I’ve written about technology choices and alternatives before but there is one area you should consider. Or perhaps two. lets see how I go:
Password Management. Hopefully you don’t use the same password for your valuable identities and you make use of a tool to help you. It really comes down to only remembering one password versus trying to jot down tens or hundreds of them. I guess it is simpler if you use the same one but its can be damned destructive. So consider a password management tool out there that runs on all your favored devices and on your ecosystems. I used LastPass for years but after some strange things with the master password I had enough and move along to something else. I think the best solutions are open source solutions because the companies engaged have a vested interest in maintaining, making it better, and working with the communities. My choice was to use Bitwarden on my MacBook and iPhone over LastPass. I like the philosophy better and the premium cost is much more friendly to your pocketbook if you go that way. And you should. Companies that sell open source software want to make profits and then pass along that to their employees and also give it back to customers in the form of upgrades of features, functions, and approaches. What you want out of all this is something secure but something that gives you access. Lets call it reasonable protection. It should not be so secure where you cannot use it. A friend once lost the password to a Linux server that was key to its use. As my friend told him then its very secure now. Even you cannot use it. So use reasonable security and protection. This is especially true if you find yourself in hotel rooms, guesthouses, coffeeshops, train stations, etc.
Security. People will say its pointless to use VPN and I say to them “right”. You never know what’s pointless or useless until someone does something to you because your enter passwords in the clear at a Starbucks. Why even take the chance? I am really an advocate for VPN security too. I use ExpressVPN a lot going here and there. Its not cheap but its valuable to me and it works on all my ecosystems. It also allows me now to use certain sites which do not work for whatever reason in Vietnam or where I find myself. If you don’t believe its useful or protects you, have at it. Do your thing. I will always use and pay for VPN security services. An IBM architect once told me “don’t be stupid. VPN”.
So there you have a few tips. Use or not as you will. I will say if you vagabond around like I do both are incredibly useful. Having a password management tool besides a spreadsheet or pad of paper means not entering your password in the clear each time. It also means you don’t have to remember thousands or hundreds of them. Good ones will also generate new passwords which are powerful and then apply them to the “vault” of passwords it manages for you.
Technology is some powerful stuff for vagabonds. It will let you create value, content, connect to things like your wordpress powered blog. Just be careful out there. Be happy vagabonding and seeing the new places or like me revisiting a beautiful place like Da Nang. Here’s a little something for you of the beauty of the place. Get here if you can.
Its my favorite city in Vietnam to wander. So many enticing mixes of beautiful nature, lovely river, ocean and wonderful history, culture, and restaurants and bars. The beer is always colder at the Riverfront Bar! You can sit and watch an evening steal upon you. Food is there too if you wish. I will live here next year. Its said that Da Nang is the pearl of Vietnam and its so true.
The most lovely of all cities to me in Vietnam. Stay tuned for more pictures over the next 10 days.
Yesterday I did a bit of movement. First off in a cab to the Phu Quoc Airport. Then a turbo prop plane to Can Tho. Cab to see my friend Lily for lunch and beers. Then a bus ride for 4 hours to HCMC (lets not say Saigon). Did not really sleep all that long but such is life and now will do some breakfast and hop a GRAB to the airport by 930am for my flight to beautiful and wondrous Da Nang. I get to stay in Da Nang for about 10 days and the only real thing to get done is to get my laptop keyboard fixed tomorrow and then go over and pick it up in two days with a brand new “butterfly” keyboard that hopefully lasts until I get back to the states and decide if I do a iPad instead.
So today later back to the walking no matter the weather in Da Nang. I’ll get a poncho and new umbrella on the cheap there and get outside after I check in. I feel the need for some movement and walking always takes care of that. Walking down the Han River will sure be nice again! Not sure what I will do for dinner tonight but so many choices there.
I’ll be posting daily photographs of the things my camera decides are worthy and blogging the days with the usual reflections of a life spent wandering slowly this way and that with no real goal. You won’t see lists of things to do here or great tours to do. Its not the way I roll. Instead I offer honest reflection of life and times and how it is to wander a few great countries and find the methods to a bit of happiness and joy.
You can find the other bloggers that offer your travel fix pretty easily. I do think its so cool that my buddy Mikka is walking the Camino again. He captures his days on the trail, reflections of the times spent and beautiful photographs of the journey. Here are a few places easily reachable to see his journeys. On Twitter he is here and then his blog which also is a repository for his images and stories is here. I really enjoy the daily introspection he offers when he walks the long walks. He also posts videos which you can find off of twitter and he’s very active on Mastodon.
So see you all on the flip side of a hour flight to the wondrous and beautiful pearl of Vietnam.
I had saved a walk here in Phu Quoc that looked interesting that would let me see part of the island I had not seen before. I could walk through the non touristy areas, see small markets and stores, and luckily an electronics store because the lightning cables seem to not last long being packed and used a lot. I found a store and bought a 2m cable for about 150k VND. If it lasts 6 months, its all good!
Then I decided to take another road which was through kind of a less traveled area and the rain held off. Then finally over a bridge to take me back to the area I stay in. I can tell when I get the walk in that makes me feel best and I had not been able to for a few days so I felt rather uncomfortable and irritable. Even more irritable than I normally am on a given day. I also did not carry the FujiFilm Camera because its not water resistant and I don’t feel like losing a camera body to water damage.
I reached this bridge I was curious about after seeing it on Google Maps. Either side looked like this. You can tell that its rainy season by the look of those grey skies.
After crossing the bridge, I was back in familiar places since I had walked there before. I did see a rather remarkable Karaoke establishment on my way back right before a torrential downpour started and I had to take shelter under the awning of a closed building.
Pretty darned incredible! That is some building.
The rain really came down for about 30 minutes and then I was able to reach the hotel again but I was still soaked. It does not really matter though.
Tonight I will go back to this really nice Bun Cha place I visited before and also stop at the night market and get a oversized t-shirt for a friend in Ho Chi Minh City that likes to wear huge t shirts. It must be yellow and say Phu Quoc on it :-).
I also will start getting my stuff together and packed up this afternoon and evening and go out in the morning for a last walk here. I really don’t like missing days and the way Sunday is being a transit day I will probably not walk all that much.
Maybe next blog post will be from Da Nang or I will write something about HCMC when I get back for a night. Hard to say.
I’m just about at the last day visiting this beautiful island. Its been a kind of strange interlude and I was thinking this morning over coffee it feels like I have been here longer. Tomorrow if the weather suits, I will ride the Fast Ferry over to Ha Tien on the mainland and walk around there for something different. If I get lazy, I will not get up at 6am to do that :-). I still have a walk I would like to do here that I looked at today.
I’ve really enjoyed Phu Quoc Island but I don’t think I will return unless its to go to the Fishing Village for awhile. I get back to Can Tho Sunday afternoon and hop a taxi to meet my friend Lily at a Thai restaurant for food and a few beers and to say goodbye. I have to catch a bus at 5pm to Ho Chi Minh City for one night and then Monday I fly to Da Nang. Da Nang is my favorite stop in all of Vietnam. It has everything that the Mike force needs to be happy and have fun. I met this nice mom and daughter from Hanoi here and they told me that Da Nang is the pearl of Vietnam and I can believe it. Just a beautiful city with so much to do! I have 10 days there to play and wander around. I also have to get my MacBook keyboard replaced since the “E” key fell off this morning but I somehow wedged it back in so it works.
Kicking the Can down the Road a Bit…
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about changing my part-time home country to Vietnam. Things for me at a few levels have gotten more interesting and I would like to be closer to some people here. I can get a Vietnam tourist visa for a year and could stay longer in places and also visit new places easier while still getting to the other places I want to reach like Sri Lanka, India, and China. Most of all though, people have asked me to stay longer and be around where they are so we can see each other. Its a wonderful thing that these are all Vietnamese people that have become friends that have asked.
So here I am almost my last day with a funky E key on my MacBook, a few cans I have kicked part way down the road and thinking a bit about where I would want to stay in Vietnam. I had never thought I would be able to have friends in either Cambodia or Vietnam but have both. It kind of changes the equation of can and road a lot.
So tomorrow hopefully will take the fast ferry to the mainland for the day. If not, no big deal. I will walk here and enjoy. Lots to cogitate on but nothing that has to be decided. I have this year pretty much planned out. Hell, I have until June next year planned with the trip to the US and then on to Morocco, Turkey, Egypt and Dubai. Its next June when I get back what I will do. I think it will be to change countries to Vietnam but then leave for Sri Lanka and India.
Look for more of my charming repartee and reporting as the can moves down the road in some direction. As I mentioned, this is not a travel thing I do. I will move even farther from the classic travel things and simplify the categories on the blog and move posts around a bit. I’ve realized as I wrote yesterday I am not a traveler. I just claim all of Southeast Asia as my turf.
I’ll preface this to say that I went out earlier and had a few Saigon Special beers here in Phu Quoc at one of my favorite bars and restaurants; the I Love Phu Quoc Restaurant and Bar. They treat me very nicely there and ensure if its raining I will not get wet by supplying me with beer. Today it rained really heavily for about 30 minutes like it does here in Vietnam but then it stops and the wind goes down and the sky somewhat clears. I sat for awhile over beers and thought. Perhaps its the beer or the food or even the rain.
I was thinking on some distinctions I see every so often on blogs, twitter, and before on instagram. People really want to publicize and engage with these blog, twitter, pinterest and instagram things. They want engagement and stuff and I get it. Many of them are called travel bloggers or lifestyle and travel bloggers. I sometimes measure what I do against them. Its a human trait perhaps. Today though it dawned on me that there is nothing they do that is like what I do. I don’t feel particularly affiliated with the world of digital nomads, generation X or millennial backpackers or round the world gap year travel bloggers. I think what dawned on me is that I will never be like them. There’s a group though I am like but they are pretty quiet on the social media sites. I never see them posting or wondering or getting active on instagram with selfie pictures of themselves in front of Angkor Wat or Petronas Towers or wherever they take selfie shots or staged shots that always have them there. I don’t really blame them. Its all about the experience. Many live and breathe follower counts, comments, likes.
For me though its come to me lately its all different. I don’t have anything in common with them or the thousands of twitter followers that graced my feed. So I quit that space and set up a new twitter account where I don’t follow anyone. I just post photographs with the hashtags #photography. It works for me.
The bigger thing is since I am not like them I don’t have the same drivers or issues or needs. I don’t need or want to work. So I don’t. I don’t need to housesit, workaway, do web development, live in Chiang Mai for weeks so I don’t. Its a more simple life for me and perhaps thousands of others like me. Believe me there are thousands but we just don’t post on your social media.
So adieu to that one account on twitter. Its toast. The new one is not meant to be followed. Its only meant to do what I like the most. Sharing photographs of my travels without all the drama. I have a nice presence on Mastodon which suits me more and on Trover which is truly a travel photography site and not a cruel wannabe micro-blogging thing like Instagram.
Such is life for this retired not traveler, digital nomad, gap year, round the world backpacker after perhaps a few too many bears. I mean well. If you don’t think so you can go to Hell. Hahaha.
Today was a really good day folks. I went on a day long tour of the south of Phu Quoc. The main things were a beautiful yet isolated fishing village that I want to get back to and spend time just recording the moments of day and evening with the camera, the wondrous restaurants along this long, long pier. The good natured people that spent time to say hello or simply nod and smile. But more than that its a moment or two frozen between sunrise and sunset. Between a pier and child’s smile. A life spent in the hurry up lane for some and the slower speed of days that flow by with no real pattern besides the morning coffees, the day on the ocean, the afternoon spent watching with the camera, and evening with cold Saigon beers and moments to just watch as the sun dips down, seabirds careen and complain and children smile.
Then to a beautiful temple by the ocean where one could sit and contemplate that life is so wondrous and solitude and moments alone but not lonely are very good for the soul and heart. There is that beautiful tapestry of life walking the few hundred steps, seeing the monks graciously smiling and the ocean beckoning right there. So close but you are steps away. The beautiful grounds forever call and as the wanderer with no time but moments you know you can choose to return. I can walk those steps again if I choose.
I will return to the fishing village and spend moments to see the things which cameras can capture and those things that elude it. The spiritual connections of people and the ocean, a lifetime spent walking that long pier.
Simply two beautiful but completely different places but all in one wandering glance.