In this edition of Celebrity Travel Addicts, we speak with the fantastic Rax Suen, the digital nomad, foodie, and podcast host behind Nomads Unveiled. We spoke with Rax about what travel means to him, his website and podcast, how he has been able to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, and much more. Check out his favorite destinations around the globe and find out what’s next for him!
How did your passion for travel get started?
It really started slightly more than a decade ago when I went to Mexico. That was the very first time I have traveled halfway around the globe and into a culture that is extremely different. It was then that I was triggered by the differences in culture and lifestyles that others were living. That exposure to how big the world is became a driving force to learn more.
Rax Suen of Nomads Unveiled skydiving high above Palm Jumeriah Island in Dubai.
What does travel mean to you? Why do you feel it’s important?
Travel to me means the internal process of self-discovery and the external process of understanding perspectives. The two work in sync together, when you open your perspectives, it also triggers and challenges your beliefs. And when you understand where your thoughts come from, you can try to understand why others think in a certain way. Putting yourself in a foreign and changing environment presents opportunities for discovery.
I think it is important to look out of your usual bubble and be able to understand there are so many different ideologies and opinions out there. There is no one right view, and when everyone tries to understand where each other comes from, the world is a better place. There’s this statement that I once wrote when reflecting my travels and still holds so true to me “The world is larger than one can fathom, the world is larger than just the geographical aspects of it.”
You refer to yourself as a “digital nomad.” For people who don’t know what that is, can you explain what it means?
I think the definition is becoming boarder as the community grows. In short, digital nomads are basically travelers who have remote income sources (often online) that doesn’t limit them to one specific location. Therefore, they have more geographical freedom to travel and move around while still earning their keep.
You run a travel blog called Nomads Unveiled. Can you please tell us how it came about and a little bit about it?
NomadsUnveiled is a travel and remote work website that provides travel insights and nomadic tips for travelers, particularly those who are interested to make travel a lifestyle rather than a 1-2 times/year kind of thing.
I actually had the idea to do this a few years back but didn’t really have time for it. However, as the pandemic brought travel to a halt, I had more time. During this period, I saw a surge of people reflecting about their work life and enquiring about remote work. As such, I thought my experiences could be helpful to others who are looking to pursue a travel lifestyle that they want.
You also produce the Chat With Nomads podcast, which I was fortunate enough to be featured on. Can you please tell everyone about the podcast and the types of guests you like to feature?
At Chat With Nomads, we speak to world travelers and digital nomads who are living their dreams around the world. In a casual and fun fireside conversation, we uncover travel insights. business advices, adventure stories and lifestyle tips from their experiences. This is almost mimicking that story sharing conversation in hostels.
I look for guests with interesting travel stories and perspectives. Some of them (like you) would also cover specific business tips and advice because they are successful in their respective fields, that would help others build up a journey of their own.
This is just fun for me to do, but the idea is also to inspire others to take that leap. More importantly, it is to open up and understand perspectives. Across a whole spectrum of guests, you can see there are multiple, different ways to build and live the life you love and enjoy.
Rax Suen of Nomads Unveiled hiking the Dientes de Navarino mountain range in Navarino Island, Chile.
You’re originally from Singapore. As an insider, what’s something you think more travelers should know about visiting Singapore? What are your favorite things to do there?
Singapore is a foodie paradise. Most people don’t stop at Singapore for too long because it is a small country. However, I often say that there is not enough meals to enjoy all of the cuisines in Singapore. One thing I would recommend when you come to Singapore, is to maximize every meal you have. Try something local and different.
That said, my favorite thing to do is to eat, of course. The Garden by the Bay night light show is also pretty magical.
Many people have been hit hard by the pandemic, especially those who work in travel. What have the past 15-or-so months been like for you?
Travel is not the only area I’m in. I also run a creative design team which actually got busy during the pandemic as companies try to adjust and a lot of new materials/content were needed.
It has probably also been easier to schedule guests for the ChatwithNomads podcast as most travelers are moving less frequently.
On the other hand, I also help my brother run MonsterDayTours, which is a travel and experience agency back home. During the pandemic, we had to quickly adjust strategies and product offerings to cater to the new environment. There is more focus on B2B experiences and virtual tours. The team has always had a positive mindset in viewing this as an opportunity within a crisis, to collaborate with larger partners that might have been harder to interact with in regular times. Perception matters 🙂
How many days/weeks do you travel in any given year? What types of places do you like to visit?
As a long-term traveler, I am kind of always overseas in the last few years. Travel activities really depend on where I am at and who I am with. It can be really varying. The adventurous side of me likes to visit nature places. The chill side of me likes food places and cafes with great ambiences in cities.
What do you want audiences to gain and learn from your work?
To both get inspiration and practical information to travel and build remote income sources.
What are the top three destinations you’ve visited?
This is tough. El Chalten, Budapest, Krakow
Rax Suen of Nomads Unveiled kicking back amongst the peaks outside of the village of El Chalten in Argentina.
Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of your top 3 destinations. Like a mini-guide or a to-do list of sorts. It can be anything from your favorite hotel, the best place to have lunch, the best sightseeing, etc.
There are Lots of things to do in Budapest, but here are some great ones:
- One of the most recognizable monuments and attractions in Budapest. It is right on top of Buda hill and provides a great view of the city.
- Walk by the Promenade. The Danube river cuts across Buda and Pest district and there’s lots of things to see and do by the waterfront. It’s a great place to even just go for a walk and enjoy the view. The parliament is also located right by the water.
- Relax at Széchenyi bathhouse. Széchenyi is the popular one and conveniently located with beautiful interior. However, you can always seek out other bathhouses. It is just a great relaxation activitiy particularly if you are visiting during the colder months.
- Ruszwurm Confectionery for cakes and sweet stuff. This was introduced to me by a walking tour guide. It’s an old school café with very classic interior and is usually packed, so you know it is good.
- Regős Vendéglő is a favorite for me. It’s kind of a basement tavern with a cozy ambience that I like. Looks pretty local and non-touristic in my opinion, and I went for their lunch menu a few times. The chestnut puree dessert is tasty.
How many countries have you visited so far?
I don’t actively keep track, but I remember it is around the 50-60 mark the last I did check.
What are your top 3 favorite cuisines?
Basing off 3 countries which I would visit for food : Korean, Indian, Taiwanese.
What is your favorite restaurant in the world? What dish do you recommend there?
That small shop in the alley, not known by many, and run by a cute grandmother who cooks up the local flavour of home. It’s always the local hidden gems.
Rax Suen of Nomads Unveiled admiring the view above the legendary city of Machu Picchu in Peru.
What is your favorite travel movie?
Nothing comes to mind straight away. I think The Amazing Race (Reality TV show, not a movie) always does well in triggering the wanderlust.
What is your favorite international airport?
Changi Aiport in Singapore. And while I like to say it can be a biased opinion, but I really don’t think it is. I have actually just stuck around the airport for a full whole day once, when I arrived the morning and did not have to collect any check-in lugguage. The airport is like an attraction itself.
Which city had the friendliest people?
Hard to determine, as the hospitality from each country is very different in their own context. In my experience, the people in the countryside usually tend to be more hospital. In general, I find Taiwanese people to be quite friendly.
Who is your favorite travel companion?
Hopefully the next person J
What is the best way to kill time while traveling?
Daze at the scenery or observe the locals. If on plane, then usually writing or movies.
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
What is your best bit of travel advice for someone who wants to, or is about to, embark on a life of travel?
I would say keep an open mind and be prepared to go with the flow. Unlike short vacations where you can have a fixed itinerary, plans will usually change when you are traveling long term. Don’t be afraid to lean into where life takes you and too stressed out about things not going according to “plan”.
There’s also lots of practical logistical things to consider which I wrote about here when considering long term travel.
Rax Suen of Nomads Unveiled going on a kayaking adventure among the icebergs of Antarctica.
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
Handphone, Laptop, my adventurous self, and an Open Mind
What is your ultimate dream destination?
Right now, I think it could be Iceland.
What is your favorite travel quote?
No particular favorite I guess
Once the world opens back up, where do you hope to travel to next?
Probably Europe or Central Asia.
Rax Suen of Nomads Unveiled hanging from a rock ledge high above coastal Brazil.
Rax Suen is the creator behind nomadsunveiled, a travel and remote work website. He is passionate about perspectives, and hosts the travel podcast – ChatwithNomads to see the world from the eyes of other globetrotters and nomads. Rax has been traveling in multiple capacities for more than a decade and shares his experiences in pursuing freedom mentally, financially and geographically.