Evening at the Sleep Pod at the Hanoi International Airport

The Hanoi International Airport has sleep pods. These are small roomettes you can rent right at the airport . I guess most people get these when they have a last minute flight change or layover. That is until I heard of them awhile ago. I decided after getting back from Hong Kong to get one. They are in a quiet corner of the domestic terminal. Each pod has a TV, AC, is very clean. You get some free goodies and water when you check in. The extra special politeness by the Vietnamese folks that run it is in full force too. She smiled and laughed a lot as I was checking in. If you’re curious, the pods look like this from the outside.

sleep pod

You get a key card lock and there are restaurants you can walk to. There are no en suite restrooms so you use the facilities at the airport.

Today I wandered Terminal One watching people leaving. Lots of people leaving. I bought some Pringles and water and sat there. Soon someone else sat next to me and then another person. We had filled up the little seating area. They all smiled and said hello to me. I waited a bit longer and decided to head on back to the pod. I’m not flying out tomorrow. I ride the train. Instead I will have car service take me to the railroad station at 7am. I guess I just felt the need for a change. Sometimes the travel is all set. Rooms and restaurants and places to go and the normal becomes the too normal.

It also dawned on me today that its Fathers Day today for me. My kids are in the US so they are just getting there. It seems I always remember some of the events of life on these days. Some of the good things. Some of the bad things. Having children is a mix of things. You look back on what it took, what they delivered. Some of the challenges along the way. Its not easy really to get divorced in the middle of things. It causes so many changes that while they are necessary cause even more stress and unhappiness with the kids. I’ve left most of that behind now but truth is that you never do. Its one of those life changing events and even though its been almost 10 years many of the events and what happened after are small pin pricks in the memories.

Now though with the vagabonding, I have something else. Not just a pod. I have a new life. I did a thing which I dreamt of back when. Sitting at the Changi Airport in Singapore I wondered. What would happen? That was 2011.

Now its 2018. So much has changed. The kids are grown and have things. I’ve grown to and have things. But we still share the moment. The moment may be separated by miles and time and space. It matters not.

As I sit here in the Pod with the TV going and the AC running; its dawned on me yet again on this Fathers day. Its not just about the day. Its about the connections and the feelings and the wonder I felt. The wonder I still feel.

I’m a dad. It makes me feel good to know that even though my two children are busy attempting to adult that there are moments like I said on quora awhile back where they still ask. The questions have changed.

Before they were:

Dad, can I?

Now they are:

Dad, how can I?

I’m glad I still maybe know some how’s and why’s to them.

A rainy day a historic site, reflecting on Tony Bourdain and others

Today the weather started out okay but by the time a late breakfast was done and I walked to the places I wanted to see, weather was turning to thunderstorms and rain. I had decided on two places for today.

Imperial Thang Long Citadel. The citadel is interesting but they have not really restored much or worked on it. There is an active archeological investigation but the rain hampered being able to really see things. I walked to the citadel and looked around and then watched some video of its history. It would be nicer if the government would renovate or restore some of it so people could get a sense of how large and significant historically it really was. It was actually hard to take photographs because the rain decided to really fall for awhile.

Vietnam War Museum. Down the street from the Citadel is the War Museum. I walked by this many times and decided to save it for the last so did the warm museum as well. It has a lot of planes, artillery, a jet, ordnance, and stories about the wars that the Vietnamese have fought in including their national heroes.

There a historic war planes and artillery pieces so its fun to wander around in if you are like military history.

There are also inside exhibits featuring the wars in Vietnam’s history and stuff.

These were the two places I had wanted to get to today. Unfortunately the weather was not so good for walking around and seeing stuff. I feel like I got to see the war museum pretty well but the citadel may have had some stuff I missed.

I also was thinking on the walk today about my next three months or so in Vietnam. Initially I was going to stay in Ho Chi Minh City the entire time but then I started reading about Da Lat and Cam Ranh Bay. Da Lat is in the central highlands so temperatures are cooler and the city sounds like a place where there are not lots of expats and tourists roaming around all the time.

Now I have only one bucket list place left to go which is a museum as well. I am going to hold off on that and see how tomorrow is weather wise. Its a bit farther to go so I will probably get a cab to take me there and then walk back to the hotel.

I read the news this morning with sadness about Tony Bourdain passing. I had not read too many of his things or watched his shows on TV but I felt he really provided the glue between the people, places, and the traveler. I think the world’s cultures are going to miss him and as a spokesperson for food and fun and adventure we will not have another like him. There are others which travel and write and do things. I don’t know why that he died but its sad that we have lost so many talents. It seems like with success comes personal demons. I think back on people like Robin Williams and still find myself missing him.

For both Robin and Tony we have their legacy which is their work but the sparkling wit of Robin and world traveler and master story teller of Tony is missing. Sure there are replacements. There are the new generation of traveler and a person to make you laugh. It won’t be the same and I think that’s good. We cannot simply replace people like this.

The clip of Obama and Bourdain eating Bun Cha in Hanoi tells it all.

The main message is to travel and see and not take the same ole same ole. Find the thing that is your step to the unknown. We each have a thing that propels us, excites us, delivers us. For some of us, we’ve left things behind and picked up new things as hobos and vagabonds of the life ways. Find your thing!

Shopping Fun in Hanoi – Duffel Bag and Lens Cap needed

Had to do a bit of shopping here in Hanoi today. My duffel bag somehow started ripping on the top and I decided I wanted something bigger. As you all can probably guess, buying these kinds of things in Hanoi is easy. You basically walk to north of Hoan Kiem Lake in the old quarter and you can find just about every kind of duffel, backpack, daypack, that you can imagine. It really does not matter to me if its over stocked or North Face fake or export excess or whatever. If the bag only lasts a year or six months, I will consider that I talked the shop owner down 5% in price and got a nice North Face bag whether its real or not for about USD $15.00. That’s good enough to carry on the plane and on short trips here and there. What I need is a bag that can carry changes in clothing, my laptop and power gear, the kindle, and my camera bag all in one bag. I hate carrying multiple carry on bags. I won’t be flying internationally again until September when I fly to Cambodia so I am not too concerned about the bag issues since I also carry on my backpack. I don’t trust airlines and checked luggage and I like to make a fast exit when I get somewhere and be the first in line for a cab or whatever. I also beat people out of the airport by sometimes 30 minutes since they have to wait and then get the bags to the curbside.

The second thing was a lens cap for my Fuji camera. I thought I could find one of these easily in Hanoi but no one has them. I went to about 10 camera shops and one even called the local FujiFilm office for me. No good! As luck would have it, I went back through the clothing from my Hue trip and there it was. But this made me determined to get a replacement lens cap when I get to Hong Kong or purchase one in the states and have it shipped to Saigon later. I don’t like having only one of things like that.

Since my time is drawing down here, I came up with some bucket list items starting tomorrow I want to do. I am gonna try to get them down before leaving Hanoi in a week. I still find it amazing the I’ve lived here for 3 months now. Hanoi has been great to me!

I started planning out shorter trip in southern and central Vietnam to places that I can get to from Da Lat on a bus. So far Nha Trang and Cam Ranh Bay have been booked for shorter trips. I want to see the central part of Vietnam both the highlands where Da Lat is and the coastal areas. The beaches are supposed to be great there.

After some planning for Cambodia, I may disrupt that and stay longer in places and rebook my hotel rooms or do something else. I have months planned in Cambodia now with hotels and buses booked to take me places. There are things in each place I want to see and mostly I want a slower pace than the 2 days to see some temple and then leave. A few of the places are slower in pace much like what Da Lat will be. Its lets one refuel the gas tank, see the local neighborhoods, and also get familiar with the every day things people do.

Its going to be both fun and sad to leave Hanoi. I’ve really wandered all over the city and have felt welcomed in all places I have gone. But more places await and Vietnam has proven to be a fun place to see. I’m fortunate to have been able to do the trips I’ve done and now have new places I want to see before leaving in September.

Two Weeks give or Take in Hanoi

Two weeks left in Hanoi. Hard to believe that the time has gone by so quickly. Travel next few weeks includes a 5 day trip to Hue starting on Saturday and returning on Wednesday. Hue is a city steeped in history and getting 5 days there to walk around, take a day tour, and eat the local foods is great! I’ll fly down Saturday morning on Vietnam Airlines and start exploring the city that day since I cannot check in to the hotel right away but they will store my bags for me while I go.

Once I get back from Hue I have a week left and then its time leave Hanoi. I’ll fly off to Hong Kong for 4 days and see the sights there. When I get back, its only for a night at the airport and then the rail trip from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City on the 18th of June. That trip will take 30 hours but as I blogged before I get to see the entire length of Vietnam and I’m a train guy so am really looking forward to the pace and the sights.

I have a homestay place in Ho Chi Minh City which includes free meals each night and I’ll stay there through September when my Visa runs out. Then I cross over to Cambodia. I have some basic plans for different places to see based on a month schedule but as I go, I can change the schedule as I want and not pay a penalty for the hotels I rented. The plan though is to end up back in Phnom Penh around January of next year and rent an apartment for up to 9 months which is what I will have left on my retirement visa there. From there, I can travel easily to Laos, Thailand, Malaysia. All of that is rather fuzzy but I do know there are places I will get to. India beckons. Malaysia has been asking to see me. Thailand and the train from Chiang Mai to KL are some things I have wanted to do.

I really appreciate everyone reading along and watching me see Hanoi. Its been a lot of fun to do the project I set for myself which was to record my daily walks with my camera. I will be closing that project on the 14th of June and will go through the google photo albums and publish the links for all the albums so you can get a sense of the walking in Hanoi. At the same time, I have been experimenting with my FujiFilm X100F camera. Finding the sweet spots for shooting that I like. Playing with depth of field and aperture settings. Since I am nowhere near a photographer, I use these things as self learn goals and only to try to improve and learn the camera. I am not after doing post processing or shooting RAW files. My only goal is a personal and sharing one. I make mistakes and learn and then apply things I read or suss out about the camera.

You’ll get to see all those things in all their glory.

So walk a bit with me. See the remaining days of Hanoi sights. I still have bucket list places I need to go to so when I get back I will be applying myself to get there. Some require a cab or longer walk. Most I can get to easily by taking a day and dedicating it to that walk.

Its been fun living in Hanoi. I’ve enjoyed the people I’ve met, some friends at local coffee shops that have treated me well. The kindness and generosity of the Vietnamese people I will not soon forget.

Travel by bus, train, air? – Sure you can in Asia

This is a companion piece to my blogpost about trip planning and booking hotel rooms in Vietnam or elsewhere. I wanted to focus on transportation within the countries other than airline flights. My goal was to fly as I needed but to try to rely on cheaper transport and you can move around a lot between countries here on bus, ferry, and train lines. The best way is to find the website applications which will make it easy to book the travel. Without further ado, I present a few of them for your consideration:

12go – This site is a master site for all kinds of transportation in Asia. You can book combination trips on it which include air, bus, train service. You can also just book a single transport and the site works very well on mobile devices. You get the tickets in an attachment and you can show just the attachment on your phone to activate the travel. I think of this site like a super site to book travel in Asia and to also research possible trips and transit. Very handy to look at a portfolio for a trip you may want to take. You can plan out the train trip from Chiang Mai to Singapore if you want and it will help explain what you need to do. Shorter trips are a piece of cake too.

Giant Ibis – Giant Ibis is a bus transport company that covers Vietnam and Cambodia pretty well. If you want to find bus service to go from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh Cambodia this is the place to look. The site is dead easy to use and you get nice tickets which you do not need to print. Simply show on your phone and off you go!

So far I’ve covered two sites which can make it easier to book travel on a variety of ways and also let you plan “what if” scenarios. Next up is a site which I have used for years looking at railroad journeys. It covers the world basically and you can look up distances, fares, travel times, issues or ways around them. I think of this as a comprehensive train resource for the world at large. Very useful.

If you have to fly and who says you may not want to given distances and time, consider airlines like Vietnam Airlines. I’ve found them to be very responsive and also issue tickets quickly. The website is easy to understand and you can get going quickly. As an example of an issue, I found that some air travel I booked had the first and middle names mixed up. The airlines support fixed this in one day and issued new tickets.

The real thing around asia is you can find multiple ways to book travel. The comprehensive multiple transport sites like 12go are very handy but sometimes you just want the bus ticket like I did from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh. Ten minutes later had the tickets in hand.

Hope this helps you if you are planning on moving around Asia and were hoping to find comprehensive sites to book travel. I also have a plan to report on some tour agencies I have been using coming up. I am not a big fan of tours but sometimes they serve a purpose. I will be taking two over the next few weeks because its easier and like most things in Hanoi its very reasonable in price and I get to see historic and cultural sites in a dedicated vehicle.

Some travel to come

Since I have to do a Visa run exit in mid June, I had to make a few changes to other transportation bookings to accommodate that. One thing I had booked was train travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City in June. I will have a little under three months to see Ho Chi Minh City all told before my Visa runs out. Here’s the map of the rail trip.

The trip takes approximately 30 hours and I would get to see everything from where Hanoi is all the way to southern Vietnam where Ho Chi Minh City is. The Vietnam Rail folks wanted to make sure I understood the time the trip takes so I confirmed that I will board the train on the 18th of June and will probably arrive sometime in the afternoon on the 19th.

To me, this is one of those train trips to see an entire country that one should do. Its like the Amtrak across the United States or the rail trip across Canada. To me, there is only one real way to see a thing and its not driving. I’ve tried driving while living in the US and road trips are good but nothing can beat the whistle and sound of the train hitting the rails and the people that gather. While in India, I rode the train from Chennai to Mysore and back. That was an overnight trip and a lot of fun including the morning call for coffee and Dosas. I have ridden Amtrak to San Diego, Santa Barbara, and up to Oregon a few times. There is a quintessential thing about the travel by rail missing in all other methods. Its that progression and sound and feeling that you get as the train propels itself to new places around each bend.

As you probably know, I also took the Shinkansen trains this last few weeks in Japan. i rode in quiet comfort from Tokyo to HIroshima and then from Hiroshima to Osaka. The bullet trains in Japan are nothing short of fantastic. I love the attention to detail on those trains, the speed and the efficiency of the system while still allowing you to see the sights that go past your window at a few hundred miles per hour.

I can’t wait for this trip. Another one interesting is to ride the train from Bangkok Thailand to Singapore. You have to book that one in segments. Just for interest, here are a few interesting travel sites perhaps to consider if you feel that train urge.

  1. This is a great resource for any train travel. The Man in Seat 61 prepares you for voyages just about anywhere by train.
  2. Interested in booking a combination of train, rail, bus trips in Asia? Best site I have seen is 12go. You can make immediate travel plans on the go. it works equally well on mobile devices. You can combine rail, bus, and air if you want. Want that trip from Thailand to Singapore? You can do it at 12go.
  3. Want that train trip in Vietnam I booked? Heres the Vietnam Railways Site.
  4. Amtrak does a nice job of showing US train travel with how to connect as well.
  5. Want to book the Shinkansen but you are not yet in Japan? I have you covered. You can book Shinkansen tickets here in advance and they will mail the tickets. Have no fear with this system. I used it and it works.

I started awhile ago gathering resources I would find that make it easier to travel in Asia. Bus travel is probably one of the greatest ways to get around. While not specifically rail travel as those are focused above on, Giant Ibis provides a very nice booking resource for bus trips in Southeast Asia. Give them a whirl if you want to also do what I am doing after Vietnam which is riding a bus to Phnom Penh Cambodia.

Thanks all! Happy travels. Try the train wherever your travels avail. No disappointment

 

 

Camera Learning Never Stops

I almost stopped doing photography from about December to end of January this year. Work claimed me almost completely and my FujiFilm X100F sat there perhaps patiently waiting as I promised I would get back to it. When March came around, it was time. I left the states for hopefully good and the camera went with. I had things I wanted to capture, places in Japan I only had limited time at. Mostly though I wanted learning. I wanted to start learning again. Now I’m retired and the camera becomes an obsession. I find things to read over dinner or in the room at nights. Here are my current things of learning;

  1. Exposure Compensation and why I would use it. This is one of those things that can affect the quality of the frame you are shooting and you can see the difference immediately. My camera said that an Aperture of 5.6 was good enough but many of my photos were over-exposed. I first thought of turning down the EC a bit. What I came away with this evening is tomorrow I will go play with this and the next one.
  2. Metering and how I was perhaps doing it wrong. I have a feeling that spot metering is not good for me shooting scenes on the streets of Hanoi. I have since switched to Multi Metering and will try that tomorrow on the streets and at the Lake.
  3. Automatic mode and why I may start using it more for street photography. This is a dual edged sword because I don’t feel I learn anything by using the camera in automatic mode. All of the things are decided but if a default is wrong  or the light is not considered correctly, its not so good. So perhaps I need to go back to what I was doing before. I was focusing on each of the program modes on the camera and shooting in them as I could. Since I am here in Vietnam now, practicing is so easy. i just walk out the door of my hotel room basically.

So tomorrow i will go out for some hours again and play with the camera. I will not put it on fully automatic mode because I don’t think learning happens there. i like shooting in Aperture Priority mode because I feel like its the easiest to understand. I will shift though to the next one which is Shutter Priority when I’m good and ready. Fully manual mode is somewhere out there for me. Not today or tomorrow. But given I am in learning mode and I have this whole city to practice in with no work slowing me down, its all possible.

The art of Relaxation or how to put off until tomorrow

I’ve been traveling only two weeks plus days and this is really the first time I have ever traveled without a real destination in sight. Its kind of a weird sensation. I still fight the urge to get to a place or rush through a thing and I have to pull myself back and give myself a good talking to. Something like this,

Hey! Its okay to read your Kindle for 2 hours by the Lake here in Hanoi with a cold beer. You have no place to be and all day to get there. You can walk slower and see more. Turn left instead of right. No one really cares.

I think the retirement thing when it finally came was something so different that I still sit in my room in Hanoi and puzzle it. I can still hear the echoes of the people telling me that task or milestone X or Y may not get done and that may affect subsequent task 23 and milestone 50. Its hard to break out of that mindset but yet retirement has those things.

I sat the by the lake today right next to the old town here in Hanoi and watched the people propelling themselves to here and there. I felt their desire to see what the things were or to hop a cab or a tour bus and cram in all they could in a set of days and nights. I watched older folks like me move at a slower beat. I talked with a few younger backpackers who measure success by countries visited and visas stamped. I get that People do not have the luxury of time to kick things back a notch and get lost in Tokyo or find their way after taking a puzzling series of left and right turns in Hanoi.

I reached retirement in a circular direction after having wanted so desperately to leave the San Francisco Bay area for almost 10 years. It seems from about 2009 when I knew a divorce would come to finally moving out to a room in 2014, the thought was that I would move slowly through Asia at a pace up to me. It took until 2018 when i filed for retirement and also saved an amount of money that made me feel comfortable that I knew the time had come.

So with that said, I’ve learned some things about retirement after years of doing Information Technology and Program Management.

  1. Nothing prepares or tells you about the sudden lack of things you have to do. Its like a balloon and someone starts letting the air out and you know there is more room in the balloon but there is nothing taking the escaping air’s place.
  2. You know you are supposed to then “slow down” and only do what you want to do. But what are those things you want to do? And more importantly can you afford to do them with time, energy, money and desire.
  3. I desired to get rid of almost all personal possessions and get down to a single travel backpack that could be carried on flights. My reasoning for this is that all the things are “baggage” and you end up with the so many Kg of bags but you have the other metaphysical baggage too. You can get down to the weight restrictions of carry-on bags but the metaphysical and psychological and mental baggage weighs you down.
  4. Tomorrow does not exist in retirement. There is nothing to do that needs to be done today or tomorrow. The things that are left matter.

Now I’ve left the states and I have no car, no bills, no debt, no room. No things. The absence of things besides a small rubbermaid container that my wife is holding with papers and cards and memories means that life stretches out with no limitations. I have no room waiting for me or car needing attention or matters of importance to attend to. Cars and kids and things have gone their way. I could never see how they would get done or how things would end up for my children. I won’t dwell on each because even in retirement where nothing gets done, things still have orbits. There’s a bigger life out there.

I’ve just kinda checked out of the project management and life tasks which held me down, kept me focused on the tasks and deliverables. On vendors that needed to have a gentle tug every so often.

No I cannot see those days coming back. I still catch myself missing them and i have a stern talk with myself. Lets just say I earned this and move on.

Rainy Day in Hiroshima

One thing about the weather here in Japan in March. Its unsettled. In Tokyo earlier this week we had a few days of on and off rain and then my last day there it was simply beautiful but cold all day. Today here in Hiroshima, the weather was mostly rainy. Its a gentle rain for the most part so I tend to get out and poke around and then come back to the room and read and relax and then go again. I spent today looking at the areas around my hotel. I think Hiroshima is a fantastic city to wander in. The side streets are gems of little restaurants, pubs, and evening clubs. There is an enclosed mall area which is fun to walk through as well. I’m going to wait to go out again until this evening so may add a bit more to the blog post then.

I love the downtown and river areas with the small bridges and little communities down side streets. I also started playing around with zone of focus and manual mode on my X100F which I had not done in awhile. That’s a good sign by the way. I had kind of stopped learning about my camera and now I feel energized about experimenting more. One thing I do know is I will never be more than a novice at this stuff. I don’t do post processing, shoot in raw, use Lightroom. I just shoot the jpegs and grab them from the camera and enjoy them and share on google photos. Maybe at some point I will start doing that but for now I want to learn manual photography more.

Here’s some frames from today’s adventures.

I think the rain is starting to clear a bit so I may add more to this post this evening. I’d like to do a few night shots of Hiroshima if things get a bit dryer out.

Retirement Thoughts

I’ve been retired only a week now from a rather busy 20 years doing IT. I catch myself wondering whether a thing is done and then I realize its not mine any longer and I’ve left it behind. Others are doing the work and my work finally is taking some time for myself, reading and learning the camera, living elsewhere. A person asked me if I felt guilty leaving all of what I had behind. I guess the operative words are “all” and “behind” in the remark. No, I don’t feel guilty about leaving. This was a thing that started for me last year but I knew in 2011 a time would come when I’d go.

Asia just happens to be the place I ended up but I could have gone other places that were cheaper as well. There still are cheaper places just not in the United States overall. The real thing about Southeast Asia is that I am comfortable here. There is a goodness of fit in the places. I think about my grown children a few times a day. I do know you never outgrow them but you do have to make a life for yourself and not just live through them.

I realized on the train that I had to do that. That my happiness means something. That I must find a new thing which is not the same as the old thing. I don’t want to meet the new boss that’s the same as the old boss.

The blog here was created not just for travel and vagabonding but for introspection, technology, anthropology. All the categories. I just feel now I can make the most use of the time I have left. If I stayed at home in California, nothing of note would have happened and I would have ended up continuing to work because the cost of living in the Silicon Valley is ridiculous. As my friend Robert remarked over coffee one day,

the whole place here is like Hong Kong. A special economic zone.

Yes and it places retirement and joy of life easily out of reach unless I am the CEO of something or the founder of something else.

What I want is a cheaper existence which will let me do things, eat and drink well, and adventure forth.

Sorry to bore you with the introspective stuff. Sometimes its grist for the mill and the blog is an easy reach away.

Steps to Take

When its time to go. The room empties and the thoughts are full of the leaving. My daughter looks at me with both a questioning and happy look. I’ve thought about the moment to leave for years actually. Back in 2011, I routinely thought I would be at a point when I would leave the states for some period of time and get something back which had been lost in translation. By 2014, I saw the path but there were things needed. I got those things done by 2016 with the last job. It meant getting the money and transferring to full-time and enjoying the work being asked to be done.

Then in 2017 I paid of the last credit card debt. About a year ago I saw the debt from 4 years before get paid off completely and I had the feeling that pounds had been shed and I could start looking at what remained. I wanted a few things out of 2017:

  1. Money and savings. I wanted an amount of money as a safety net that would let me travel but not really be used unless necessary.
  2. Pay off the car and any recurring debt. There were no credit cards and if I could impart one piece of advice is to not give in and get them. I met the goals to pay off one debt and then I paid the car off in 2018.
  3. File for social security retirement after my birthday and be satisfied with the monthly pay out. While I feel that the actual amount would never work here; in the places I will go, I will have sufficient funds to last me.
  4. Plan the trip. Planning the trip was the most fun guys! I was able to decide I did not want 90 countries in 3 months. I wanted a slower pace that would let me sit in a coffee shop for a day or by the lake in Hanoi and read or try creating new content. I wanted countries and to travel using rail and bus service where possible.
  5. Execute the requirements and watch the final date arrive. The final voila of all violas. The date arrives and the room I have lived in for almost 2 years empties. By tomorrow the remaining physical stuff is donated and recycled in a good way. I’ll be down to two bags. This is where the sweet spot is for me.

So all the tick marks have been checked almost and today I sit in the room writing the post with tomorrow being the last day of work. No more meetings until I leave tomorrow. No more work. I am so thankful for a few of the points above to be able to leave work behind on my terms.

Perhaps I over-planned things but when I make a change like this I want both planning and random events. I want to turn left on the street in Tokyo when the subway station is to the right. I want to get lost with my camera in Osaka and see the thing which was withheld. As you can see, I only mentioned Japan. The two weeks in Japan is meant to get through some of the work stuff and be out walking the way I like each day. Seeing cities and getting back to a place I have missed since the last time in 2011.

The blog will change and my stories will take hold. I already have outlines for a few of them. I always meant this blog to be different than my previous outings where my self-hosted domain held over a decade of detritus. This was meant to be the take-off spot for a new thing. Old detritus need not apply.

My journey of one starts on Thursday. This Thursday. It’s time to reclaim the miles and the sights and the walking and seeing. It’s been since 2011 since I revived my acquaintance with Japan. It’s still there silently waiting to greet my steps with all the places I have not been and a few that I have like Lion Beer Hall in the Ginza.

But a 1000th step requires the first one and the 500th one. You cannot skip ahead to a thing and not pay the fees. I’ve paid a number of fees. Now its time to take the steps.