As part of our goal to make life easier for bus travelers, we keep in touch with travelers who have had firsthand experiences wandering the world. Today, we’re happy to feature Felicia Cote-Floyd, full-timer traveler and freelancer currently in Bali!
Felicia Cote-Floyd has spend a considerable amount of time exploring the ins and outs of Asia and documenting them on her Instagram and Facebook (so much so, that she recently shared her insider tips with us on the region!). Her love for travel all started when she did an Exchange program during her Bachelor’s degree in Seoul, South Korea. This then led to multiple travel experiences in Europe, Africa and her favorite part of the world, Asia. Today, she is doing freelance work as an online social media manager and also building an e-commerce online business. We caught up with Felicia so that she can fill us in her most recent adventures.
1- You’re originally from Montreal, but are now traveling around the world. Where are you now and where are you headed next?
I’m currently staying in Bali, Indonesia. I’ve been here for 2 months now and I wouldn’t change it for the World! Bali is an amazing place to drop your bags for a few weeks/months because there is so much to see. The tasty food, beautiful beaches and Balinese people definitely charmed me. I recently came back from Singapore to do a visa-run in order for me to extend my stay in Indonesia for up to 6 months!
And I always love the question “Where are you headed next?” because it’s a question that I get quite often from my friends and family and the answer is always the same ; I don’t know! I rarely plan in advance my next destinations as I change my mind way too many times. When my visa expires, I usually look what is the cheapest flight to another country and I’ll be heading in that direction.
2- How did this great adventure start? Was there anything specific that made you want to travel full-time?
As mentioned in my bio, my exchange program in South Korea made me discover my true passion for travel. Being out of my comfort zone, discovering a completely new culture, tasting dishes that I never knew existed all gave me a sense of purpose. I was also lucky enough to have shared this experience with my best friend by my side which made it even more enjoyable. As soon as we both got back home in Montreal, we both realized that we needed to make this a long-term journey.
3- Do you have any advice or tips for anyone trying to take the same path and explore the world on a full-time basis?
My favorite advice has always been : Don’t be scared of the unknown. When you travel, you will realise that the World doesn’t necessarily operates like it does in your home country. Always stay open-minded, don’t be afraid to try new things and get out of your comfort zone. You will then realise how beautiful the world is and how much you will want to travel more.
Also, if you plan on travelling long-term, always have a backup plan in case things go South. It is absolutely possible to travel on a low-budget (especially in Asia/South America), but you always have to be prepared and have a small amount of money saved in case of a bad luck, especially if you’re away for a long time.
My bonus tip : Always travel with an Insurance!
4- You mentioned that you have been traveling in Asia for over 20 months. Which place was your favourite?
This is such a hard question, because every country and cities has given me so many good memories! But if I had to choose one, it would be the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand. In Chiang Mai, I had the chance to visit an Elephant Sanctuary twice and still to this date, it has been the best experience I’ve had in my life. Wherever you walk in the old city, you will find something worth seeing. Either it’s a trendy café shop, a typical local northern restaurant, a street market or a beautiful temple, Chiang Mai is a city that shouldn’t be missed if one travels to Thailand or even South East Asia.
5- Your culinary taste must have expanded since then as well. Which type of Asian cuisine has come to be your favorite, and what is the most outstanding local meal you’ve had so far?
One of my favorite part of traveling in Asia is definitely trying the local food! Every country has so much to offer, but my favorite has to be Thai food. Every dish is always very light and the mix of different flavors is always perfectly blended. The good thing about Thai food, apart from being very inexpensive, is that you can have an outstanding dish at a street food stall. There is even one street food stall in Bangkok (Jay Fai) that has received a Michelin star!
And surprisingly, the 2 best meals I’ve had while traveling in Asia weren’t in Thailand. I’ve had the best Chicken Pho Soup at a street food stall in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and the best soup dumplings in a local restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan. I truly wish I remembered the name of both restaurants because both dishes were absolutely delicious.
6- Do you have any packing essentials for travelers heading to the region?
I would absolutely recommend an ultra light down jacket. Often, people tend to bring only summer clothes, such as shorts and tank tops since the weather is usually warm. But, if you plan to travel to South Korea, Japan or even Northern Thailand and Vietnam, it can get pretty cool at night and a t-shirt won’t cut it.
Also, if you’re like me and you LOVE to go everywhere by walking, I would recommend a good pair of sandals or shoes. Walking and visiting in flip-flops is totally doable, but if you want to do it long-term, this might increase your chances of getting back and knee pain (trust me on this one!)
Bonus packing essentials : If you plan on sleeping in hostels, always pack these 3 things : Ear plugs, sleeping mask and padlock. Thank me later 😄
7- What advice do you have for travelers visiting Asia for the first time?
Please be patient as it will be your best friend! If you’re from a western country, everything seems to be very fast pace. In Asia, well especially South East Asia, everything is on their time which very often, can be very slow. Once, I waited 3 hours past schedule for a train leaving from Thailand to Malaysia, because there were cows on the track. This is definitely something I developed while traveling.
Patience is also very important when communicating with locals. Don’t forget, English is not their first language, it might even be their third and it might be hard to understand what they are saying at first, but being patient will bring much more value to all of your conversations. By experience, locals tend to be genuinely nicer with you if you’re patient with them.
8- At Busbud, our mission is to make bus travel information easy to find so that travelers can make better travel decisions. What do you think about this mission and do you think this type of service would benefit the travel community?
Making smart travel decisions will not only save you time, but most importantly save you money. Having an easy access to all of the information is crucial and having this service available will absolutely be beneficial to any travelers.
9- Do you use the bus to get around the region? If so, what is your most memorable bus trip?
I usually prefer ground transportation rather than flying as it is often way cheaper. Therefore, I’ve had my fair share of crazy experiences while on an Asian bus! The one I’ll remember the most has to be when I traveled 28 hours (BY BUS!) from Vietnam to Lao. The toilet was defective on the bus and we only stopped 2 times during the entire journey to go to the washroom and one time to eat. It was a sleeper bus so the seats would recline like a bed, but being in a bus for that long will take a toll on you. This is the only time I wish I had taken a plane.