Traveler Profile: Amadeus Baraan and His Adventures and Misadventures as ‘Grandeur Traveler’

A global pandemic might have put a pause on this wanderer’s plans but he’s more than ready to see the world again once things get back to normal.

Travelers are some of the most interesting people you’ll come across your entire life. They jump from continent to continent, backpacks full of stories and Instagram feeds bursting with stunning photos. They’ve experienced the world differently from the rest of us and, if we admit it, we love to live vicariously through their adventures. But travelers do more than take pretty photos — they also inspire the rest of us to go out into the world and see its beauty for ourselves. Amadeus Baraan, or as the internet knows him, Grandeur Traveler, is one such inspirational adventurer.

Amadeus grew up surrounded by the beauty of Dagupan, Pangasinan, and its well-known beaches. Years later, he would establish his own hotel there, Sirom Beach House, with his brother and fellow traveler Francis Baraan. But it wasn’t until he set foot in New York City in his early 20s that the good ol’ travel bug bit him and gave a tug at his heartstrings.

“[New York] threw everything at me and it gave me that experience I needed to travel the world,” he says. “It was fueled more when I discovered the beauty of our Palawan Islands – El Nido, to be exact.”

Since then, he has been taking his time seeking adventures across the seven continents and curating his travels in his Instagram account, Grandeur Traveler. Amadeus shared with us his adventures, misadventures, and the life lessons he has learned throughout the years.

From seeing marvelous countries and getting to kiss the hand of Pope Francis to getting mugged at Charles de Gaulle airport and losing all his travel photos, here are Amadeus Baraan’s travel adventures as Grandeur Traveler.

 

The Best Thing About Travel

When did you come up with the name ‘Grandeur Traveler’ and what is the story behind it?

It happened during med school. My friend Robbie kept calling me grandeur since everything I did seemed a bit grand during that time (i.e Flying off to a different country on a weekend whenever I felt tired from hospital duty). I then started a blog called GrandeurPhiles, which was mostly about luxurious things in general. Eventually, I had to focus on one thing. It was travel, of course. Grandeur Traveler seemed like the perfect name.

What was your goal when you realized you wanted to travel?

Visiting all the continents was definitely one of them. I was planning to go to Antarctica this year to complete that goal but that will have to be moved now.  As soon as the world is better, I would like to visit Turkey, Argentina, Botswana, Rwanda, and Chile.

As I got older though, traveling has become more about connecting with family and friends. Nothing beats spending time with your favorite people.

Which countries have you visited?

A lot. I’ll just mention some of my favorites – the Philippines, Bali (Indonesia), New York (USA), Italy, France, UK, India, Morocco, Mexico, Peru, and Africa. These places bring the raw magic of travel.

Which place is still on your travel bucket list?

Antarctica, Patagonia, staying in all of the Aman Properties – the list goes on!

Where is the most interesting or most beautiful place you’ve been to?

Most beautiful – El Nido in Palawan solidified my love for our islands and the Philippine as a whole.

Most interesting – India!  An explosion of sights, sounds, and smell. What a delight to travel in this country.

As an established traveler, what can you say is the worst part about traveling?

Easy – LUGGAGE (I can’t pack light). Early morning flights. I am saying this in jest: flying economy on a transcontinental flight. Not fun at all. I work hard and use my miles to fly in business class.

How do you fund all your adventures?

From my practice as a dermatologist and my businesses (rental and resort). Some were sponsored when I was still actively blogging.

 

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Can you share your best/funniest travel memory?

Meeting Pope Francis in the Vatican. A good deed led to this. My friend and I assisted a Chilean couple since they could no longer walk. Red Cross asked if they needed a wheelchair, we answered yes. Little did we know that Pope Francis always approached the disabled people during these gatherings! Next thing we knew, the Pope was walking toward us. I got to kiss his hand.

How about the worst but memorable one?

Oh, I have too many.  In fact, I started my blog when a series of unfortunate events had befallen me in Europe.  One of the craziest stories I had was when I almost got “assaulted” (or could have been worse) in the Montmartre district of Paris. Out of curiosity, I decided to enter a “club” where women danced. I did not realize that I would be paying for the drinks those ladies ordered. Ignorance was certainly not bliss. My bill turned out to be ridiculously shocking. I had no choice but to flee (I ran after paying what was agreed upon before I entered) since I was going to be beaten to a pulp (For the full story, you may check my blog www.grandeurtraveler.com – Classic case of Dumb Luck).

We also got mugged in broad daylight while taking photos near Amsterdam’s Red Light District. We could have been shot there as well. That was not that worse thing during this trip though. After my first month-long trip to Europe, the gypsies stole my camera and messenger bag at the Charles de Gaulle airport. I lost all my photos. It was a complete nightmare since there was no Facebook or Instagram during this time. Nothing was posted. I had to stay in Paris for 5 more days because I could not go home without a photo of me and that iconic Parisian tower. Emirates was gracious enough to not let me pay for rebooking.

What’s one place you recommend everyone should visit at least once in their lives?

Palawan.

Based on all your travels, what is unique about the Philippines?

Our people and our hospitality and warmth are unmatched.

 

TIPS AND TRICKS FROM A SEASONED TRAVELER

 

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What’s an item you can’t travel without?

My Nikon D800 camera.

Can you share a practical travel tip you’ve learned?

Always use one credit card to rack up travel miles. It is best for upgrades.

What advice can you give for those who want to travel but are struggling financially?

Traveling does not need to be expensive. Our country has the best that nature has to offer. Of course, this goes without saying: If there’s a will, there’s a way! Focus on our goals and work hard. If you have a dream destination, cut down on other things like eating out or shopping and put all the money into your travel account.

What lessons have you learned from all of your travels?

Be mindful of your surroundings.

Stop comparing. Each place has its own magic.

Learn to enjoy the little things.

Most importantly, people are all essentially the same.

 

AS A TRAVELER COPING WITH A PANDEMIC

Which places have you been to since the pandemic?

To everyone’s surprise, I have been in Pangasinan since March. I have explored every cove and beach near Sirom Beach House. We also went swimming and snorkeling near this beautiful island in Zambales, one hour by boat from Sirom. If plans do not change, that island will be an ultra-luxe resort (Rosewood Hermana Mayor) in a few years. Aside from the resort, I visited my family in Dagupan a few months ago. I will most likely go back to Manila soon to check on things.

As a traveler with plans hampered by the pandemic, how are you coping with the current situation? How do you spend your time these days?

The first month was the hardest but I was lucky to have been stuck in Sirom Beach House. I have discovered the joys of simple living by the beach. Since the start of community quarantine, Sirom has managed to keep me busy every single day. Our expansion for the casitas had already started last January. We still have a million things to finish right now.

As for my dermatology practice, I do my consults online for my patients (@amadeusmd23). For continuing medical education, we have our usual webinars.

What comfort can you give to fellow travelers who might be having a case of ‘cabin fever’?

Be creative. This is the best time to discover your own backyard. Road trips will be king/queen this year.

Where is the first place you will go/visit after this pandemic is over?

Antarctica, East Africa, or Morocco.

 

READ MORE:
International Travel Might Not Go Back to Normal Until 2023, Experts Say
Study: The “Fear of Loneliness” Is Keeping Filipinos from Traveling Solo
How To Be A Little Less Lonely When Traveling Solo

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