A look forward in Cambodia

Its been a holiday here last three days in Cambodia so most places are closed. Its a bit hard to find a place to eat around the hotel so I end up riding to downtown where all the tourists are because the restaurants are all open there. I found a few little places kind of hidden away where a pint of beer costs cheaper than some of the so-called ex-pat hangouts. Not so many people go there and while dinners cost more because of location, I think the food is just better. One of the places has really good Khmer food like Amok and Lok Lak. You get both with a nice helping of steamed rice and the food portions are decent. Tonight I may ask the hotel to buy pizza again for me and get a few beers for the room and perhaps find a movie to watch. Tomorrow is gonna be busier around here and I have some stuff to do like get my laundry done one more time and take the XT2 camera to the service agents here to have them send to Singapore. I will be buying the X100F camera to take its place. In retrospect, I should have just kept the original X100F but it was acting up too because of water and its not resistant at all. I think it was on the way out as well but who would have ever thought I would only have the XT2 for a fucking month and then the shutter button would freak out? I told the dealer in Vietnam that I spent almost $2k US on a camera that lasted a month give or take.

I don’t know what I’ll do when the XT2 gets fixed besides have two cameras. I could just happily live with the X100F for the kind of photography I do. Its really a nice and compact travel camera. I may get a small bag at one of the markets tomorrow too. I think I can find a bag at the Russian or Central Market for about $10. Having two cameras just really means more weight next January when I leave Cambodia for 5 months on my swing through Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. I may decide then what camera to really take or try to sell one or the other. The XT2 is just bigger and heavier but its water resistant but I just don’t trust it any longer. What’s to stop it from having another shutter button issue in a year or six months? I never had anything like that with the X100F.

So today I ended up downtown walking around the independence park area which is really nice for walking. Wide sidewalks and monuments, beautiful park and open areas, and then nice restaurants and bars just a walk away. I really wished to get the normal walk in today so I do not feel so grumpy and out of sorts. I really need the walk and the camera every day. I need to do about 5 to 7 miles every day of the week and take whatever photographs I want to take. Its become this habit for this old body and I feel really good when I do it and bad when I don’t.

I also started working on the second retirement report I want to do. I think by end of the weekend I will have it up on the site. This led me to thinking this morning about some other content creation. I’ve felt for a long time that I had this other longer thing somewhere inside. Perhaps a novel or a mix of fact and fiction. I don’t think it would be hard science fiction or fantasy but there is something in there I have felt that wants out. I may start outlining what it could be in Ulysses and see. I have this vision its some kind of story but have not really taken time yet to work on it. Maybe sitting on the beach some days in Sihanoukville will give me some moments to consider it. Its gonna be nice to see ocean and beaches and perhaps swim. I’ll need some swimming trunks which will be no problem there in one of the stores I would imagine.

Transitioning to Sihanoukville

The next real step is leaving Phnom Penh and taking the 4 hour bus ride to Sihanoukville. I’ll be there a month as well and will slowly explore the areas, go for walks on the beach, find the other beaches and cool places to eat and drink and hopefully work on this content which I have felt bubbling under the surface. Its my second stop in Cambodia and I’m excited to see more of this Kingdom. I’ll then head to Siem Reap to see the famous temples or Wats there and then on to the second largest city in Cambodia Battambang. Each place gets a month which is the way I like going and each thing is a bus ride to the next.

Here is a little layout of Cambodia for you to visualize what I’m doing.

You can see that I kinda skip around and don’t go in a basic straight line. It kinda keeps with the random nature of what I like doing. If something makes sense often I just don’t do it. Call it some resistance from the decades of doing project management where every task led to a milestone and had dependencies, frustrations, and irritation built in.

Then finally when done with this initial exploration of the wonderful Kingdom of Cambodia, I will return to Phnom Penh for a week and prepare to leave for 5 months. One of the big goals was the retirement visa extension of stay which I got. Without that I would have had to leave Cambodia and re-enter next week. Now I have a year here of multiple entries and exits.

Anyways at 1k level, that’s the view. Exciting times, some frustrating camera times, and mostly fun times in finding a home here to stay in with some very nice people. Since I will never stay here longer than a month, the hotel works out very well for me. I get free breakfasts, its close to services I need like laundry and food places I know now, and I also know how to get around a bit walking and taking the tuk tuks here and there.

Hopefully my next post is on my resounding success getting my camera in to the shop to get fixed and picking up the replacement. I’ll defer trying to figure out what to do with two cameras until that happens in January next year. Take care all. Hope your days are good. If you are on the road, travel slow. Its worth it!

Google Plus Goes Away

Goodbye Google Plus! Some would say the service was a failure and that no one used it but my news feed and friendships made there were much better than some of the crapola I see on Facebook. The technical merits of communities and collections and circles were very cool. I just wish LinkedIn would offer even a semblance of the filtering of news that Google Plus does.

I shared my photography albums from Google Photos to Google Plus quite often and had a collection there to post to which had over 4k subscribers so the idea that no one used it even in my small sample size is incorrect.

I started with it when it was announced back around 2011. Then it was a simpler thing and one could argue perhaps it was better then. Now with the news of the security breach and the end of the platform, one can cast about for a fitting replacement for what I think it did well.

One primary thing it really did well on was the signal to noise factor. I got more open source and technology news there in a threaded format that was quite easy to follow. I could create circles and subscribe people to them so I had circles like Friends, Android, Linux, Open Source. I could create collections and have content be posted there like my photographs. Facebook does not even come close to the signal to noise ratio. Sponsored posts, stupid news I don’t care about, ads for things I would never buy but yet there is no real way to opt out of makes FB a conscious decision for me sometimes. Unfortunately, most of the people on FB are true friends that I have known for years so I am not inclined to end posting or using that service.

The second thing was the integration with Google Photos. It was easy to “share” an album and create focused collections such as I did with photography. I also could manage the collections pretty easily and turn off comments if I so wished.

Another cool thing is the concept of circles. A circle is a sphere of influence and you could create numerous circles with different focus points and influences. I always thought that approach created more value than the FB approach which is to just slam your feed with stuff or you find a group to join. I don’t think FB groups are in any way comparable to communities in Google Plus.

Finally, it’s the people! I met great people there primarily in open source and Linux and even Linus Torvalds was present. I met a whole host of others especially in open source that became friends.

So whether you used the platform and service or not, there are alternatives to always consider out there but nothing simply takes its place. Facebook could never do that and LinkedIn could only hope to have the same functionality in how to create and manage feeds of news you want to focus on.

Goodbye Google Plus. You were a lot of fun and there were always more people with the hallmark on quality and approach.

A week to go in Phnom Penh – Great Times!

My last week in Phnom Penh is here. Its been a great three weeks and I’ve seen a number of places, ate some good food, drank some beer, and fixed my camera for awhile hopefully. I’m glad to be staying away from the downtown or riverside areas. I like the restaurants and a few of the nice riverside bars but I don’t like the nightlife and bars too much. Being away from it is much more peaceful. I did the bar thing years ago in the military and I don’t think much has changed. I much prefer the non touristy areas with the camera.

Its pretty nice spending a longer time in places and getting settled. I’ve learned the local laundry place, money exchange, quick places to get some latte and food places. There are places to eat where the food is excellent and the prices are too. I don’t need the swanky places and normally only will eat once or twice a week at them.

Another thing which is good is finding this hotel. The place fits my lifestyle rather well and I will be staying here on my short trips back as I prepare for travel to other places. A week here in January when I finish my tours of Cambodia cities I want to see first off. Then a month here in June to get my Chinese tourist visa for two months. I’ll come back here in September and renew my retirement visa again. The hotel works well for me because they do room service, free breakfasts, and care about me.

Next Stop: Sihanoukville Otres Beach

This will be my next stop after a 4 hour bus ride there in a week and some days. I’ll spend a month walking the beach, walking to the nearby beaches and seeing the city and villages that make up the area. Its a more relaxed vibe so the photography will change a bit and the walking will not. I must walk each day that I can the steps I do. I don’t feel good if I cannot get the walk in.

After Cambodia: 5 months on the road

After I’m done this first time with Cambodia I’m on the road for 5 months going to Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. This fills up my first 6 months or so in 2019 with slow travels through three places. I don’t know all the locales I will visit in Malaysia and Thailand. I will have 60 days after my initial stay in KL to see things so I may venture gradually north to Georgetown and prepare slowly for the border crossing to Thailand.

The Ex-Pat Life

Finally, some thoughts on the ex-pat life style. I’ve met more than a few European and American ex-pats and retirees living here in Phnom Penh. Last night over a few beers I met a English bar manager for hostess bars here who has been working here for some time tending the bars. Interesting life but not a thing I want. I don’t think that ex-pats want to travel and after meeting a few in Vung Tau I would venture to say the less traveling the better. I think they want stability in a place and to consider a place like Phnom Penh home. Maybe find some local friends, establish themselves, have a regular life. There is also the side here regarding qualifying to retire. Its simply easier here to get a retirement visa extension of stay. Nothing to really show if you are retired and over 55. You just find an agent that is reputable and let that person do the work.

The ex-pat I met last night had never really been to Vietnam. To me, its rather amazing since Vietnam is next door and less than an hour’s flight away. Its easy to get a tourist visa from here to go there and you can even ride the bus if you want cheaper. Maybe even a boat. Why don’t they travel? I did not ask but he mentioned more than a few times how he wanted to go but yet had not. I cannot see ever staying indefinitely in a place, setting up roots, not leaving. There is just too much to see next country over.

I’ve ruled out ever just finding an apartment here and settling down. What I do want is the visa with the multiple entry stamp in it. That lets me always come back here over the next year and not be concerned about not having a country to return to.

I’ll be publishing my second retirement article soon on that page on the blog. I will also publish my final photography album and share it soon.

The Dawning of Eight Months on the Road — Amazing!

Today I went to the Aeon Mall again because it was raining in the early afternoon when I finally decided to leave the hotel. I wandered the mall for a few hours after partaking of some Krispy Kreme donuts. I have not had those donuts since leaving the states about 7 or 8 months ago. In fact, today I celebrate the 8th month of this slow wandering I am doing. If you don’t know, I changed countries and left Vietnam about two weeks ago after six glorious months there. Cambodia has been really good to me and each day I design a thing or things to do to make it better. Phnom Penh is kind of a whirling dervish city. Traffic and people are going non stop but its not anywhere near the focus point of Ho Chi Minh City nor does it have the traffic or population densities.

To get along in Phnom Penh is a bit easier since they use US dollars primarily. No messy exchange rates except when you get change back in Riel. Then you have to pay attention. I’ve gotten change back in combinations of Riel and USD so I have gotten better at the 4k to 1$USD rate to try to see if things are good. Honestly though, when you pay abut $.50 cents for a beer and about $2.00 for a dinner if I was short changed $0.35 I probably would not notice or care.

I also have reached my half way point on this trip to Phnom Penh. In two weeks I leave for my next destination which is a beach city which sounds interesting. I’ll be there as usual for a month and then on to Siem Reap for a month and then Battambang for a month and then back here. I have about a week here in January to get a haircut, get laundry done, and prepare for 5 months on the road to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. I still have to figure out what I will do in Malaysia after my first 30 days :-). I expect something or other will come up. I may meet a friend from Vietnam there. Not sure. Then I get back in June and initially I was leaving for Vietnam for a month but its changed and now I will come back to Phnom Penh for a few weeks and get a Chinese tourist visa and leave for China in July and return in August. Then a bit of a wait and I can get the retirement visa renewed and then leave for Vietnam for 3 months. I decided to go longer so I can go back to a few places I like there and see new places. That will get me through next year and I’ll spend the holidays in Vietnam with friends either in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.

So there you have it! I’m entering the 8th month of this little trip and all things are really good. I’ve looked back a few times at a retrospective type thing over coffee or beers. Nothing really negative stands out. I kinda wish I could retire and have Vietnam as a home base but Cambodia is much easier given the visa types and extensions they have. The retirement visa extension is due back tomorrow or Wednesday and I will have a year then here in Cambodia. Multiple entries and exits and all. I found a home here at the Hotel LaLune and I’m happy with the prices and what I get value wise. I have a good next year planned out for the slow travel I like doing. I guess I will increase the country count by a few next year but I am not really counting.

I’ll be writing the next entry on retirement this week and posting it as well.

Phnom Penh Proves Again that Time is not Really Real

Today I decided to head to the Palace here in Phnom Penh where the imperial family live. Only thing today is Sunday and its not open on Sundays it appears. Whoops?

So instead I just walked another way and soon was not missing the palace at all. It was a beautiful and warm day with some clouds but mostly sunshine. I just took roads this way and that and soon was immersed in the walk itself and not the missed palace opportunity. I saw two bridges I had never seen before and explored them. I also saw new hotels going in all over the place north of the river front area. Lots of construction that a person here told me is about Chinese investment mostly.

I ended up much like before at a watering hole by the river drinking a few cold Angkor draft beers. One of my neighbors had tacos there. I could not remember the last time I had tacos but I just splurged on a steak last night so I had will power to not eat again downtown since it costs more. I did watch and have some vicarious thrills on the tacos. They looked really good! To kind of get my fix, I found a Mexican restaurant here that I will visit next week at some point.

Time does not Exist…

I’ve come to the realization that traveling like this removes the count of days and h0urs from the equation. I really had no idea it was Sunday until I found out that the palace was closed because it was Sunday. I think this is a positive effect of not having a damned thing to do and all day to do it. Whether I sit an extra hour in the morning with an iced latte or leave or go to this or that point, nothing really matters any longer. I’ve separated from the devil count of hours, minutes, seconds and how time ruled my life working.

Lets face it. The count of days does not matter folks. Its not the count that guides your lives. It what you do inside them with the moments. The priceless moments matter that you fill with things and places and people. We live our lives constrained by clocks and calendars and tick tock of time. It leaves us wounded and not able to truly enjoy what we have left.

Until we travel.

Once we travel and we do it long term, time seems to unravel. The seconds go spinning off and the minute and hour hands on the clock detach and we have been given the real gift of it all. We have the moments back and its up to us to fill them. My job before was time. Schedules and tasks and milestones and people neatly or not fit inside them. This has to be done then and then you could do that. Predecessors had to be done before you could do the next thing. Think about how it feels for a moment when a life is guided by all that BS. There’s no recovering. You’re trapped in time.

But then I left.

It was not an immediate thing. It took some months or days or something but one day I truly stopped caring whether a weekend or weekday greeted me. I had lost count this time until I found out that the Imperial Palace was not open. Say what? Oh. Got it. It was that time thing again. Well, fuck that. I don’t like time. Space ain’t much good either. Together they form a vortex. I don’t like vortices.

So I bailed and I did not even know it. And it felt damned good.

New Blog Series – Retirement, Asia, and Traveling Forever

I’m starting a series of a few blog posts on retirement and living and traveling. The purpose of this next series of posts are to define how you can do better if you are living on fixed income if you have a mildly adventurous soul and are able to adjust to cultural change and thrive. Here’s an article that got me thinking about just how far US social security retirement will carry you. So what do I hope to convey that adds to the balance of information for people? That’s the topic of the next few posts. Here are the posts upcoming. Each one will be linked and presented and hopefully at the end of the next few posts you can see what retirement means, your choices if you travel, and how some freedom can work if you are retired in places that cost less.

  1. Retirement and Travel in Asia
  2. Making Life better with limited funds traveling in Asia
  3. How to go slow and see more
  4. Visas and Passports and places that offer more for less
  5. Bringing it all together. Being old does not mean you sit at home wondering

I came to the conclusion that more needed to be done after talking with a variety of people in Vietnam and Cambodia about retirement. Retirement is supposed to be the good times folks. You are supposed to be able to take a breather, find a new thing, do a new thing, and perhaps find a new way of living. Maybe even finding a new partner if you are socially inclined. I am a solitary type so I solo travel but perhaps its not meant for you so you want something more.

Another thing I hope to convey in the series is that a person is never too old to find a new adventure. I answer questions about aging a lot on Quora about aging and travel. I think people reach their retirement years and get complacent or believe they are XX years and cannot possibly hit the road. I think fear plays a great role in this. Fear of both the known and unknown. There also is the difference of a place like Vietnam or Cambodia. Some of us are simply not made for having our senses assaulted by change. We’re more comfortable with the known yet often the known will cost more, mean you live less, and perhaps even threaten your possessions.

I am gong to write each of the blog posts above sequentially each week. So the retirement and travel in Asia post will come next week or late this week and I will then publish one in the series each forthcoming week.

So anyways, if you are interested in what a tomorrow may look like; stay tuned. I’ll continue to write my regular travel posts about life on the road in Cambodia and what I see and link to photography I do. Maybe instead I will create a static page in WordPress for this work. I think perhaps a static page would be easier to manage and let there be a difference in content.

Getting around Phnom Penh – Real and Ideal thoughts for you

I went out for a great walk with the camera today and saw a variety of city blocks. Big streets with lots of businesses and few people. Small streets with the little shops crowded where the tuk tuks and the motorbikes vied for a two lane road. It was really a warm day here but it started out raining. Like most places here I’ve been the rain only goes for about 30 minutes and then you get blue skies.

So I walked and took some photographs and walked some more. Down streets here kids yelled hello at me and old people nodded and smiled. I’ve felt in both Vietnam and here in Cambodia this warmth and genuineness and openness that perhaps I did not see so much in busy San Francisco. Maybe did not see at all there.

I’ve read a few warning blog posts about people being mugged and robbed and drugged here and I was down this evening in the pub road district where the drunk travelers and backpackers have their court. One guy staggering almost in front of the tuk tuk and even the driver shook his head. I can see why people get scammed there if you go wandering around shit-faced down some of the streets I saw. I don’t think those people want to see Phnom Penh. They want the bar and food district that’s like other places they’ve been. The real Phnom Penh still is there though. You just need to get away from that part of the city and find the blocks where people work, laugh, and eat. Where the Khmer people live and the kids yell at you and smile. It all depends on what Cambodia you want to see. Its not all good and a Kymer told me there is a lot of poverty in their country. You can see it easily out walking. I saw the same in India. Dealing with it takes a little effort. Like even in Vietnam there are parts that I loved and laughed at and even cried a bit over. Here you can see it by a small lake where the poorer people live. Asking for handouts is in full effect and I feel bad for the people. There are many children there too but even with all that sadness the children find some bit of joy in the simple things of being a child. So somehow you have to take both and deal with it if you come to Asia. You will see it all. If you leave the touristy havens and see what Phnom Penh or Hanoi or wherever is all about. The areas where the people live and eat and children go to school.

Small streets where football is played and the small carts with produce and bbq wheel through. Those streets may be the most fabled in all of the places. Each time I’ve walked one I’ve enriched. Its a microcosm of life there as I’ve said before. You can see so much in how the day to day life of the person is played out. The local market. The coffee stand. The sandwich place. The laughter and smiling faces as people go by. I truly think that Cambodians want people to see their country. They’ve come a long way.

The main thing here though is getting around. And I mean that in the largest sense of the word. If you settle for bar districts and scams and wonder why you never saw Cambodia, I think I have an answer for you. I’ve wandered for 4 days in non touristy areas. Taken pictures of the city. Stopped for water. Got back to the room and planned out dinner. A local place? The best burger joint in town? Getting around in the tuk tuk is the way but there is also a tuk tuk of the heart and soul that will take you through Cambodia. Don’t miss some of it because its not where the tourists go.

You owe it to yourself to see the place. Breathe in the goods and bads. Look at what the city offers. Don’t be afraid. Just get around on foot or tuk tuk. I think  you will be enriched at the effort.

Traveling Forever and Visas too…

I’ll submit my passport and request for a 12 month retirement extension of stay visa this Sunday with the agent. It takes 7 to 10 days to get one and then I’m done with the last passport and visa thing required for here for a year. I can always come back to Cambodia from where I am for the next year. The LaLune hotel becomes my home base because I like this place and they treat me well.

But now, I’ll drink my beers in the room and watch BBC world news and wonder about the United States. Some of the things are so sad there. We seem stuck in a political climate of dysfunction and corruption. I hope that things change but my take is it will take longer than 2020 to set our ship right again. Then our allies will be our uncertain foes and our enemies will know how to take advantage of us.

That’s about it for now folks. Have yourselves a good evening. If you blog, write something. Create some content. Delete an ad or two that gets in the way. Like I’ve said before I want your words and I want them tied together.

Today this and that – Last Day in Da Nang

Today was the final real day to wander Da Nang. I started the day with a few Banh Mi sandwiches and a coffee. Had to find the post office and mail some gifts to a friend in Da Lat Vietnam. Luckily the post office was just down the street so took the gifts in and they got a box for me, packed up the stuff, and then put in the mail service for me. Vietnam Postal charged me 80k VND to mail and package up the gifts. It will reach Da Lat in 2 days. Not too bad.

Then I stopped for some more coffee and decided to walk over the bridges I love here and just take photographs of whatever it was that I saw. Unfortunately, I cannot upload images to google photos today due to some kind of network issues here so I will wait until I get to Saigon tomorrow and try again.

After walking, picked up my laundry from the hotel and started packing. The amount of stuff I have has gone down so packing is pretty easy. Used to be that the Tortuga Outbreaker was used up for space. I also have a Tripod that I got for free when I bought the camera so that went in the backpack. I had started with 6 changes of clothing but I went down to 3 changes plus the ones I wear. Means I can still go a week since I wear the same stuff more than once. I could also wash stuff in the room and have a pretty good process for that but I’m lazy and prefer to pay the few dollars a week to have my laundry done.

I’ve changed things around a few times now for gear except for the backpack which I really like. I have a fake but pretty good quality North Face Surge backpack which can hold a bunch of stuff and is a great carry on personal item that fits under the seat. I got rid of a camera bag, a small duffel bag, and a daypack that simply was not big enough and felt cheap.

I’ve also wimped out and check my backpack now since I am flying single destinations with no connecting flights. Means I do have to wait for the baggage but I am in no real hurry to get to a place. If it takes another 30 minutes or whatever, it really does not matter.

So now its almost evening time here on my last night in Da Nang. Tomorrow is my last night in Vietnam. Wow! I will fly out Sunday for Cambodia and get the 30 day regular visa and then extend it for a year in a few weeks. The rest of this year is pretty well planned out for destinations in Cambodia. I think I posted for next year I’ll go to Singapore and then up through Malaysia for 90 days and then Thailand for 60 days. Finally back to Cambodia and “home”. Then about a week later will fly back to Saigon and voyage down to Con Tho to see a friend there and do a tour with her of the Mekong Delta. I will only stay 30 days this time in Vietnam and then will most likely head off to China or somewhere else.

So those were the things I did and some of the things that came up today. Vietnam is close to being done after 6 months. Cambodia is on the horizon with travel throughout and then using my multiple entry retirement visa to travel and return to Phnom Penh as I need.

Perhaps I will write something tomorrow in Saigon as I sit at the airport hotel. Its an interesting time as I leave Vietnam and all the great times here.

Sorta Kinda Retrospective – Vietnam ends and Travel to Cambodia Begins!

I’m kinda preparing to leave Vietnam after 6 months. Spending the last few days in Da Nang walking the city, getting lost, and eating. Today I met my friends Sunny and Andre for lunch at a wonderful pizza place where we leisured for about 2 hours talking. Sunny is Vietnamese but listening to her speak English you would not know it. She has the the teasing stuff down, has fun teasing in English, and also knows the colloquial stuff. Andre is fun as well being from Germany.

As the time slowly ticks down, other friends throughout Vietnam have weighed in on my plans to return. From a friend in Hanoi, they want me to not just visit Saigon but come up to Hanoi for some time next year. A friend in Can Tho will take me on a Mekong Delta tour for some days.

I have also been learning more with the new camera walking each day. Its a great camera, this FujiFilm XT2. It has these capabilities and super powers which takes awhile to learn. Even with the XT3 out, I see no real reason to upgrade. I could have settled on something less and spent less but I wanted to find a camera I could grow into and also feel that the camera represented an investment down the road.

Now the time slowly ticks down and tomorrow is Friday. I have tomorrow night and then fly back to Saigon for one night and then off to Phnom Penh for 30 days. I am pretty convinced I am doing this the right way. Thirty days in each place lets me settle in but its not so long where the routine gets boring. The retirement visa I will get in Cambodia in a week or so will let me do multiple entries and will last a year. This means I can just travel but home base in Cambodia as I want. I could also get a retirement visa in Thailand with no real effort but I think Cambodia is better and the living expenses are less.

I don’t know that I will write a regular post again before Cambodia but I will create a post that has all the links for all my photo albums in Vietnam and share it out. I had planned on writing kind of a retrospective of Vietnam but I think I’ve done that. Now its a matter of traveling to the next place and seeing the things I want to see. In January, I’ll fly off to Singapore and then travel north basically for 5 months and end up back in Phnom Penh in June. At that point, I’ll have two weeks and then fly back to Saigon for a month.

I have not thought through what happens after but I think China is sounding good. I will probably figure out the final part of the year as I get into next year. I know I have to be back in Cambodia to extend my retirement visa for another year.

So, in a few days Cambodia and then 4 cities in four months! I am looking forward to each one. Each has a thing it offers that’s unique.

Take care all. More to come!

Travels in 2019 – January to June

Now that I’ve reached the 6 months, I decided this morning to work on extending the slow travels after my 4 months coming up in Cambodia. During the 4 months will spend a month in Phnom Penh, a month in Sihanoukville, a month in Siem Reap, and a month in Battambang. This lets me settle in and live life a bit. I’ve enjoyed this pace at all the cities in Vietnam.

On January 21st I will fly from Phnom Penh to Singapore and spend a week there. My approach is to spend less time in expensive places and more time in less. The week will probably cost me what a month costs elsewhere. After the week, I hop a bus to Kuala Lumpur and take my 90 day tourist stamp and travel south to north over 90 days. I’ll end up at the Thai border around April and spend two months in Thailand traveling in some direction but definitely seeing the main cities and places there. Then since you need proof of onward travel to enter Thailand, I have a cheap flight booked back to Cambodia. This gets me through June next year.

I felt I needed to lock in the plan a bit and also take care of some air fare when its cheaper and easier. My thought after June is that I would like to visit China for whatever period of time I can get a tourist visa but I will get the retirement visa in Cambodia extended another year no matter what since its pretty easy to retire there. I can also leave as I want and visit other places.

One of those other places is India. I have so many friends there to see from the other days working and living there! I must get back. I would have to visit all the big cities but by then I would want to see Kerala too. So many places in India to see!

So, its all exciting and the way the travel unfolds for me is cool. I just don’t feel in any hurry to see the things. Spending more time than less means I get some stability in each place. I get to learn the routines, do the regular things, meet people and take lots of photographs.

I think by February or March next year, I will plan out the rest of 2019 but it will be slower going and I may repeat Japan and see some places I have not been in the south and north. Air, bus, and train travel is very reasonable. I spent all of $150 for both flights I just booked. Both are international flights and leave at decent times.

I think it will be good to clear out of Vietnam and get to the month by month in Cambodia. Something different to do and see. Different people. Different history and prehistory. Different day by day.

I don’t know of another place I would want to stay as a home base besides Cambodia. They have the best visas for retirees at this point.

One other note. Happy National day of Independence to Vietnam! Flags are all over during my walk today. The city has slowed down to observe and celebrate. Congrats to the people and country!