Christmas 2019 – KL Malaysia

Greetings on Christmas Day here in Malaysia. Its the 25th of December and only a week or so until a new year beckons. I’ll withhold writing a retrospective or year in review thing and may not do it at all. Its been a pretty good year nonetheless. I made it to a number of places, went back to places, and ended up in Malaysia for the year end. Not bad.

Someone asked me about life on the road with minimal possessions and cycling slowly through the edge of Southeast Asia. Its interesting, fun, and easy. Let’s face it. Life in Southeast Asia is just easy. Its different and the same. Kinda like that quote I put on here awhile back:

same same but different

You know its the edge because more people smile, talk and ask all the questions. I met a very nice young Malaysian woman today over breakfast pastries and then 4 young women from different countries where I went for coffee after. English is spoken here widely so meeting and talking with people is so very easy. But while so much is the same there is an element of difference too. I’ve felt very blessed for both things. Its made me realize I should write about life vagabonding with nothing to stop me and with little to carry. I’m not a backpacker and far from a millennial. Neither impress me too much. The so-called travel goddesses that rack up countries and like to tweet and ‘gram and blog it are just what they seem to be. The lifestyle bloggers that touch so much and write beautiful stories on Instagram but pretty much write the tips and trips stuff on their blogs are just what they seem. Pretty much they are fluff and stuff and if you want to find the content underneath, the true feelings of a life spent doing what they seem to say they love, where do you look. Where are the articles of love and want and desire and passion for them? Where is it they wax poetic about their lives and the most personal of things? Not done hereabouts. What is it like wandering the alleys and side streets with no schedule and no place to be? There are the little Hems in Hanoi where the men sit out and smoke and tell stories and drink rich Vietnamese coffees. They wave and smile and say hello. The streets are lit with small signs of hair dressers and beauty shoppes and little coffee stands where the tourists and backpackers never go. Do the backpackers get there? If they do, they never blog it or ‘gram it or tweet it. What of meeting local people? Do they have friends in all the 50s of countries they touch? Not likely. They hang with others like them. Party with others like them. Take pictures with others like them and ‘gram them. Don’t forget the selfie in all of it though.

My friend AFT that has lived in Manila for years told me that they all come for a set of reasons to live there. Its not the mystique of Asia and perhaps he is jaded a bit about Manila. Its not why I go but if you visit the bars and nightlife and the women peddling sex and companionship surrounded by drinks and desire, you can find a reason some go. Others may go for loftier reasons. Who knows? I don’t talk to backpackers or round the world travelers or digital nomads. I mean, what the hell is the upside talking to them? AFT thinks they all look arrogant and narcissistic.

I can see them here on Christmas Day in KL too. The youngish with the fancy packs with that far off and perhaps not so noble look in their eyes. Malaysia perhaps just another country to add to their totals. Instead I see very friendly people that love to talk to others, smile, laugh. I admit to enjoying teasing them a bit too about life on the edge in Southeast Asia. From the NU Sentra Mall playing Christmas songs to the blocks where the people roam to wonderful food explorations, KL has it all. I am but a minor cog in its wheel. Spinning, changing, re-arranging itself. When you leave and come back, its not the same KL. Cities are urban experiments of change. They will reboot themselves, create new realities, and the traveler with the 3 days and 5 things never can see even a sample. KL laughs at them. So does Hanoi and Saigon and Phnom Penh. As AFT says, they are:

a non noteworthy flash in a pan

So go forward and see it all. Get the country counts. Don’t write a Christmas missive about your real adventures, thoughts, fears, desires. Create new realities for your 2020. Its all okay. I got you covered. I will go sideways while you forever charge on. Its okay. I’m but an old retired guy who lives on the edge. You are just traveling through on your way to your countries and tours and instagram moments.

Merry Christmas anyways. I’m here on the edge standing but AFT and I think you are just traveling through.