Are you going anywhere nice on your holidays?


Sharing some stories below, @madfeentravels is an Irish adventurer who has visited 30+ countries so far

We have all been asked this question. I always love seeing the look of shock when I reply with my next off the beaten track destination. The next few questions are ”you are crazy? ”wasn’t there a war out there?”, ”you will get kidnapped”. I love debunking the travel myth of ‘no you can’t’ to ‘yes I can!. So here are a few of my travel adventures:

Burma, 2011 when the county started opening up after years of sanctions. There was no ATM machines, no mobile phone signals and only cold hard currency accepted. It was funny to watch the Burmese examine the US dollar to make sure it was a perfect crisp bill while their own currency was in bits.

So in typical Irish fashion I went off to visit the local temple during the hottest part of the day temperature was 43 Celsius. When entering the a temple you can’t wear any shoes or socks by the entrance. As I crossed the yard the stones were baking hot, so my feet were on fire. Had to pour the drinking water on the ground & stand in the puddle. The locals started to take pictures of the tourist who can’t take the heat. Next temple the locals were convinced I was a professional soccer player so I gave them all my autograph & stood for pictures. 

All the taxis in Yangon were from the 1980’s and still had the original tape decks. Going back to the airport the taxi we ordered was an interesting experience. First the passenger door wouldn’t open, the driver tried to open it with a screwdriver and I had to climb in the driver’s side. There were no safety belts working so I used my bag as an air bag. I was so happy to get to the airport in one piece.

Bangkok, I hailed a taxi which was kitted out as a discotheque completed with neon lights in the roof. After visiting James Bond Island, Phuket the boat got stuck in a sand dune at low tide, so the crew had to jump out and start to push the boat. The most random stuff I have seen was on Thai TV about the history of the toilet roll and finding a tattoo festival outside MBK shopping centre in Bangkok.

In Belarus went for a ride in a tank, fired an AK47 and went ice skating all in the same day. If you are in Minsk go for a visit to the street art murals in Kastrychnitskaya Street and the apartment where Lee Harvey Oswald stayed.

It’s always good to travel with your friends as you find out the value of friendship. Off we went to visit Alcatraz, I stopped to take a picture of San Francisco Bay from the prison turnaround to find my friends were gone and left me on the island.

If you travel in Cambodia make sure you don’t arrive into Phnom Penh in the middle of monsoon. There was only one road which wasn’t flooded, this was my longest taxi journey 4 hours it took to get to the hotel normally takes 30 minutes. The water was so high the waves were hitting against the door of the taxi, we could have swam more quickly.

When I visited Beirut on the way to the hotel the taxi passed by the waterfront, so I decided to go for a walk down to it. The streets in Beirut are very narrow, I couldn’t find the way to the waterfront and got lost going back to the hotel. Spent 2 hours walking up and down passed the hotel eventually only to discover there was a large overhanging tree blocking the hotel sign.

During a trip to Albania discovered that Norman Wisdom was a national hero to the Albanians. They have written songs, dedicated a statue and even named an airplane after him. Found a  Communist café in Tirana where the staff wear 70’s style military uniforms near the former mausoleum for Enver Hoxha; the former dictator of Albania. It was built in the shape of a large pyramid but nowadays people race up & down the sides.