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 “How To Be The Coolest Guy In The Bar”
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 “Vice in Vientiane: A Slightly Darker Guide To The Capital Of Laos”
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 “Vang Vieng, Laos: Southeast Asia’s Still Kind of Hidden Backpackers Haven”
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 “A Guide To Medellin, Colombia”