How I explain to everyone in the states that I am not coming back

This is a story with no real end. I started sketching the chapters in 2014 or so after a dismal few years of a divorce and then massive debt. The years 2014 to 2017 saw improvement with a full-time job I loved with projects that were large and in charge and a lot of responsibilities to get them done with vendors and partners and cloud providers and a whole bunch of people. Some came along willingly. Others were forced. In the end, goodness was done. I got things finished so I entered 2018 with only one debt left. The room I stayed in was emptying out. I had beer t-shirts and jeans left in the closet. All the nice clothing and jackets and suits and fancy shoes were gone.

That one debt ended its life earlier in 2018 and I signed over my one possession in life; a 2008 Hyundai Elantra to my daughter. I was done. Japan was looming and Vietnam quietly waitng.  March was coming in like a Lion!

Then the questions began from friends:

  1. great! you are gonna take a short vaca and get away and do a few things. When do you get back?
  2. what do you mean you are not coming back? what about your responsibilities?
  3. what about house, car, possessions, family?
  4. what about money?
  5. let me know your return date will you?

I won’t try to answer them all but its worth noting that I do read a lot of travel blogs and have read my fair share of those RTW journeys people take. I have heard the term “gap year”.  I do value my friends that have asked. The real truths are though that this is no vaca and I ain’t coming back. I have no responsibilities. I have tried mightily to remove all responsibilities and requirements. All of my worldly possessions are in one of these things at my ex-wife’s house.


In there are a few cards, some papers I did not shred and pictures of things. This sits in a shelf in a house I used to live in that I will most likely never claim back.

So what about money? Yes I have money. Yes I get money every month. Yes I chose places to live which are cheap and with good Visa laws for old retired guys.

The final question I still get or some kind of different one. My return date. There is no return date and I built all this purposefully not to have one. After Vietnam for 6 months, there is Cambodia. After Cambodia, Laos. After Laos, somewhere else. I will most likely end up in Singapore at some point next year and fly to India. I left something there a long time ago. Part of me is still in Chennai and wants to hop the Indian trains and wander.

I also want to mention I do not classify this as a RTW thing. This is a life change event so there is no coming back and I never planned on it. There is me and my Tortuga Outbreaker now stowed in a closet but waiting. There are train tickets already bought to go from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. There are things to see. There is my FujiFilm X100F camera which travels where I go.

I do encourage people to leave and I found my way of doing it took me years. I basically started back in 2011 when I stopped traveling then. I went to a few places that I always wanted to walk in like Vancouver, Portland, Eugene, Seattle, San Diego. You can find blog posts here for Vancouver and San Diego.

So that’s my story and I’m stuck with it. Its a grand adventure so unlike a vaca that I still stop and think of it. I stopped in March on the streets of Hiroshima. Thought about it wandering around Osaka Castle. Saw a shadow around Shinjuku and watched it. Japan was only a stop for me to get the work beast out. This was moderately successful.

Now the “no vaca” thing has been going since end of February. If you read along here, I just wanted to explain to people that this travel is that gentle and slow meandering perhaps most defined by the term vagabonding.

wandering from place to place without any settled home
leading an unsettled or carefree life.
disreputable; worthless; shiftless.
having an uncertain or irregular course or direction.
(slightly edited by me) Source:

I don’t take exception to any of the terms in the definition. Yes I am disreputable, worthless and shiftless. Those are my finer points 🙂

Author: Michael Perry

I've been blogging for over 20 years and now am living in Southeast Asia. The blog is about my slow vagabonding wherever I want to go. My home base is in Cambodia but I'm rarely there.