Mikes Thoughts

News, Views, Subterfuge

I’m back from Da Nang and a few people asked the why question. Why change. Why do something new? They most likely do not read this puny attempt so I’ll send them the link. Many affirm to not read blogs any longer. It’s ok. We all have avenues of expression and paths of dialogue. I wanted to discuss the new and changed with you a bit though. I’ve done thinking on this many times as I’ve hoboed around Asia. Even 12 years ago living in Chennai India for awhile took me to both places although then I had no idea of the events to transpire. The new things then were so different in scope. The changes they would unravel would shake foundations at least to me. Divorce, hatred, antipathy, blame, infidelity. All were things that came knocking at my door of change. Fast forward to a few years ago. There was never any doubt to me I would go. I also knew both the new and the changed lose their shiny coat of paint. We are human and are wanting, passionate, needing things. If you don’t want new and change, you have dropped out of what life brings. So let’s drill down and perhaps you find a thing or see something. Maybe not. If not you can leave any old time 😃.

The new

So we are often afraid of the new. Untested. Never tried. Perhaps somewhat invisible. It sneaks up on us just when we think all is stable. And that’s the problem you see. We are not meant for stability. We need the new and often. It needs to threaten, cajole, frighten us or it’s a shimmering cloud of possibilities. Even us old folks need the new. The new thing. The new moment. The new person. It creates questions. It makes us look for answers. We adapt and adopt.

The new then becomes,

The change

Frightening eh? Change can seem mysterious and abrupt or slow and fanciful. It can over or underwhelm us with its presence or lack. One thing for certain, no new and no concomitant change results in a void. We just bop around never finding a thing that scares us or thrills us or sends us packing. Both sent me packing for the edge.

But change is not a one trick pony. It dies not yield or force you only once. I’m convinced adopting and adapting then leads to myriad other things that were lower or higher than eyesight.

So it brings us to today and the moment and the desire for new and change. My friend Leon (not real name) tells me he wants nothing but stability. No changes. He is too old for real change. Family things for him are ok but to suddenly create the unknown and untried is frightening to him. He is in his 70s so perhaps it’s understood. We reach an age where we think it’s desired to put down the twin forces of life. It’s like a sand dune in the Mojave Desert ignoring erosion and deposition. It will always be there and it will act. Leon closes his eyes and ears to both things really.

It’s not like that for me. Life and it’s moments and experiences are not so easily shelved and put away like a child’s playthings. In the end, both happen with alacrity and I know it.

So perhaps some understand my desire to go to Ecuador now. I need the very thing in the new and the change. That random quotient so sublime and unknowable. That little voice that whispers. It tells me,

Time to go. It’s time to find the new and the changed

Who am I to argue with little voices?

This is the last day of the report. Tomorrow I fly back to Hanoi and resume doing what I do there. Namely nothing. Today though will be walking the city downtown, getting more pictures, and enjoying the beauty and uniqueness that Da Nang offers. I’ve walked bridges here and today will do the area by the church and wherever I wish to go. First off will do coffee and breakfast somewhere. Perhaps today Starbucks for a change since I normally do not do that place. Then back to the room and enjoying the AC and comfort and the privacy here of the hotel. This hotel is so very nice for me. The beds are softer than normal and the sleep is so very good.

But here comes day three! A final day to revel in all things Da Nang and see a little of the downtown area. It’s different now with tourism just about gone but the city is vibrant still and the coffee shops are filled with Vietnamese people that love to go out. Many of the restaurants I’ve enjoyed are not open because perhaps they cater to tourists. I do see the normal expats here drinking beer at 9am and doing whatever it is they do every day. They could be here or in “name the city, name the country” it seems to me and do the same thing.

Again, this is more of a daily record blog post so I will update the post here in Bear Notes when breakfast starts happening or after with coffee or whatever I decide to do this morning.

I had breakfast at Starbucks and walked down the Riverwalk the opposite way. Took some pictures. Then went to Stranger Coffee and met a young Vietnamese boy learning English and his mom. We practiced some words on a piece of paper a few times. He was shy but waved and said goodbye when they left.

Today is beautiful but warm. I’ll probably leave this afternoon after some hotel time with the ac going.

Now it rains after my late lunch or dinner or whatever it was. I’m waiting inside the restaurant for the 30 minutes or so for things to stop. Maybe I did not mention this but da nang is very different. There are no Asian and western tourists here. Only local visitors and the occasional expat. It makes the city different. Not so lively or warm even though I see lots of very nice Vietnamese people. I don’t miss some of the tourists. There would normally be numbers of Korean tourists here. Some Chinese. Perhaps some from Singapore and Thailand and Malaysia. The countries are all locked together in many ways. Tourism, trade, industry, families. People normally cross all the borders as they wish for work and play and family. That’s all gone now. No one crosses into Vietnam except for very controlled access.

The rain is starting to lessen. Gonna go soon and walk somewhere. There is a bar called bamboo two which has this group of older expats all the time every time I have been here. Perhaps that’s a destination for a few cold beers before heading back. I did bamboo two bar and waited out the rain over two large tiger draft beers and watching the numerous expats drinking, watching sports, doing whatever they do. Then the rain stopped and I saw the most beautiful clouds and sky yet.

Here’s the entire set of photos of my little jaunt to Da Nang. This is the last time for me here I think. The evening gave me a beautiful goodbye! Love this city.

Tomorrow morning I fly back to Hanoi. Back for a few weeks and then I take the train to Haiphong and back over a few days. The time in Vietnam is winding down day by day. I’ll be both sad and happy to go.

Welcome to my second day here in beautiful and warm Da Nang. The sky opens up with it’s morning blue colors and my hotel is the most comfortable and bed welcomes me. It’s like I remembered from last time here. Finally a soft bed in the land of rock hard beds in Vietnam. I wonder why all the beds are hard. I wanted to relate a fun moment last night getting back to the hotel after eating and drinking at the Italian pub I went to. The ladies at the front desk remember me and will always smile and greet me. The older lady smiled the biggest at me and told me how cute I was with the beard. I told her she was my favorite and they all laughed. These people. These Vietnamese people especially here are the most warm and authentic I have seen. Many speak very good English here but its the mood and smiles and waving and saying hello wherever I go here. A bus driver offering me a bottle of water, younger girls at a coffee shop smiling. City workers waving and saying hello.

Now since I write this in Bear Notes, I can add or change easily to my day two note here. I’ll go for coffee down by Han River since its simply beautiful there each day to me. There is a new coffee shop or cafe to try that is appealing to me. Today will walk the city as I like and cross one of the many bridges. Have I mentioned lately that I love bridges? They are more than simply traffic enablers. They are the way to get in life from the now to then too. In Kaohsiung Taiwan I marveled at its bridges. Here the bridges light up the night still and create patterns of beauty and elegance. Da Nang is a city of beauty day or night. Now I go off to coffee somewhere. This will be more of a daily diary type blog post so will add to it through the day. One of the nice things of using a decent editor that synchronizes on iCloud.

Breakfast was fun. I tried to visit a few of the banh mi places I used to go to. All closed. I found a nice little cafe down an alley where I got a fresh pork banh mi and a large mug of iced Vietnamese coffee with milk for about $2. I also got a lot of smiles from people there. Now back in my room again with the AC going and time to relax and perhaps write some here and maybe start a story of sorts about three years in Southeast Asia. I have felt the urge to write the other part of the story down. Not the how and why and quality but the trip report of sorts. I feel like I can do this now. I’ve done the places I wish here and even a few I did not. Trips to Thailand, Malaysia countless times, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Cambodia living, and Vietnam living. All of the places offered me something. Something given and something taken away. What I’ve taken away is that for everything there is a time. Kinda like the old song like this,

To everything turn, turn, turn There is a season turn, turn, turn And a time to every purpose Under heaven A time to be born, a time to die A time to plant, a time to reap A time to kill, a time to heal A time to laugh, a time to weep

After breakfast I sauntered over one of the beautiful bridges of Da Nang. The city has perhaps 5 bridges. Maybe more. You can walk over most of them. The Han River courses underneath. At night the bridges all light up in a chorus of beauty. Today though I walked from one bridge to the other and stopped for a Mango Smoothie along the way back. I ended up back in my room and did some email and some writing and then headed to dinner for pizza at Aroma Pizza. I had wanted something else but it was closed so Aroma does nice for pizza. Then stopped for beer and water and back to finish so I could post the day two blog post and also Share the photos. It’s easier to just share them on google photos than trying to use the write.as photo sharing app.

Now I’m done with day 2 and it has occurred me that this is likely my last time in Da Nang. Many places I could care less. I did not particularly for Bangkok so left early. I loved Taipei and Kuala Lumpur and most of all Georgetown Malaysia. But that tiny voice that propels me forward also seems to think I won’t be back this way yet again. It’s okay. The beer is cold. The music plays. Wifi is good. I’ll just enjoy what I have and don’t have. I think by now you know both of the things if you’ve read along here awhile.

Tomorrow my retrospective of so many visits to Da Nang over the years. Perhaps you should tune in then :–).

On October 26th I will fly out of here back to California. Back to the place I was at in January this year with no intention of returning. Then I believed I would stay 3 months at a stretch in different places in Vietnam and still wander Asia as I like. Not to be.

Perhaps this planted a seed deep within which colored my desire to just live in Hanoi. I decided to leave Asia because i have to. It’s a place I have been and would love to return to but the world is bigger. Rounder. Has places for me to reach. I don’t like considering plans or steps but the blog has recorded me not doing plans but doing things because I wanted to do them. Go to Malaysia for a week? Ok. Live in Taiwan for three months? Ok. Now it’s time to change. To reboot. To find the next new.

So to reach the new I will do the old for a bit. But I’m set. I will reach Ecuador in late December or whenever I get tired of the United States. The attraction is more than the new. It’s the stable pension retirement system there and the lifestyle. It’s the next. The next place to go and thing to see. Life’s more than lists on a travel blog or inane captions on an Instagram. It’s the you in things.

thats then...

But now it’s Da Nang. My all time favorite place here. It has all the stuff. A river flows through it. The ocean is near. Skies are blue but sometimes rain threatens. Take a look here. Simply beautiful. It’s known as the Singapore of Vietnam but to me it’s just wondrous Da Nang.

I’m here for only a few days. My last time to see the city and the river and bridges. Tonight to a local Italian pub for dinner. Then two more days of simply being in this place.

More pictures to come with my iPhone 11 Pro.

Sometimes change is a basic thing. You see where you are. Love it. But you want more or different. Maybe those original species saw the land and decided it looked different or better or was worthy of exploration on its own merits. I’m that way. I realized last night over evening beers that I need to change. I need something that Asia cannot give me. I want difference. Like those staring with wanton eyes at the land I want to find the thing I have not yet. A new edge to live my simple retired life on. Realizing this made me also know that Southeast Asia does not have it. So I must needs go.

Not a hard or easy decision. Just a decision I reached with a few beers and watching the sunset over west lake. My visa is good until November now. I will leave Southeast Asia then for America. It’s only a layover of sorts. Time to retool for the next edge. I know where I want to be. There are places that come very close. I know what I need. There again are places that satisfy. But it’s really this little incessant voice that prompts me to go. To leave and find the land. I don’t always obey but I always listen.

To where is not so important dear readers. What suffices is to know I must go and then decide to not just listen but obey. I will write perhaps on what I want and what I need from a place. While I love Vietnam it does not have certain retirement options that would grant me security and stability. It also is the “same same” part of things. Now I need the different.

The nice thing is months left here to wander and enjoy. Then I go back to this other country for awhile. To find a sliver of a life. To maybe enjoy a Christmas at. To plot to leave soon after. It’s change you see. It propels me forward. You cannot change backwards or remain at stasis. Life ensures that by tossing choice and opportunity and challenge. Why not find a new edge?

Why not indeed?

International travel is out. Can’t go and if I could can’t get back in to Vietnam. So I decided I must do some purposeless movement here. So many places I’ve not been to yet. This is a perfect chance to go. My time at my airbnb is up on 15 August. So gonna hit the bus, rail, and plane vagabonding routes for awhile. I picked a few places to get to this time but don’t know how long I’ll stay. Here’s a little summary and why I want to go:

  1. Haiphong. This is the third largest city in Vietnam and is a major port. I like to do industrial photography so looking at a working port and then seeing more of the city sounds good.
  2. Hue. Once the Capitol of Vietnam the city is steeped in history and culture. From the citadel to the forbidden palace to the wonders of the food culture.
  3. Hoi An. Close to Da Nang but ancient town and the food and evening views call me back.
  4. Can Tho. Home and route to the fabled Mekong Delta and floating market. Can Tho offers a slowed down city with beautiful small alleys and coffee houses. I decided to spend a month here. My buddy Lily lives here too.

The real reason I’m going is that there is no reason. I can’t travel around the edge like I would like to do so wondrous and beautiful Vietnam provides my wandering and hobo destination.

then home

Then back to Hanoi for awhile. I’ll live here and love it. My desire is to stay in the same room I’m in now for some months more. I’ve realized I don’t need an apartment for my simple take on life. The rent to stay here is very good. The host takes good care of me and keeps the place really clean.

Moments back

I’ve been thinking some of life back in America. Perhaps because my friend Paul and discuss things back there over coffees every so often. I have to be honest. Vietnam feels like a universe away. Watching and reading news is like observing a distant planet. Things go on there but there’s a delay. Then I see them and it’s like WOW. Sometimes the news has already past me or is days late. I guess because news travels fast but happens even faster. Back when I did archeology the story was told about how a joke changed when it traveled across a continent. From the time it landed subtle changes started. The conditions, the plot, the people, the finale. Perhaps that lone observer could stand and watch with both focused and distant perspective. Not quite the participant observer of cultural anthropology. I feel that way here. By the time a thing happens it’s iterations have spun. Things have changed. It’s labeled like,

False News

Or something else equally strange or obtuse happens. Characters obfuscated. Plot changed. The clock ticks.

Everyone knows the change. It happens whether you see it or not. The only constant is change. So the anthropology comes around to me from those other days. Projectile points and dialogue points. Here in Hanoi I am sort of waiting. But it’s all changed as I do.

That’s the news folks. Movement and change. The old retired guy sits and drinks. Nothing stays the same.

This is the last post. I sum up the leaving, the edge, the why and how with the big piece. Life may have two pieces either defining or not. Quality and quantity. Each either offers or detracts from the moments. What we really have is not time. We have moments and experiences that define the moments. In meditation it’s equanimity. In yoga it’s arriving. No matter what it’s you getting there. You kinda decide what bridge to cross. Do you want a lot of things or things that matter. Matter to you. Sometimes you choose the quantity because having lots seems like a no brainer. You can revel in all the stuff. What I’ve found is quantity matters little. You want the being there. The arriving. Or as Pooh Bear said the today when he asked piglet what day it was. There’s no sense in taking lots. Lots won’t fit. Lots does not give you the other badge. It just creates a sense of having. Having more. Then more. And then more. In the end all of it avails you not. When I left the quantity all went away to goodwill or Salvation Army. It would not fit in the 45L bag.

What was left is quality. You heard of it before right?

The quality of life

We know to have less often gives more of what matters. More freedom, more spontaneity, more experiences not worrying about all the crap.

When I left the quantity left. I had decided early that collared shirts and fancy shoes and docker trousers were not part of my experiences. Instead I found that quality of life has no bearing on quantity. A few things that matter will always win out over thousands of things that don’t. I don’t believe money is an exception. You can have kazillions of dollars. Find your future with the money. I’m not convinced all of that really contributes to a life like mine or perhaps the one you will take on your edge. Everyone has an edge you see and they find their quality of life on it. Mine is in Southeast Asia but now Vietnam. Yours may be elsewhere. Perhaps you should search for the quality of your existence and see what’s inside it. It may surprise you.

I won’t tell you that five tours in 10 days in Taipei is the answer nor will I tell you that all those millennial bloggers and nomads know. No one truly knows whether a week in Bangkok is sufficient or not. It’s when you go and find the quality. Perhaps your quality of life is in Kampot Cambodia. Look around, see things. Find yours.

This has been my little story. Not about countries and tours and continent counts. That’s not quality. That’s quantity. Find the other elusive thing.

Maybe you don’t take the challenge. Ok. No one forces you. This is the end of my story though. Perhaps you picked up on a thing or three but likely not. It’s all ok. After all it is my edge. Not yours.

You’re back! Cool. This chapter covers another great missive. The why of things. Why go? Why stay? Why change? Change happens even in Newark California at the McDonald’s by the Dumbarton Bridge. It lurks behind and over there. It will sneak up on you. Perhaps you are retiring or just wondering those pesky why questions. Maybe you are an adventurer and vagabond and want something more than sedentary. Something that pulls the heart string and lights the fires of the soul. You want... a change.

Why

I’ve heard the why question so many times. Why do that? You cannot just go. Why pick that place? It’s not this or that. Why spend your so called golden years so far away? So here are some why answers. See if your question fits in.

The reasons to leave the United States are plentiful to me. I wanted a life on my own terms. I wanted to define and make the vagabonding a life for awhile but always find a place to settle in longer. Years ago never realized that COVID would take the world as it has. I spent years slowly wandering to answer yet another why question or two. Was the edge the place? What would life be like in a culture and place so different? Would there be a place or places to spend longer times? And why would I slow down or pick a place? In 2020 I decided before COVID times that Vietnam would be my homebase. It’s situated geographically almost perfect to get back to so many places I love. And Vietnam always was this place to be. In many ways the answer to the question,

Why the edge?

Is answered by Vietnam and it’s people, culture, history and location. Each of us finds the place that either answers or propels more questions. The edge for me. Costa Rica for you. The second question though is,

Why not the States?

Let’s work on both now. Shall we?

Why Vietnam.

Well the answer is both simple and complex. It’s not the tourist hotspots or the backpackers, expats, and digital nomads and gap year dude types. In fact I strive to be away from them. There is no upside to digital nomads and their branded blogs and Instagram accounts with selfies in every picture and long captions of inane drivel. None of it answers the basic question. The why of a place. It’s the how and how long and the repetition for each places bores the hell out of me. Vietnam is more and less. It’s answer to the why Vietnam question takes complex and simple shapes. It’s the everyday things. The small things that make retired life easy. Simply put Vietnam is easy to do. Easy to find more why questions or their answers. We all never stop asking why questions. The edge never stops tempting us with answers. I asked a friend in Cambodia why a thing I thought could be done would require additional attention. Her response summarizes the whole experience.

Same same but different

Yes. That’s the whole why universe all wrapped up in something simple. You got it? Good. So that’s the simple answer to why. It’s same same. But so different. And I truly love the difference. It creates disparity and uniqueness and beauty and joy. You can find what you seek or even what you don’t. I don’t seek much but I find things. The smiles and hellos of the people. The Vietnamese hospitality at restaurants and bars. The basic joy here in Hanoi after finding friendships and family.

Many of the why questions remain not answered. It’s different here. Remember the last part of the equation. Now let’s discuss the United States.

Why not the United States

Tell me 5 things you like about the US. I like a lot there too. But why go? It comes down to a few points.

Life in the US is not exciting for old people. We are sentenced to a slow ebbing of our life juices. No one really wants us. We have outlived our usefulness. Friends may dutifully call us or enquire. Maybe send a email or text message. But what is there to incite and excite us to live?

Life in the US is good if you make so much money. Then you move to a nice gated community, play golf and do bbq dinners. If you make less it’s not so damned good. We all know it.

Old people in the US are non citizens. We disappear under the radar and social consciousness and we just make our way to the senior center for bridge and gin rummy. There’s nothing that brings us up. Friendships? Family that cares more than the occasional call? We are left. Left behind as the siren call is youth. Our words are lost in streams of apathy. No one gives a fuck about us.

Finally is the quality of life of what remains to test us or challenge us. There is nothing. No test. No challenge. Nothing. Empty slate. So we melt away and become little shells of people with overburdened thoughts and less than needed bank accounts. We are basically invisible and lost.

Everyone knows. That’s the US. The answer to why not.

This little work has one more chapter to come. It’s about one of the words in this post. Quality. Stay tuned.

Normally you would expect details about the cities and countries here in Asia. Places and itineraries and schedules or tours and tips of places to see. I think all of that belongs with the millennial bloggers and their readers. I have a thing in mind to cover. Let’s call it the how thing. So let’s start.

How

The how is very important when you change lives and places and lifestyles. You go from a society which is managed, with traffic laws and methods and techniques to do things on the edge. Often none of those things are the same. How to come to grips with the differences? One relevant fact is it does not happen in a week or a day or really any amount of time. Time is a poor indicator of accepting the how of things. It takes slowing down and accepting that most Southeast Asian countries are completely different in the how of things. Start small. It’s hot most of the year. Other times it rains and is hot. People here know how to live in both. Just watch them.

With this comes a primary lesson of the edge and retirement. Slow down. Coming here was purposeful. Plans and schedules for how are optional. Expect the how to be different. Learn from it. From SIM cards to buying cheap clothing. A SIM card can be had just about anywhere. Jeans and sweaters are optional here in most places. How to get things done is often a major question I still ask. Eating is a how thing too. Food is important here. You can eat however you want. From pho to pizza. Tacos to banh mi. Its all how you want it. Countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Laos offer so much variety of food because all the local people love to eat too! So the how of eating can be easy. Drinking is easy too. I love beer in the evenings. So does everyone else living here just about. One place I go serves ice cold Hanoi beer for about $0.75 a bottle. It’s hot here so a glass of ice goes nice. Here’s how!

Another thing with food and drink is tipping. Just do it. No one expects it or demands it but show your appreciation for the how of things by offering a gratuity. The smiles and joy of serving you are well worth leaving some small money.

Another how is travel. It’s cheap. I have problems justifying a six hour bus ride that costs $10 compared to a one hour flight that costs $25. I also want to get to the place sometime. Flying is just easier. Now with COVID-19 one cannot go internationally but often domestic flights can be had easily. I am going from Hanoi to Da Nang for $60 round trip in a week. It’s a cheap and easy way to go! There are so many other how things.

How to make Vietnamese friends? How to use money or credit cards? How to keep track of expenses? So making Vietnamese friends or Khmer friends or Singaporean friends is not hard. Let’s talk about making Vietnamese friends because I’m blessed with many of them. They are loving, dedicated, fun loving, food loving, coffee and beer loving people. Friendships can be found in the most innocent of ways. Meeting a tour guide or Vietnamese people out eating. Going to a museum or historical site. Coffee shops! They love to meet people. So if you desire friendship in most of the countries in the edge, you will not be disappointed. I have group of friends here that take me out for dinners, meet for coffee, love to just talk about life. All speak very good English. I met them because of my Vietnamese friend lily. She introduced me to her friends.

Money is not much different but how you use it is. There is no need to carry vast sums. No need to carry wallets. No need really for credit cards. You don’t need to carry a passport around either. Truth is you can go easily with less cash, no credit or debit cards, and no passports. Most economies are cash based but often using their own currency. Find a app that converts the currencies. Stay aware. In Cambodia the US dollar is the primary currency but you may get change back in Riel. I’ve never been cheated and mostly get a few thousand riel back if I use a dollar and the thing costs less. Be sure your USD are in good shape. No rips or missing parts or too old looking. How you trade large bills for small is the concern here. Money exchangers will give you change for $50 in USD. Just inspect the money and don’t be afraid to ask them to replace bills that are damaged.

My next part is the why of daily life. Stick around. You may not learn anything at all but perhaps it’s fun to read how one old retired guy gets by. See you then.

Hello and welcome back. Today is the first of March. My last day ever at work was 28 February 2018. I had breakfast, recycling pickup, dropped the car with pink slips signed over to my ex wife’s house and took Bart to a hotel by SFO. I left for Japan after a night of beer. Imagine the shock and surprise of no calls, work email, texts after 20 years of all those.

I had prepared to go for months before. I did the following stuff:

  1. Signed up for social security with direct deposit to one of my two bank accounts.
  2. Got rid of all property including car, small furniture, clothes, paper that could be shredded. I had a recycling pickup on 28 February and all was gone. The car went next. I was left with a Tortuga Outbreaker travel backpack and a daypack. I left a small Rubbermaid container at my ex wife’s house with memories and I think an iPad when I dropped the car off.
  3. Got rid of all debt. I had zero bills. No credit cards. No recurring debt. You want this. This is like getting rid of property and things.
  4. Setup some basic services to use when gone. Things like google voice and a mail forwarding service. Tie the two bank accounts together for ACH money transfers. You want google voice and it’s easier to get when still in the US. You can make calls, receive text and voicemail messages as though you are in the US. Very handy for two factor authentication and verification texts from banks and other agencies. You want a US mail service that is not your family. They’re not responsible for your crap. So find one. You want your banks to be completely separate but tied together.
  5. Decide on reasonable electronics to take. I took an iPhone 7 Plus and a MacBook 2017 12 inch laptop. I also took a fujifilm x100f camera. Decide on small footprint charging cables and devices. Make sure of voltage, plugs and power needs a few times.
  6. Here is the final thing. Get rid of everything else. You don’t need it. Don’t be a minimalist. Be a realist.

So on 1 March I was ready. Tickets for my flights from SFO to Japan and then on to Vietnam. All my things seemed done. I was on the airplane at 30k feet when it occurred to me that I was done. No more work. No responsibility. No tasks. No nothing. 20 years come and gone. But it would take longer to realize I was truly done.

I felt like I had done the things above best as I could. The main thing was I was flying away. I’d spend a week in Tokyo, some days in Hiroshima and then Osaka. I’d ride the Shinkansen to all destinations in japan. From Osaka I would go to Vietnam.

Chapter 2 will tell you some more. Stay tuned. This is not about the places though. This is about the how and why of it. The escape to Japan was the basic step. Now we will cover the how and why.

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