Slice of Life passing by in Vietnam - 1

Slice of Life passing by in Vietnam - 1

Slice of life passing by in Vietnam
Slice of life passing by in Vietnam

The road is long, my friends, very long. When you think you have seen it all, you realize you have not seen any of it. I have started an ESL job here in Vietnam, so it looks like I will be in Hoi An for at least three months. I had to take this job as the funds I thought I would have, are not looking like they will be coming in. That is very disappointing and makes me sort of not like people. (* I sold my company of 10 years to people who said they would pay, but as the sparrow fly, they are not at the moment – this is a story for another day, however).

The ESL job.

Every day a driver named Mr.Tue comes to get me. I sit on the back of a Honda Wave 110. Together we drive across Hoi An, over some old bridges, past rice fields and more. The other day I took my camera with me on this ride. The goal was to capture some of the sights on the way.

Here are some photos from the adventure from Hoi An to my ELS job. I think these turned out good and will do another batch again.

 

This is an EPIC old bike I stumbled across in the woods one day. So many stories must be held under that chipped paint. So Many

We would set out for the school at sunset, and drive past endless side roads like this.

Over waterways with people on bikes stretching in the setting sun.

 

Kids would be getting home or going out on bikes.

Others would ride past as well on their bikes and not even take notice.

Past large beasts of burden walking in from the fields after a hard day’s work.

Also past a lot of flaming trash, just left burning on the side of the road.

Past people working in their shops, fixing bikes, or just living, doing what they do.

Life.  Its a slice of life for a second that was captured and now shared with you. Enjoy~


The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride Hoi An 2019

The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride Hoi An 2019

What do 45 well-dressed men and women riding motorbikes together have in common? That is the question I asked my self at 9 am when I jumped on the motor scooter I was using and rode over to 9 grains bakery in Hoi An. The bakery was the starting point for the First ever The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Hoi An 2019

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Hoi An 2019 (DGR abbreviated), was an event to raise awareness for prostate cancer research and men’s mental health. Rides from around the world dust off their vintage bikes, waxed up their staches and put on a suit for this groovy cause.

The Day Starts

Ok, before we go on, I lied to you. I did not arrive at 9 am (that just sounded better). I arrived at 8 am. With my guilt released, let’s go on.

I arrived at 9 Graines bakery ( 441 Hai Ba Trung, Hoi An Vietnam: http://www.9grainshoian.com/ ) at 8 am. Sitting for a coffee and a Bai mi (Bread) I was not quite sure what to expect. In front of me sat a dapper-looking man. Striking up a conversation, I find out he is the owner of 9 Grains, and just launched a line of palm oil-free hand made soap. Super cool.

As nine arrive, so did the masses — bike after bike motored up to the sidewalk. Fancy dressed men that were looking sharp stepped of the vintage bikes with smiles. With each new guest, hugs were given, handshakes made, banana bread handed out.

Being somewhat new to Hoi An (Less than eight days), I felt a bit like an outsider looking in; however, everyone was super cool, and I met a lot of great people.

Drafted into service at The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Hoi An 2019

The initial goal was to see about getting on the back of a bike or car and then taking photos while underway. My goal was, however, not in the cards. One of the ride organizers as if my self and two other photographers could race ahead of the pack and take some photos when underway.

I agreed, and with that, I got drafted into the DGR.

Shortly after this, the two main organizers stood on some chairs and welcomed then masses while I famous local restaurant owner translated. With robust applause, a cloud of exhaust and engine purring, the ride was underway.

Zipping around and trying to get a good photo.

Never did I have to try and shoot such an event as this. First, it was a mad race to get ahead of the pack, then stop on the side of the road. While stopped and bracing a bike, flip on the camera, find a focus, then Oh no. Its too late and the riders are flying past. Dam, can’t they stop and let me get the right spot?

After this, you are again, at the back of the pack. With many a “beep beep,” I then speed past to get back to the lead. The cycle then goes again. Frustrating and exciting. Mental note, get your shutter speed set BEFORE leaving to dive a bike and snag photos. Don’t do this when bikes are speeding past.
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Photography woes aside, the ride was quite enjoyable. It was the longest time I have ever been on a bike in Vietnam. See the wold zip past while being in a pack of bikers, was a unique occurrence.

The First Rest Stop

After about 40 minutes on the road, we got to the Mango Mango restaurant and bar in Old Town (45 Nguyễn Phúc Chu, Hội An: http://mangohoian.com).

Even tho it was just an hour-long ride, getting off the bike, I felt like an old fashion cowboy saddling up his steed — the long dusty ride behind as we shunter into the bar for a drink. Lol. I know, I know… it was just an hour-long ride, not several week-long trials. Still, this is how I felt.

At the door of Mango Mango we were greeted with fresh cold towels and serviced juice and soda. The restaurant was remarkable too. Poking around back, I met a man named Sam. He was the GM and took me on a quick tour of this three-story restaurant!

Back downstairs is where I meet Cheif Duc for the second time this day. Early in the day, he showed up looking slick, and I had to take his photo. Later I find out he is Cheif Duc, owner of the Mango Mango restaurant. Wow. He invited me to have a glass of champaign with him and a few others. Very nice. I have a mental note to go back and have dinner there sometime soon.

With fruit juice drinks behind us, it was time for a group photo. The photo went off rather smooth (All things considered). The crew stacked up in front of Mango Mango, we took some pictures and then it was time to saddle up once again.

The last leg of the ride and, confusion.

Sometimes I wish I had a better lense, but you have to work with what you got. The plan was for the riders to set out from Mango Mango, go over the historic Hoi An bridge, make two loops down the waterfront then head on to the final stop.

I volunteered to stay on the far side of the river to attempt to capture the riders on the water with the historic Hoi An buildings behind them.

The photo plan was a feat of fitness that did not yield great results. I ran from Mango Mango to the far side of the bridge, the riders passed. Then I ran to the other side of the river. Running along the banks, I saw the rides on the other side. DAM, I did not have time again to get in the right spot. Fliping on the camera, zoom at the max… I cursed not having the time to get an epic shot.

They told me they would do several passes up the bank, so I have a second chance! After about five minutes, I realized they were not coming back. This hunch was confirmed later when I was talking with a rider who said they took a wrong turn.

I was then on my own. My pack left me. Lol. Jumping back on the bike, I headed for the last stop on the trip. The end location was across the jetty over at Salt Bar (32 Nguyen Phan Vinh, An Bang Hoi An, http://anbangbeachside.com/salt-pub/ ).

The ride to the Salt bar was quite. It gave me time to reflect on the day’s event. Pulling in to the restaurant felt good.

Here they served AMAZING food, and it provided a location for some friendly conversation with the other riders.

I also meet London, who runs Hoi An Barbeque ( https://www.facebook.com/hoianbarbeque/). Delicious foods and I highly recommend him.

Sparrow Thoughts

With the surf splashing, smiles, and conversation, I realized I had over 900 photos to go home and look through. A thought that both excited me and I dreaded at the same time. I realized that for this reason, I both do and do not miss having a desktop computer.

For the moment, however, sitting looking at the waves of the ocean crashing. Life was good. The first annual, The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Hoi An 2019, was a success. Who knows, perhaps next year I will be here for the second.

Learn more about the ride here: https://www.gentlemansride.com

Or follow these hash tags:
#DGRhoian #gentlemansride #dgr2019 #ridedapper #jointhegentry

Thank you for reading and enjoy the adventure.


10 days on the road - Vietnam Update

10 days on the road - Vietnam Update

10 days on the road - Vietnam Update

10 Days on the Road - Vietnam Update
10 Days on the Road – Vietnam Update

Its been a little over nine days since touching down in Vietnam, and now only about1 week in the ocean side city of Hoi An. A lot has happened in this time from good to bad. I made new contacts, photographed some new places, and am working on integrating into the Vietnamese lifestyle.

I have also encountered a lot of challenges: both internally and externally. I also fought to overcome jet lag (*My dad did warn me about this), a battle I am just now winning. Feelings of isolation crept in at times, struggles to find a place to eat, worries about the future, choices made, and fiance woes lol. However, it’s only been nine days on the road. All of these feelings and thoughts are natural, and a lot of traveling people do get them.

Ten days on the road Vietnam
Ten days on the road Vietnam

Highlights of my trip so far

  • Flying from New York and stepping off the plane into Vietnam.
  • Exploring Old Town Hanoi.
  • Drinking Egg Coffee.
  • Driving a motor scooter.
  • Swimming for the first time at Cud Di Beach.
  • Hanging out with Dustin Bever.
  • Getting a motorbike ride to an ESL gig in a rainstorm.
  • Exploring Old Town Hoi An.
  • Meeting Travis and Joleen from HiddenHoian.com
  • Meeting Marissa from LoveMarissa.com
  • Meeting more locals and learning some Vietnamese.
  • Having great photos to upload to stock photo sites.

Some of the low lights of the trip so far

  • I think I have a small rash on the back of my neck.
  • Ankles are a bit itchy, believe it was that I walked too much.
  • Funding, I got to start to save more funds!
  • I am not feeling like I am making the most of this.
  • My headspace drifts to dark places at times.
  • Thinking, I can never learn Vietnamese.
  • Feelings like others are taking advantage of me.
  • Seeing a mountain of photos, I need to tag and upload to stock photo sites.
Ten days on the road Vietnam
Ten days on the road Vietnam

Upcoming events I am looking forward to

  • Getting a motor scooter to get around.
  • Meeting more locals and getting behind the tourist wall.
  • Exploring the ESL job in more depth.
  • Sleep normalizing.
  • Next team meeting at HiddenHoian.com.
  • Sunday is the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride then beach party.
  • Tasty meals
  • Getting my first pay from a few days of ELS work.
  • Doing more Veitnmease langue learning.
  • Taking more photos.
Ten days on the road Vietnam
Ten days on the road Vietnam

Sparrow Thoughts

I am sitting in a small cafe called “Thy Thy Cafe” at 562 Cua Dai here in Hoi An as I type this. This cafe is one that locals go to, and I am the only westerner here. As mellow music drifts over the radio of some female Veitmese singer I cant understand, locals are talking. They are saying words I do not know. However, kids are running around in silly hats, I have a cup of coffee next to me, and for the moment the weather is fantastic.

Rocks leave ripples when they get tossed into the water. These ripples fade in time, and the water finds its balance again. When you are setting out for a long time on the road, or even a short time, this is a big rock getting tossed into your life — the bigger the stone, the more significant the change, the more ripples.

I feel confident that the next ten days will bring with it more challenges, more woes, but also more moments of joy, more moments of awe and wow. With each day, the ripples fade further, and life goes on.

Thanks for reading!

Go on and enjoy the adventure!


Hoi An Vietnam

Hoi An Vietnam - The First Few Days

Hoi An Vietnam - The First Few Days

Hoi An Vietnam
Hoi An Vietnam

The Young Veitenimese lad dropped me on the streets of Hoi An after dark, and the journey in a new city started.

I have been in communication on WhatsApp with my host, Travis. After waving by to my driver, Travis and I met and headed a short distance up to the road to a pub called “Havana.” Here surrounded by photos of Cuban woman smoking cigars as we drank a “Bia Siagon,” Travs filled me in on the details of what they are looking to achieve.

Hoi An Vietnam
Hoi An Vietnam

My Assignment in Hoi An

I connected with Travis through the web page Work Away. He is the point person on a web page called “HiddenHoian.com.” This web page is all about informing tourists and primarily western speaking people about the many wonders that hoi An offers.

Hoi An is a city that is developing very rapidly. Land that ten years ago went for $5 – $20 a square foot, now goes for $100,000 if not a million in some parts of the Old Town. People that were once very poor are now quite well todo. All around Hoi An you can see the growth of new buildings and casinos are springing up along the road into the city.

I am very excited about the optuntuitines this city will provide as I dive into the people, the culture, and this work away assignment.

Hoi An Vietnam
Hoi An Vietnam

Exploring Hoi An and settling into life.

For a living location, I was put in a totally new home. The whole pace has marble floors, new appliances, and three floors. This, in itself, was an experience.

Heading out onto the street for the first time the next day filled me with a sense of adventure and excitement. I had to have walked around 20 miles. Exploring the various parts of the Old town before sunrise, up to an epic 1-hour walk to the beach to swim in the waves.

Hoi An has a lot of surprises, and I tried my best just to enjoy the moment, but I found myself, taking photos every few feet with each unique corner I turned.

Old Town Hoi An

Old Town Hoi An is remarkable. It was started around the 12th century, and since then the many peoples, nations, cultures, and traditions shaped the face of this city.

In the center of the Old Town is Ancient Town. This part of the city has the oldest buildings and the ancient Japanese Covered Bridge.

Sparrow Tips: You may get charged to walk over the Covered Bridge if you show up in a group. They tend not to charge single people, but if you are in a large group, you may have to pay a small price.

 

The Long walk to Cua Dai Beach

Travis told me about a beach that was at the end of town. After a long day of walking around, the idea of swimming took hold of me. Willing my legs to keep going, I set off to walk to Cua Dai Beach.

This was a 55-minute walk, but arriving and jumping into the very warm waters, I felt stress get washed away in the surf. In the coming days, I would be taking a motorbike every morning to this beach to do some swimming at 4:30, or 5 am with the locals.

Three Tigers Bar
Three Tigers Bar

Meeting Dustin Beaver and a night of fun.

Heading back is when I had a very unique experience. A young lad on a bike pointed and smiled at my mustache. We talked, and he offered me a ride back to the city. What a blessing; my legs were not too happy with the day’s epic walk.

Dustin and I got to talking and became friends. He is a great singing artist that is chasing his dream to be a singer. Here is a link to his crazy Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/mr.dustinwinn/).

That evening we set out into old town for dinner at a fantastic restaurant and drank the night away at Three Tigers bar, watching westerns and one Australian guy, act like fools.

The Following Day, 4 am motorbike ride to the beach

As I said, I fell in love with the beach. I set a goal to get to it every day and do some swimming. Travis gave me a key to an old motorbike and a crash course on how to drive the beast.

Not being one who drives these things every day, I thought it would be best to get my teeth cut in the AM when the streets were less packed than in the midday. Whit a dark sky still overhead, I turned the key, and with a surprisingly zippy jump, set off to the beach once again.

Scooters are fun as hell I tell you. They are zippy, have a nice seat, and get to where you need to be. At first, it was a bit… omg.. but then you settle in fast and there you are.

The morning at Cua Dai Beach

The morning time at Cua Dia was everything I wanted and more. The sky was in the blue light, the time of the day just before the sun comes up. Many locals were on the beach stretching, a group of ladies was blasting pumping techno music and doing acrobatics, old men were splashing in the waves, and the air was alive.

I did some stretching as well and jumped in. Waves were washing over, the sun coming up inspired me on a fundamental level.

Hoi An Vietnam – The First Few Days : Let’s see where the next few days go!


Hanoi Vietnam

Adventure and opportunities abound in Hanoi Vietnam.

Adventure and opportunities abound in Hanoi Vietnam.

Hanoi Vietnam
Hanoi Vietnam

Hanoi sits in the north of Vietnam in the Red River Delta and is the current capital of this nation. Hanoi Vietnam bolsters a population of over 7.7 million and that many, if not more motorbikes on the streets.

In a seemly never-ending river of zipping face and beeps, moto bikes could be considered the native species of this city. Venturing around, you better accept that you will need nerves of steel to conquer (explore) this city.

The Old Quarter – Hoian Vietnam

Most tourists and some ex-pats opt to live in The Old Quarter, near Hoàn Kiếm Lake. This area of Hanoi is trying to hold onto its past. However, as tourism keeps rising, rents keep going up, it’s just a matter of time before Starbucks will start to pop up. But dear god, I hope not. As it is while on the ground in this city I saw a KFC logo adorning a classic building… this made me sad.

The wild charm of stepping out onto the streets in the Old Quarter and into the organized chaos is an experience every traveler should have. Its a magical experience to arrive from the airport, be ushed into your hostel or hotel. Get settled and then step outside. You get smacked by the noise, sounds, smells, and life of the street.

Pro tip: Embrace this moment of awe and wonder. Then shake it off as you will need your senses to be on point.

At the start of the 20th century, Hanoi, being composed of “36 streets”, the citadel, and some of the newer French buildings south of Hoàn Kiếm lake was a bustling city on the grow. Streets specialized in goods, from silk to bamboo. If you are quick with your Veitinmeases, you can see that the street signs still echo this.

The French influence is apparent in the building designs and the ever famous Banh mi French bread sandwich! YUMMY! At the time of writing this, one tasty Banh mi was going for between 20,000 VND ~ 45,000 VND ($1 or $2).

My First 24 Hours in Hanoi Vietnam

My first 24 hours in Hanoi vietnam were a bit challenging. My Western mind took a while to adapt to this new way of life. I found my self walking the streets looking for something to eat. Every place was just not right, or I did not see a place to sit… it was a strange feeling.

It was only after a day and a few poor choices that I began to see the abundance of food stalls and options that were available. Quite literally on every block, there is a food stall.

Pro Tip: To reduce your chances of getting food poising or sick, as a rule of thumb, only eat from stalls that have steaming food, and you can see them making it. Steam means the food is hot, this implies that the germs may have been killed. Also, look for stalls that have a lot of locals eating at them. This is a sign that it is a good place and the food has a high turnover. I say avoid the places serving western foods. They may not know the right way to cook this, and as such, this may have a higher chance of a food-based illness.

Its also worth point out. If you are coming from the West, you may be a bit put off by the food preparation methods. There is no FDA here to speak about. People butcher animals out back, clean them in the streets, and then serve them to you in the front. If you are up for an eye-opening experience, walk down some of the back allies, and see how the food is prepared. You may love it, or discover a new love for the hygiene standards the West imposes on restaurants. Just keep an open mind and try new things!

Hanoi Vietnam
Hanoi Vietnam

You are a tourist, best accept this and be on your toes.

Unless you live for a long time in Vietnam and learn Vietnamese, you will be a tourist first in the eyes of those you meet. I say embrace this. There are many benefits to this. The first being that people will be more happy to help you. I read a few stories of travelers who dress in bright colors. Why? Well, it’s not uncommon to have gate changes while waiting on a flight or a bus layover. If you stand out somehow, you have a higher chance of a local directing you to the right location if you miss the announcement. Also, locals may want to connect to learn about who you are and where you come from. It’s great!

But be aware. You are also a mark to some. People will come over and put a basket on you, smile and take a photo with you, you may think it’s just a friendly act, but chances are its cause they are looking for you to pay them. Or when you are distracted, you get taken advantage of. Don’t let this hinder your trip, just be aware that these things happen.

Pro tip: The further you get out of the “tourist” areas, the higher chance is that your interaction with locals will be more authentic.

Hanoi Vietnam
Hanoi Vietnam

Overley friendly can be a bit off-putting.

Do you not like to be touched? Well, put that hang up in the closet at your home. When walking around the Old Quarter, in some of the more packed bar and restaurant streets, you will be accosted with gestures to come sit. A lot of the bigger restaurants have one or more, I call them “fishermen” out front. These fishermen will gesture at a chair and say, “Sit here Free Beer!”. Some will even put their arms around you as four others come around, almost pulling towards a seat.

You will need to accept this and ether engage or just walk on past like you did not even see them. Yes, it sounds a bit rude, but if you stop for everyone who waves you over… you may not make it 100 yards from where you are staying.

In the end, it’s up to you if you will sit or not, but if you do slide past, be ready for the next person fishing for you to rest and have a beer at their location. It was a bit off-putting for me at first, but then, this is another cultural, its not the West, you have to adapt. So smile and enjoy the ride.

Getting around in Hoian Vietnam.

You have a lot of options with this. From cabs to the Grab app on our phone, to locals. If you choose to go the more “adventurous” route and snag a cab, get a flat rate from point A to B. If not you may be driven around for a long time as the meter clicks up. Lol.

Best to check with your hotel ahead of time for a pick up for the easiest method.

Another method that is more budget-friendly is the buss. Yes, when you arrive at the bus station, motorbike drivers will come over to you and ask, “Where are you going?”. I just tell them I am going on the bus. ONe they realize you are not going to hire them to drive you, chances are they will leave you alone.

Pro Tip about busses: You pay when you get on the bus. Most busses have a person that is on the bus. Just get on and sit down. Someone with a wad of cash will cove over to you. Pay them, and they “Should” give you a receipt; just hold on to this till you get off the bus.

Pro tip 2: If you are confused about what bus to take. Ask someone. By and large, people want to help you. Eat the ego and ask someone, even one of the moto bike drivers that tried to get you to hire them.

Hanoi Vietnam

Looking for a pleasant morning walk in Hanoi Vietnam?

The Long Biên Bridge is a historic French-designed bridge. It stretches across the Red River that connects two districts, Hoan Kiem and Long Bien of the city of Hanoi Vietnam.

For an exciting experience, get to the bridge before 6am. I suggest 5 am. Start on the Old Quarter side. Walk, so the river is on your left and the bridge on your right.

This walk for me was one to remember. At first, I was only one of a handful of people on this bridge at 5am. It starts off over a VERY BUSY food shopping location, then reaches out over the red river. The sidewalk you use is well, very sketchy looking. A rusty railing and the pavement is a quarter thick bit of concrete with a 50″ drop under it to the river. Every now and again, a block will move a bit when you step on it. Hahaha. It’s fun.

If you time it right, you will be coming back on the opposite side when the sun is rising at your back. People go for a swim in the river early in the morning, and the INSANE traffic will be starting, so you can get off the bridge before rush hour hits at full swing.

Hanoi Vietnam
Hanoi Vietnam

Pro tip: when passing on the bridge I recommend, standing to the side, your back at the railing, and waving the on comer past. You will get some nods of respect and, it’s a much safer method than trying to squeeze past someone. There are also pull off-break areas at regular intervals on the bridge. So if you need to stretch or you need to take a break, get to this area. You will also find locals here in the morning stretching.

Last pro tip. There is a commuter train that runs down the center of the bridge. Some people stand on the tracks for photos. DONT DO THIS. First, there is a live power line you can get killed by touching, also, trains faster than you, you have a high chance of getting hit. Remember, no unneeded risks.

Hanoi Vietnam
Hanoi Vietnam

Wake up early at least once in Hanoi Vietnam

If you only see Hanoi Veitnam in the day time after the sun comes up, you have not seen Hanoi. The Old Quarter is very different before the sun comes up. At about 4:30 or 5 am, the streets are quiet(ish).

The sidewalks that are full of motorbikes in the day time, now are empty. You can walk down the streets and enjoy the builds and cross the roads with ease.

It’s also lovely to see the Old Quarter come to life as the sun rises. Markets start to open. Workers and shop owners begin to full the Old Quarter once again.

If you see an early morning food stall with a lot of locals sitting and eating at it, join them. Smile and greet someone new, have a strange and wonderful morning meal, and perhaps make a new friend.

Pro tip: Even tho it’s early, be on your toes for petty theft. Don’t just sling a bag or camera over one arm, this makes for an easy drive-by grab. Also, don’t take unneeded risks like walking down a dark back street you don’t know. Stay is fairly main streets, keep your head up and don’t be a victim.

Hanoi Vietnam
Hanoi Vietnam

Sparrow Thoughts:

Hanoi Vietnam is a vast city that is growing. It has deep roots in the past and very modern trends developing. My experience has only been in the Old Quarter, from my conversations with travelers, the city has a lot of layers to explore. This includes sights to see and do outside the Old Quarter too.

Start your adventure in the heart of madness in the Old Quarter, stay for a few days, network at hostels, and then head out to see more of Hoian or Vietnam.

My next stop will be in Hoi An along the coast and towards the middle of Vietnam. While Hanoi Vietnam is the capital, Hoi An, many many many years ago was the capital. Excited to see what this city looks like.

Till next time, enjoy the adventure!

Learn More

Wiki on Hanoi : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanoi


Locked and Loaded for Travel - Departure on the 17th for Vietnam!

Locked and Loaded for Travel - Departure on the 17th for Vietnam!

What an exciting day. Finished fixing up my parents home a bit… by finished mean, I started to resand, and paint our living room, and dining room, and chainsawed down a bunch of trees and weed-whacked weeds like you WOULD NOT BELIEVE! Anywho – 3 weeks later, that is done (ish). Still, I have no funds but I sold a Concertina I played while walking on stilts in the circus ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concertina ) and used that money for a ticket to Vietnam. Sweet music to my ears.

The current plan:

Departure New York JFK Airport (JFK), USA (12.5 hr flight) 9:00 PM, TUE, SEP 17
Layover in Doha Airport (DOH), Qatar (4.5 hrs) departure 8:20 PM, WED, SEP 18
Fly to Hanoi, Vietnam (7.5 hrs) arriving at 7:35 AM, THU, SEP 19
Spend the 19 in Hanoi, then on the 20th get the overnight train to Da Nang, Vietnam.
When I arrive, somehow get to Hội An, Vietnam where I will before the first 3 weeks.
All said and done I will be moving my body about 10,649 miles / 17,138 kilometres if not more.

Costs incurred to date:

One way flight from JFK: $410.80
Three-month single-entry visa Vietnam: $25
The estimated cost of hostile 1 night in Hanoi with food: $15
The estimated cost of an overnight train: $47
The estimated cost of transport from Da Nang to Hoi An : $15
Combined/estimated total: $512 (or $550 ish)
I will be in Hoi An for 3 weeks exchanging content writing for room and food at a local hostel.

The goal is posting unique photos of this AMAZING city during this trip here on Steem! You guys are my online family of estranged people I’ve never met.

After this stop… I am not sure what will be happening. I hope to have that sorted out before the 3 weeks is up… I also hope to have some additional income somehow during that time. (*OH Steem, please moon lol)

My thoughts post up at a local coffee shop and offer conversational English time for $5 or $10 per 30 min. Not sure if it will work, but just thinking. The other idea is stock photos.

Big on adventure, low on funds

As of today, the current bank account is at $168. I don’t have all the gear I need, don’t have a safety net, but my blood is boiling for adventure. It is boiling at its very core to venture to the world, you hear me world, feel my boiling core! It boils for you, such boiling… SUCH BOILING!!

They say you have to sometimes, leap off the cliff and trust a net will appear. I did this a few times with being an entrepreneur. Took a leap off the cliff and trusted that will it will be sorted out… on the way down. When I started my own circus company I arrived in the city two suitcases after getting off tour with Cirque du Soleil. Crashed at a friend’s house got a job and built up the company. I hope stepping forth in this venture, striking out into the unknown with little more than passion and a dream will pay off, or at the very least, not leave me a bum playing the ukulele on street corners for beer money… HAHAHAHA.

Why oh why

Some say that this is a reckless and foolish thing to do, Some say that this is an exciting passionate way to live, some may say that this is an un-respectable way to travel, some may say that when you don’t have any money is the best time to travel… whatever the case, whatever they say, you only have one life you have to live it the best way you can.

I’m going to try to keep a daily journal online here of the adventures as they unfold.

Till the next post check out this video!

https://youtu.be/h6fcK_fRYaI

It is all an egg… an egg that I will hard BOIL IN MY SOUL!
Till tomorrow and another post, live with passion friends. 😀


Boston MA, 2019

Boston MA 2019 Photos

Photos from Boston MA, 2019

Here are some photos from a visit to Boston MA in August of 2019. A lot of the photos I was trying to capture a different side of the city, something you may not normally see. To me, this was textures, unique views of buildings, and another perspective on this historic city.

Enjoy the photos!


The Art of Traveling Light: How to Pack a Backpack for Extended Travel

The Art of Traveling Light: How to Pack a Backpack for Extended Travel

The Art of Traveling Light: How to Pack a Backpack for Extended Travel
The Art of Traveling Light: How to Pack a Backpack for Extended Travel

Packing light isn’t as easy as it sounds, but when done right, it makes traveling a more enjoyable experience. Instead of laboring around like a packed mule, you will be able to explore and experience your destination freely without an aching back.

In addition to that, a minimalistic approach to your belongings can help you save check-in fees at the airport and skip the long queues at the luggage claim.

It does sound great, but we humans can’t simply resist the temptation of overpacking. Those new to traveling are often the biggest culprits, lunging around with a backpack prepared for doomsday!

Keeping the weight down is crucial, and since a backpack has only one primary compartment, you must put things in the right place to make maximum use of the space. Do you want to be digging for your passport through a pile of clothes at the boarder check stop?

Whether you are traveling through the highlands of Sri Lanka or the Banana Pancake Trail, packing a light backpack is possible, and we are here to teach you how.

Read on for a comprehensive guide on how to correctly pack a backpack!

How to Pack a Backpack for Extended Travel  : The right backpack is key!

You can’t make a good burrito if you don’t have a great tortilla! On the same vein, you can’t pack right if you don’t have the right backpack .

Most carry on backpacks have a capacity of 40L which is ideal for short journeys, but since we are talking long trips, a backpack of about 50-55L should suffice. Packs come in different varieties; some come with wheels so you can alternate between shoulder carry and using the wheels while some packs can transform into a duffel bag. Depending on your itinerary, one of these might be of more help than a conventional pack. If you plan on spending time outdoors, a waterproof backpack you need, but more on that later.

Regardless of your decision, there are a few things you should check before pulling the trigger.

Add some weight to test if the bag is comfortable and if the shoulder pads are well padded. Does the pack have straps, including a waist strap that will let you adjust it to the right place?

Protip: Never travel with a new backpack before road-testing it at home!

How to Pack a Backpack for Extended Travel  : Minimize the load!

You will regret throwing in all those “just in case” items as you toil up a hill with a heavy backpack bogging you down.

Before you pack, lay out all the items you want to take and carefully reconsider the importance of each item. Will you be able to do your laundry during the trip? If that is yes, you will be able to reduce your wardrobe drastically.

As a rule of thumb, don’t pack more than a week’s worth of clothing if you have access to a laundry. Pick a few versatile clothes that can be mixed and matched easily. If you can wash your laundry once a week, six to seven t-shirts/shirts, seven pairs of underwear, trousers (if it’s a hot region, consider shorts), a sweater, and swimming shorts should round up your wardrobe. If you expect rain, a raincoat is a necessary addition and likewise, if it’s cold, don’t forget a winter jacket.

Will you be hiking or out on the road a lot? Why not swap the jeans for light (and water-resistant) hiking trousers?

Keep it MICRO

What about replacing your full-sized towel with a smaller microfiber tower? Microfiber towels weigh about ten times less than a cotton towel and dry much faster too, making it ideal if you are frequently on the move.

If you plan on staying at a hotel, soap and shampoo might not be necessary, but if you are residing at a hostel or guesthouse, they might be a necessity. However, before you throw in your shampoo and liquid soap, remember that liquids exceeding 100ml aren’t allowed in carry-on luggage, so it is best to stick with a bar of solid soap and solid shampoo. They are also lighter and smaller in size compared to shampoo bottles and liquid soap. If you, however, do insist on bringing along your liquid shampoo, you can pour it into a 100ml container. You can find these containers at any drug store, remember, 100ml will not last you long.

Oh, and don’t forget that you could remove extras from the bag to reduce the weight further. For example, some packs have a metal frame for sturdiness; if you are comfortable without it, you could remove it to cut down the weight. A frame supported backpack will help with a heavy load because it helps evenly distribute the weight.

Protip; Once you have packed, put the bag on your shoulders and take a walk around the neighborhood. Too heavy? Unpack and cut down again!

How to Pack a Backpack for Extended Travel  : Keep items in the right spot!

An incorrectly packed bag can do two things. It can injure your back, or it can put you off balance.

To avoid both of those issues, pack heavy items in the vertical center of the bag and as close as possible to your back. You will have to keep lighter stuff like clothes towards the bottom and keep the heavy items in the middle.

Do you have any prodding items that might poke into your back? If so, wrap it in clothes.

Items you need quick access to such as snacks, travel documents, sunscreen, and toiletries will need to be in the outer pockets or towards the top of the main compartment.

Packing cubes are an excellent accessory to keep things in order while adding shape and structure to the backpack. You could group similar things such as your shirts in one packing cube, making it easier to find things while creating more space in the bag.

How to Pack a Backpack for Extended Travel  : A compressed bag is easier to carry

A well-compressed backpack is much easier to carry, so try to minimize the space your things take. For instance, your socks, place them inside the shoes, and any food can be kept inside the cooking pot. Experiment between rolling your clothes and folding them to decide which method allows you to pack in more. After everything is packed, use the outer straps on the bag to compress the bag as much as possible.

If you run out of space in the compartment, you can clip stuff on the exterior of the bag using a carabiner but keep this as a final option. Water bottles, hiking sticks, and other things dangling from the pack tend to put the wearer off balance. There is also a high chance that they might get caught on to branches while hiking through thickets. If you are hiking, you should think about using a collapsible hiking pole that you can easily store when not in use. As I stressed earlier, the compact your bag is, the more comfortable it is to wear.

How to Pack a Backpack for Extended Travel  : Ensure you have protection from the rain

Getting caught in the rain is a buzzkill, especially if your backpack is soaked and you have no dry clothes to change into. If you are traveling to a region like Asia, where a downpour can begin in a blink of an eye, your backpack must have some protection against the rain. Certain bags come with rain covers built-in, but if your bag does not, you can purchase a waterproof rain cover. Another tip by backpackers is to line your bag with a trash compactor bag.


6 Ways to enjoy an airport layover

6 Ways to enjoy an airport layover

6 Ways to enjoy an airport layover

6 Ways to enjoy an airport layover
6 Ways to enjoy an airport layover

Sometimes long layovers are inescapable, meaning you could be stuck at the airport for hours, or days, or in a very rare case, YEARS (*Dont worry, that was a very rare fluke). But savvy travelers know that there are fun, inexpensive ways to entertain themselves between flights. Here are 6 Ways to enjoy an airport layover. 

  • Work Out. If you’re not shy about folding into downward dog in public, pack a yoga mat and work on your positions at the airport. A few minutes of deep breathing and stretching is a fantastic way to get your blood flowing after a flight.
  • Play a Game. Pack one or two board games in your carry-on and get your travel companion or a friendly stranger waiting in your terminal to join in on the fun. A deck of cards is in my carry on bag all the time just for such a outcome! 
  • Read, write, or watch. This could be a great time to catch up on your newest book or take a time to update your blog. If you brought your computer, catch up on some recent shows or watch a movie. Find a nice quiet corner and get comfy for a while.
  • Go exploring! Most international terminals are vast and have many hidden gems you can find, like indoor pools, nap rooms, massage parlors and more!
  • Again, if you are not shy, strike up a conversation with another passenger that is in layover.  You both have so much in common, you both are stuck here.. so make a comment about it then ask them if they have any good jokes or story’s to past the time!
  • Juggling. I know, most people dont carry juggling balls with them when they travel.. I do.. hahaha.. its a fun thing that gets some weird looks.  But that is my hobby, if you have a portable hobby that packs small, bring it and use this as a forced hobby time!

Well, I hope you enjoyed this 6 Ways to enjoy an airport layover. If you have any fun suggestions, post them below. I would love to hear your thoughts!


6 Things to think about when planning for a trip

6 Things to think about when planning for a trip

6 Things to think about when planning for a trip

6 Things to think about when planning for a trip
6 Things to think about when planning for a trip

Planning a vacation or a trip may seem like a lot of work and you’re right. Knowing exactly what to do and when and where may seem like a big undertaking and in most times result to confusion. This 6 Things to think about when planning for a trip guide will help you start and plan your trip carefully.

  • Decide where to go. This one takes a little more thought regarding money and the overall goal of the trip. What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to relax for a bit? Then the beach is right for you.
  • When will be the best time? If you have a set amount of time, whether it be spring break or your only week off in the summer, then this decision is already made. But even then, the timing is so dependent on many other factors.
  • How to get there. Flying, driving, or even a train? There are so many options. You have to decide what your priority is. Are you on a stricter budget or a stricter time table? Also, be sure to check local deals and whatever you do, book early for lower rates.
  • Entertainment packages. Now that you know the “where” and the “how,” now you have to figure out the “what.” What are you going to do when you get there? How are you going to make the most of the trip? If you plan on getting a lot of different things squeezed into your trip, then there may be an entertainment package that can get you a good deal on many different venues.
  • Next is what to bring with you. Do you need that parka or do you need a swimming suit, or both?
  • Last is to record the tips whit photos, or just sit back and enjoy it.  If you are going to take photos, its a different experience then just being and taking in the sights.

Their is a lot to think about when planning a trip, so I hope this micro guide about 6 Things to think about when planning for a trip you found useful.

Post below some of the things you think about when planing a trip!