Posted by: James Shannon | January 20, 2011

James Meets the Soultravelers + My New Destination … Revealed!

The last 48 hours have been quite eventful … last time we talked, I was relaying the demise of my HP Photosmart camera; not exactly my finest hour, as I leapt into a tropical ocean with my camera in the right pocket of my swim trunks. Instant kill, as the power button would not function, in spite of my furiously mashing of said button.

After acknowledging reality and tossing the worthless unit in the nearest trash bin, I boarded Penang Rapid Transit (yes they have transit buses … air-conditioned even!) and headed into the heaving urbanity of Georgetown. Georgetown is a world away from the resort village of Batu Ferringhi … Ferringhi is the beach resort paradise with sun, surf and swaying palm trees; Georgetown is the massive city where most people in the region live and work … it has its attractions, with several malls and tons of renowned food hawker stalls, but it is quite congested and very much a concrete jungle; the rivers of sweat pouring down my back attested to this fact, as the equatorial heat radiated off the sidewalk.

I was told by my homestay host Annie to check out Komtar Mall to find the best deals on cameras. Komtar is basically like the old, deteriorating malls every city has back in North America … except here business is still being conducted, with second hand stores and market-style setups instead of the chic and stylish storefronts people are used to in the newer shopping centres. It was here that found my new point and shoot, a Sanyo E1075 for 368 RM (~$123 CDN). A touch more than I paid for my HP in Canada, but this one has easier to navigate features!

Today was an exciting day, as I met my first internet celebrities (though they don’t see themselves as such, just a family traveling the world that shows others that it is possible to do on an affordable budget of $23 a day per person!). Joan D’Arc (the mother), Da Vinci (the father) , and Mozart (their ten year old daughter) together comprise the Soultravelers. On the road for five years, they have traveled and lived in much of Europe (including Turkey) … and this winter they have made their first foray into Asia, settling here in Penang for the winter, with the focus of getting work done, recharging their batteries, and enrolling Mozart in Chinese Manadrin school in order for her to pick up the language.

I got to relax in the pool on the grounds of their luxury apartment complex (You know SE Asia is cheap when you can live there on their previously mentioned budget!) for the first hour or so … very snazzy looking, when I post the pics sometime in February, I think you will agree! After that, I went up to their apartament on the 16th floor to speak with these fine folks on the subject of world travel as a family and about how they came to be one of the foremost travel bloggers in cyberspace they are currently ranked #2 on the web behind Earthexplorer. With the killer view of the Andaman Sea behind us, we spoke for more than a hour on a wide array of topics, and I came away feeling encouraged about the possibilities that I could achieve on the web with a little hard work and some luck (this is out of my control, so I’ll throw my efforts into the former)

Finally, I’ve identified my new destination: come Sunday, I’ll be boarding a plane for Malaysian Borneo. Yup, THAT Borneo. Kota Kinabalu, here I come!



  1. Happens with cameras, had a similar thing in Cambodia. Have a great time in Borneo

    • I’ve made a rule banning all cameras from swim trunk pockets … should fix that problem 😛

      Thanks, should be a wild time! Landing in the shadow of SE Asia’s highest mountain at about 4,000 metres high!

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