Monday, November 30, 2009

Color my Scrapbook

I'm posting from Canada for the first time since the start of my trip in August. I thought I would give myself a week and a halfish to digest my overseas adventures so I can make a well attuned final blog post. What a journey that was! 3 months and 7 countries was an incredible life-changing experience. As cliché as that sounds, there is not one part of me that will be the same after this trip. I met some very special and smart people along the way, whom I hope to remain in contact with and visit in the future. I traveled much of this trip with my friend Blair from Victoria, who I met through his older, but less-mature brother Scott. I never thought it was going to be this easy, traveling together for that long could make one kill another, which we saw plenty off (girlfriends bickering with boyfriends and vice versa). It seems the only time we were slightly short with each other was when we were hungry after a long day of traveling. Food! essential to traveling. However, their were never any personality clashes along the way. I think this party due to our extremely laid back Gemini demeanor that created a great connection that never was in trouble throughout the trip. Our order of the trip was Vietnam (South to North) -> Malaysia -> Singapore -> Bali/DPS -> Thailand -> Laos -> back to Vietnam. it was quite the bit to pack in on such a short trip, but obviously well worth it.

I have already started planning my second trip, which would involve a visit to my wonderful English friends. London here I come!! For the time being, I'm back in the frigid Canadian north-west, returning to freezing hail, near sub-zero temperatures, and many a incoming storms. Alas, it feels good to be back at home, I haven't seen my family and friends in ages. I do miss my extended summer though, and I hope to do a longer trip next time around. To my deep disappointment I was never able to fit India in on this trip, which was probably for the best. Having blitzed through the last 2 weeks of the trip we were more than proper busy, and I'm more than proper tired right now having not slept in 2 days. I do plan on trying to fit India in sometime in the near future, the country's beauty fascinates me, and I will try to not skip it the next time around.

This trip gave me plenty of send offs and lessons: one was a re-discovering of a part of myself that I never fully understood. Prior to, I felt I had my entire life figured out, my career mapped, and my future was surely in good hands. And Why Not? I had the last 23 years of my life planned. School and university dominated my life since infancy, so why shouldn't the next 25 years be any more less planned. The trip has left me with more mixed feelings about my future, Asia travel certainly stunned me with a type of travel bug that can only be rectified with more traveling. I am very eager to set afoot on foreign soil again, and I think that half of life is what you do, and the other half is who you spend it with. I've been to amazing places on this trip that this blog can not do justice to, but the places would not have been as incredible without the wonderful people that joined me along the way. I've made incredible incredible friends on this trip, some of which I regretfully only got to spend a few hours with, but proved to make such a great impression that I want to do nothing else but to dive into their lives more. I don't plan to be one of those that spends their lives at professions they don't like, rush into marriages they later dread, and are involved meager futures they can't escape. I think that spending 65% of your entire life at a profession you don't enjoy is completely absurd, and I do not intend to be part of that awful statistic. If you don't like your job, leave, and find something that suits you better, if that means less perks and dollars than so be it. There is no use complaining. We live in this world for a finite amount of time and there should be no price on anyone's happiness, not on mine at least. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the legal profession may or may not be right for me, but for the time being I plan to do what I enjoyed most, meeting new people, traveling to far-away places, and learning more about myself and those closest to me. Hopefully, in the process of, I can find my noble calling that suits me the best, this doesn't have to mean a 150k a year job with a corner office, whatever makes me happy will suit just fine.

My flight home from Ho Chi Minh City was pleasant but un-eventful. Blair and I were quite tired, having made a 32 hour trip from Venne Vieng to Vientienne to Bangkok then back to Ho Chih Minh City in non-stop travel that involved trains, buses, taxis, and planes. By the time we got to Ho Chi Minh City were were proper exhausted and spent the day walking around the streets, eating Pho, and eying up potential shopping venues. HCM city was around the same as last time around when we first arrived, you do notice the stark change in humidity coming from Bangkok to Saigon. Severe perspiration ensued and we were pleased that our place had A/C, a luxury that we have saved for our final few days. The last few days were spent doing very little, sleeping lots, and venturing out on a few tours. In the end, HCM city is a busy bustling place, but their is not too much to do in the surrounding areas. I much preferred Nha Trang and Hoi An up the coast much better. Less people, and less requests for "transport" "where you go" "handsome man, let me help you" "what you want" etc etc... Although, I never been called a handsome man as much as I was in SE Asia, this may or may not have to do with their desire to make a sale, I suspect the former to my dismay. The ride from United Airlines to Hong Kong was half-decent, Blair and I tried to venture upstairs into the 1st class executive lounge, but were promptly denied. You mean two unshaven, smelly, and scruffy-looking students don't belong in first class? Had a nice meal on the plane and were preparing ourselves for the 4 hour layover in HK before our flight back to Vancouver. The flight was great, flying home was considerably shorter due to the westerlies. 10 hours of watching chick flicks (100 days of summer, Post-grad, and some other movie I can't bother name) and we were their. None were very good except for 100 days of summer, but don't broadcast that.

My parents were unmoved as I show up, after waiting 45 minutes for my luggage I suppose they thought I was never coming. I had second thoughts about returning home when I was in Thailand and Vietnam. In an almost split decision I contemplated prolonging my travels to Australia where most of my "mates" were going. Alas, responsiblity and a dwindling bank account finally held me back. Until next time is what I said to Blair.

For now, their is no 5- year plan for my life, there is however a plan for 2010 and that is about it. One step at a time, not looking too far ahead is my new motto. For those who read, thanks a million for not letting me write in vain, thanks a million for reading and commenting on my posts. I apologize for the horrid use of grammar and of the English language. For now I have linked my 800 pictures from this trip, please view at your extreme leisure. xx


Also some useless travel tips

How to haggle 101

You: "How much is your said item?"
Proprietor: "Exorbitant dollars"
You: Like a good lawyer responding to a settlement offer, you react in extreme horror, you wave your hand around and say unprompted things like "too much" or "are you crazy!!!" and "way cheaper down the street"
Proprietor: "I offer your friend/family price!!" There is a difference between friend and family price apparently. Sometimes they are more aggressive and start grabbing you, this is a good sign your likely to get the price of your choosing
You: "No way" and start doing the classic walk-away
Proprietor: " Handsome man (or woman to be gender neutral) What price you want" hands you make-shift calculator
You: Enter a mildly low-ball price, and hope they aren't immediately insulted
Proprietor: Acts insulted and enters in another price
You: Walk away and say your going to "look around", the owner will look frightened because everyone is selling the same item and moves of his inflated price
Proprietor: "Ok Ok" gives you another price much closer to your asking
You: Success

Disclaimer: This obviously isn't a hard and fast rule for haggling and bargaining. If you get a un-interested dealer or owner you may be out of luck. Most of the time however you get the price that is fair to both of you. Remember your not their to outrageously rip anyone off. Most of the time your haggling over dollars or cents, so lets not get unreasonable. 1 dollar unfortunately doesn't buy everything, remembering that the person opposite of you needs to eat too.


British Slang that I am now familiar with.

blimey!: Oh geez!
bloke: a male
brilliant!: great! awesome!
dodgy: shady
gab: to talk a lot
gutted: some form of agony
wankered: drunk
fit: looking good
stones: measuring weight, "I lost 3 stones last year"
mental: crazy
proper: This jacket is "proper cheap"

lots of you reckon, proper, surely, or top notch and mint. In the end, the British were brilliant :)


  1. This blog makes me smile :)
    You quickly learnt much of what you need to know to be happy in this life.
    I wish I had listened more to myself!
    Anyway, well said, handsome man!

    I like the laid-back Gemini bit! I know it may be hard to believe, but I actually am laid back Gemini-style, as is my nature, when I'm traveling.

  2. 卡爾.桑得柏:「除非先有夢,否則一切皆不成。」共勉!.............................................