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Doug Knell of Doug's Republic. He's amazing. Douglas Knell of Doug's Republic can furnish you with free travel tips to all the banana pancake trail stops in Thailand and Australia. Just grab yourself a backpack and a subscription to Compuserve, not the internet.

Travel States Within Doug's Republic

"Travel is a wonderful way to get in touch with what your own inner eye is seeing -- or, if not that, to try to run away from all of your problems."  Doug Knell, Doug's Republic

In the East McDonnell Ranges, I was asked by two matronly Australian females why I was traveling.   They didn't want a detailed answer.  The answer was multiple choice, with just two possibilities:  I was either running towards something or running away.  

Reflecting on the question several weeks afterwards, I realized I was doing both.  For years, living in overrated California, I had often felt like I was running in place.  Upon leaving that overglorified cosmetically- and genetically- modified circus show, it would not be inaccurate to say I was running away from or steering clear of a similar sort of meaningless existence down the line.  What I was running towards was a life of my own devising that I could look back on later with pride, not just as time that had passed away on a calendar. 
Doug Knell
Doug's inner eye to world escapism

Travel gave me the option to assess my life and what I wanted out of it.   This sounds like something so elementary that anyone should be able to do it between trips to the local Chinese take-out.  It's not.  In your day-to-day existence, doing the same old thing month after month, it's too easy to lose sight of what matters.

banana pancake trailDoes that mean that every traveler sporting a backpack and a round-the-world trip ticket is the coming generation's Enlightened Buddha?   Afraid not.  When I first strapped on a backpack in Europe in 1988, I never professed to have all, most, or even some of the answers.   I still don't.  I played down whatever I did in an era that pre-dated the internet, ubiquitous mobile phone usage, and daily travel blog updates.  It required some guts and a ton of uncertainty to travel far afield then, in a time that seems like it may as well have been fifty years ago for how fast things have changed since then.  Since the 2000's, travel has become more democratized, if you want to call it that.  Even in the poorer countries, such as Vietnam or Cambodia, tours flit you from place to place, and innumerable backpackers, who think they're blazing new trails but merely traveling along ones ploughed with banana pancakes and Ovaltine, gather in front of guesthouse television sets to watch re-runs of trendy television shows they could just as easily view on DVD or Blu-Ray back in their homelands.  It's harder to do self discovery on the travel route than it used to be.  The world's just not as large.   You can't get lost.

telephone wallahIt's no exaggeration when I say the world went through a major change during my first big jaunt.   During my three-year near continuous trip through Asia and Africa between 1994-97, the world was transformed from pre-internet to post-internet as I essentially faded off one edge of the earth.   To communicate, I had to make long distance calls via expensive telephone bureaus or send faxes to tell the receiving parties when and where to call me back.  When I departed in 1994, it was almost unheard of to have an e-mail address.  Occasionally, when exchanging details with other travelers, I'd give out my father's Compuserve address -- a hard-to-remember detail like 75123.353@compuserve.com -- but I'm sure no one wrote it down.  No one else had an e-mail address at that time or knew what it was.  A German girl I romanced on the road thought me pretentious for giving out an e-mail -- what the hell was it?   Apart from no one having an e-mail in those pre-Hotmail days,  I had no way to access e-mail apart from dialing into the Compuserve network directly.   

By the time I returned to the United States, the internet was already changing the way people interacted -- and traveled.   I attempted to communicate my travel knowledge (and computer and internet knowledge) via an Innovative Pocket Guide series in the early 2000's.   My Travel Budget Trimmer discussed all the things I'd learned from doing it the hard way based on in-the-field experience, but using the power of the internet to increase one's travel options and opportunities.  But e-Books were an unknown commodity in 2000.  The book(s) didn't sell.

Doug's Republic Doug's Republic Doug's Republic 
Travel Budget Trimmer Computer Comprehensive Companion  Innovative Internet Secrets
Doug's Innovative Pocket Guide series, circa 2000-01, all of which failed to transform the universe
My life wasn't such a great sell either.  All those years in California were ones in which I felt stuck.   My life after my travel adventures had jumped the shark, to use a TV term.  I needed better 'writers' and 'supporting players' to get the show that is my life back on track.  And so in 2005, I packed what I needed into a backpack, bought a one-way ticket to Thailand.  Two months later, I flew to Australia and spent a year there, initially expecting to stay only four or five months.  The original intention was to return to Southeast Asia, visit Cambodia and Malaysia, and then work my way back through Laos and into China. 

Well, I never made it to China.  Weeks before the Cambodia part of my trip, I met a wonderful woman who had recently been transferred to Thailand for work with her young non-English speaking son.  Overnight, I went from swinging bachelor to learned wise family man.    Not long after, an attention-seeking and toilet-trained cat was adopted into the fold.  I'm not stretching the truth too far to say that everything I now have of any importance I obtained through traveling.

Doug Knell travelMore than a decade ago, I began collecting flags from every country I'd ever been to and had them stitched onto a showpiece shirt.   Maybe it was fifty or sixty countries.  I don't really remember now, much less care, and I've never counted since.   There's one blogger blazing popular web paths who's maintained that it's his goal to visit every country in the world before his 35th birthday.   A great goal, but not mine.   At this time in my life, if traveling solo, when I can't spend significant time in a country after making the effort to get there, I don't bother going. 

On this site so far, I only profile Thailand and Australia in any great factual depth, as these are the countries in which I have plenty of recent memories and insights and possessed a digital camera to capture movies and photographs of the experiences at the time they were happening.  Other countries could be added later if the demand is there.  If the demand could be there as long as sexual and other explicit materials are added, please feel free to let me know so that future content can be accordingly perverted in line with the desires of my readers.

Boring and monotonous you've-seen-it-all-before travel blogs are left to the wayside.  What you'll get instead are travel stories, mockeries, interpretations, and distortions, Doug Knell style.  The poet Robert Frost once famously said, "Two roads diverged in a wood and I -- I took the one less traveled by."  Those desirous of digital albums with thousands upon thousands of pictures with no provided explanations, interspersed with a few shots of some relation's baby's diaper-rashed bottom, can be considered as taking the pathway most traveled by and would be best off getting the hell out of my woods. 

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Computer Comprehensive Companion

  Doug Knell of Doug's Republic offers you travel tips. Douglas Knell of Doug's Republic tells you how to travel on the banana pancake trail to Thailand and Australia with a backpack and without using Compuserve, but the internet. How's that for travel tips?