Asia Pacific volunteering trip debrief

It’s my third weekend home without motor sports and it really is a damn shame there’s nothing happening locally at Lime Rock, NJMP or Poconos (besides the Indycar test for which they didn’t require marshals) so I wanted to reflect on the 7 back-to-back weekends in Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia that opened this year. I often get asked how I’m able to afford this travel, etc. So I’ll share the schedule and costs below, to prove that anyone can do it, if they chose to.

My schedule went as follows:

FEB 8-10: 12 hours of Bathurst at Mount Panorama in NSW, Australia

FEB 16-17: BNT V8 Supertourers at Hampton Downs, New Zealand

FEB 22-24: SBK Superbikes at Phillip Island, VIC Australia

FEB 28 – MAR 3: Clipsal 500, V8 Supercars at Adelaide, SA Australia

MAR 8-10: Shannon’s Historics CAN-AM at Phillip Island VIC Australia

MAR 14-17: Australian F1 Grand Prix at Albert Park,  VIC Australia

MAR 22-24: Malaysian F1 Grand Prix at Sepang Circuit, Malaysia

I also did the following non-motorsport trips on this journey:

MAR 11-13: Went to visit the old office North of Sydney NSW Australia

MAR 19: Day trip to Penang to visit a friend for lunch Penang, Malaysia

MAR 20-21: Overnight trip to Phnom Penh first time in Cambodia

Mar 26-29: Flight home via Clark and Manila, the Philippines

Mar 29: A quick dinner with friends on a short few connection in Singapore

To book all these trips I used a combination of frequent flyer miles and low cost airlines, for example the trip to Australia was via American Airlines AAdvantage 32,500 miles + tax to fly Qantas from NYC to SYD via LAX. The flight back was on United Airlines Mileage Plus 32,500 miles + tax from MNL to JFK via SIN on Singapore Airlines. Both AA and UA miles were accrued through credit car sign up bonuses. Meanwhile, the flight from MEL to KUL was on AirAsia X with a mere $139 one way price tag ($189 after taxes, luggage and even a nasi lemak on board) still cheap comparing the alternatives. Similarly, within Australia I used Tiger Airways to fly from MEL to ADL and MEL to SYD, for far less what Qantas or even Virgin Australia charged. In Asia I jumped on a bunch of zero dollar / tax only deals, that would explain the $18 trip to Penang, or $36 trip to Cambodia… and finally $24 trip to Clark. This is about as cheap as it gets, and it was nice enough for a number of hosts to put me up for a few nights here and there thanks to CouchSurfing.org

I was also very grateful to a few motorsport marshals that put me up in both Melbourne and Auckalnd. Nothing went to plan from the start of the trip, but somehow it all worked out in the end, and I had an absolute blast over the two month journey.

Finally, let me share some photos from each one of the stops along the way:

apac trip hats

mount panorama bathurst

nz v8 supertouers 2

phillip island sbk 5

clipsal 6

shannons 5

australian gp 5

malaysian gp pit

australian v8s patches

(this is not my collection of CAMS patches, my Melbourne host was nice enough to share his stash of Motorsport memorabilia, very impressive collection!)

A fantastic trip and one I hope to repeat again, though a trip to Europe will be my next big trip this summer followed by one more visit to Singapore for their Grand Prix. Many more photos are posted on facebook.

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