Chapter 2.5 – the why of the edge

You’re back! Cool. This chapter covers another great missive. The why of things. Why go? Why stay? Why change? Change happens even in Newark California at the McDonald’s by the Dumbarton Bridge. It lurks behind and over there. It will sneak up on you. Perhaps you are retiring or just wondering those pesky why questions. Maybe you are an adventurer and vagabond and want something more than sedentary. Something that pulls the heart string and lights the fires of the soul. You want... a change.

Why

I’ve heard the why question so many times. Why do that? You cannot just go. Why pick that place? It’s not this or that. Why spend your so called golden years so far away? So here are some why answers. See if your question fits in.

The reasons to leave the United States are plentiful to me. I wanted a life on my own terms. I wanted to define and make the vagabonding a life for awhile but always find a place to settle in longer. Years ago never realized that COVID would take the world as it has. I spent years slowly wandering to answer yet another why question or two. Was the edge the place? What would life be like in a culture and place so different? Would there be a place or places to spend longer times? And why would I slow down or pick a place? In 2020 I decided before COVID times that Vietnam would be my homebase. It’s situated geographically almost perfect to get back to so many places I love. And Vietnam always was this place to be. In many ways the answer to the question,

Why the edge?

Is answered by Vietnam and it’s people, culture, history and location. Each of us finds the place that either answers or propels more questions. The edge for me. Costa Rica for you. The second question though is,

Why not the States?

Let’s work on both now. Shall we?

Why Vietnam.

Well the answer is both simple and complex. It’s not the tourist hotspots or the backpackers, expats, and digital nomads and gap year dude types. In fact I strive to be away from them. There is no upside to digital nomads and their branded blogs and Instagram accounts with selfies in every picture and long captions of inane drivel. None of it answers the basic question. The why of a place. It’s the how and how long and the repetition for each places bores the hell out of me. Vietnam is more and less. It’s answer to the why Vietnam question takes complex and simple shapes. It’s the everyday things. The small things that make retired life easy. Simply put Vietnam is easy to do. Easy to find more why questions or their answers. We all never stop asking why questions. The edge never stops tempting us with answers. I asked a friend in Cambodia why a thing I thought could be done would require additional attention. Her response summarizes the whole experience.

Same same but different

Yes. That’s the whole why universe all wrapped up in something simple. You got it? Good. So that’s the simple answer to why. It’s same same. But so different. And I truly love the difference. It creates disparity and uniqueness and beauty and joy. You can find what you seek or even what you don’t. I don’t seek much but I find things. The smiles and hellos of the people. The Vietnamese hospitality at restaurants and bars. The basic joy here in Hanoi after finding friendships and family.

Many of the why questions remain not answered. It’s different here. Remember the last part of the equation. Now let’s discuss the United States.

Why not the United States

Tell me 5 things you like about the US. I like a lot there too. But why go? It comes down to a few points.

Life in the US is not exciting for old people. We are sentenced to a slow ebbing of our life juices. No one really wants us. We have outlived our usefulness. Friends may dutifully call us or enquire. Maybe send a email or text message. But what is there to incite and excite us to live?

Life in the US is good if you make so much money. Then you move to a nice gated community, play golf and do bbq dinners. If you make less it’s not so damned good. We all know it.

Old people in the US are non citizens. We disappear under the radar and social consciousness and we just make our way to the senior center for bridge and gin rummy. There’s nothing that brings us up. Friendships? Family that cares more than the occasional call? We are left. Left behind as the siren call is youth. Our words are lost in streams of apathy. No one gives a fuck about us.

Finally is the quality of life of what remains to test us or challenge us. There is nothing. No test. No challenge. Nothing. Empty slate. So we melt away and become little shells of people with overburdened thoughts and less than needed bank accounts. We are basically invisible and lost.

Everyone knows. That’s the US. The answer to why not.

This little work has one more chapter to come. It’s about one of the words in this post. Quality. Stay tuned.