3: Perks of Pretending to be a Local with Journeying James



This is #3 of a series of interviews with some of the most followed travelers in the blogosphere. Our aim is to pick a portion of their traveling minds to inspire you to get on the traveling lifestyle and help you acquire a wider perspective on life while life happens to you. 

Our 3rd generous traveler is James Betia, the backpacker behind JourneyingJames.com. James journeyed throughout the Philippines in 100 days on a shoestring budget. One of a kind? Not so much. The advent of budget traveling has brought a lot of nomadic souls on the same adventure. But not a lot can say they have published a book about it! And then as if on a mission to conquer the world, region by region, he took on Southeast Asia in the same light next, in 100 days! We’re excited to see what next adventure he does in 100 days!


Learn a thing or two, and as Seth Godin would say, more importantly, do something about it.


Interview with a Traveler #3: James Betia


Someone walks up to you somewhere in travel and asks you, “What do you do that makes you feel alive?” What would your 10 second answer be?

Surfing and just lately trying to get lost on the motorbike somewhere in the mountains of Northern Thailand.


How did you get into the point of being a true blue traveler (and not just a weekend tripper/vacationer)? Bring us to that moment.

I really don’t like the term true blue traveler and I don’t consider myself one. I happen to love traveling that it has become a lifestyle.
yap-Sandiego Ancestral House Cebu colon-street2

Journeying James at the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House in Cebu


What was holding you back from being a traveler?


What are the top 3 things you never travel without (excluding basic necessities)?

  1. Hammock
  2. MacAir (I need to work online)
  3. Board shorts (my travels have to have surfing)

Journeying James basking in sunrise in Busuanga


What’s the first 90 minutes of your day in travel like?


photo: culturalexplorer.com

photo: culturalexplorer.com


  • Laying on the hammock
  • Reading a book
  • Taking a shower
  • Coffee

What’s your worst traveler moment?

My passport, camera and travel money was robbed in Malaysia 2009

How did you get away/around it?

I had to sleep in the police office because I don’t have money and trust people to help me until I get some money from home.

What’s your biggest takeaway from that experience?

I learned how to survive without money for the next 5 days.

What’s your biggest weakness as a traveler?

I think the Philippine passport is very limiting. We have to apply if we want to go to some countries.

What’s your biggest strength as a traveler that makes you the best to travel with?

I can get along with anybody (except for those who dont shower) haha


Journeying James at Pai Canyon with his German †ravel friends


Give us one aha moment you had while in travel.

I can pretend to be a local in Thailand, Myanmar, and Indonesia making my entrance fees FREE or at a local price.

Currently, how are you generating income?

I sell hammocks that convert into a travel neck pillow online.

What is a personal habit that you think contributes to your success?

Reflecting about myself, life, and experiences while on the road.

Journeying James and the sunset at Liwliwa


Internet resource that has been useful for you in travel

  • Google
  • Facebook (I would just ask friends)

One book you highly recommend

If you were to live again with a clean slate, give us a visual of how your life will look like.

Same as what I have right now

James in Boracay


To end this interview, what’s your one parting piece of guidance?

What’s the best way we can connect with you?

Instagram: @journeyingjames


Thank you, James for your generosity with your time and insights! Safe travels wherever you are today and we hope you continue to come home changed!

All photos are from JourneyingJames.com except otherwise stated


If you’re feeling inspired to travel, here’s a FREE Travel Itinerary Template to get you started planning your next trip!