

Healthcare and travellers
How did this site start ?
I used to keep all my travel info on my hard drive, or notebooks. That did not help other people, and I kept losing things, so I changed it to this public site