I admittedly neglected my personal site for a while. Since last year, I went on a tour around Asia that was, at times, a bit too dramatic (gotta stop using Tinder when I’m bored and ending up in intense relationships in Asia, but I digress.) Near the end of my tour, there was a lot to think about in my life. Among other things, my father passed away—joining my mother and brother in only the last couple of years.
Returning to Los Angeles, I felt a strong sense of anxiousness. Yes, I prefer having roots in my home country; but what roots are really left when most of your family is dead? My work and living situation in LA I’d consider quite nice. And leaving again would include the usual host of uncertainties: maintaining freelance work, keeping my financial head above water, and the often emotionally and physically exhausting process of going between countries. However, in the end, various reasons pushed me back abroad. I spent four months back in LA, including one month in Arizona to tend to my father’s makeshift funeral / ash spreading. Then, it was time to pack up and leave…possibly for good.
Among my reasons to leave is the fact I don’t see life in the USA as sustainable. When I’m done going between countries the option always remains to grab a work visa in Vietnam and teach English—a well-worn path chosen by thousands of expats—but one that still comes with serious benefits.
If I should choose, someday, to have a family—the cost of raising a child in the USA is $150,000 to $200,000 according to reports. In Asia, it would be a fraction of this cost. Medical care and even health insurance also a fraction. The cost of owning a condo in a nice city a fraction. And while SE Asia’s lack of legal protections have drawbacks, there’s also positive effects… I won’t have my life destroyed by false allegations (as described in this video), a practice that is trending in the USA. Want to destroy someone’s life? Easy, #MeToo them or just make up some other garbage. In a country run by lawyers, this is easier and easier. Why live in that risk forever? I’d rather just go abroad. This is the cherry on top among reasons to avoid corporate jobs in the USA.
Meanwhile, the West and the culture war seems to be eating itself. Tim Pool, YouTube journalist, suggests this will lead to a civil war, and his predictions are rarely wrong. Do I want to see communist Antifa thugs and right wingers battling on the streets? No. I’d rather just leave nice and early and seek out a peaceful life.
Finally, as I describe elsewhere on this site, attitudes abroad always draw me back. I visited Vietnam for the first time on this trip, and similarly to Indonesia and other countries I’ve visited I find the people to be overall authentic and positive.
Major things I miss when I leave the USA include the weather, nature, the familiarity, the amazing grocery stores (never take Safeway for granted, you won’t even find that in Europe), having a car (plus polite drivers), and, of course, old friends and remaining family members. So, I’m not saying this path is a utopia. In fact, it’s bittersweet. Probably, if I had endless money, I’d have a nice big house as a base of operations back home in Arizona, and I’d only spend half the year in some distant country. But I don’t have this ability and I’m not getting any younger.
And so, here I am, living out of a backpack again. Not to lead a glamorous life but because I feel I have no choice.
Well, I guess my budget travel abilities and digital nomad techniques are sometimes glamorous, or they at least look like it on the surface—or if scrolling through my Instagram. But this lifestyle eventually demands a man or woman find roots again, or else a different kind of anxiousness kicks in, to be part of a community again and have sustainability. If I should choose to relocate permanently to Asia, the next challenge will be if I can adapt my roots to a foreign culture in a truer way, as opposed to my 1 or 2 month long treks.
Once, as recounted through the years of this site being online, I lived in Thailand. When I returned home after 6 months, I was elated. But back then, there was such thing as a “home” to return to (as dysfunctional as it was with my parents, before their dual transition from this world.) Now, with home only existing nebulously among the residences of a few close friends, it’s up to me to find that element in a new society. Or, otherwise, learn enough inner peace to feel satisfied and content even if home is never again found—and I remain as a wandering adventurer for the foreseeable future. Who knows?
[Currently in: Jodhpur, India. One of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen, just don’t come here in summer. Leaving tomorrow for Udaipur, yet another desert kingdom leftover from the days when each sovereign state was without unification and, often, killing each other over control of the region. It’s a good thing those days are long over.)