While here in Ho Chi Minh City have been staying in a homestay which is a rather fun experience. I have a room that I think is pretty nice with a great AC which is really appreciated. The cable TV gets some English channels. Then there’s the food. The home owner believes I just do not eat enough food because she fills my plate up numerous times with homemade Vietnamese food. I cannot tell her “No” really because it just happens anyways. So I eat! She sits and talks with me. Sometimes she asks me where I went that day because I told her I walk every day with the camera.
The homestay experience is pretty cool since you live in a real home with the family there. Boys, girls, parents, etc. Its an interesting experience. I think if you want to experience what its really like, the homestay thing is good! She also does my laundry every day. I’ll be setting out one change of clothing she will do and return to me in a day for free.
There is plenty of privacy here too. Once I go upstairs to my room, that’s it. She gets back to her husband and kids and mom and I watch some TV, perhaps look at my photographs for the day and start deciding what I should do the next day.
A fun thing here has been finding a new coffee shop each day that has food. I found a great one today but its a bit of a walk so tomorrow there is one basically around the corner which I will try. I do have a few which I really like a lot. I will probably go back at some point to them but there are so many here that I can be here 30 days and not really go back to one.
Sitting at the K Mart and thinking…
It seems some days I stop for water and perhaps see a thing which strikes me and I will sit on the curb and watch people going by, take photographs of what I see, think about things. Today was no exception. I was thinking through what I’ve done since I left the states. My time in Japan, Vietnam, Hong Kong. I started this whole thing on 1 March leaving the states after retiring. I had wondered what it would be like to stay longer in a place. For me, longer is three months to a year. I am not interested in racking up the countries and stamps in my passport. What I really want to do is live in a place and settle down a bit. I did that in Hanoi. Its worked well for me.
Then I can do the shorter trips like to Halong Bay, Hoi An, and Hue. I get to get away to a place, see the sights there, do the same stuff I like doing but during shorter getaways. The trip to Hue was a great one for that. Soon after that trip I was leaving for Hong Kong and then I would ride the train from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.
I will do short trips in Da Lat when I get there as well. I already have two planned.
So what this has left me with is a consideration of how things have worked, what my expectation was, whether I would want to ever do something more with the blog, and whether I would want to. For how things have worked, I’ve not made many huge errors. I understood how the visa process worked here and knew I had to leave for a visa run. I also had an idea about what I would do in Vietnam and the places I may want to go. Some places I added later.
Then there’s the final question about the blog and its place. I asked this question because I was reading a blog post over on Lets Vagabond and they mention turning the blog into something more than a travel blog. Perhaps a resource for the vagabonder to understand the ways and means they employed to break free. But I think there is even more than that. People are genuinely curious about what it takes from a planning perspective I think. What to do about things like mail, banking, phone service, US phone services. I think what is probably needed is a resource type site which can provide a deeper level of information for people departing their current situations and perhaps taking on the wanderer role. On top of that, there are the ways and means to get around in a new country, ways to plan the travel and maximize the resources that are provided for travel in Asia. I sometimes think a spreadsheet or table type thing that would let people browse the choices and make decisions that they may end up changing later but the resource base is there.
I have never seen a resource site tailored to people leaving forever. A life spent wandering sounds romantic and carefree and fun. And it is. But my belief is that you cannot leave the things at home to happenstance. The plan for leaving must be as good or better than the one you designed for the new place.
I also think there is a danger of over planning where you try to satisfy all the uniqueness by answering the question one woman asked me at a Pho place in Hanoi,
Where will you be a year from now?
I had no idea.
Getting back to this blog…
Now getting back to this weblog and some closing thought since I have been rambling on for awhile. My blog, Mikes Thoughts, is not meant to be a travel blog even though I blog things about my walks and places I go. It really is meant to encapsulate the life of this Mike. Goods and bads, Thoughts from a one time anthropologist and archeologist and program manager for large IT companies to a retired old guy that gets his kicks wandering roads that turn vigorously left and right. I don’t have ambitions for this blog to be anything more than it is. I want to be able to use it to communicate and create and if you choose to read it, good! If you don’t, I really don’t write this assuming you will read it. I do this more for myself. Perhaps I am the blogger cut from the old threads. Back when I started, bloggers created content. We did not have the monetization, branding, affiliates, ads to concern ourselves with. We simply wanted a place I believe to create. And it becomes like I’ve said before the 5 pound chicken and the 10 pound egg thing. You get constipated and upset and irritable if you don’t create. Its not so that 500 people will like your blog and follow it. Ask yourself, what is the real reason you do this? List it out. I have always done this to create and put words next to each other. The wandering thing and leaving the states happened to come along after I started the blog on wordpress.com.
So those were the thoughts during and after the walk today and perhaps some have been percolating around for awhile. I wanted to create a post that is not about my wandering so no link to photographs today folks.
Give it some thought though why you do this thing. Do you know the history of blogging and perhaps you’ve read some of those founders so to speak of the platform. Its come so far and its so different now. But for me, its the same. I write these things to create and place the words next to each other. I will leave it up to others to lift them higher an create resource content that can be used to help or guide or even transmit the knowledge. I just like to create the words. If you choose to read them, welcome. If not, I don’t really care. I don’t do this for you. Sorry.