Hello everybody ! My name is Cezar, I am from Romania and since I remember, I really love to travel… firstly, I discovered my country and afterwards, I crossed the borders, adventuring in different adventures around the globe.
I should confess I am not one of those great travelers and travel bloggers who leave everything behind and leave a glamorous life around the world. I never traveled more than 3 months in a row, however I exploited all my travel opportunities at maximum – I had jobs which involved lots of international travel, I linked them with longer or shorter side trips, I always negotiated with my employers for longer holidays and I traveled extensively in the gap period between two jobs. I am just a regular guy who has a job, but who loves travel and tries to follow his hobby… and after 20 years of travel, I can count 89 visited countries (including my own)… not bad, after all.
The key to travel ? Ambition, willingness and exploiting any opportunity – I have a business trip in Ukraine ? Why not going to see Belarus as well ? How to get there ? Overnight train from Kiev, of course ! However, in order to do this I had to learn how to get the best deals, how to manage by frequent flyer programs, to follow religiously the development in low cost flying sector, to have a 3-meters book shelf filled with travel guides and obviously to learn from past traveling.
In 2009, I started my travel blog in Romanian. I had three reasons :
1. Lots of people really asked me to start writing and providing advices to those who would like to travel,
2. I wanted to learn how on-line works (I spent all my career in marketing & advertising, I shot dozens of TV commercials, run hundreds of promotions and events, but my on-line experience was nil)
3. Give up playing on-line strategy games and turn my time spent in on-line in something more useful.
Looking back, my first days of blogging were funny – I discovered that I should write not very long posts, I learned that a comment on a friend’s blog might increase my traffic and, by the way, I learned that Google is not only a “knows-everything” search engine, but also can count my traffic.
One year later, I got the Roblogfest award for the best travel blog in Romania after a popular vote and the advertising / press trips opportunities started to appear… from paid advertising to free trips to so diverse places like Malta, Canada, St. Lucia (Caribbean), Sri Lanka or Indochina… Meanwhile, my Romanian travel blog became pretty popular and I really enjoy when someone approaches me in the Bucharest metro or in Saigon Reunification Palace asking… “Hey, excuse me, are you Imperator ? Thanks, I got a lot of good tips from you, so I could visit that and that”.
But I have lots of friends outside Romania who do not speak Romanian, so, I decided to have a second travel blog – this time in English. So, welcome to “Imperator Travel” blog, English version !
What you gonna find here ? Well, my travel stories which I really hope will make you look for your backpack or troller and go to visit the world. I am really happy when so many people from Romania send me messages saying they went there and there after writing my stories. You will find posts dedicated to a certain destination or real serials narrating whole trips around the world.
You will find tones of tips, tricks, information and breaking news. It is not only to want to travel, but also to know how to do it smartly. I will share with you lots of down-to-earth use-it-now information from extraordinary plane tickets prices (only in the first 3 months of the year, I could find a 250 euro return plane ticket from Milan to Brazil or a 300 euro ticket to lots of destinations in East Asia).
You will find hotels reviews – where I stayed and I slept… I experienced all range of accommodation – from sleeping in the Cologne railway station to the 7-stars Burj-al-Arab Dubai, but I always enjoy good value, full of character accommodation… I will share with you the best value hotels I’ve seen and spectacular hotels I had the chance to step in.
You will find also specific routes. I use Lonely Planet and Rough Guide and In Your Pocket and other travel guides… But sometimes you get loaded with so many sights these otherwise well-written books present you, so you don’t really know what to choose. I will present how I will organize my routes – either through a city or through a country, trying to cover as diverse places as possible and enjoyable. I believe in active holidays and I believe in trying to look for diverse experiences – I would not write about a church + City hall-only tours, but how to have multiple experiences in a trip.
So, I will write for people who enjoy travelling, love discovering places and have lots of experiences, but they have a job and might not travel non-stop… Probably, slow and long-term travel is Nirvana for many, but as Nirvana is, not really achievable…
And talking about experiences, these are some of the best in my life:
– Watching a sunrise over Everest from the Tibetan Everest Base Camp;
– Penetrating the hermit kingdom of North Korea and visiting this reclusive country;
– Having lunch with Afghan travelers on the floor of Sharjah airport and receiving invitations to visit Afghanistan – “Come to Jallalabad and ask for me…. My name is Mohamed, just ask for Mohamed !” (I guess 50% of male population of Jallalabad is named Mohamed :));
– Visiting the stone-age tribes of South Ethiopia;
– Island-hopping in the Maldives;
– Having a beer with Arkan, the well-known Serbian war-lord from the Yugoslavian civil war;
– Having a beer with some Nepalese guides in a Kathmandu run-down pub, talking about how to pick foreign tourist chicks;
– Traveling by lower class over-night Indian trains, few minutes after finishing a 15-euro opulent dinner in one of the most luxurious places in Asia;
– Giving interviews to the world media as one of the very few Romanian football fans present at the World Cup – France 1998;
– Sleeping under the stars on the Moses peak in Sinai, Egypt;
– Driving for 3 days in the Moroccan desert listening to the only audio-tape I had – the famous rai singers “Live in Bercy”;
– Pushing our bus from the road holes in Cambodia;
– Posing as a Muslim pundit at 2 am in a dark Cairo to a threatening taxi driver (he ran away after I quoted from Koran !);
– Petting a tiger in Thailand;
– Flying by a light plane towards Annapurna range in Nepal;
– Traveling the “Axis of evil” – North Korea – Iran – Syria and spending a fantastic time;
– Taking part at a mess in Moni, Flores island, Indonesia – all the church goers ignored the poor priest, focusing their attention to us;
– Trekking the fabulous Pays Dogon in Mali;
– Watching the rise of the clouds in Macchu Picchu;
– Feeling the energy from the Pyramid of Moon in Teotihuacan;
– Traveling in Albania during the Kosovo war;
– Singing karaoke in a Malaysian karaoke bar with Chinese;
– Hitchhiking in the Tunisian Sahara;
– And many, many more !
As I said, travel is about experiences, it’s about learning, it’s about joy, it’s about discovering, it’s about life ! So, live the life ! And you can do it even if you have a career, or kids or bank mortgages ! Because you can do it in a smart way.
Because, we live in a wonderful world which we should enjoy…