Today’s the halfway mark for here in Phnom Penh. In a week point 5, I fly out to see a place I have not been back to since 2011. I have a week to go experience the city-state, perhaps get to the botanical gardens, walk the city streets, and find hawker stands for cheaper food. I may end up doing what I do in Tokyo which is just finding food at cheap noodle stands or convenience stores. One night in Kyoto I went to the hotel bar and had one draft beer. That came in at about $7 US dollars. So in the interests of comparison shopping I then went to the 7/11 down the street and got an entire six pack of the same beer for less. I don’t really go to the places to eat expensive or buy drinks in sky bars, or find the nicest places for both. I go to walk the cities, see the sights and let my Fuji camera have some fun. Each day of the 7 days there I will head in a different direction to see new places. But lets face it folks. We’re talking Singapore! The land of hawker stands and sitting out in the evening with a Tiger beer or whatever like the Singaporeans do. I could find the BBQ place I went to way back when or I could hop a ride to the Borders Books where I would hang out. I will probably do all those things.
But in a week I will leave because its part of the way to go. I never spend a long time in expensive places. I’ll take off the morning of the 8th day for my bus ride to Kuala Lumpur. I’ll spend the same for 3 weeks for a room as I did for one week in Singapore. I will also use up my entire 90 days of visa exempt travel there and see KL, Malacca, Port Dickson, and then fly to Penang. From there its to Thailand for 60 days with one visa extension after 30. I’ll get to Phuket, Krabi, Bangkok and Chiang Mai. I’m getting pretty excited to get going again folks. The weeks here in Phnom Penh have been nice and the relaxation and visiting the people at the hotel and also seeing the city, drinking and eating in the city, and just walking the beautiful capitol parks has been the best! But its the vagabonding part that grabs me.
I also booked 2.5 months or so back to Vietnam in June 2 weeks after I get back. Returning to Vietnam is a joy for me. I will get to Saigon, Can Tho, Phu Quoc Island, Da Nang, and Hanoi. I have all the travel stuff booked. But then to round out 2019 travels I get back for a week and take off for Lao for a 3 weeks.
When I get back it will be for a bit longer stay here in Phnom Penh. It will be time to get my retirement extension of stay renewed, get my tourist Visa for China or decide on another direction and then leave. I’d like to winter down in a warm place like the Philippines for the last part of this year. But honestly there are so many places and since I don’t mind returning to favorite places which I think Malaysia will be, who knows?
After 2019, I know I want this trip back to Japan but this time I want to go from north to south over the course of 90 days. It makes sense to spend 30 days on each island. I’d start in Hokkaido, then get to Honshu, and then finish up in Kyushu.
For awhile, I played with the idea of going back to the states but the truth is that there is nothing for me there. I don’t have property, car, place to stay, something to do there. I would grow bored I think rather quickly compared to just taking off for some place like Siem Reap again.
I just was thinking today on this tour I did around the city about all that is out there and how 2019 is looking awesome for traveling slowly. I have almost the entire year filled up with my slow travels and once I decide after October this year what I’ll do for Christmas season, I’ll have a year of doing the things which have turned out the best for me.
So there you go! A year of Asia and returning a few times here to the hotel which is my home base and then getting back to Vietnam to see friends scattered across south an north. Eat some Pho. Drink some Saigon beer. Watch the sunset yet again in Da Nang or see the evening set in at the Hoan Kiem lake in Hanoi. All beautiful and wondrous and so much has changed in each place that it will be like seeing them for the first time.
I’ve come to realize I’m not interested or vested in country counting or reaching some plateau of places I’ve been. I value the moments more wherever I spend them whether there before or not. I think its more like living and making a mark in a place for the moments I give to each place. Never feeling rushed to reach some goal because I ain’t got no goals. Harvesting the moments that give me precious insight into a place. With a year coming up doing this thing, I’ve come to realize that is really what this whole thing is about. Not about traveling or even vagabonding. More about living and perhaps its like my mom once wrote,
Life is a matter of living making each moment count
Life is a matter of giving giving the right amount
Such it is!