Welcome everyone to the Friends That Carry On Podcast where we dive deeper into our trips, unpack tips, and everything in between. Now sit back, relax, and get ready to go on a trip with your favorite group of friends.
Jim Scott 00:20
Hello and welcome to the Friends That Carry On Podcast, also FTCA travel podcast, a little rebranding started to happen there. We are a group of friends who like to travel the world, initially started off with trips trying to create FOMO within our own group of friends, and inspire them to travel. We decided to get together, share our adventures, hopefully inspire others to travel, and give good info and travel tips about our adventures. Today, the friends we have in house, we have myself, Jim Scott, Tony Price and Brian Roman.
Brian Roman 00:56
Jim Scott 00:59
Today, we have the pleasure of a great guest. We have Palle Bo, the radio vagabond. Palle is from Denmark and until the last few years, has been a force in Danish radio from a morning host to sales manager, moving up to station manager, and then a co-founder of 17 radio stations. From there, Palle founded Radioguru. I’m not good at saying that but hopefully you get the gist of what I’m trying to say there. They do radio productions, campaigns, he does lectures on the subject, and has been nominated and won numerous awards for that work. Now, while Palle still has Radioguru, at age 50, he decided to sell a lot of things in his life, his home and that type of stuff, and head out on the road. He became the radio vagabond. His goal is to travel the world with a quest of visiting all 193 countries in the world. So, Palle, welcome to the Friends That Carry On Podcast.
Palle Bo 02:08
Thank you so much. I’m so glad to be here.
Jim Scott 02:12
If I understand things right, you are currently in South Africa. Is that correct?
Palle Bo 02:18
That’s correct. I came just before lockdown to Cape Town. I’ve been here ever since. They don’t have any commercial flights out of the country. I’m stuck here, but for me, it’s not the worst place to get stuck. I really love both South Africa and Cape Town in particular.
Jim Scott 02:42
I want to come back and go in detail on South Africa, but let’s back up a little bit and talk about how you decided to just sell everything off and head around the world. What entered into that decision?
Palle Bo 02:56
Well, I’ve always lived in the same small rural part of Denmark all my life. I had two daughters, and I could see at some point, they would grow up, graduate, and move out of the house. I thought, that’s my window to go explore the world. In the beginning, I was just thinking of trying to live a few years in another country. Then I thought, “Hey, I can do my work anywhere. So, why don’t I just live a life on the road, go out, and see a few places.” It wasn’t as big a plan at that time. The idea came to me in 2013. I could see three years down the line, they would grow up and move out. In that time, I toyed with spending two years on the road. In fact, in the beginning I said, “around the world in 80 weeks,” which just had a fun ring to it, but that’s only a year and a half. I thought “Nah, maybe that’s not enough.” Then it’ll be two years, then it became four years, and now I have been traveling for four years. I left in July 16. I have no plans of settling down again anywhere. I’m keeping on traveling. The whole project has grown for me. In the beginning, I didn’t say that I wanted to go to all the countries. That came later, after I started traveling actually. Now, I’m saying I’m continuing to travel until one of my daughters starts settling down and having a family. I probably want to be back home or wherever they are in the world and being a part of that. For now, I’m thinking at least 10 more years of traveling, but you never know. It can be tomorrow that I get a call from one of my daughters. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I joke with them sometimes and say, “Oh, all my friends are having grandchildren. When are you going to give me some?” They’d say, “Oh, settle down.” They’re 23 and 26 right now. It’s not going to happen anytime soon. I’m sure.
Jim Scott 05:22
That’s pretty amazing. Had you been much of a traveler prior to deciding to go around the world? Is that something that was part of your regular routine or was this whole adventure?
Palle Bo 05:33
I always enjoy traveling. I did the typical trips for vacation. I come from a country where everybody in the country has six weeks of paid vacation every year. I know that’s something that makes you, Americans, jealous. I did a lot of traveling there. Because I worked in the radio industry, I went to conferences all over Europe and a few in the US as well. I’ve been invited to be a speaker, so I went with work to both Iran and Iraq, and India. I’ve been traveling a lot but I’ve never lived in another country. Like I said, it was the same, small radius of 20 miles in that area I lived and not close to any big city. I had been traveling but only for shorter trips.
Jim Scott 06:38
Brian Roman 06:40
How do you decide, Palle, where you’ll be staying in, for how long, and how do you choose the type of place you’re staying in? Are they all hotels or is it a mixture of things?
Palle Bo 06:52
No, very rarely hotels. When I’m staying longer, it’s typically an apartment where I get my own place with my own kitchen and my own space. With the Airbnb, it’s become so easy, especially if you stay around a month. You’ll get a really good discount. I’m using Airbnb a lot. When I do shorter trips, I do couch surfing. I do house sitting. I’ve done quite a bit of house sitting where I get to stay in a house and take care of dogs or cats or water plants through trusted house sitters. I’ve done that a lot especially in the US and Europe. I also stay in hostels. I don’t even mind staying in a dorm room. Not for weeks on end, but when I’m doing a shorter road trip, it’s a good way to meet other travelers, to stay in hostels. It’s a bit of a mixture. The least thing is hotels. It’s very rarely that I stay in a hotel because if you check into one of the chain hotels, you get the same experience. It doesn’t really matter if you’re in Copenhagen or in Detroit. If you’re in a chain hotel, it’s more or less the same experience you get. So, I try to see if I can get more of a local experience.
Brian Roman 08:21
Have you ever found yourself stuck, where you wondered if you were going to have a place to stay for the night?
Palle Bo 08:33
Yeah, I have. I was going from Brazil to Buenos Aires, and they canceled the flights. There I was in the afternoon, I didn’t know where to go, so I just found a cafe with Wi-Fi, went online, and found a hostel I could spent two nights in until I could get on that flight to Buenos Aires to that day. Normally, I have booked a place before I go so I know where I’m going. When I was here in Cape Town the last time… I knew that I was going to stay two months in Cape Town when I was here two years ago. I found an Airbnb, just booked it for three nights, then I found some other options, and then went out to check the area before I made the choice of where to stay for two months. But when I go to a place, I’m not the kind of guy that lands in the airport and say, “Okay, where am I going?” I normally always have that booked.
Brian Roman 09:45
Jim Scott 09:46
A couple of those ways you book, some of that we do a lot. Airbnb, we do a whole lot, we’ve done some hostels, but I found interesting the trusted house sitters and then the couchsurfing. Trusted housesitters sounds like that might be a website. Did I understand that right? How do you become a trusted house sitter and how do you book that?
Palle Bo 10:08
Yeah, that’s a website. There are a few. There’s also something called house carers, but I’m always using trusted house sitters. You make a profile and you tell something about yourself. I made a small video that I could upload so they could see my face and get the sense that I was somebody they would trust their house and pets too. I also uploaded a bunch of good recommendations from Airbnb so I could show people. I thought the first house, it would be the most difficult one to get. Once you’ve had a few and you get a good review, it’s more easy to get the next ones. I think I’ve done eight or nine now, and all of them are five-star reviews. That helps. They get the sense, “Okay. People think that he’s trustworthy.” It’s a super cool way because the deal is that no money changes hands. They get somebody to take care of their pets so they don’t have to go to a kennel or somewhere else, and I get a place to stay for free. Typically, it’s been around a month that I’ve done house sits, and it’s something when I know that I would like to be in the same place for a longer time, especially if I have a bunch of work I need to do. I just need a place to live and a good place to be working online, doing production work. I get the whole house to myself, I get the company of a nice dog that I need to walk once in a while, and some cats that curl up when I’m watching Netflix at night. It’s really a nice way. It’s something I enjoy doing, and something I know for sure I’m going to be using again.
Tony Price 12:06
That’s pretty cool.
Jim Scott 12:07
That is cool. On the flip side, one of our bigger problems with traveling, for my wife and I, our kids are older so they’re either taking care of themselves, or it’s not a problem to get a sitter, but our dogs, that’s a whole another thing. I might have to look at it from the other side to entertain that, so we can go on a little bit longer trips from time to time. That’s one of our limitations. We got to get back because we don’t have anybody else to watch the dogs for another couple days or whatever it is.
Palle Bo 12:34
Maybe I’d end up staying in your house.
Jim Scott 12:37
Well, that’s certainly a possibility.
Palle Bo 12:41
If you feel I’m trustworthy.
Jim Scott 12:44
Now, have you ever had any not so friendly dogs?
Palle Bo 12:49
No. I had an experience when I was in St. Louis. I even talked about it in my podcast because that was a bit embarrassing. You also want to do a very good first impression. This couple trusted me with their two dogs and their beautiful house in the outskirts of St. Louis, in a nice, quiet residential area. They went off on a second honeymoon to Cancun. They told me, “These two dogs, when you walk them, they will never run away. If you can just open the door, and then put the leash on them when you get outside.” The first night, I was cooking some food in the oven. As I opened the oven, a little bit of smoke comes out of the oven, and that set off the fire alarm. It was one of those three fire alarms that were connected. It was going “Beep, beep, beep. Fire, fire, fire.” I couldn’t for the life of me get them to stop. I even took out the batteries and nothing helped. They just kept going. The older dog, he went ballistic because, I guess, that high squeaking sound just went into his system. He was going nuts. I thought, “Okay, I can’t turn them off, so let me go for a walk with the dogs now as the smoke clears.” I opened the door, and the dog ran away. It just bolted. I thought, “Okay. This is not good, but he’ll come back. He’s not far.” So, I put the other dog on a leash, I locked the door, and the fire alarm was still going. I just walked and called, “Remy! Remy!” 10 minutes later, they called me from Cancun. The wife says, “Hi, we’re just here on the veranda with a nice cold drink. Just wanted to check in if everything’s okay.” I thought “Okay, they just arrived. They just want to make sure if I needed anything.” So, I said, “Yeah, everything is fine.” It’s not a good thing to lie, but I thought I’m not going to tell them, “I nearly burned your house down, and the dog ran away.” I said, “Yeah, everything’s fine. I’m just still looking for the dog.” Then she says, “Are you sure everything’s okay?” And I said, “Well, Remy just ran away because the fire alarm went off, but I’m sure I’m going to get him soon. The house is not on fire, so everything’s good.” And then I thought, “Oh, shit.” Sorry, you have to beep that. She said, “Yeah, I know because somebody just called me. The phone number was on the collar. Just stay at the house. Somebody’s coming with the dog now.” Then a car drives up, and this big dog is on the front seat smiling at me. I was like, “Grr, how dare you?” I thought, “Okay, will I get a bad review for that?” But in fact, they put a very good review in, saying that I was even able to manage a tricky situation where there was a fire alarm that went off for no reason and I maintained my control. I thought, “Okay, they caught me in a lie. This is not good.” It was a nice talk, but it was a handful.
Jim Scott 16:32
Sounds like it was.
Tony Price 16:35
I can imagine now. It’s funny.
Jim Scott 16:37
Ironically, one of my dogs is named Remy.
Palle Bo 16:39
That podcast episode is called I Lied To My Hosts in St. Louis.
Jim Scott 16:46
That’s crazy. Ironically, one of my dogs is named Remy. He’d be the one to run off too. He hates those loud noises, fireworks, or anything like that.
Palle Bo 16:56
I’m perfect for your house because I know how to call that name.
Jim Scott 16:59
Sound like it.
Tony Price 17:01
Palle, another question. When you’re talking about places to stay, if you haven’t been to the location before, how did you end up deciding, what are your preferences since you’re going to be staying for such a longer period of time, how you decide where you stay, inside the city, on the outskirts, in a neighborhood, what’s your preferences?
Palle Bo 17:23
I tried to Google it. The TripAdvisor sometimes is a good help. I try to Google best places to stay in this and that area. I also use my growing network of people, other travelers saying, “Okay, you’ve been to Siem Reap in Cambodia, which is the good place to stay.” Sometimes, I do what I did here in Cape Town the last time. Just book a few days and then go out looking. But yeah, Google is my tool for finding a place most of the time.
Tony Price 18:01
Yeah, that’s how we were doing it as well. It’s an inspiration for me. This is my 50th birthday year too. I was supposed to be on the road for several months this year. Of course, that all got shot to hell. We’ve talked about living abroad, too. We were supposed to spend a month in France this year. It’s interesting how you just decided to do that. One of the questions I was going to ask you is you said you didn’t start out to go longer than 80 weeks, at what point in your travels did you realize 80 weeks isn’t going to be enough?
Palle Bo 18:35
I made this very detailed plan that obviously went out the window a week into my traveling, but I had everything planned down to the last bit. On my list, I had 70 countries, a trip around the world. And then I met somebody who’s been traveling for a longer time and he said, “If you keep traveling so fast, you will get travel fatigue. You need to take some breaks.” So, I put in some breaks here and there, where I would stay a little bit longer just to get the hunger back, because if you move all the time, it just becomes too much. That’s the way I’ve been traveling. In the planning process, I also was, “How am I going to do it with my business? What about the whole tax situation?” Now, I’m really going to make you jealous because the thing with the Danish tax laws, if you’re not a resident, you don’t pay Danish tax, even though I have the Danish passport. I come from the country with probably the highest tax in the world. We pay 50 to 60% income tax. Still being able to have a Danish income through Danish clients and not pay any tax, that sounded appealing. When I heard that I thought, “Okay, it’s not two years, it’s four years.” And then I started traveling, and it grew from there until I don’t know when.
Jim Scott 20:11
That’s quite a tax loophole. So, are you still considered a Danish resident?
Palle Bo 20:20
Yeah. Well, I have mostly Danish clients. I have a few international clients as well like TBEX. I do the TBEX podcast Travel Matters. I’ve just finished a big project for Lego, which is a Danish company. It’s an international project I’ve been doing. They just produced a whole new line of product for grownups called Lego Art, where you can create a mosaic picture and hang it on your wall. They hired me to produce the soundtracks for that and add a thing on the building experience. As you’re building these pictures of something from Star Wars, you can listen to interviews with people who were a part of the making the movies. We also did one about Andy Warhol and one about the Marvel Universe, mostly focused on the old Marvel cartoons where we spoke to some experts on that as well. They also did one with the Beatles around the White Album. I didn’t do that soundtrack. It was a British company that did that. It was something I’ve been working on for a very long time, and now I’m working on new project for them. That’s a very good client to have. It also looks nice on the resume saying, “Hey, I’m good enough to produce podcasts for Lego. So, I’m probably good enough for most other companies.” That’s nice.
Jim Scott 21:57
That’s real nice.
Brian Roman 22:00
That’s interesting that they allow for you to not have that as taxable income. In the US, if you’re traveling around, if you’re still a US resident, you still have to file a US tax return and pay your taxes.
Palle Bo 22:16
I know. I’ve spoken to a lot of Americans, and I haven’t found any other place in the world. Maybe it’s something that they will change at some point. It’s totally by the books. I’m following the Danish tax laws. I’m not a resident, and my company is not registered anywhere. I’m just a full-time traveler. When I’m on the move, I can do that. I know that as long as you have the American passport, and you don’t want to give that up, then the IRS is going to find you.
Tony Price 22:49
Brian, you have to save that conversation for the tax podcast and the three listeners that are tuned in for that.
Brian Roman 22:57
You’re talking about the three of us here, right?
Palle Bo 23:00
Now, I’m thinking maybe I shouldn’t even talk about it because I don’t want [inaudible 23:04]
Tony Price 23:06
I will say, as a tax person who did international tax, I think you’re good. [inaudible 23:12] tax on worldwide income. You guys are only taxed on income generated within the country. Since you’re out the country, you should be good to go. So, there’s the tax.
Brian Roman 23:26
I’m glad we have that settled.
Jim Scott 23:28
Who knew that would come up?
Tony Price 23:33
The other crazy question I was going to ask, we run into this and we’re not even traveling all the time, is how do you decide between going back to a place that you really liked but when you’re trying to visit so many new places picking one of those instead?
Palle Bo 23:54
Sometimes, when I edit one of my episodes for my podcast, I’m thinking, “Oh, why didn’t I go to that place when I was there?” I say it so many times in my podcast, “Oh, this is really a place I’d like to go back to.” But at the same token, I also want to visit new places. When I decided to go back to Cape Town, because I’ve been here a lot before and I just love it here, I could see a lot of what’s going on with the Corona situation. So, if I’m going to get stuck somewhere, I don’t mind it being here. I was in Bali, and I could have stayed there. I went to Europe to go to ITP in Berlin, the travel fair. Then, I wanted to go to TBEX in Sicily. Obviously, both were cancelled. I actually went to Berlin. From there, I also had a ticket to go to Sicily, but then the whole thing was canceled. So, I thought “No. Let me get down to Cape Town. I got a ticket to Cairo first, spent a few days in Egypt where I’ve never been before, and then got on a flight to Cape Town. I got here just a week before the lockdown. I thought, “Okay. The lockdown is going to be a month, maybe two months max.” I didn’t know that it was going to be really this long. I’m just so glad that even though Cairo was nice, but I’d much rather be stuck here than in Cairo. It’s Cape Town. I don’t know if you’ve been here. It’s just such a beautiful, easy place to be. They speak English. It’s a modern city. The South African mentality is just something that appeals to me. The people here are super nice, friendly, and had the same weird sense of humor that I had. It’s very nice here. The only thing is that the lockdown is very strict here. You cannot leave the house without having a face mask. They sanitize your hands in every single shop. They’ve got an employee in front of every shop. And then, there’s the alcohol ban. You cannot buy alcohol unless you go out in the black market, and the same for tobacco. That’s not a thing. There’s a curfew from 9:00 every night. You can’t walk outside after 9:00. It’s very strict here but I feel safe. I live in my own apartment, and I only see a small group of friends. I don’t feel like it’s an unsafe place to be even though the numbers are higher than in many other countries. There are certain areas where you’re more at risk than in the city of Cape Town, and that’s where I am. I’m not afraid to be here. What was the question again by the way?
Tony Price 27:32
Oh, no. I have to do a playback. I don’t remember either.
Brian Roman 27:37
I think I do remember. It was how you decide to go to a new place when there’s so many other places you visited before. I think that was what started this. You may have answered it. I’m not sure.
Palle Bo 27:52
I’ll tell you what. I mentioned that I had this detailed plan when I started. A week into the travel, it was out the window, and I have never gone back to it. For me, it’s more like what do I feel now? If I’d been traveling in one continent for a long time, even though the countries are different, it’s more or less the same. I was traveling a lot in Europe, and I thought, “Okay. Now, I need to go to Asia.” I found out a way to go to Asia. I traveled a lot there and I thought, “Okay. I’ve had enough noodles for a while. Let me go someplace else.” I managed to get to North America, went to Canada, and did my first big US road trip. Sometimes I want to go somewhere else. What I do sometimes is I go on Skyscanner, I search from here to anywhere, and then just see what comes up because sometimes it’s not the country next door, sometimes you get a longer flight out of the country. I said, “Yeah, I haven’t been to this or that place. Let me go there now.”
Jim Scott 29:00
That’s pretty cool. It’s in a lot of ways liberating. You’re doing what you need to do, you stop and do your work, but then when you’re bored or tired with certain areas, it’s like spinning the globe, just hitting it like roulette, and going. That’s pretty cool.
Palle Bo 29:22
Sometimes I travel fast, and sometimes I travel slow. For me, it’s kind of an interval sprint. I sometimes do a road trip where I just spent one night, and then off to the next place. Sometimes, I take three-two weeks, a month, and a lot longer here. I go by what I feel like. If I feel like I got the hunger to see new places again, workwise, I don’t have to because if I’m doing a lot of work, I can’t be on the road driving all the time. So, in between. It varies a lot. I call it my interval sprint. I just go for what feels right for me at that specific moment. To be honest, I have no idea where I’m going next from here. I was planning when I got here, “Okay, let’s get this COVID thing out of the way, and let me go traveling to some more African countries that I haven’t been to.” When they lift the travel ban, I don’t think that I’d be traveling a lot in African countries, especially the poor countries. You don’t really know if they are affected by COVID, or they’re just not testing. To be honest, I don’t know where I’m going next. I’m just seeing what happens and when they lift the travel ban, where I can go.
Jim Scott 30:57
You truly are a vagabond.
Palle Bo 31:06
When I came here in March, that was a bit more than three and a half years, I counted how many places I’ve spent the night, it was 315 different places I packed, unpacked, and spent at least one night. That makes an average of 4.5 days per place. I know how to pack and unpack, and I know how long time that takes.
Brian Roman 31:31
Where are you on your country count then?
Palle Bo 31:35
My country count is at 90. I got a long way to go to the 193.
Tony Price 31:41
Yeah, that’s still pretty impressive.
Jim Scott 31:44
Brian Roman 31:45
Did you say 93?
Jim Scott 31:47
He’s been at 90.
Palle Bo 31:48
I got a long way for the 193.
Jim Scott 31:50
103 to go.
Tony Price 31:53
Much closer. I was going to ask you. I’m actually learning here because this isn’t far removed from what I want to do at some point. What goes into your suitcases? What do you basically have with you if you’re spending an average of four and a half nights in a place?
Brian Roman 32:12
Careful how you answer that question.
Palle Bo 32:16
A ton of microphones. I have a suitcase. At some point, I was traveling only with a carry on size backpack. Since I also had a computer bag that was too big to take as a personal item, I thought, “Okay, let me get a suitcase because I could fit 11 kilos into my backpack. I don’t know how much that is in pounds. You tell me. I had a bit up to the 23 kilos that’s normal for a flight. I decided to get a suitcase. I still have to be careful not to put too much stuff in there because it gets too heavy. I don’t buy souvenirs. What I basically have in there is not too much, a handful of t-shirts, a couple of jeans, shorts, one pair of shoes, sometimes I have flip flops as well. Since I do this radio thing, I managed to get my microphone arm in there, which is a heavy thing. Some people would say, “That’s kind of silly.” But I enjoy having it. I’m looking at it right now. I’m recording my voice with my microphone on there. It’s just a work tool that I enjoy having, so I don’t have to sit with the microphone in my hand when I’m recording. In my computer bag, I have, obviously, my computer, all the electronic gears, quite a few microphones, Zoom H6 recorder, Zoom H1, few other microphones, computer iPad, and that kind of stuff.
Brian Roman 34:09
Do you have a storage unit at all, or everything you own goes with you wherever you go?
Palle Bo 34:17
I sold most of my stuff. I sold my house, my car, my furniture, I mean all my furniture, not a single chair or anything, and my wife. I got much more than I expected. I do have a storage room but that’s for my books and my vinyl records. I got rid of all my CDs as well but my vinyl records, which is a lot of nostalgic for me. Having done radio for a long time, I have quite a few vinyls. I didn’t want to sell those. So, my vinyls, my books, and a few personal items is in a tiny storage room back in Denmark.
Tony Price 35:04
Brian Roman 35:05
Yeah, that’s pretty cool.
Tony Price 35:07
Yeah, that is pretty cool.
Jim Scott 35:09
I like the concept of fast travel and slow travel too. When we go, we’re pretty much always fast trying to hit as many places as possible because of the nature, having to get back for work, and that type of stuff. I like the concept of occasionally doing the slow travel, going for a month, or whatever the case might be. When you are on one of those month layovers, three or four weeks, or whatever it might be, even though you’re slowing down to see more things, is it just more of a rest and relaxation timeframe?
Palle Bo 35:49
It is that. Sometimes, I get to a new place. I remember I was in Santa Monica in LA not that long ago. The Airbnb host was so confused and said why don’t I go out more. I was doing work. I was in the room and in her kitchen for a long time. I just rented a room. Normally, when she had guests, she would hardly see them. They would go out in the morning, go back, and that’s it. But this is my life. I also have a regular job that I have to do. So, when I stay longer in places, obviously, you get more acquainted with the area. They get on a first name basis with the guy who sells you coffee in the coffee shop around the corner. You get more into what is like actually living there. I just tried to immerse myself as much as I can. Obviously, I also go out and see things, go out exploring. I get to see more things when I’m longer time in a place. I still get to be the typical tourist, go see the touristy places, but also try to find the hidden gems. That’s also where my podcast comes in handy. I have an excuse to call people up and say, “Can I come see you? I think, it’s interesting what you’re doing.” For instance, when I was here the last time, I went on a gin tour. They have a lot of micro distilleries here. I got to meet this younger guy running a small gin distillery. I said to him, “Do you mind if I come back tomorrow, just you and me having a chat, I’d bring my microphone, you get to go on my podcast, and I get to have some more unique stories about what it’s like building a place like that?” That’s just one of the many examples where carrying a microphone, it can be a pen if you have a blog or anything, you have an excuse to get experiences that you might otherwise not get. I find that interesting.
Tony Price 38:05
I love that idea.
Jim Scott 38:07
Absolutely. We do the fast travel but staying Airbnb or apartments as we go, you do get that connection to the locals, or your host has great little local recommendations other than the touristy stops. “Here’s a great little restaurant, here’s a cool little bar, here’s a little site or park that isn’t as touristy and as crowded.” You really get a local flavor and that’s one of the things we really enjoyed over the years.
Palle Bo 38:40
Another thing I also do, I try to go meet people. Being a nomad, there are so many nomad hotspots around the world. I go to co-workspaces and just do my work there with other nomads around me. They do events and I go join them. I used to be a member of rotary, so I also go to Rotary Clubs. I just call them up and say, “Do you mind if I join your meeting?” They always welcome you in. It’s a good way to meet the locals as well. That can open doors for me. They say, “Oh, you work in this and that? You should meet my friend who’s also doing this and that.” I get introduced to a lot of people. I go to toastmaster clubs. I do all kinds of ways to go out to functions and meet people. Being part of the nomad community is really good. Three times I’ve done the nomad cruise, where you get to hang out on a cruise ship. It’s like a conference on a ship. You really get connected to those people. You’re a part of the nomad cruise alumni. Whenever you’re going to a new place, you can put on the Facebook page, “Hey, I’m going to so and so. Is anybody there, or do you have any recommendations as to which areas to live in?” That’s also a great way. Being part of the community is also very good.
Tony Price 40:15
I was going to say the nomad cruises must only be like a three-day cruise, because most nomads can’t hang out for a seven-day cruise, can they?
Palle Bo 40:23
The first one I did was nine days in the Mediterranean. I did Barcelona to Brazil. That was two weeks. The last one I did was from Athens through the Suez Canal, stopping in Jordan and Oman, on the way down to Dubai. That was almost three weeks. It can be more. Sometimes, you can buy an internet pass where you get a little bit of connection. Mostly, when you go on these cruises say, “Okay, I’m putting an auto reply on my email.” People can reach us all the time, and then we say, “Okay. I deserve to have a vacation, a break as well,” so you put it down there. If you really need to, you can get online, just go check internet, go check your emails, and stuff like that. It’s not on a cruise ship that I upload or download huge files. The one I just did about the nomad cruise, the one I did from Barcelona and Spain to Brazil, we were 500 nomads from 55 countries. You know what it’s like going to a conference like TBEX, you get to meet some people, but you still go home to your hotel rooms at night. You maybe hang out a night, go to a bar, and this and that. When you’re on a cruise ship, you do everything together. You eat together every single night, you hang out at the bar, at the pool deck, you go to workshops, so you really get connected on a completely different level. I see the nomad cruises, they are my extended family. Right here where I am now, in suburb of Cape Town in Hout Bay, I chose to come here because one of the other nomad cruises are back here with her family sitting out the COVID. I got close to her group of friends. It’s all because of the nomad cruise. Once they start doing it again, and hopefully they will, I can really highly recommend to go on those.
Brian Roman 42:43
I’m really curious. What types of workshops do they offer on a nomad cruise?
Palle Bo 42:49
All kinds of things. Mostly something that would benefit a nomad, but it can be about SEO. I did one about podcasting. It can be about tax. It can be personal development, how to set up a bot on your Facebook, all kinds of things. A lot of fun things as well, ecstatic dance, all kinds of weird stuff, and meditation.
Jim Scott 43:24
Tony Price 43:26
I got a quick question too. Back when you’re traveling and how you pick a place to stay, do you rent vehicles, cars very often or are you using public transportation mostly?
Palle Bo 43:40
I’ve rent cars. When I was in Bali, I rented a scooter. Right now, I’m actually thinking. I haven’t had a car since I’ve gotten here. I thought about, “Should I get a car?” But the Uber situation here in Cape Town is so easy and really cheap. I’m using Uber most of the time. I’m actually thinking seriously about buying a mountain bike since I’m probably not going to be leaving anytime soon, just to get out and get a little bit of exercise. I live very close to that iconic Chapman’s peak drive, and it’s so beautiful. Tomorrow, I’m going out looking for a secondhand bicycle so I can get some exercise and go out exploring. Most of the time, I rent a car when I’m in a place, and I’m doing a road trip, obviously.
Jim Scott 44:40
Cool. We’ll have to check back with you to see if you got that bike or not. Palle, having gone to 90 countries in just whatever mood hit you, obviously you’ve had lots of great experiences. What are some crazy things that have come up that were totally unexpected and you could never have imagined in 1000 years would have come up?
Tony Price 45:02
Other than a fire alarm and chasing a dog.
Palle Bo 45:12
I really don’t know what to say to that. The most challenging and exhausting, but also really exciting part of my journey, was Northwestern Africa. I came to Fes in northern Morocco. It was my plan to hit down and visit a bunch of countries. I came to Fes with my big suitcase. I should have maybe done a little bit of research, but flights in Africa are super expensive. So, I chose to do the whole thing overland, all the way down to Guinea. It was around 6000 miles I did overland. I shipped my suitcases back to Denmark, and I said, “Can you please hold on to that?” to my family back there. I traveled only with my backpack because getting into a small, shared, mini vans and mini taxis would not be a good thing with a huge suitcase. That’s why I did that. The challenging and the crazy thing was that you get crammed into what they call a [inaudible 46:43] seven-seater. It’s an old beat up Peugeot. For some reason, it’s always a Peugeot station wagon. It’s from the ’80s. The newer models are from the ’80s. They’re so banged up. They put an extra row of seats, so you get really crammed into one of those. They put everything on the roof, and then you just keep your fingers crossed that it will stick there. You drive on these roads that are full of potholes, the size of a bathtub and cows and camels on the roads. That can be really tough. When I get into one of those, being the only Western looking guy, they always look at me and see $1 sign. They charge four times the price of everybody else. When I got more routine, I said, “No. I need to negotiate more.” I managed to get down to only paying double everybody else. As a punishment, they said, “Oh, you sit in the corner in the back.” I’m 6’3″ and there were no room for my legs to move. There was a metal beam over my head, so I couldn’t scooch down. Every time it hit one of those thousands of potholes, my head went up into this beam. That was from Gambia to Dakar, so it was quite a long drive. It was not right on the border. We drove along Gambia for a long time. It was about eight hours in the back of that. I’m sure it was a punishment for me pushing the price too hard.
Tony Price 48:42
That sounds like our Peugeot minivan that we took over the Atlas Mountains from Marrakech to Zagora.
Palle Bo 48:50
I can guarantee you without having seen it that your minivan was better.
Tony Price 48:58
That sounds pretty familiar. It had that hump in the middle of the one set of seats. Whoever rolled the dice had to ride that for a few hours.
Palle Bo 49:08
I kid you not. When I was in Guinea Bissau, on this bus station, which was just a piece of gravel, a lot of noise, they were tying a huge, live, squealing pig on the top of one of those minibuses. I said, “This is insane.”
Brian Roman 49:30
Is that how they powered the bus? Was there a little track that it ran on?
Jim Scott 49:39
That’s interesting. I have a cousin who works for the State Department who’s been in Northern Africa. I ran into her in Dublin and she was telling one of those wild stories you mentioned, the cows and all. For whatever reason, and I’m not going to remember the whole story by any means, I just remember they were driving and somehow hit the cow. When people came to help, instead of helping, they tried to carjack her. She did get away. I forget all the details, but the cows and wild roads in Africa seem to have a theme there.
Palle Bo 50:16
At some point, I managed to get shotgun. I was on the front seat with the driver. I think it was in Western Sahara or it could have been Mauritania. Driving on a fairly good road, we were doing maybe 70 or 90. I’m doing kilometers per hour. We were doing a fairly good speed. All of a sudden, there was a cow on one side of the road. My driver he would just, “The cows are on this side, so I’m driving around on the other side.” When we were 10 yards away, the cow decided to start walking into our lane when we were coming fairly quick. You know when you’re at that thing where you think we are hitting that cow, there’s no question. It’s just brace yourself for impact. But the driver managed to just swirl around it. It was like, “Woo!” I could tell his pulse was up. I just tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Good driving, man.”
Jim Scott 51:26
It seems like a common thing with driving in Africa. We were in Morocco with those old early 1980s taxi cabs. The ride there was just nuts. The lines were merely a suggestion. You had camels on the side of the road and squirrel are all over the place. Tony mentioned the rod out through the Atlas Mountains, your rod through all these places to Guinea and so forth, none of them sound as if they go without a lot of excitement.
Tony Price 51:58
I’m ready to get back.
Brian Roman 52:02
Cows, camels, and all.
Tony Price 52:03
It doesn’t matter. I’ll take it. Speaking of just random places, Palle, what’s a place that comes to mind where maybe you didn’t have high expectations or no expectations that you were just really pleasantly surprised when you got there?
Palle Bo 52:20
That was also on that trip. Before I talk about that, I just want to mention, I did some traveling in Europe a couple of years ago. My two biggest surprises were Albania and Bella Reuss. Both places I did not expect anything. I thought, “Okay. Now, I’m here. Let me tick off that box and just go there.” But Albania, I could feel that that could be the next big thing. Tirana is a wonderful city. They have a beautiful coastline. The same with the Minsk in Belarus, it’s also a very surprising place for me, a place I could see myself going back to. On that Northwestern Africa, I had some friends who had been traveling to Guinea and the capital Conakry. They said, “Now that you’re there, you should go there. You don’t want to drive in there because you get stopped by the police, and they ask for bribes. You should only fly in there. Once you’re there, see what you need to see and then get out again, because this is not a very good place.” That’s when I did that road trip all the way back to Dakar in order to get a flight. I was in the neighboring country of Guinea Bissau, and I had to drive all the way back to Dakar in order to get a flight to fly into Conakry. When I got there, I thought it was nice. I got to meet some locals through couchsurfing. I had a place to stay. I was staying at a small hotel at that time. Through couchsurfing, I just posted, “Anybody up for lunch or drink or something?” Three people replied to me and say, “Sure.” There was a guy from Switzerland or Belgium working there, a couple of guys from Sierra Leone, and a guy from South Africa that I got to meet. Through the meetings with those people, they told me more about the country, it’s easily a place I could see myself go back to. That was probably my biggest surprise because my friends have told me that,” Oh, you don’t want to go there. It’s not a really nice place. Go there just to tick off the box, and then get out.” For me, I could see myself going back because I heard so much about what’s there and hardly any tourists. It’s a really unexplored country. For me, that was the biggest surprise, I think.
Jim Scott 55:00
Tony Price 55:02
I had actually never even considered the other two that you’re talking about, Albania. It just hasn’t crossed my list. We went to Greece, and I’ve been through Dubrovnik but hadn’t considered Albania though.
Palle Bo 55:18
I was expecting so much from Croatia and the whole coastline, and it is beautiful. But in my opinion, Montenegro, which also has a coastline, just south of Croatia, it’s even more stunning. Montenegro is really also something I can highly recommend.
Tony Price 55:40
We were trying to get down there and didn’t manage to do that because we went to Bosnia instead. Montenegro, I’d like to see that coastline as well.
Palle Bo 55:52
A country I probably won’t go back to is North Korea. Not that I didn’t like it there, but because I did something that maybe I shouldn’t have done. When you go to the country, you can take pictures. I didn’t bring all my big microphone, so my podcast episode is recorded only on my iPhone in my suitcase in China that we came back to after the trip. It was a three-day trip to Pyongyang in North Korea. We could take pictures but not have anything border control, military, and construction sites for some reason. Before that trip, I just got a new wristwatch with a small video camera inside. I thought, “They’d never got to find out. This is pretty cool.” And then I got to say, “My name is Bond, radio vagabond.” I thought that’s cool. I brought my daughter. She was traveling with me at that time. So, I brought my daughter to North Korea and as the border control were searching her suitcase or her backpack, I was in the doorway in the train, filming everything with my wristwatch, and putting it out on YouTube after. It wasn’t until a few months after, I thought, “What the hell was I thinking? Why would I even consider doing that? It was just so stupid.” If they’d known, if they noticed the little blue light flashing in my wristwatch, or maybe they knew the camera, if they find out, I probably will still be there. It’s a stupidest thing. I say, “Why would I do that? My daughter was there.” I spoke to a friend of mine who’s one of the most well-traveled people in the world, [inaudible 58:06]. He’s almost been to every country in the world twice. He knows North Korea, and he says, “You can make sure that they have a file on you.”
Tony Price 58:20
Palle Bo 58:22
“Your on a list.” He said, “Do not go back because once you check in your passport, they will have an alarm blinking and saying, Oh, that’s the guy who did that.” That’s probably not a place I’d like to go back to. By the way, it was super interesting being there. That’s another thing. I’m glad I went, but I don’t need to go back.
Brian Roman 58:46
I’m wondering now that we’ve actually interviewed you whether or not we should ever go. We are officially on a list now.
Tony Price 58:57
You probably have a lot of other reasons on your list why you shouldn’t go anywhere.
Palle Bo 59:01
For people in North Korea listening, these guys have no knowledge of this.
Tony Price 59:10
Is there any other countries right now that you really want to go to that you haven’t been into yet that you think may be difficult just because of Corona conditions?
Palle Bo 59:24
Obviously, there are so many countries in Africa that I want to go to. I’m sure that will happen, but just not right now. There’s a lot in the northern part of South America that I haven’t been to, a ton of countries in Central America. I did quite a bit of traveling in South America after the nomad cruise I mentioned before. I did Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru, but I haven’t been to Colombia. I haven’t been further north. I’ve been to Nicaragua. I’ve been to Mexico, but that’s even further north. I want to travel to those countries. Medellin in Colombia, that’s a nomad hotspot. That’s a place where a lot of the nomads hang out. I could see myself wanting to go there as a starting point, and then go to Ecuador and many of the other countries there.
Jim Scott 1:00:32
Nice. We’re starting to get close to end of our time. You brought up your daughter join you in North Korea. How often does your family join you out on the road?
Palle Bo 1:00:42
At that time, she was having a gap year before university, and I said to her, “Instead of just hanging out doing nothing, why don’t you come out and travel with me for a bit?” She’s a YouTuber, and I said, “If you help me build my YouTube channel, which is hardly existing anymore, if you do that, I will feed you.” She came out and traveled with me for four months. We did Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, a bit in China, North Korea, South Korea, and Japan. We were in Japan, and my other daughter flew out and joined us for two weeks. We were there together. They also flew down to Cape Town when I was here the last time. I go back once in a while as well. I get to see them when I go back to Denmark. I’ve been there every six months or so. Now, it’s been a little bit longer. We’re super close, and we speak almost every single day or communicate one way or the other. We’re still very close. Now, they’re in university and busy with that and their lives. They also have to fit it in all between everything else. I enjoy having visits from them, something I hope that we can do much more in the future.
Jim Scott 1:02:13
That’s nice. That keeps you routed to. You’re traveling everywhere. It’s good to have that sense of home, sense of family.
Palle Bo 1:02:22
Exactly. Actually, my youngest daughter, she was determined to go to law school. But then, that four-month trip changed her life basically, because when she came back, she said, “No. I don’t want to be a lawyer. I want to study anthropology because that whole meeting with different cultures is just so exciting and the way people live.” Now, she’s in university studying anthropology. That trip was a part of changing her course of life. I felt proud about that.
Tony Price 1:02:59
That’s pretty wild.
Jim Scott 1:03:00
It is. I think all of us can agree, traveling opened your eyes to a lot of different things. It changes your mindsets as we get older. Might not change specifically your profession or your trait, but it does definitely have an impact.
Palle Bo 1:03:17
Oh, yes. Absolutely. One thing that I have discovered is that time is moving slowly when I’m living like this. I always have to give my brain something to work with. Where’s the local shop? How do I turn on the electricity? Here in Cape Town, if I’m running low on electricity, I have to go to 711 to buy electricity. It’s just something that gives my brain something to process, and that’s why the last four years for me feels like 20 years. For somebody who’s living the normal day to day life, it feels like one year. I think that’s super interesting. It’s my way of feeling like I’ve lived longer. Once I kick the bucket, I will feel like I’m 150 years old.
Tony Price 1:04:15
You’re going to have to come up with what does a person that travels for the last 15 years as to retired a normal retirement age, what is your retirement look like? Most people retire to go travel the world.
Palle Bo 1:04:27
That is so weird. When I stop traveling, it’s probably in 10-15 years. That’s when I’m normal retirement age, or even after that. Most people, they think, “When I retire, I’m going to travel more.” I reached that point. I just kid myself into thinking, “No, I’m going to stick being this age forever.” I don’t really think about it. It’s weird, the whole thing with time.
Jim Scott 1:04:59
That’s cool. They say dog years are referred to it that way, seven years compared to human. I wonder what a nomad or a vagabond years are, how that converts.
Palle Bo 1:05:15
Yeah, that’s right.
Jim Scott 1:05:18
We’re coming into our time. That went really quick. It’s been a very interesting chat. I had my eyes open to a few different things there. Guys, is there any last follow ups or thoughts for Palle?
Tony Price 1:05:32
No. We’ll just have to stay in touch, Pall, as soon as you’re able to hit the road again. I’m curious to see what your future looks like, where you’re headed.
Jim Scott 1:05:40
Palle Bo 1:05:41
Absolutely. For sure, we’ll meet at a TBEX somewhere in the world or if our path cross, I’m sure they will at some point. Please stay in touch.
Brian Roman 1:05:55
One last thing, I don’t know that we really talked about food at all in all of your experiences. Any particular area or type of food experiences that are most memorable or what you like the most?
Palle Bo 1:06:13
I like to try certain stuff and try the local food. I like most things. There was one place in the Philippines, I said, “No, thank you.” That was when they offered me balut. I don’t know if you know what it is. It’s a hard boiled egg from a chicken, a normal hard boiled egg with a nearly hatched chicken inside, and you eat everything, the tiny feathers, the beak, the bones, you eat everything. I had to pass on that. I like to go out and try the local food, but I’m really not a foodie per se. I’m not one of those that go for that. I enjoy a good meal, and I like to taste what’s there. I had Kudu yesterday when we did a barbecue.
Brian Roman 1:07:10
What is Kudu?
Palle Bo 1:07:13
I think it’s Kudu. It’s one of those typical African deer.
Jim Scott 1:07:20
Gotcha. Well, it sounds like you’ve had some interesting food.
Brian Roman 1:07:27
And turned down some interesting food.
Palle Bo 1:07:33
I went to a Chinese restaurant when I was in Greenland, and I got reindeer cooked in the Chinese fashion. That was a mixture of typical Greenlandic and typical Chinese. That was quite interesting.
Tony Price 1:07:47
Jim Scott 1:07:50
It’s different than the normal [inaudible 1:07:52] Poor joke, anyhow. Well, Palle, thank you very much. Do you want to give a shout out to where people can find you?
Palle Bo 1:08:03
Yeah. I do the travel podcast where I rotate all the time. It’s a lot of field recording and a lot of editing. It’s a travels podcast, but it’s not the normal travel podcast. If you want to give that a listen, it’s just called The Radio Vagabond. You got to remember to put the “The” in there, otherwise you get the Danish version. I do it both in Danish and English. The Radio Vagabond and theradiovagabond.com, that’s where you’ll find me.
Jim Scott 1:08:34
Great. Fantastic. Well, thank you very much for entertaining our listeners, being a great guest, and sharing a lot of good information. Everyone, that is Palle Bo with The Radio Vagabond. That wraps us up today for this week’s Friends That Carry On travel podcast. You can go to our website at friendsthatcarryon.com. You can go and subscribe there for free, and get update of our podcast every week and our newsletter. We just started a fan page that gives you lots of other benefits including being in raffle or in draws for trip giveaway every quarter. Lots of good things on our fan page as well. Anyhow, thank you and until next time.
Brian Roman 1:09:21
Be sure to join the friends next week for another great discussion. Don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already. You can also find the friends and other content at www.friendsthatcarryon.com or check us out on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook by searching Friends That Carry On. Thanks again for joining us. Don’t forget to carry on, friends.