The forever traveler is a strange thing to explain to people. I was in a restaurant in Hanoi with two tourists from Australia. They had 3 days in Hanoi and were wanting a “short list” of what to see. With only three days its difficult to suggest anything beyond the old quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, maybe the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Then there’s restaurants. Hanoi is just full of places to go eat and trying to suggest about 9 meals worth is difficult. I ended up picking places that I thought they would like.
But the real thing is the difference. I’m limited in time here in Hoi An but I don’t turn around and fly back home. Instead I just go back to my home in Hanoi for the next 3 weeks. I still have another shorter trip to Hue to do in about 1.5 weeks. I’ll go back to the airport and fly down to Hue and see historic sites, temples, and a bunch of other stuff. I may end up taking a day tour because it will let me see the majority of things and the cost is reasonable. When I get back will go to the Sinhtourist office and get the nice lady that helps me with directions and buses in Hanoi to help me with the Hue tour I want.
I guess after thinking about it and writing in my journal today, there is a profound difference in traveling when you know you are heading back in X weeks and when you are not. I have nowhere to go back to. Nothing left in the states that requires my attention. Children are adults for the most part. I have thought more than a few times that now its my time and turn. I went through the Hell years of divorce and debt and anger.
What is the travel like though when its not travel? Travel seems to have a start and finish. I equate the word to business travel. Where the business says you have to be at a place X for Y time. You go. There is no flexibility. I only really had flexibility at Celestix when I could take side trips but even then things are limited because I knew I had to be in Singapore and Chennai India. Things were going on and needed my attention. That is business travel in a nutshell. Things going on that need your attention.
So I explained to the two women that this is not travel. I purposefully picked countries in Asia with very flexible and cheap travel and with visas that were easy to get. My six month multiple entry tourist Visa for Vietnam only says that I must leave by 16 June. So off I go to Hong Kong on 14 June and get back on the 17th of June. Ready for my last three months or so. Its not travel though. Its most like vagabonding or the art of going here and there with no real responsibility or requirement.
Perhaps I finally gained it after those years of waiting. It still surprises me that it arrived and I caught myself at the bar in Hoi An this evening considering it. Now I sit as the eternal solo traveler that I am and am happy. I’ve finally found that answer to the questions that perplexed me all those years. The ones like could I or would I or should I? The answer is yes. Or I should say YES!
And its not hard to do. You don’t need a fortune to live a great life in Vietnam. Its different of course but you can find the services and support you need. Some of them just make more sense. Cell phone data service just makes more sense. Getting laundry done for $3.00 a week is another no brainer. Learning how to find the things I need in the IntiMex center is easy too.
I guess what I’m getting around to is that you too can be a hobo. Maybe you can find the ingredients that make sense for you and they are not the same for me.
That’s good! Because we all are different and the secret sauces we all enjoy require different attention. But perhaps the end result is that a person can travel the rest of their life. Pick the countries though. Do some research. Join an ex-part forum and use TripAdvisor. For lodging use Agoda and Booking.com. Or just go. That’s okay too. It all depends on what floats your boat. For me, I like a baseline of planning. I like having the room booked so I know I have a place to crash and a home base to plan from.
Go forth and make it happen according to your own life’s plan. I did.