Hi, welcome to our travel blog. We’re Belinda and Didier living in the Flemish part of Belgium. We have been traveling for a long time visiting 95 countries on six continents and counting. I started to blog about our trips in 2008 as a hobby. The idea was I have something to read on later of what have we done during our trip.
I sign up for a distinct platform where I blogged our trips. As I wasn’t satisfied with one website, I sign up for more. Unfortunately, two of the sites closes down along with my blog where I spent time and years of writing. In 2018 I signed into this site where you find our latest trips. See my BLOG HERE.
Shortly after that, I decided to make my website. In February 2019 SHAVYSWORLD was online! The title Shavy is a combination name from my daughter Ivy and son Shane.
When searching for a title for a website, it was no doubt finding the right name as I always wanted my children to be part of my blog. My children grew up traveling. However, they now have their own life. My daughter lives in Australia; she has the character from me, an adventurous girl. She has exploring Southeast Asia for six months. Moreover, my son is a late bloomer who has just started his adventure in Southeast Asia.
Traveling is like a hobby for us and continues to do so. Is travel expensive? No, not really, it depends on what you do during your trip. We’re not staying in a five-star hotel or dine in a classy restaurant, the most important thing we have a place to crash at night. We avoid hostels; we’re too old for such kind of accommodation.
Reserve the airline tickets far in advance!
The airfare, the most expensive on the trip. Did you know that you can book the flight for up to one year in advance? Booking far in advance is a significant saving on airfare. We mostly booked the plane ticket from ten to six months in advance.
Planning a trip is easy. Admittedly, we do have difficulty choosing a place to go, although, we have a long list of the destination we don’t like going back to places where we already been. We visit non-European countries twice a year, which happens in spring and winter — and often going on a short European city break. You rarely find us home during the weekend.
No organized trips!
We did it at the beginning of our trips. That time there isn’t much information to find on the internet, in an equation of these days. Organize trips not only expensive, and you strictly had to follow the programs and rarely have freedom. Countries we went on an organized trip; Egypt, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua. We realize after coming back from Nicaragua, asking why not do it ourselves? Since then, we went our way. Planning your trip saves you a significant amount. Airline tickets are easy to book through their websites — cruises or day tours, easy to book on the spot.
I am originally from one of the islands in the Philippines (Cebu) and always have an interest in travel since my childhood. I came to Belgium in 1985 at a young age, following the love of my life. And I’m very thankful for the man to actualize my dream.
I’m an avid person who loves to learn new things
Despite this, I don’t like going to school to learn Dutch. I prefer self-study. Uh, don’t underestimate me as some people do. They look at me like I don’t understand the Dutch language. I speak and write Dutch, basically, West Flemish (Westvlaamse)
I’m subsequently following different courses from the past years as I love going to school to learn new things and meeting new people. I study a web designer; as well I continue my Spanish lesson. I love to speak different languages, as well as French but not a comfortable tongue to learn; I quit after one year. I learned Spanish about eight years ago, and I realized how imperative the language when traveling to Spain, North and South America, so I’m hanging on.
MY FIRST SOLO TRIP ABROAD
I always wanted to experience the adventure on my own! To achieve that desire; I choose the United States (California) as my first destination. I just bought myself a return ticket and booked a car as I’m planning to visit a childhood friend from the Philippines living in San Francisco.
As part of the adventure, I haven’t booked any hotel as I don’t want to be tied up with my time. But it was recommended to book a hotel for the first night, silly me! The whole plan fetches me a lot of trouble with the airport officers in LA. My trip has a lousy start; the worst thing still happens if you continue reading.
AMERICA IS A DREAM
America is beautiful for first-timer like me. Ever since I’ve been to the States like dozens of times already. But that time I’m young and inventive not much experience with the world yet. I find motoring in America was the coolest thing to do. I’ve lost many times, especially on highways missing the exits but found my way back. A navigation system did not exist yet. I get the atlas book from the rental company, and I didn’t know how to use it haha. So I buy a good road map at the gas station.
I flew to the United States without a plan. I knew I’d be in San Francisco on my last days visiting a friend and I’m returning home from there.
I have my Lonely Planet Travel Guide Book with me; I always got it with me everywhere. However, these days, a lot of information from the internet but I still travel with the guide book.
Devices like a cell phone and tablet don’t exist yet. I studied the map and plan my route for the next day. After crisscrossing for a week in California visiting beautiful places, I decided to make my way up to Las Vegas before going to San Francisco. Coming from Grand Canyon, I took the road to Las Vegas.
The Sin City And Robbery
Uh, Vegas is an exciting place, not for gambling but to sniff the atmosphere, a city that never sleeps.
I arrived late in the evening after a long drive and searched a hotel outside the strip — I check-in into a budget motel not far from the boulevard but an inconvenient location.
After I settle down my stuff into the room I walk to a store nearby to buy some food; I had gone like 10 minutes, and when I came back at the motel saw some guys standing in the hallway.
I have trouble opening my room door, and one guy asked if I need some help, but I refused. Once I’m inside, he suddenly pushed my door open. He’s stronger than me because he is inside my room with a knife held against my neck. He grabbed my handbag and took all the cash in my wallet. I’m a fool, why did I let all my money in my purse? I realized afterward.
What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas
That said, my first time on a solo trip was a nightmare! I have my confidence on this trip. I thought America is safe for a solo traveler. I have been locked up in the bathroom in my hotel room but managed to get out and call for help. There was a police circus that night around the motel. And the worst thing, I have to identify that guy. The cops caught up five men staying in that motel; the five guys were suspects of other mugging happen in that motel. It appears happens the night before, and they think it is from the same man. As I’m confused after what happened, I didn’t recognize him. They moved me to another room but my night already ruined, I can’t sleep anymore.
Overcome the Occurrence
The next morning I checked out and drove to a bank to withdraw money. I’m fortunate having my credit card separate in the pocket of my coat. From there, I search for a hotel inside the strip. It is pricey but safer from where I been. My first solo trip was a horrific experience but didn’t stop me from going on my next adventure. It teaches me a lot and makes me a stronger person and more adventurous — my solo journey followed by Australia, Canada, Mexico, and most countries in Europe.
The bucket list
We have a long list of places and slowly going in that direction. Our biggest dream and on the bucket list at the moment is ANTARCTICA. The only thing that scares and keeps me from not going is the temperature! I don’t have body fat and got cold very quickly. The second thing is; I have seasick. During the cruise in Galapagos Island, I’m a mess! I didn’t enjoy the trip entirely, but with medication, it gets better. There is always something to hold you back from not going! Health, time, and money? When it comes to money, my slogan: You can’t do anything with the fortune when you’re gone! Spend it while you are still alive! Explore the world, join to SHAYVSWORLD!
Argentina, Didier’s fave country!
Argentina was a real adventure trip we ever had and the first destination in Latin’s America. We were considering going on an organized tour. However, we decided to do it ourselves. We haven’t precisely an itinerary on this trip, as well no accommodation booked except for the first two nights in Buenos Aires. We booked a car as our plan to drive around. Argentina is a vast country, so the easiest way for us to start is to Buenos Aires, as well the most natural way of flying from Europe.
As we own the car for two weeks, we drove a long distance every day — the most natural way of exploring the country with a vehicle, no traffic except in big cities.
The most disaster we ever had when arrived in a small town at night and no accommodations available. There were only a few houses, the people told us to drive further, and we thought just a short drive, but it is more than one hour drive. Driving in the dark, in a deserted road, was so scary. Since then, we’d try to arrive early in a bigger town. Uh well, despite some mishap, we had a great time in Argentina and were able to combine the trip with three other countries in the neighborhood such as Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay and our dream come true to see the massive waterfalls (Iguazu).
New Zealand is my favorite!
We visited New Zealand in 2009 before the first earthquake happened. From the 95 countries, this is by far my number one favorite! What I’d like in NZ, the people are so kind, and the impressive landscape! I would say, Iceland has the similarity, but still, none beats NZ. However, we did it again, flying over there without booking accommodation in advance. We do have an itinerary this time as we need an arrangement with the car. We started the trip in the south and ended up in the north. We visited in November which was offseason, finding a roof for our head wasn’t a problem.
We got fines!
The landscape is too impressive we didn’t keep an eye on the speed; we suddenly saw the blue flashing light behind us. What the cops said, a typical tourists thing “enjoying the view but didn’t notice how fast they drive.” The police were laughing at us. We didn’t have to pay on the spot, but one month later, after the trip, we receive the fines. Next time we’ll be careful. The stipulation we had for our non-European destination we only visit once, but we’ll make exemptions of going back to our favorite country the one we loved.