Some last minute thoughts of life on the road – consider maybe

I just landed in Ho Chi Minh City for one night and got to my airport hotel which is about 2km from the international terminal. The room is decent for what I paid. I don’t really care any more about what I pay for a thing if I get a thing of value back. I tried for months to track my expenses. It was like,

  1. Bowl of Pho Bo. That was $1.73 US.
  2. Spring Rolls. That was $1.39 US.
  3. Bottle of beer or water. That was around $.50 US.
  4. Lodging. That was about $400 a month or less.
  5. Travel or Tours. Different costs and it depends whether its worth it.
  6. Other. I have other expenses. I don’t know what they are.

So all this went in a google sheets spreadsheet which tallied up the costs per week and showed me what I was spending. Cool, eh? I could then look at the expenses for Hanoi by the month. If I wanted, I could do graphs and stuff for what the expense looked like for a trip. I could track everything and provide output and share on twitter and astound everyone.

The only thing? I stopped caring. The truth is it costs what it costs for food and ice cream and beer and lodging. Its X amount. Its never much really. I could spend more on lodging and have nicer places. I read one account where a person budgeted about $600 a month. This would be a nice place in Vietnam or Cambodia. I decided to spend less and have less nice. Truth is I only spend evenings in the room most of the time. What the hell does it matter? Only line drawn is no hostels with dorm rooms. I don’t like sharing snoring and bad manners and people coming in drunk on their butts and deciding its time for a travelogue session or a discussion on the relative merits of the Banh Mi down the street at midnight. I also spent 8 years in the Army in their version of a hostel called a barracks. Never again will I willingly subject myself to life in a barracks or a hostel. If you do it to meet one of the things above, great! Have a good time with that hostel life. I can find rooms or an apartment and spend more perhaps but when I come in at the end of the day craving a bit of solitude and quiet I get that.

I read more than my fair share on twitter because the travel community is quite nice about people asking about various aspects of travel. There are the people that count countries and continents. There are the gap year and gen X’ers that are after something else. There are then others that only travel weekends or during vacation breaks. There are fewer that just travel forever or as close to forever as they can. I don’t see many retired people doing this same thing but I have no doubt they are out there. Truth is with regular income and some good planning a retired person can hit the road easily and find a home or just travel very slowly wherever. The money will go farther. Your times will be happier. Places to be seen can go slowly by. Maybe there is more of value out there than sitting in a room in Milpitas California wondering how you will pay all the bills.

So my peaceful advocacy on Quora and other places is don’t do that if you are retired. There is a life out there somewhere else that you can find and enjoy. There are friends out there that will value your experience and what you have learned. You can hit the road and not look back until you are ready to look back. Its a small rock out there with a lot of little places you can stop and study. Consider traveling slowly through the places. Why count the continents and cities when you can slow down and count the moments?

Anyways, with my one night in HCMC, there is nothing to really do. I will perhaps find food soon and just relax and enjoy my last night in Vietnam. Think back on the months I’ve spent slowly seeing places, meeting some quality people, taking tons of photographs. Perhaps kind of preparing for my next port of call which is Cambodia for 4 months. I’ll tour 4 cities there and see some things I have wanted for decades. But its the slow movement that wins out in the end for me. Perhaps the more purposeful and planned yet completely unplanned and random musings of streets and places and nature. I have months to do more of that in Cambodia.

Now though, I’ll find some food here by the airport. I think tomorrow since my flight leaves late I will wander all around here and leave my stuff at the hotel for awhile. I was noticing a lot of interesting streets and coffee shops. Another day tomorrow of wandering Vietnam. A last day to see something and then fly out peacefully exhausted after walking all day.

Bye for now. Changing locations and countries next!