12:33 AM, Green Mango Club, Koh Samui, Thailand
Loud music is interrupting what would otherwise be the shocking silence of my new life. For 3 months now I’ve been out of my country, in a strange solitude, the road my single and constant companion.
I’m not sure why I’m here. Vacation? Mini-Retirement? Some desperate attempt to find meaning and fulfillment?
Why am I so unhappy?
At 22, I’ve officially “made it.” I’ve built my own business from zero, and now it’s doing quite well. It provides a comfortable monthly income and, being entirely internet based, allows me to travel & live anywhere in the world. Despite this, I find myself utterly depressed.
When you think you should be happy, but you’re not, you end up miserable. Continue reading
Why am I writing about illicit activities in Laos? If you’ve traveled around SE Asia then you already know the reputation of the countries. Thailand is the best: anything you want to experience can be had in Thailand. Malaysia kind of sucks but Kuala Lumpur is awesome. Singapore is very nice and high end, also quite expensive. Cambodia is on the rise. Vietnam has a lot of great stuff to explore, good mix of activity, great food.
Laos, however, is that boring, sleepy, landlocked country where there is not much going on. As far as travelers that love it, they are all the hippie stoners (weed is very cheap and easy to get here). It’s the poorest country in SE Asia. No night life. Maybe a nice break from the craziness that Thailand can be, but all in all, best to make it a short trip.
I’ve been to Vientiane on three separate trips now. The first two occasions were bad experiences. I was just here to get a new visa for Thailand so I could get back to the fun country. On both previous trips I’d heard that “Vang Vieng is fun” and always just flew into Vientiane, dropped my passport off with a visa agent (someone who will go to the consulate for you and get you a new visa – AKA sweet deal), stayed one night in some lame hotel and caught the dawn bus to Vang Vieng. I’ll be honest, this wasn’t a bad routine. However, before coming back for the third time I decided I was going to try and do an in-and-out within a few days and skip Vang Vieng.
In deciding this I asked myself, “What if there is actually some cool stuff to do in Vientiane? I’ve never actually checked.” Just having the idea that there might some fun to be had, led me to decide to explore this slow-paced little city.
I know a few things about people and cities. First, no matter what “the law states,” vice and corruption will always find a way to exist. Second, in a city of more than 50,000 people there will always be drugs and hookers. Continue reading
I am writing this post so that I have it to reference in the future. A lot of my friends may read this and say “yeah duh.” Most of my friends these days are frequent travelers. It’s easy for any of us to forget what it felt like before we got out and saw the world. Most people who are stuck in their ways really have no clue that the types of things I’ll be discussing on this site even exist. When I mention the things I do in my normal life, jaws often drop. The other party often leaves with a palpable air of disbelief, as if they are thinking, “there has to be more to the story than he’s letting on. It’s not that simple.”
Sorry, it IS that simple.
The view from the balcony of my private room in Vang Vieng, Laos. Double bed, A/C, hot water, fridge, $9/night. Read my Vang Vieng post for more details
Have you ever wished that you could travel all over the world? This post is for you. Here is a no B.S. guide to your first major world travel experience.
It is a lot easier than you might think. For me it was like having sex: after I did it for the first time I thought, “Why the hell did I wait so long? This is the coolest thing ever!” And I haven’t quit either activity since.
But I think going places is way way better than that. I mean anyone can have sex, and most people do at least once in their lifetime. Less than 1% of people will ever truly experience the joys of extended world travel.
Getting to Vang Vieng.
In Vang Vieng, there is a feeling of remoteness that overwhelmed my American spirit. First, I flew 12,000 miles to the other side of the planet to land in Thailand. Then a month later I took 2 more flights (from Koh Samui to Bangkok and Bangkok to Vientiane). After 2 days in the very strange (to me) Vientiane, I boarded a bus that looked like something out of 1972.
The drive was very deliberate. Through the city at first, then it gradually becomes less of a city. The buildings go from very crowded to normal, to a bit of space, to more space, to much more space, to no buildings. Every so often we hit a village and cruised on through. Continue reading
I cannot say enough good things about Medellin, Colombia! I am head over heels in love.
I had been hearing some buzz about Medellin ever since I started traveling and that buzz is very well deserved. I can absolutely see this become a top travel destination in South America over the next decade and it’s definitely a place I’ll be coming back to over and over again. It’s only a 3 hour flight from Miami and it’s serviced by Spirit Air now, meaning cheap flights are easy to get.
Medellin has an extremely recent, very bloody history. Boasting 500+ homicides per month in Medellin alone just over a decade ago. You wouldn’t really know it by walking the streets today, the city is extremely charming. To be honest, I think the horrifying history and recent drug wars somewhat adds to the romantic appeal of Medellin. Everyone else can talk about the history, I want to talk about what’s going on today!
So what exactly is happening in Medellin? Continue reading