Since there are already tons of travel blogs with lots of stories about these cities, i’m just going to stick to posting a few pictures.
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 GIRLS – THE MOVIE?
Here’s an update from the world’s most irregular blogger. I had some trouble with a website plugin which prevented me from logging in so it’s really been a while.
I receive a lot of emails from people asking me what I’ve been up since I went home after my round the world trip. Well, after writing and publishing my book AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 GIRLS – THE EPIC THREE YEAR TRIP OF A BACKPACKING CASANOVA, I felt it was time to try to fulfill my lifelong dream of being in the movie biz. I decided to write a screenplay. All I needed was a great story. Well, that I have.
Around November last year I started reading books about screenwriting and in December I put my first words to the paper. I finished the first draft on the 21th of February 2013. The last day of writing I banged out fifteen pages in a coffee fueled writing frenzy while suppressing the urge to beat up my noisy upstairs neighbor. Although I finally figured out the screenplay formatting rules, it still wasn’t much to look at, and any experienced screenwriter would cringe reading it but at least the first draft was ready. To be honest, any English reader would probably cringe since English is not my native language. Now the dreaded re-writing began, and a month later I finished a better second draft. It was time to take the next step. I booked tickets to New York and Los Angeles/Hollywood. The next three months I kept rewriting and fine-tuning the screenplay.
In the last days before I left I sublet my ultra small studio in my hometown back in Holland, said goodbye to my family and friends, kissed a sweet girl goodbye and flew to New York. Only problem was that the script still wasn’t finished. It needed a hell of a lot more rewriting.
Before arriving in New York I had an eleven hour layover in Iceland. The airport was nearly abandoned and I used the sleepless night to write some more. I kept going in the hostel where I stayed in Brooklyn. Besides meeting up with a nice Latin girl who I met the last time I was in New York and picking up an old bad habit of mine, smoking, that was almost the only thing I did there. I wrote on the bus to Washington where I met up and went out on U Street with some friends.
I wrote on the bus to Philadelphia where I visited the Rocky statue and did the famous “Rocky runs up the stairs” routine. Sylvester Stallone was my child hood hero back in the days when kids kept a scrapbook with newspaper clippings. He still is actually. Would love to meet him one day. His own personal story is highly motivating and inspirational. The fact that he made his acting breakthrough with his own Rocky screenplay and the way how (which is a very inspiring story) made it almost a spiritual journey for me and I’m not embarrassed to say that a tear rolled down my cheek just for being at that place. Unlike what most people seem to think I’m quite an emotional person.
From there I flew on to Los Angeles through St Louis. The plane left too late from New York because of the weather and I was stuck in St Louis for another night in the airport. It was the second full night in an airport in ten days and I was pissed off about it. After a lot of verbal clashing with the employees of American Airlines (you suck AA) about getting a free hotel room for the night instead of paying 65 dollar, I used that build up anger for another re-writing frenzy and at the end of the night the fourth draft was done. At least I would arrive in Los Angeles with a finished screenplay. Or so I thought.
In Los Angeles I checked into the Banana Bungalow hostel at Hollywood Boulevard and took a few days off to party and to visit a couple of places around town. A few days turned into a full week. The free beer at the hostel wasn’t helping. It was time to get back to action and I hired three online professional screenplay readers to go over my script. Draining my small budget of 320 dollar. In short, they really liked the concept but the writing was under par and I needed to change the beginning of the story. No need to say I had to write a final fifth draft.
I was not happy with this of course since I had already lost so much time but did it anyway. I put in the hours and the result was actually a lot better. In the meanwhile I had changed hostels and was known as the guy who lay in his bed all day typing on his laptop. It was time to try to sell the damn thing. This is where hard part starts. Or at least so I thought.
It turned out to be a lot easier to break into Hollywood as a totally unknown writer then predicted by all the books and screenwriting websites I had read over the past nine months. With over two hundred thousand screenwriters present in Los Angeles and no connections whatsoever, it seemed like a mission impossible. The next part is probably going to piss off a lot of struggling screenwriters who email, call and pitch their asses off.
On the 1st of August I started emailing production companies and management agencies. After two days I got my first screenplay request from a well known A-list company from one of their big shot presidents herself. I jumped in the air of happiness. In the next days I got fourteen more requests and one reasonable offer. On day twelve I received an email that made my day. The second serious offer. Three days of (brutal) negotiating later, I signed a very lucrative option contract for the screenplay, the book rights and my life story rights.
For those not familiar with options contracts, it means that the production company has the single right to buy my screenplay, book rights and life story rights for a limited amount of time. Once the production company finds the investors (it’s a high budget movie) and the movie is greenlit, the production starts. I will not share any details on the financial part of the contract but what I can say is that IF the movie is produced i’m in it too.
This movie has the potential to become a truly iconic movie about backpacking and romance.
The announcement was made in Variety. Hollywood’s leading movie entertainment magazine.
No need to say that I’m very proud of myself. Just four years ago I was wasting my time in a dull office and since then I have traveled around the world for three years through 42 countries, grew incredibly as a person, picked up a lot of lovely ladies, had many good (and bad) adventures, published a well selling book and have an A-list company interested in making a movie about my life. Not bad for a guy with only a minor high school diploma. I tell you, I’m looking forward to the next five years.
Where am I right now? In the next few weeks I will do a short trip through California, Nevada and Colorado. I will visit Santa Barbara tomorrow, and then head out to San Francisco, Yosemite Park, Death Valley, Las Vegas and of course the majestic Grand Canyon before returning to Holland for a while.
Hey, wait a minute Skywalker. No girls in this post?
Well alright, I won’t go into the Holland part this time but despite spending 95% of my time in Los Angeles working on my screenplay mission, I managed to capture one new flag there: Lithuania.
Any more screenplays planned? – I have another idea loosely based on my time in Holland after I came back from my trip which I will explore once I’m back there.
Until next time….
©Around the world in 80 girls
EDIT – MAY 2013 – I decided to put back a few of my older unedited stories which didn’t make into the book or only a very small part of it, so yes, they can be a bit boring. If you want to read the exciting and adventurous stuff I suggest you buy my book. It is packed with some of the most outrageous travel stories you’ll ever read.
It was time to visit the big backpacker trap named Vang Vieng, a place where every backpacker in South East Asia will end up at some point. When I walked of the bus I saw two English speaking white guys walking bare feet. I don’t know what their plan was, maybe a book named “Around the world barefeet” it looked disgusting.
The biggest reason backpackers go to Vang Vieng is the tubing down the river. It’s a debauchery of 21 year old drunk and drugged up backpackers. During the day people go tubing and get drunk at one of the many bars on the side of the river. The river and its bars have a sort of Mad Max look and when you’re there for the first time its fun to do. When you’re on the inner tube, Laotian guys will throw ropes and pull you into the bar area where lot of people get drunk on cheap cocktails. There were slides, ziplines and every one had paint on their body saying they were sluts or take it up the ass. I felt old and not at ease here. It was clearly not my scene. Girls would climb up the rocks, get to the bar and scream wooohooo !! every two minutes.
At night, all the bars were open and people got drunk in the many drinking games or rounds of free drinks. I tried to pick up some girls but since I had no verbally strong game yet and the girls there has an attention span of a minute until the next woohooo, I didn’t bother too much with it. Most of them were fat backpacker girls anyway. When the bars closed people moved to the riverside bars and drank buckets of Vodka red bull. I go drunk here a few times but usually not too much because I hate hangovers. Sleeping was not too great because many times there were loud ceremonies in the Buddhist temple next to my hotel.
A guy who is a party animal with game and can get let go of all shame would kill it here with the girls. I’m not that guy and am way too self conscious for this kind of things.
I paid only 3 dollar for a hotel room with a small bathroom. It was a hotel where a lot of Japanese tourists would go. I talked to them quite a few times but somehow conversation went slow. There were shitloads of restaurants in Vang Vieng all playing the same television shows. It was either Family guy or Friends. I’m more of a Friends person so I usually sat down in the same place. One day I had a lot of eye contact with a cute girl but she left soon after with her girlfriends. The next time I saw her again she was wearing a long dress but when she sat down her dress moved up and showed some disgustingly hairy legs. I lost my appetite immediately and gave her an obvious dirty look. She should learn to behave like a woman and not like an unshaved feminist. It only convinced me more how white backpacker girls are not for me. Most of them dress bad and don’t take care of them selves. Still they walk around thinking like they’re the main prize. I ran into a similar situation in Bolivia a year later.
I found a massage salon with a very young and hot girl working there. A massage would cost around 3.5 dollar for one hour and the girl would sit on you in a short hotpants. Talking to her was difficult because her English vocabulary didn’t go beyond 10 words. I killed my time with reading some pick up info and watching movies at daytime and by going out at night. Some people were really fucked up on drugs and acted crazy and made complete fools of themselves in front of everyone. I took it easy with the mushroom shakes and smoked some opium instead. Prices of the drugs were complete rip offs and I guess half was fake.
I can’t believe I stayed 10 days here but I did, like I said before I didn’t feel at ease in this scene and decided to go back to Cambodia where I would be a somebody again. Dara and Nina had both been emailing me asking when I returned. I had to go to Bangkok first, to cross the Thai/Cambodian border in the east. It was not possible to go from Laos to Cambodia with a Cambodian visa form the embassy. The other way around is possible as you have read in the beginning of this story. After this I took one of the worst bus rides of my trip.
2013 update: According to Wikipedia there’s no more tubing and getting drunk along the river side as of the third quarter of 2012. At least 22 tourists died in 2011 while tubing down the river. No need to say that the majority of people that drowned were probably very drunk and/or stoned. Safety measures were non-existent and personally I wouldn’t go down that river with more than a couple of beers in me. The river has some rapids down the river ( not in pictures) and I can imagine that on a windy or stormy day those mild rapids can turn into something more dangerous.
Some pictures of Vang Vieng river chaos
EDIT – APRIL 2013 – I decided to put back a few of my older unedited stories which didn’t make into the book or only a very small part of it, so yes, they can be a bit boring. If you want to read the exciting and adventurous stuff I suggest you buy my book. It is packed with some of the most outrageous travel stories you’ll ever read.
Laos – 4000 islands of Don Deth, February 2010
The pick up point for my bus ride to Laos was close to the guesthouse at Lakeside, Cambodia. I met a German girl there named Nikola and we went to the border together. It was a long bumpy bus ride to the border. I was reading a book for the first time in ages. The book, advised by any people to me was The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. Although it was an interesting read I expected more from it. It was not a life changer as many people had told me. Well, the real life changing happened in the weeks before where I went from a regular backpacker to a womanizing bastard.
Don Deth of the 4000 islands
Several websites and the Lonely planet book were saying that it was impossible to get a Laos visa at the border but when we arrived there it was not impossible at all, the visa at the border was even 5 dollar cheaper and didn’t take 3 days and 2 motorbike rides to the embassy to get it. The border crossing was very primitive, a couple of wooden shacks and one guard on both sides. A little bit further we were dropped of by the side of the road, there were some other backpackers waiting. After some half hour another minibus came and brought us to the Mekong River where we had to negotiate a fare for a small motorized canoe to take us to Don Deth one of the 4000 islands, a famous place for backpackers to hang out. It was already getting dark and we had no reservations so we still had to walk around the small island and find a place to sleep. The west side of the island was covered with mosquitoes; massive clouds of mosquitoes were hanging around the patios and bedrooms. I didn’t like the look of this island at all.
We found a path to the east side of the island where there were no mosquitoes around for some reason but most of the places were full so I proposed to share a room together and she agreed. The room had only one big bed and she didn’t mind. I don’t know the name of the island anymore; the island lay in the dirt green Mekong river and was a bit of hippy haven. The two German guys in the hut next to me were serious stoners with long dirty Rasta hair and beards. They were nice guys tough. One thing I wanted to change on my trip is the fact that I’m very judgemental. I have an opinion on everything and anyone. Those two German guys were nice and even shared there weed with me, they both saved up for their trip and worked blue collar jobs like I used to do. The one thing I couldn’t stand about them was their constant complaining about the prices on the island. They had lived on an ultra low budget in India for six months and ate only vegetarian food. Of course on a small tourist island the prices go up but it was still in Laos, one of the cheapest countries in Asia.
The “bungalow” Nikola and I were staying was made of 4 bamboo walls with a straw grass roof and the bed was the only furniture. We talked a lot that night about her job as a social worker in Germany and later went to bed. She wasn’t the best looking girl but still bangable and made a move on her at night but she didn’t want. A strange thing because in the last weeks a no girl had refused me. She had a cold and passed it on to me; I had a runny nose for at least two weeks after. The problem when traveling is that it’s hard to stay in good health. A simple cold takes two to three weeks to clear where it normally takes me 4 days.
Nikola went to another island the next day where she was going to meet a friend. I stayed and did nothing for the next 4 days. Most of my time I spend on doing some reading, laying on my bed and watching movies on my laptop. I watched the whole John Carpenter collection, a director most famous for his horror movies. There is absolutely nothing to do on the island, a few restaurants sell beer at rip off prices and that was it. You could count the bangable girls on one hand. One day I took a swim across the river with the German hippy dude and I thought I smelled terrible from the dirty water. I took a shower and still stank. The hippy guy told me that the water from the shower was river water too and that explained a lot. It’s not for someone who wishes a lot of comfort. There was no ATM on the island and I had to leave as my money was running out. I regret been a lazy bastard and not walking around the other islands.
The only thing I remember from the overnight bus ride to Vientiane is that there were four Israeli girls on board and one had an amazing pair of knockers. A talked to them a bit but they said goodbye somewhere along the road.
Next up – Laos Vientiane and the crazy tubing in Vang Vieng (backpacker heaven for the young, wild and annoying)
© Around the world in 80 Girls
EDIT – APRIL 2013 – I decided to put back a few of my older unedited stories which didn’t make into the book or only a very small part of it, so yes, they can be a bit boring. If you want to read the exciting and adventurous stuff I suggest you buy my book. The book is packed with some of the most outrageous travel stories you’ll ever read.
Cambodia – Sihanoukville, January 2010
The bus ride to Sihanoukville was terrible, not the worst one on my trip but I got a bit nauseous due to the bumpy road. I barely slept all night and was tired as fuck when we arrived. I found a guesthouse a couple hundred meters from the beach. I had to sit on a taxi motorbike with my backpack on to get there, fighting my sleep and nausea. When I finally fell in a dirty bed at 7 in the morning I immediately fell asleep and woke up at 3 in the afternoon. My nausea was still there but I ate something anyway. Now my bowels were fucked up too. The 7 dollar room had a bathroom so that was convenient. The rest of the day I relaxed a bit. Being sick doesn’t bother me too much because is part of traveling. I learned an important lesson when I returned from India and had lost 12 kilos of body mass.
The next night I met up with Russian friends I had met in Khabarovsk. There are quite a few Russians in Sihanoukville and Vitaly* had already told he was going to be there so I adjusted my schedule a bit so I could meet him again. Of course seeing Tanya again didn’t hurt either. Vitaly and Tanya were having a short vacation together with another couple (Alexander and Svetlana). We went to several bars and restaurants together including a snake and crocodile farm/restaurant owned by a Russian guy who made Sihanoukville is hometown.
After traveling through Russia for two months and having 3 Russian girlfriends I thought I finally understood something about the Russian culture but I was wrong. Even in incredibly hot Cambodia they wanted to visit a sauna. The sauna was owned by another Russian couple. So off we went to into the sauna with six people, another friend of Vitaly had joined us. I think his name was Victor.
Outside the sauna it was probably 35 degrees Celsius but inside probably over 50. We took five rounds of sauna with short beer breaks in-between. The proper Russian way of taking a sauna includes beating each other on the back with bushes of Eucalyptus leaves. I was “treated” by Alexander who was a massive power lifter type of a guy. He was beating the living daylights out of me displaying his awesome power. Luckily Tanya was a lot gentler with the leaves. It was just another crazy thing that would never happen to me if I never met that crazy bum/night guard friend of Vitaly in Khabarovsk. It shows how you must go with the flow sometimes and see what happens after meeting people. I advice anyone with plans to go to Russia to do a short visit to St Petersburg and Moscow and than take a train east because that’s were the real (and a lot cheaper) Russia is. You won’t regret it because cities there are packed with girls and there are no foreigners around, if only I knew about couch surfing back than and had more skills picking up girls, I could have done a lot more damage than.
The last day before I left we all went to the beach close to a Russian nightclub. The nightclub was in an old airplane hangar including an airplane inside. For those who read this it must seem like Sihanoukville is run by Russians but by then I didn’t have much contact with Cambodians.
We all did a lot of swimming and I enjoyed the view of many Russian girls there, Alexander’s girlfriend Svetlana had an amazing body and she spoke good English. I talked quite a lot with her. I wouldn’t make a move on her because of Alexander, not only would he beat me to death but more because I don’t like to break up relationships and I generally liked all of them.
For some dumb reason I had to prove my manhood by climbing into a palm tree which was growing on the beach in a 45 degree angle. Going up the tree was quite easy although the stem was only 20 centimeters wide. Going down was a whole other thing and I saw no other option than to jump which was better than to try and fall down. The landing after the 4 meter jump was hard and I nearly broke my ankle. I acted like not much happened but the next day and the week after I had troubling walking straight and couldn’t drive a motorbike with shift. On the other hand I was still kind of proud that I climbed up that palm tree at the age of 33. ( note, I’m the worst climber ever so that puts things in perspective) At night we went to a popular club in the middle of Sihanoukville. There were quite a lot of Cambodian girls around and they were eye fucking me a lot. I just assumed they were all hookers and didn’t even bother talking to them. In a few days I would find out how easy it was for me to bang a lot of Cambodian girls, even the ones who get paid for it. It’s one of the most brutal travel stories ever published but you have to read my book for that one.
Vitaly had plans of living on Cambodia; I should get in touch with him and find out how are things going.
On a side note : Half a year later Vitaly emailed me and wanted Tanya to move to Holland for business purposes, he asked me to marry Tanya to get her a permanent visa as soon as possible. Although he would have made it worth my while, I declined. That would mean getting a bit too much involved with shady Russian business men. I couldn’t anyway because I was still in Asia and had a lot more traveling to do.
Next destination: Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia and the start of mayhem.
*Name changed due to privacy
Around the world in 80 Girls ©