Travels on the Bullet Train Ahoy!

Today I bought two sets of Shinkansen tickets for my trip in March. I’m traveling from Tokyo to Hiroshima and then from Hiroshima to Osaka around middle of the month. I bought the tickets online here and had them shipped home to me. Included was a ticket on the Narita Express which goes from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station. Exciting times!

I start out in Tokyo on 2 March and spend 5 glorious days wandering in the city that I love to wander in. I probably end up at the Lion Beer Hall more than once for some beer and a plate of their stew.

Then on to Hiroshima for 5 days and seeing the sights there. I think people believe its a somber place but there is also a quiet joy that how it survived and what its done is there for all to see.

Finally, I bullet train to Osaka for 5 days and wander another city I have not been in. Its a joy to be getting closer.

Then I fly on to Vietnam and spend a long time in Hanoi. But first, its the Shinkansen trains that will take me at their speed to places not been. Time is getting closer and I could see it today as I also bought my data SIM card for my iPhone 7 plus. Its easy to get a data only SIM card and use it for hangouts or facebook messenger calls. I can do the same as I travel on.

But first things first. I have another 5 weeks at work and then that goes away. Then a month to get things organized here and bid farewell to a few people. I will miss work. They have been really good to me. I appreciate the money and the friendships there but like I told someone when they asked me to reconsider,

I love work but this is my life. Only a few times to spin the wheel and find a place or two I can call home and see things differently.

And that’s what it really is all about. Seeing things differently and being a part of that difference.

The Places to come and questions left behind

There’s time to still consider things I am told. At work, I hear this.

Are you sure this is what you want to do? I am so jealous but why Asia? What will you do after this fling?

I thought through all the things before I decided to do something completely different. Work is just not something I want to do any longer. I feel that my spirit is slowly suffocating with weekend calls, last minute emergencies, evening webex sessions. So I am pretty sure that I want to do this.

The next question is interesting about jealousy and Asia. People, I think want a change. Life is about change yet some are not willing to take a calculated risk or face the unknown. Its easier to just propel along the known tracks and never want to see that less traveled road. People are basically afraid. The other question about Asia is a good one too. The reason I chose Asia is because I love the aspects of it. I’ve spent years there in various and sundry places working, playing, traveling through. Now I want something that is not just another business trip in 10 days in three countries. Nor do I want a backpack trip where I have to control every last thing I decide to do financially and sit in a hostel with a bunch of folks in a dorm setting. I want a quality of life that I will never have here in the Bay Area or in most places on this continent. In other words, Asia is change and the unknown and I am ready. I want to sit for a spell by the lake in Hanoi and enjoy Pho. I want to wander Angkor Wat in the morning. I want to feel the sleepy slumber time of a neighborhood street in Osaka with a cheap bento box for lunch and dinner of beer and a instant bowl of noodles if I so want.

For the last question; there is no after. I have never had an after. I don’t plan a thing and say,

great! But what will I do after.

That is not a thing for me. The after soon becomes the now and then you are left with a whole galaxy or universe of afters to worry about. Its much better to me to control the now and let the afters come. Will I go to Thailand after Cambodia? Will I get to China or India? Perhaps. Maybe I will just stay somewhere else.

I do know there are train trips to do. One is from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Another is from Chiang Mai Thailand to Singapore. Train trips also around Japan on the fabled Shinkansen Bullet trains where I will speed along at 250 and marvel at the world rushing by and hearing the hush of conversations by the day workers on their commutes. Or perhaps subway rides in the big circle in Tokyo my days there. Watching the bustle of Tokyo and the school children and the workers and the tourists all rushing and there I am ambling along with a camera and a phone. I fit in yet I am separate.

So in answer to the well-meaning colleagues at work. There is no after. There is now. I love the questions about things. One asked as a finale why a life of travel. I gently reinforced to that person that this is not travel. This is wandering and being a hobo with no place to end up preset.

Its a Dongle Life we lead

Its a dongle life one way or the other no matter what device I decide to travel with. I’ve settled on a laptop which is the MacBook 12 inch 2017 model with a single Type C connector. It has a headphone jack too. A single Type C connector for all the “connectedness” that I may have.

What’s needed then is a dongle. I must dongle. So I go shopping for a single dongle which will do power, memory card, USB drives, etc. There are a few types. One type plugs right into the port and sits against the body of the laptop. I don’t particularly like those. The second type has a type C connector and a separate body which sits apart from the laptop. I like these better. So, I went shopping for one on Amazon.

I found this one which I have tested a few ways.

This one has a variety of inputs and also does power but it has the little cable connecting it and sits apart from the laptop. So I tested it a bit on the laptop by:

  1. Time Machine backup while the device is powered on the dongle with a 2TB USB drive. Success!
  2. Basic power supply with my type C power connector. Success!
  3. Memory card access. Success!
  4. Small Flash drive access while powered up. Success!
  5. And… multiple things at the same time. Success!

So the dongle life is good and by buying a device on Amazon, I extend the ports significantly while still allowing power delivery. If you’re interested in the device, I can recommend this one on Amazon. It works very well and is not terribly expensive. It does not sit flush against the laptop body and that may be an issue for you. For me, its what I want.

We’re getting to the point hopefully of a single interface on laptops and maybe someday on phones that is a Type C connector. The important part is that my laptop only has a single port while yours may have multiples. What I give up though with this laptop is made up with the form factor to me. The 12 inch MacBook 2017 model is the bees knees for productivity and mobility.

Just remember you need to lead a dongle life!

Reading Stuff

Reading is good. I’ve read a few articles about whether holding a physical book is the best or whether one should get electronic bits and bytes for reading. I personally do not read that many physical books since I like the ease of having a Kindle Paperwhite device.

These little devices make it easier to travel and holding one is with one hand is painless. I enjoy the act of reading on it quite a bit. But, as usual, I wonder if there is a better way to read. Perhaps a device that can fulfill a variety of functions at the same time. Like a smaller form factor tablet. My favorite tablet of all time was the Google Nexus 7 tablet. I enjoyed how well the little thing was put together. I’ve embraced, albeit hesitantly, a new ecosystem by Apple. Its “i” this and that for me. So, I started looking at an iPad. I don’t want a 9.7 inch or 10.5 inch. If I want to get one it has to be small and easy to read on. Then I looked at the Apple iPad Mini 4.

The advantage to a tablet for reading is the rest of the ecosystem. I can combine devices when I leave and have one that does more. I have never held or used the Mini 4 but I believe the form factor would be better for reading. The idea of a brighter screen and being able to consume other media is attractive. The battery life seems good.

But what is better for reading? Which one will make reading better for me? I don’t know. I could get a tablet and the Apple smart cover for a little over $450 and probably could go cheaper if I found a used 64gb one. Apple stopped making those. Too cheap I guess 🙂

So, now I must consider whether to stay with my trusty Kindle or get another tablet. A few salient points arrive.

  1. the tablet has a good battery life I assume but I don’t think its near what the Kindle can do. I judge the Kindle wins the battery life contest.
  2. the kindle can only do one thing. I cannot listen to music on the same device or watch some movie or other. I can do that on a tablet like the Mini 4. The tablet wins this one.
  3. Portability. I think the kindle is smaller and more focused in use but the tablet offers more use. This is a tie.

I think I need to test one out and see how it is reading using the Kindle reader on it. The final fact when talking about using an application is that there is an ecosystem and application style behind the tablet and not so much with the Kindle. The Kindle does one thing. The tablet could fulfill a variety of functions.

I still don’t know why if I want to listen to music somewhere or read mail or do other things I could not just use my iPhone 7 plus. It seems big enough and I could probably just read on it too. There’s something about the screen size that throws me. Perhaps its a thing about it being a phone. I will have to consider.

Reading though is important and how I do it is. I have found so many books now for my Kindle I will not run out for months or even years.

A Vagabond of the Lifeways

I’ve given a lot of thought to steps in life. Steps take us either forward, sideways, or backwards. People I know are going in different directions. Some are keyed to steps at work. They feel that success at work means stepping to something new, something challenging. Perhaps a new consulting gig to tide them over or a new full-time job that will mean more steps.

Others seem lost and their steps do not avail. They take a tentative forward step, sideways step, but end up staying the same or going backwards. If you stay the same and time passes, you might as well be going backwards.

There’s a smaller group that I used to have relationships with that seem trapped or at least like that ball in the games that bounces between different poles. Searching forever searching. But asked; they have no idea what they are looking for. One believes some kind of religion perhaps will lead them. Another disavows religion and believes science is the answer. I remember hearing questions when I did anthropology that weren’t all anthropologists atheists? How could we be the cowboys of science and believe in some “fabrication”. Let’s be clear here. What we believe or not is not open to another’s acceptance or denial. My mom would say that there are things you do not argue about and one is religion. The other is politics.

The truth is that people believe or not and its their business. If you post something discrediting someone for having a conviction or belief you are no better than the one, that dictator, that steals that belief and substitutes it with a body politic or military. People deserve to have things which comfort them. I read my acquaintance R on facebook post the downfalls of religion and others post the upsides of critical thinking, questioning the current political mindset, casting doubt on things because they are masters of the wall post. Let me say this; its really none of your business what another believes if that other person is not foisting an opinion or requirement on you. So anthropologists are not atheists. They have seen the multiple forces that propel culture through advances and one is religion.

Then there’s me. I’ve wondered about the tags to apply to myself come next year. I don’t like the terms digital nomad or ex-pat. They have these preconceived realities that a digital nomad travels the world with the laptop writing or researching or doing marketing and digital media. The ex-pat seems to be a term sometimes which marks a person living somewhere else. I am not either. I am a vagabond. That definition is a person that wanders from place to place with no home or work.

Consider the term vagabond and how it fits a person slowly meandering the remaining years with no work or real home. It’s a person that makes a mark but of his or her choosing and depending on the wandering. A second term is wanderlust. I love that term actually. It’s someone that wanders and finds lust in it. Lust. A passion of heart, mind, soul. Lust that engages us and makes us want. We all lust after things. Some we find and can have and we perhaps have satisfaction. Perhaps other lust we never get and it hangs around shadowing us. Sometimes mocking us. But then when you add the word wander in front; its the road. Almost like a Robert Frost road less traveled. Those with wanderlust want the movement and not the destination. The destination may not exist ever for those with wanderlust. For once we reach the destination, the lust may be over and either we are satisfied or we have found a temporary thing which casts us down and makes us want the wandering part again.

I believe its our indomitable spirit that drives all this. Our very atoms and molecules are made of vagabond star stuff that has traveled miles and hours and generations. So when we ourselves reach past those other terms and desire that vagabond and wanderlust life; we are committing to the things which made us.

I watch people hanging at McDonalds these days and wonder. Is this what they want out of life? This is it? The every day senior coffee and gossip? What about that world out there? I think people reach an age or so and they are scared. They feel that the life out there is not for them but built for millennial spirits. How wrong they are. Life is not reserved for only the young. Us oldsters just move slower but we really do not lose the wanderlust and vagabond feelings. We just hide them and soon they go away.

I say the hell with that. Free up and lose all the stuff you have duplicates of. Simplify and get your stuff into one bag I say. Hit that road to a place that challenges and forget the staid and sameness. Unless your star stuff spirit only requires that. If that is the case, simply stay and order another coffee. That’s your life and assuredly your have ordered up what you want and perhaps you find out its much less than anticipated. Or its exactly as you want. Good! Ignore me.

I am a deviant and itinerant wanderer with the word lust after. I’m a hobo of the lifeways and a vagabond of the times. But that’s me.

You? Your mileage may vary.

Black Friday has Struck the Mike Force

Today is a big shopping day both in stores and online. I drove by a few stores today and did not see the lines but I can testify that my Friday breakfast spots were much busier. I ended up having my big meal breakfast at the Country Way Restaurant in Fremont which was nice. Always room at the counter for a single dude.

I had decided to shop for a laptop because I am still waffling on using the iPad Pro for my travels. I had the MacBook Pro 13 inch for awhile and while I liked it, a friend’s family ended up needing it more. I started looking again today on eBay and found a 12 inch 2017 MacBook (not pro) for almost half price. The things I like about this tech include the form factor, larger drive space, and still with no fan. I guess I was into self spoilage because I went on and got a new daypack and a travel backpack from my favorite vendor RedOxx. I had and used the AirBoss for years but the need this time was for something I could use in a variety of ways. I went with the Lil Hombre which is a new entry. I started considering what a travel backpack has to do to make it worthwhile for me. These packs are a specialized thing and I will use the finalist for a long time on the road. It must be able to hold the clothing I will take and be TSA friendly for carry-on. I detest checked baggage since having stuff end up basically at other places or checked all the way through when traveling to India. I landed in Singapore after 17 hours of flight only to find the company had made a mistake with the next booking. The baggage was trapped in the terminal storage area and I had to rent a transit room with no clothing changes or other required hygiene type stuff. Very painful. At that point I knew I needed something else. Enter RedOxx and the AirBoss.

Now my needs are different for this kind of bag. What is needed is a bag that can be carried in three or four ways like across the body, on the back, slung over a shoulder, or with carry handles on side and front. It also cannot load bottom up like a backpack does for cross country. I should be able to unzip the bag and have everything easily reachable. The Lil Hombre is this bag. It has three containers but is absent the usual internal storage compartments. That’s okay actually since I ended up also buying the next thing.

The next thing is a daypack which can hold a variety of things but still be slid under the seat in front. I settled for a North Face Jester Backpack. This versatile little pack will hold two devices, camera gear, paperwork and is of the usual North Face quality which is top notch. The daypack is the daily expression of use while the carry-on bag choice fulfills the need to carry, store, and flexibly transit international lobbies.

I think the two new bags fulfill what I need for carry-on and personal carry. It’s about three months before I leave the place. Finding the final travel things is fun. Considering the counts of things, what I will need to sustain myself on busses and trains and planes has always been fun. The act and art of this travel is different. Not returning after XX days means its more important than ever to find things which will provide that flexibility and worth. I could say money is not an object but it is. It always is but I will be going with the devices I choose and we shall see how well I have planned this. The truth is no amount of planning ever offset the karma of travel. Things go crazy on any flight, train trip, bus ride. Once riding the Coast Starlight Amtrak train, we were delayed for hours outside of Portland Oregon because of a freight train mishap. You get a sense of things when a delay happens or you are booked on connecting flights and you succumb to the desire to check bags. At least the baggage checking thing is not a thing for me any longer.

Have a good Black Friday. Sharpen those deal cutters and find the bargains for the things you want and need. I probably bought a few extra things. Such is life in the Mike lane.

Thanksgiving 2017 – moments in time sublime

It’s Thanksgiving. Long weekend with no work and a few things to be thankful for. I guess I think of the same things each year when the big holidays come around. This year though is different. There are things that are going to happen which change things up quite a bit. I always consider the things that I have and don’t have and I think each group have elements to be thankful for. Let’s see if I can get them and you can see how your things perhaps are better or more inclusive. Maybe I’m wrong for the things.

  1. I have my kids and I’m thankful for them. They both are interesting, fun, sometimes irritating. They both are supposedly adults now so its interesting to plot how my thanks have changed. I need them and they need me less. When they do need me its something different than when they were 5 or 10. The needs are fewer and farther between. And yes… I’m thankful for that. Because that leads to the second point somehow.
  2. I have less responsibilities and ownership. Life is more minimal and I sit here after drinking a bit too much beer last night and after breakfast out at Carls Junior thinking about that less of things. Many have families and mortgages and loans and debt and homes and cars and miles to go before they sleep. I have less of those things. My debt is mine to own now. It’s so little at this point that its another thing to be thankful for. With less comes the ability to have more. More independence and ability to pick up and go with fewer things to manage. I could never indulge my third thing unless there was less of these things.
  3. I’m thankful that I can soon not just travel but experience the world out there on my terms. I feel I’ve paid the different gods and have reached that point where things are not owed and time has been returned to me. A wonderful feeling that could be scary but its a thing I’m thankful for nonetheless.
  4. I’m thankful I figured out a few concepts around marriage and friendship and have so-called acquaintances or colleagues and I came out the other side of them all. I’ve realized the greatest thing is not finding someone else to share life with but finding things in life that are good and if there is another person to share its okay but not required. Figuring this out meant I could bid adieu to work colleagues and even work itself. That leads to a final thanks.
  5. I found a work thing which has been beneficial to me and for me and for them. I’ve been able to deliver truly large integration projects that have mixed up cloud and premised data centers with large vendors and I’m trusted to simply deliver and manage. But a work thing has an end state. No one should just continue to work until all is done and there are no more mysteries to cross off the list. I’m thankful for the promotions and awards and bonuses which have allowed a few of the other things. The real thing though is the opposite of work. That is play folks. Play is waiting. Like a child puzzling over that half unwrapped Christmas gift I can only see the few end states of leaving next March and not returning. The rest requires additional play and time and meeting the other “thanks” categories.

Let me ask you all what are you thankful for? Do you see a path forward or is the path still a plan in process. I’ve puzzled it over since my divorce and felt at first the sting of loss and almost bereavement. Now I see that things have happened a certain way and perhaps as my friend and mentor RWR would say of doing archeology “find the idea”. I have found it Rog. It was there all along but sometimes the closest things to your eyes and mind are most cunningly hidden.

Such as the things this wonderful day I am thankful for. I know they don’t encompass Thanksgiving dinners and pies and family moments. For those I leave to you all. They are worthy things if you find worth in them.

Travel Plans and Itineraries

Planning for a long trip (not a vacation) means a few things. By long, I don’t mean rushing through 9 countries in 3 months and declaring done. Instead, one must adopt the slow pace to the countries and move in, take up residence, travel in the new home. I’ve set a few places now in my itinerary and made a few decisions about how I manage things here. Gonna cover the decisions first and then the itinerary.

Decisions to be made or have been made

Finances. I believe that this a tough one. So many choices of how to do things. Do I get a prepaid travel card, credit card, use my existing Bank of America. I actually stopped in yesterday to talk with the BofA representative and while I agree with most of what he said, I believe a credit card is not necessary for someone like me that is completely opposed to their evil. Instead, I opened a Capital One 360 checking account all online and linked my BofA account to it. There are advantages to the Capital One account like transaction fees, online services that already have the banks linked to each other, a lot of good reviews by expats on the service, and finally not having all the “beans” in one bucket. I can decide how to move money around between accounts and use the Capital One account for daily things when I need a debit card. The real thing is cash I think and a way to carry cash securely. You have heard of money belts, secret compartments, fake wallets. I believe a simple $15 to $20 dollar neck wallet is the way to go here. It would be pretty hard to take something hanging around my neck. The real thing with finances though is to manage them when traveling. I have to practice a new way of thinking about money when I get there.

Phone Service. We know that most financial institutions want a phone number to text you at. There are choices here. I could buy a VOIP account and install the client on my iPad Pro. I could use Skype and buy a real number. I could just use Google Voice with what I have. The issue may be that it does not work in some places. That’s without a decent VPN solution. Once you factor in something like ExpressVPN, more choices and alternatives emerge. I can use a local number and get SMS messages, set calls to forward where I want, and make calls on Hangouts for a small cost. The best part of this is there is no new hardware to buy or phones to get for this.

Postal Services. This is a big one guys. What to do with my snail mail service? I cannot just leave it going to a place I am not at nor just buy something like a mailbox where I never know if I get something I need to act on or need emergency forwarding to a hotel in Thailand. Enter virtual mailbox services. For about $100 a year I can receive all mail there with a real address, get the mail imaged or destroyed, and never worry whether my daughter can act on a thing fast enough when she has her own things in her own life. So I will buy a virtual mail service and have all my mail forwarded to that address. With that real address I get flexibility and I get a year’s coverage. For the cost, this is a secure and flexible alternative to the usual issues.

IRS for fun and profit. I have not figured this out yet. But I have a year to deal with it after this next filing. There are solutions out there that expats use. I just need to lock in to one that works. Perhaps e-filing is an option.

Destinations

I started studying destinations about 6 months ago when the plan started taking shape. I wanted to spend longer times in countries that are cheaper and shorter times in places that cost. Here’s the so-called itinerary for your consideration.

Japan. This is an expensive place but there is a part of me linked there somehow so I will spend two weeks traveling in Japan. I’ll get back to Tokyo for 5 days, get to HIroshima for 5 days, and then end in Osaka for 4 days. This will cost a bit but I only do 2 weeks there because of cost. Japan is also a gateway place for me to go on.

Vietnam. I will spend six months split between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city. I plan on seeing what each place has to offer and the surrounding areas like HaLong Bay and wherever else the spirit takes me. I already have a six month Visa for Vietnam.

Cambodia. I will spend three months in Phnom Penh and see ancient temples, archeological and historical wonders. After three months I will move elsewhere in Cambodia. Perhaps I spend a year there by extending my e-class visa a few times.

At this point I have the plans for lodging and travel made for the most part. There is a mystery in things still like the train service down to Ho Chi Minh City from Hanoi. The bus service from Ho Chi Minh city to Cambodia. All is fun though to me and the leisurely pace sticks with my goal to not rush through a set of countries on a whirlwind tour. I also think anyone on retirement can live in these places and I’ve added more to my list that will come. These include Thailand, Malaysia, and India for longer stays and Singapore for a shorter stay.

Someone at work asked when I would get back. There is no telling. I don’t want to come back here. This place is lost to me.

So, there you have it dear readers. A few basic things and an itinerary. There are things to get done before that I have saved off in Ulysses which now is my go to place to record and track things. Things need to get done at a pace of time but I have through January at work and then through February to take care of the edge cases of things.

On 1 March though I fly. First up Japan and I am so excited at the prospect of getting back and seeing Tokyo first.

Friday’s Fuji Fun Times

Fridays away from work are fine days for shooting some photos using my Fuji X Series Camera. I found some new Acros film simulation settings so have started visiting some places around here and taking more black and whites. There is a certain texture and completeness to the black and whites which I really enjoy.

There is subtle nature I believe to these settings and the contrast and edge jump right out. Much better than my earlier settings.

I’m still a basic and novice photographer but I sure enjoy my chosen camera. I think the Fuji X100F is a great learner’s camera. It’s small, the form factor easy to tote around on vacation and travels and such, and there are lens for it one can buy if so inclined.

There’s a coupe of favorite haunts of mine that I like revisiting because they are close. The first photograph is in Historic Niles and the second at a BART station in the east bay. Both offer interesting perspectives and I can wander around easily with the camera.

The architecture of being done or being built in the second area is cool.

Since its close, I can always head over there to test things out. I don’t worry about mess ups since its a 10 minute drive from where I live.

Next weekend after Thanksgiving, I’ll head into San Francisco for a day of street photography downtown, in China Town, and Union Square. May spend the night or just come back.

Moving to a Challenge — the new beat of life

I decided awhile ago to move from working to non working. It was about a year ago give or take. I knew then my time was limited doing IT and specifically IT Project Management. There’s something about it that’s demeaning and irritating, frustrating and anger producing. I realized that people should not do things that produce those results in them. I had a debt due that I had been paying for years because of my mess ups earlier. I left a marriage with debt and collection agencies hounding me. I got both credit card providers to agree to a repayment plan through a non profit debt management company. That left me having to work more years to get to a place where I would have money saved and at the end point of revolving debt. Now I’m down to a single one which gets paid in January. I will be basically debt free then with an amount of savings and retirement that will let me do a few things. I also was lucky to keep my frequent flier miles which meant I could leave and not pay much for the flights. To get to Asia one has to fly. No hitch-hiking and no driving. That can be expensive. Then one has to fly between places if other modes of transit are not available.

I decided then to retire on my own terms and I knew I had to wait until the debt God had his way with me. Divorce creates a lot of pain and hatred and little or no reconciliation when you are egotistical and narcissistic like me. I journeyed through all the steps those 5 steps which are supposed to end at acceptance. Problem was; that never happened. Still has not happened. No happy acceptance of divorce. Instead a “living with or in spite of it”. I have learned to live with it.

But the end of the story is happy dear readers.

Now I am an old guy. I spent the required years in IT and I am able to get on with a thing I am going to outline below. If I can do this, I really believe anyone can. So why do people sit at McDonalds bemoaning the lack of excitement and challenge? I don’t know. But I see them each day gathering with their senior coffee and some kind of granola bar. What the hell is that about I always wonder.

So I set out to make a change. I decided I would not go gently into that good night. I would rave and yell and shriek and be just the same way with adenture I have always been. Age is no boundary. It’s not being a millennial or nothing. We old guys just move slower but I believe many of us have adventuring and hobo spirits and they are crushed. Crushed by the Bay Area and the expenses and no way out. Manhandled by life events.

So I said “fuck that”. Fuck it all. It’s not worth it.

Go To Asia

That is what is needed. I must go to Asia. So I booked airline tickets with those miles and am flying to Narita Japan on 1 March. I’ll spend some weeks in Japan in Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Osaka.

Then I fly to Hanoi Vietnam for 6 months. I have that all booked with rooms that cost a fraction of what I spend here. I will live good and see things and not sit in some senior center wondering what happened. I will find streets to photograph and people to study and other beers to drink.

After Vietnam its Cambodia. Another gem and a cheap place. I’ll spend perhaps a year there and then its Thailand or perhaps Laos or Malaysia.

You see the “Go to Asia” thing creates choice. Instead of sitting at the corner coffee shop and wondering where it all went; I am going to find some of it all.

I believe anyone can do this but I think getting old interferes with the risk taking and challenging life ways. We get sedentary and not willing to take chances. We move slower and we think life needs to be slower. It’s not true folks. We are made of star stuff and our spirits can be indomitable warriors but we get sequestered into a place where the movement is down the block and not across the ocean.

Take it back you all. No one says you have to give it away when you turn a certain age. Find your place. Do what Chris McCandless did. Go into your wild place. It may be a city or a state or place of mind.

Don’t just sit. Move. Life is not meant to give up so don’t.
Be the brave of heart and soul and never say you won’t
Venture forth and taste that trail that hastens to meet your eyes
Time is not real and minutes or seconds do not haunt by or fly
Travel the far paths and find the poetry that inspires
Don’t tire

Be that brave one and find the place that you see. That far shore
It’s the place you know. It’s beyond that final door
Time to risk and challenge whatever comes to be
Time to see

By Me.