Picking a Home Base for your Long Term Travels

There are some essential services and needs for the long term traveler that swing places to become the home base. I’m not specifically talking about how a digital nomad would use a place but perhaps there are some that meet up. I don’t like writing the 5 things but it works here for listing out the things I feel are needed to find the new home base in Cambodia.

  1. Transportation services. The best location will have a variety of transportation hubs like buses, trains, airlines within a reasonable distance. Since I travel months at a time in places, I will never have to worry about arriving and then leaving in a week or two but the ease of getting to an international airport or connect on bus or personal taxi service is key. Give it some thought if you are gonna be staying at a place. It cannot be hard to enter or leave the place and you should be able to get around easily in the city via taxi or grab or tuk tuk or bike. For me, its walking which leads to the next thing.
  2. Walking to places to eat, drink, and somewhat socialize. I am not a big socializer but eating and drinking are good! You don’t want to spend all the time at the hotel or hostel or guesthouse or even in the tourist zone or on the bar street or whatever. Its nice if you can walk to a place that is different and find restaurants and pubs or bars that will suit you. Ideally the streets should be somewhat maintained and a sidewalk every so often is nice! You should also feel safe but take adequate precautions when out in the evening. Don’t carry the passport and wallet. You only need cash dollars in Cambodia or VND in Vietnam that is sufficient for the time at hand. Also don’t get slammed drunk and walk in the street. No one wants to hit you but be sensible out there.
  3. Laundry and phone services. You should be able to find a local place to get laundry done for $1 USD a KG. Thats the normal rate around Cambodia and they should give you a receipt for the service and tell you when its done. For phone or SIM card services, you will want to top up the service and for me its important that the people speak English and can tell you what it is you get. The last time in Otres Village the woman told me very clearly what the deal was and what service I should get and then did the verification and activation step. I won’t recommend one but just know how to top up the card for internet and calls.
  4. Groceries, Convenience Stores and Cambodian Markets. These are all handy things to know how to find and use. I always use an established store because the prices are printed on the door and grocery stores are even easier to use since they have a variety of goods. The classic Cambodian market can be used to replace everything from T shirts to shoes if you need. Be prepared to negotiate and don’t get mad. It’s a game. Also expect that these markets will not be super malls. They are traditional stores with lots of little stalls. Find one that has it all and you will be good!
  5. Printing and Computer Stores. This is easy in Vietnam but a bit harder in Cambodia sometimes. For document printing, find an Internet cafe and put your document on a USB flash drive. If you don’t have the flash drive, you will need to find the computer store.
  6. Exchange Services. Big deal here folks. Find a place to exchange or get smaller currency. No restaurant or coffee shop wants to see your $100 USD for a sandwich or latte. I feel guilty about $20 so try to only have $10 at a time. I also carry Riel with me since for smaller purchases, its easy to figure out the 4k rate and just use the currency. Try to also have USD singles since many things like a bottle of water will cost $.50 or a beer will.

There are so many other things like understanding how to get around, having google maps on the phone, finding landmarks that will help you get back. For me walking all the time in each place, I find a landmark like the Hanoi Historic Water Tank. When I get turned around or lost, seeing where the landmark is and understanding where its positioned compared to the hotel or shopping center or museum is nice!

Finally, the big one. How do you select the location for home base? Is it all the things above or is it the flash of sudden insight when the significant number come home to you? I think as I found Kampot, its that esoteric feeling that there is the right combination of things. Perhaps not all are met but there are some ways to get things done like finding a decent taxi service to the airport. Look at the things you expect from a home base. How many do you have to have and can you satisfy things if you find that the place seems to have that esoteric feel? In my experience with Kampot I found it to have the right combinations of things plus having the natural beauty and the keen feelings I get from having a city to wander in each day for hours. I don’t care if I walk the same blocks twice. What I care about is the sum total feeling of being there.

When you find a home base, you don’t have to be some kind of digital nomad or work if you are a long term traveler. What’s important that you feel good each day being there and its a long term feeling of goodness that simply cannot be traded until you find the next one. For me now, it’s Kampot Cambodia. For others it may be somewhere else.

Maybe you don’t need a home base at all but my take is having a place to cool your jets and perhaps do some planning. Its easier to do the planning with some of the core things met above.

Kampot Cambodia could be a home to me!

So took the bus from Sihanoukville to Kampot today and I discovered something. Kampot is it for me. Its the city to be a home base for me and is close enough to the airport at Phnom Penh but it has this wonderful vibe and charm. Its called online some kind of sleepy little town but in reality there is an amazing coffee culture, food and beer thing going plus the river front and bridges that I so love. There are not the 5 things I could name like some blog about the things Kampot does well for me. I don’t like writing blog posts which name a set number of reasons to visit or things to see. I’ll say that its the city and the feeling of the city and how the people are more than a set of things to go see. To me, Kampot has the necessary attractions for someone that likes doing photography across a city.

Its not all torn up like Sihanoukville and the traffic is not so busy as a Phnom Penh or Saigon. Its in the middle and being in the middle means that someone like me gravitates to it. So by making it my home base means I come back here for a week or two as I need to refuel, get some things done, rest up, before the next trip. I only wish an airport was closer but its all in the planning as they say.

I changed my Battambang stay to two weeks and will spend two weeks here in Kampot instead and then head to Phnom Penh for a week. That is unless I find a way to get straight to the Phnom Penh airport from Kampot. If I find a deal on a mini bus I would carefully consider staying in Phnom Penh and probably change my plans.

Finding this city was a big deal since the last time I felt I had found a place was Da Nang Vietnam. The cities are not so different all in all but Kampot has something that Da Nang even does not. It has this laid back and sleepy charm but yet with all the stuff I would need to be happy. I could never just adapt to a place like Sihanoukville to do that. There is just not enough there and I don’t feel there is a charm to the place or a feeling of a vibe and culture.

The other thing that occurred to me after only one day is that I could live here longer. That’s an amazing thing for me. Its that different than all the other places. While Phnom Penh has things I like it is missing the unique charm thing that Kampot seems to just have. I saw it in on the riverfront and drinking draft beers at the hotel bar. It was this funkiness and wonder thing seeing the river flowing past the city and the lights on the bridges. It could be this longer term home for me if I ever needed it. Its a wonder that a place could have that when I thought no place could.

If you get a chance visit Cambodia but definitely stop at Kampot. Kind of off the beaten track but you will find enrichment and joy and culture and history and natural wonders. Plus the food! The coffee! The quiet beauty of the city.

Walking the cities of Southeast Asia a step at a time

Walking my way across Southeast Asia little piece by piece…

I end up walking each day with the camera whether I see a thing or not that captures my fancy or makes me laugh or cry. I’ve walked cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong and then so many in Vietnam and now Cambodia. It used to be about the steps themselves. I would measure the steps in California and get a walk of so long in with the music going on my phone. On Fridays it was a longer walk and then some beer and a few movies and a pizza or something. But it was always the walking folks. The walking was key and its changed as I have. When in cities with so much to see the walking is the only way I see things. I will walk with the camera for sometimes 5 or 7 hours in a day. Stopping for water bottles. Sitting under an awning in Saigon when it rained. Talking with a Cambodian storekeeper when the sun was hot and I was sweating.

Its always been the walking though and its dawned on me how its changed my life. Now I do not feel good each day without it. Miss a day and I am out of sorts, less than positive, extremely unhappy. So I try to not miss a day. Each day a pedometer app still counts my steps and tells me the miles. I get about 5 to 7 miles in each day. And it goes on and on. Sometimes like here in Sihanoukville there is not a city to see so I walk the distances more. Other times like Tokyo or Hong Kong there is a sprawling city to capture me. The turns left and right matter not as I go. I may not see a thing others do but perhaps I see things they do not.

Down sleepy little streets in Shinjuku is value just like the alleys in Hanoi. Tour buses cannot make it there so you see a reality that is so different. I’ve considered a few times the walking way and what its meant to me. How its evolved from the GPS and distance to now seeing a city and not measuring so much but knowing as the day goes on I have done what I needed. The camera captures things I find. Not all instagram moments or tweets of the day. Silent little things which remind me of the walks and the moments therein.

How do you see your cities and places? Mine are a step at a time.

And I like it that way.

The Hunter-Gatherer Gene of Travel – my exploration

Here is some insight for traveling. No, it is not the clickbait 5 reasons why you should travel or the witty quotes about why its the best thing. Nor is it the dramatic life of the modern digital nomad or gap year person.

The main reason or reasons why you should travel are not because foreign shores are calling or your passport visa pages are empty. Also if you are gap year eligible its not to reboot your life and spend a year moving to another drumbeat.

There is no real or main reason to travel other than our anthropological nature was to travel across geographies and hunt and gather slowly in accord with the seasons. We perhaps moved to the climate and found a new place with game and plants aplenty. We did not need good wifi to make a difference then but we did paint on cave walls and some would say drew maps showing a place to hunt or a map of travels or a social experience.

I ask you all not to name the reason why you travel. You all have those. Maybe its one of the ones I named or perhaps you feel the yearning from those yesteryears of life beckoning to you. We all have indomitable spirits no matter how we try to quell them with work, relationships, money, even travel. We believe that by going at a pace or calling ourselves something we satisfy some innate urge, some basic need to hit the road. Perhaps a later thing is to quantify it on twitter or instagram with the never-ending tribe photos of your pursuit. Its all good! We all travel because we do but I think the reason goes far back in time. Back when we were hunter-gatherers and to travel meant to travel slowly. We grew used to each place we would stay in. Game trails and clear and clean water. Perhaps trade with other groups would enrich our lives by introducing new things like seashell beads or food that was unique.

My hypothesis is that we travel because we must. Its in our human spirit to want to see what is over the horizon but now we do it not because we need food or water or the game or the plants. The basic need is still there to travel but here’s the thing,

Traveling Slowly

That’s the thing folks. I talk with a friend who does business travel around Asia and the US. I feel for him. Its not the travel itself which makes him happy. That is just an instrument to get him to the next business meeting which is timezones away. Its the flights that connect with other flights that feed a meeting in a city in another country and then business needs say you must be “over there” on X day next week. To me, this sucks at our indomitable spirit of travel. Its a bastardization of what travel is and it does more harm than good. I think its harming his physical life and his mental. Its the antithesis of travel when its only the destinations that count and not the means. I think the final thing that happens with cruel business travel is burn out or illness or both.

Lets step back though and look at my hypothesis which is antithetical to business travel. My belief is our human ancestors traveled slowly to meet the seasons and to meet their needs not just for food and plants but for social and cultural reasons as well. Places were lived in for months. See the basic broad stroke of patterns here? The reasons why have changed folks but the need is there.

So how do we meet the need that is so ingrained in our personas? When we feel by not doing it somehow we are missing or not achieving or not finding? Its simple to me. Its that ancestor desire but we have evolved to a point where the travel itself becomes the thing; not if we are a digital nomad or a gap year or a round the world traveler. The main difference is speed of execution. I believe we are meant to slowly see the world roll out before us and by traveling more slowly we take in more of the wonderful tapestry that each place has for us. But the other part, unlike my friend and his business travel, is the travel itself. That becomes a thing for us. Its the moving and not the arriving. Perhaps that too was in those hunter-gatherer genes. We don’t know because only a few societies remain that practice the lifestyle. Can it be we are “schooled” for slow travel that maximizes the word “travel” and not always “destination”? Sure. Can business travel with all its needs and requirements and limitations actually hurt the need rather than feed it? I hope my friend finds his balance but I don’t think he will. Rarely do company needs meet individual needs.

Look at your own travel style. Is it 35 countries in 90 days you tick off on a map and your visa pages fill up quickly? What would it be like I posit to slow way down and only see, really see, two countries in 90 days? There’s an incipient goal to “do it all”, make it to magic number that coalesces your needs with the year you have on the road. I wonder if some other travel tribe acquaintances would have gone slower if things would have been better for them.

Just like the hunter-gatherers of yore did not rush the places but lingered to find the required items or cherished items or family or sexual or other items; what if we lingered?

I always ask myself in reading twitter accounts of their travels some questions:

  1. What is served by the mode and speed you go?
  2. Who defined that speed?
  3. Why are you going so fast or trying to see so much at a time?
  4. When its all over in a year what will you have to show?

Consider if you are considering a trip. If you spent a year in Vietnam which can be done easily I think, what you would gain. Vietnam, a cheaper place to live day by day, to meet people, just spend time with the camera or the work doing the things you love. Or maybe Cambodia or Malaysia or Thailand? What if you spent 6 months in a place cheaper and 2 weeks in a place more expensive? Even more what if it ceased to matter at all and the moments started mattering?

Give some thought to it. Your hunter-gatherer genes are telling you a barely discerned thing. Its both the destination and the way that counts. You impose some sense of order and perhaps limitation but what if you stayed longer? Could it work to make you something else?

Do you even want to be something else?

Travel Here and There – Lets Change it all on a whim

From here to there and back again is likely a good title for this blog post. I went through a day or two trying to figure out how I would get to Phu Quoc Island with needing a e-visa for Vietnam. I felt like time was transpiring against me which I hate. So I decided to reboot the travel for the next week and do something else. Now I will leave on Monday for a week and travel to Kampot Cambodia and then to Ha Tien Vietnam on my visa which will be done by then. I’ll figure out a bus ride back from Ha Tien to Sihanoukville on the 11th of November and then spend a few more nights here in Sihanoukville and leave for Siem Reap.

I’m glad to have no real pressure or budget on things for the most part. If a thing costs this or that and its something I want, I just do it. I stopped trying to account for a budget months ago when it really irritated me in Vietnam.

At the same time, I met my next door neighbor at the bungalow who is from Phnom Penh and we can have really nice discussions in English and he’s fun to talk to. He is also going to Kampot so perhaps we will meet for dinner or coffee while we are there.

So now the travel thing is completely different because I decided to stop making the Vietnam e-visa the culprit. Now I will just leave for a week from here and go see something new and when I want to cross the border to Vietnam next Friday, I will have the visa in place and ready to go.

Evening BBQ and Decisions 

The best time to come to decisions about this kind of thing is over dinner and beer I think. Tonight it was this excellent BBQ chicken dinner for $5 and you get two large pieces of chicken breast meat, potatoes and Cole slaw. Then there is the beer along with it. Since I only eat one meal a day, its not a big deal to spend a bit more on the dinners and really enjoy the beer and food here.

The decision part always seems to come naturally after the BBQ and beer dinner. I think think through the possibilities and it comes to me that the money that I spend on a hotel or bus does not really matter in the grand scheme of things. I can spend the money and be happy or not spend the money and be miserable. Its easy to choose which one given those two possibilities.

Travel Directions and Steps

So the travel plans for after all this churn are no different for me. On 15 November, I fly to Siem Reap for a month and that’s all paid for. Then its on to Battambang through January of next year and then back to Phnom Penh for a week. It all kinda works no matter what monkey wrench I throw into the travel directions.

I basically know kinda sorta what I will do through June next year. I know I’ll be in Singapore and Malaysia and Thailand. What directions those take I don’t know.

Maybe I need another BBQ and beer dinner 🙂

From March to November 2018

I had posted earlier about my thoughts regarding so many weeks and days traveling in slow motion in Asia. It dawned on me this morning as I wrote the piece on Phu Qoc that this was yet another one of “those days”.  Today to the day is 35 weeks! So many things mostly good have happened in those weeks folks. Not that I have been to so many places or have a passport full of stamps and photo albums or instagrams full of fancy photos of me in front of waterfalls or rainbows or mountains. Why do people feel the need to get themselves in each photograph on instagram I wonder.

More like the slow surge of the moments that lead me to fully realize that retiring and leaving was such the right step for me. I would not force this on others since posting and answering questions on Quora has resulted in a few interesting comments about living in a suitcase or not having something permanent or how could I live in place X or Y. I wanted to address those so here goes.

Living in a suitcase. Let me ask how much is enough? When you look at your property and needs and wants and if you put them in boxes, how many would you have? What do you absolutely, positively have to have to consider life worthy? How many “things” that are either valued or just kept because they “fit” in some ideal suitcase or box? We are represented way too often by the things either real or imagined. The real things may be television sets and vacation rentals. Cabins in the mountains or trips to Frys. The imaginary things may be fear, desire to avoid change, or the security feeling in just staying put. Your suitcase becomes your prison then and your comfort zone are the bars. I do not believe that we are meant to live like this. For thousands of years our suitcase was huge. We wandered the deserts and mountains and valleys. Comes to the second reason other than fear which is change. Your suitcase is a known thing. It does not change. It defines your boundaries and when you close it, nothing gets in. Perhaps including change. Its really too bad that we let age define change. I hear things like,

oh, I could not possibly do that. Its too different. I need the security and knowing what’s around each corner.

Well, your suitcase is gonna choke leash you after awhile. Finally, your suitcase lets you know what is around each corner. Its the known. You reach an age I am told and you should just take it easy, relax, not stress out too much. Just enjoy your remaining moments. Really?

No Permanent Thing. This one is interesting. By some measurement, permanence is important. Its the walls around us. To me, its the walls of your gradually increasing prison that you may see sometimes. Maybe in the mornings when you feel like the walk down the street, you can feel hamstrung. You know the permanence thing. Its there holding you to a thing you know. Again, we reach an age and somehow this also becomes important. We lose the pioneer spirit. We just want the permanent coffee shop an easy stroll from the house. The permanent friends on facebook that you can catch up with some mornings. Why?

Living in this or that place. There is nothing so different about living in another place. Maybe you will journey to many other places and do what I do which is this easy meander where I want to go. Places I’ve missed seeing and now am catching up with finally. You don’t need roots. You are not a tree. Become fearless in your 60s. Its okay to do this. I felt played in a permanent place. Like it was all decided to work until XX and then retire and kinda stare out the windows of the place forlornly. Why? Let me just say living in Vietnam or Cambodia is not so different if you an accept the first two things. I get up and have coffee, go for a nice walk with the camera each day, have some dinner and beers. I sit on the porch and feel the cool evening setting in. I do some people watching. I don’t want to live in one place. I am a hobo or something that accepts that a place will become boring and commonplace and it becomes “this or that place”. So the slow movement is a drug and narcotic to me. I can look out at 2018 what remains and 2019 and see the slow travel continuing but to where I want to go. The places will slowly unravel and be a place. Just not that place. Does that make sense?

Finally, word on it all. Age or fear does not mean you cannot do a thing. I know a solo traveler that has anxiety of being alone yet she travels solo. Because the good outweighs the bad to her. Nothing blocks you from the life you want besides really you when you retire. You can come up with umpteen reasons to not do a thing like the three I gave. I understand. We get older and for some reason we feel that the things of youth are out of reach. Its easier to be afraid of change, to fear the unknown and not deal with it, and not hit the road forever whether its on a train or plane or a mini bus to a new place in Vietnam. Don’t let it all define you though.

Be the you that you want. Defy definition. Wake up and find not the limitations or boundaries or comfort zone but the you that perhaps is hidden away lurking and sometimes wanting to see a new thing. You are retired but you are not limited. You move slower but who the fuck cares? Doing a thing to do it and learning from the doing is something. You may feel uncomfortable in Cambodia or Thailand. So find a thing you can do that stretches your value to self. For me, its this slow and sometimes purposeless travel. For you it may be a train trip or cruise.

Take a chance. The you in you deserves it.


Visas and Travel – always do your homework; don’t be me

Kind of a note if you are thinking about going to Phu Quoc Island and you are going to ride a mini bus from some place like Cambodia and not fly in to the airport. While Phu Quoc is a special economic zone and is visa free, getting to the ferry in Ha Tien is not. You need an e-visa to get to there on the bus so you can catch the ferry to the island. There is a lot of mis information about how this works but you can get an e visa in less than 3 days from Vietnam and list Ha Tien as your entry and exit point which is all I want. It costs $25 to get a 30 day visa which is single entry. You get a downloaded e visa that you present to customs when you enter Vietnam at Ha Tien. I could have flown in and skipped it since arrivals at the Phu Quoc airport are covered by the exemption. That flight costs about $400 and takes the same amount of time that taking the mini bus does but the mini bus is only $25.

So here are the steps if you are doing a land thing to Ha Tien and then catching the ferry:

  1. find mini bus service to Phu Quoc. Easy to find online. You will pay for the entire trip bus and ferry.
  2. Get the hotel defined beforehand much as possible. The e visa application asks where you are staying in Vietnam.
  3. Get an e-visa from Vietnam that lets you land in Ha Tien and depart. The official site is easy to use. You will need a photo and passport capture in JPG format. You will pay $25 in VND for the e-visa. It takes up to 3 days so plan accordingly.
  4. Print out the e visa and take with you when you go
  5. Have fun in Phu Quoc!

For me, I may or may not go since I kinda skipped the e visa step until the last minute. If I don’t get to go there, will hop a mini bus next week for a week to Kampot. I have positive vibes that I will get the visa and I will go. Still have the three days including leaving on Monday. I think I will get the visa tomorrow when I am on my day tour of the city here.

The main message is always do more and more homework when it comes to crossing international boundaries. I finally emailed Vietnam immigration and they told me what I needed to do. If I don’t do the trip, no big deal besides the hotel I already paid for and the travel. Perhaps $200 lost. I don’t like that too much but its my mistake so live and learn.

We’ll see if I am packing to go to a tropical island next week or what. No matter what, I leave the following week for Siem Reap and it appears my Fuji XT2 camera will ride the bus there to meet me. Its coming back from Fujifilm Singapore all fixed up.

Technology doodads, gadgets, and ideas for the long term traveler

Traveling with Technology is both the reason and the bane of existence on the road. You have to track all the cables and plugs and adapters and while I really like my 12 inch MacBook the charger is something else. Whoever dreamed up the bricks of chargers for Mac laptops… There are replacements for power over USB that are smaller and I’ve been tempted to get one simply because the weight and size of the original and limited space for techno goodies when I move from place to place. For the slow traveler like me, I think we have different core needs than the person in a place for 3 days and then another place for a week, etc. What we need is more of a balance for charging things.

What I have found that works the best is this thing.

The nice things about the Mastech charger pictured above are a few. One thing is there is an AC adapter on each side plus three usb charging ports in front. This thing lies flat on a desk and the size is rather nice. The other thing particularly for the apple charger is that it plugs in and sits flat on the desk or table as well and I have room for my camera charger on the other side.

This is a type of device really made for the slower travelers I think. The longer power cable is common sense because how many of you have been in a room where the electrical power outlet is here and your desk or bed is there. You need something with a longer cable. This has worked for me about 90% of the time very well. Where it has not worked is where the budget hotels I spend time seem to think we all travel with 10 foot long extension cables. The other thing about working or not, is that this is not power transformer type thing. It will not adjust the power down. Hopefully by now you have all read the power requirements for gadgets and doodads and have it covered.

The second thing is an international plug adapter. I’ve tried the wall wart kind with 1000 usb plugs and one ac adapter that makes the plug fall out of the socket every time. Useless folks. My advice is do not buy one of those especially if going for a longer stay. Not that I have found the best but this one seems to work pretty well in Japan, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

It kinda plugs into itself and I have not found a place (yet) where it won’t work. But places like India I have my doubts so its probably gonna be time when I get there to have a friend take me down to the electronics zone street in Chennai so I can get something. I don’t know about China either. But if I could not find a plug in China, I would probably give the whole thing up.

Combining things for long stays…

So these are the two things in my bag of tricks that just work. The other thing you should consider is a portable charger. I have one that has meant the difference for me on buses and trains more than once. Mine is very small and portable and fits into a pocket on my daypack. Truly a life saver at times!

When you combine all things above into your backpack or daypack, you are looking for things that add value and not weight. Things that can be used for a multitude of uses. Count how many devices you want to charge at the same time. Do you have the requisite cables either Type C or lightning or microUSB? I never charge my camera from USB because its stupid especially in countries that may have some questionable power to start with. Take the battery out and charge it separately. It will go faster! Other things you may want to charge at the same time are phones, kindles, laptops, etc. Count them and see where you are.

Bringing the kit together and leaving

Then its packing the kit up. I have a cheap little zipper pouch that carries it all for me. You may have something more elegant or refined. My bag costs about $7 on amazon and you can find similar bags or pouches in the Russian Market in Phnom Penh. Just consider the footprint of the kit and what you will end up carrying. Do you need a laptop and a tablet and a phone? Maybe. I would not mind having a tablet as well. But perhaps you don’t or you need more stuff. Whatever you decide will have an accompanying weight and cost.

If you are good with that weight and cost go for it! Be happy on the road. Forget the minimalism stuff folks. Its just telling you to get rid of stuff but you already knew that if you are a realist. But most of all be happy with your choices. If it adds a few ounces to weight and you are good, no one is gonna pronouns a sentence on you. For the longer term traveler perhaps the devices make even more sense. Consider staying for a month in a place or three months. What is your expectation for comfort and use and technology?

Maybe not mine at all. And that’s good. This post is just about getting you to thinking about how you do a thing. My examples are just that. Now go out and get traveling. Just do it slowly and savor each place for what it is.

13 years with wordpress.com

An interesting perspective is that I have had an account on wordpress.com for 13 years now. I never realized when I first signed up there. I had so many other providers and hosts and services I’ve lost count. To say its all changed is an understatement. To ask if its changed for the better is a valid question. My answer is that it has not. I loved blogging years ago with the folks then that put words together out of love and desire to see them stand up next to each other. I won’t venture an opinion on what’s wrong with blogging now. I’ve said it before and you know what I think.

When what really matters was the same thing that mattered 20 years ago when i started.

It is content that matters folks. If you blog for travel, adventure, fashion, lifestyle, or just like me to write whatever the hell I want to write; its the words next to each other. Screen Shot 2018-10-30 at 12.14.33 PM

Try to not write clickbait blog posts. Try to write what you see, feel, think, desire, despise, want. Do you want to blog for 20 years? 10 years? Don’t know? Its all good if you have words. You have some of those, right?

2019 travels for this kid

I’m into my last two weeks here in Sihanoukville. Have some activities that will start Friday with a day tour so I can see some things here. Tours work for me some of the time since it lets me get away to a combination of places with little or no effort and I don’t worry about driving, parking, or even eating lunch that day. After the tour, Monday I head to Phu Quoc Island Vietnam for a week. Not really expecting to do much of anything there besides be at nicer resort and walk around town for a day or so. Then I get back sometime Friday. Whether I stay at the bungalow or somewhere before that I don’t know yet. Depends on the time.

On 12 November I do a boat cruise thing of the three islands which takes all day. They pick me up and drop me off at the hotel. I had wanted to do this and found one which was kind of expensive and did not include lunch. This one is cheaper and does include lunch. So I get to be out on the water all day seeing these islands. Sounds good!

After 12 November, I only have two days left and then I fly to Siem Reap for a month. I’m looking forward to seeing the Wats there, history, and other stuff.

After Siem Reap its Battambang for a month and then back to Phnom Penh for a week. I get my camera back then and will have a week to get a few things done like get a haircut and beard trim, go to a few restaurants I like, and prepare for the next 5 months on the road to Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.

5 Months to come…

Yeah, in January its the expensive but fun place Singapore for a week. I have some friends there to meet up with but most of all its the kickoff of 5 months on the road. I’ll spend 90 days in Malaysia starting in Kuala Lumpur and ending somewhere north. Then into Thailand where I have no idea where I will spend time yet besides a trip to Phuket.

2019 Travels and Planning

Its been fun to put together the wants part of things for the latter part of 2019. I think China is definitely in sight for some months. I need to be back to renew my visa in September so will be back in Phnom Penh to get that done.

The last part of 2019 is rather up in the air. I had thought of going back to Vietnam for the end of the year but the thing is I have been there. I could just as easily go back to Japan and do the trip I want there or go elsewhere. As it is now, friends want me to come back to Vietnam so I likely will go for some bit of time.

I also thought of a trip back stateside to see my daughter and some friends then. I could book the tickets way ahead of time and save some miles. The truth is I do not want to go back to the states. There is nothing there for me. I feel like when I got rid of that last stuff in Newark it included any desire to ever go back. It would be nice to see some people again there but the desire is really flagging at this point. I’d rather spend a longer time somewhere else that would cost less than a few weeks in California and Florida. My kids are not really asking and only one person has asked me to come back to see them.

I just feel like I’ve established a new home for myself and I could go just about anywhere for 90 days and stay on a tourist visa and be happy. Bali comes to mind :-). I also know just about that time its Diwali in India. A trip to India could definitely happen in September or October next year.