Tag Archives: On Travel

In Search of: A Full Life (and Self-Portrait Series No. 6)

Yesterday, I was talking with a friend.  He’s several years older than me and is considering an early retirement (because who wouldn’t want that?!?).  That conversation was a happy one.  And then he told me about a personal situation that might force him to retire early, regardless of his plans.  That part of the conversation, well, not so happy.  He said, “I hope it doesn’t come to that.  I don’t want to be forced to retire and not be able to enjoy my retirement.”

Then he said to me, “You just keep doing what you’re doing.”

Me: “Huh?”

Him: “I mean, all the stuff you do, all the traveling and hiking and stuff that makes you happy.  Keep doing that.  Because you’ve got it right.  You never know what’s going to happen when it comes time to retire.  People shouldn’t save all the fun stuff for later.  I admire you.  You’re bold and independent, and you go out and see the world and you do your own thing and don’t worry about what people think of it.  Keep doing that.”

That part of the conversation made me smile.  Because, honestly, I sometimes second-guess myself.  I mean, yes, I put money into my retirement account.  In addition to planning my travels and the next fun adventure, I do think about the distant future.  But I get the impression from a lot of people they think spending money on travel the way that I do is somewhat frivolous.  And I worry that no matter how much of my income I send to the 401K, it’s not going to be enough.  And what then?

But then I have to ask myself.  If that does happen, if my numbers don’t come out perfect when the good old age of 65 arrives, will I regret all that I’ve done?  Will I wish I had stayed home more and saved that expendable income of mine?  Truthfully?  Probably not.  Up to this point, I would say absolutely not.  There isn’t one adventure I would take back, not one experience I would return.

I love my life.  I love the fact that I have a separate savings account labeled, “Travel Fund.”  And I LOVE that I use it just for that.

In the spirit of adventure, here’s one more self-portrait from a hike I did last weekend near Lake Mead.  The hike is to Anniversary Narrows, a beautiful slot canyon in the midst of the desert.  It’s unexpected and really quite wonderful to see.  It also makes for beautiful backdrops when acting silly and modeling for the camera!

Self-Portrait No. 6

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Posted in Hiking, Inspiration, Las Vegas Hikes, Self Portraits Also tagged , |

In Search of: Randomness and More Temples in the Jungle

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I find myself in a bit of a conundrum.  I’m in the middle of telling stories about summer in Southeast Asia, yet I just returned from an amazing trip in Peru, and now I’ve started storytelling about that trip also.  Do I continue talking Thailand, Cambodia and Laos?  Or do I skip ahead and tell the striking diversity I have begun to uncover in Latin America?  Hells bells.  I don’t know.

For now, I’ll continue where I left off in Cambodia.  Once I get more pictures ready, I’ll throw a corkscrew in the whole thing and just start randomly telling stories from other locales.  Because that’s how I roll, all random and shit.

Where was I last we spoke about SE Asia?  Ah, yes.  Angkor Wat.  Cue humidity, blazing sun and a smashing good time!  (Obviously I think I’m British now.)

So.  Remember I told you I stayed at a place in Siem Reap called the Golden Mango Inn?  Lovely place.  Really, really lovely.  Every time I walked past the front desk, they asked if they could help with anything.  One staff member in particular was so, so nice.  For the life of me, I can’t remember his name.  He arranged for me to have a bike at 4am when I decided I wanted to cycle to the ruins to catch the sunrise.  He was my wake up call.  He made sure the kitchen opened super early so I wouldn’t arrive at Angkor without eating.  He packed snacks for my bike ride — and then proceeded to worry about me biking on my own so early in the morning.  That’s actually funny.  I assure you, the 4am bike ride was MUCH safer than the afternoon bike ride on my way home, at which point I had to dodge the insane Siem Reap traffic going in every direction (none of which seemed to be heading the correct way).  The good news is, I survived to tell the story.

The Inn was phenomenal.  And that particular day was unforgettable.  I watched the sunrise at Angkor, then cycled through the park for over eight hours.  It was hot and humid and slightly unbearable at times.  But it was also an experience few people have.  Yes.  There are several bikers at Angkor at any given moment, but most don’t go as far or as long as I did.  Most don’t ride alongside kids biking to and from school.  Most don’t stop to chat with villagers that suspect they’re slightly crazy for taking such a long ride.  Granted, most don’t hit a ditch and go flying into the middle of the road either.  But, hey, it was an experience, right?  And the two school boys riding in front of me seemed rather entertained (if not slightly bewildered) by the whole ordeal.  The fact is, I would go back and do it again in a heartbeat.  Except I would take it even slower and soak in every single second.

Few things in the world can outdo cycling through ancient ruins amongst a beautiful, monkey-filled forest in Cambodia.

Posted in Cambodia, Southeast Asia Also tagged , , |