Derek Freal is a seasoned traveller. It was completely evident in his tweet that told Donald Trump that Muslims aren’t as bad as he painted them to be.
This tweet later went viral and us at WORLD OF BUZZ decided to reached out to him to know a little bit more!
Derek tells us that his current trip to Malaysia wasn’t his first. In fact, the American man has travelled to our country multiple times!
“This is either my 4th or 5th time in Malaysia. I am embarrassed to admit that I have not been keeping count.”
“I first came here in 2013 and was so impressed by the food, friendliness and beauty of Malaysia that I kept coming back.”
Best of all, those trips weren’t short ones either.
“My longest trip here was for 90 days, the visa limit, during which I celebrated new years 2015, received my PADI certification in Salang on Tioman Island and spent more than a month doing a house-sit in a small kampung outside of Malacca.
“It was during this trip that my love for Malaysia grew into a full-fledged addiction.”
Though Derek is a nomad, he found himself missing Malaysia even though it wasn’t his home country. When he was in Finland earlier this year, he met a few Malaysians and they started chit chatting.
“It was then I realized that I had been away from Malaysia too long and needed to return.”
When asked if Derek had any favourite city in Malaysia, of course he had to choose Penang. But no, it isn’t like the typical ang moh’s reason like ‘oh the food there is great’. He said,
“I have a few good friends who grew up in mainland Penang and as a result have spent a lot of time there during past trips.”
Of course, the food, street art, and beaches are also part of the reasons why he loves the island so much. But he isn’t the type of person to just visit tourist areas only. Derek is a real explorer.
“Not only is it a beautiful and delicious state, but because most orang asing only visit the island and not Seberang Perai.
“Locals there tend to be a bit surprised when they see me walking around and even more surprised when I open my mouth and they realize that I can speak bahasa.”
However, the wanderlust has yet to visit Terengganu, Sarawak or Sabah so he might just have a new favourite after visiting those beautiful states.
Malaysia, being a food haven, definitely means that this man will be spoilt for choices. How can anyone choose a favourite?
One thing Derek absolutely loves is the burning hot chilies in our Malaysian cuisine.
“Saya suka makanan pedas! Nasi lemak and asam pedas are two of my all-time favorites, however as long as my meal comes with a huge portion of sambal, I am happy.
“Part of what makes Malaysian food so great is how it incorporates the best parts of Indian, Chinese and Javanese cuisines as well.”
And this adventurer truly knows how to take risks as he has actually tried out the bull penis soup, or better known by locals as Sup Torpedo!
Bruhh… even I, who was born and raised in Malaysia, have yet to try that. And I probably wouldn’t ever try it either…
Though Derek is one of the World’s Top 10 Male Travel Bloggers according to the Huffington Post, his blog has now turned into a hobby rather than his main source of income. Instead of creating sponsored videos for clients which fund his travels, he wants to focus more on his own YouTube channel.
“Now the primary purpose of this trip (to Malaysia) has shifted from relaxing and visiting friends to collecting as much diverse video footage as possible so that I can highlight the beauty of Malaysia in a series of videos on my YouTube.”
Besides, one thing Derek REALLY wants to try out in Malaysia are our weddings. With the different cultures we have here, surely our marriage traditions are rather unique too. And Derek absolutely wants to attend at least one.
So, if any of you are getting married soon, don’t forget to extend your invitation to him!